As 2007 winds to a close, the editors of LinuxDevices.com have assembled a retrospective aimed at highlighting major trends and events in the world of embedded Linux. Of the approximately 1,200 stories we published this year, these were the most important, in our opinion.
For embedded Linux, 2007 was shaped by a handful of mega-trends. We've identified the following trends to be among the year's most visible, if not important:
- Mobile Internet tablets took off, fueled by Nokia's N800 and N810 models, as well as Intel's Mobile Internet Device (MID) project. The Gnome project launched a mobile and embedded initiative, Ubuntu launched a device version of its Linux distribution, and processor vendor ARM even got in on the action, hiring Movial to port lots of desktop Linux applications to its processors, with an eye on the Internet tablet market.
- The mobile browser wars began in earnest, with commercial vendors like Opera, Access, and OpenWave taking a backseat to open source browser projects. The Mozilla Foundation launched a mobile strategy and later revealed specifics. A startup called Pleyo launched a dual-licensed Origyn browser based on Webkit. Device software and tools specialist Trolltech also began integrating Webkit with Qt, and even appointed a browser author as VP of engineering.
- As the “post-PC” world shifts attention from desktops and laptops to new form factors such as mobile Internet tablets, x86 processor vendors took notice. Intel started using 45nm process technology in some mobile chips, and was rumored to be producing a Pentium M-based SoC. Via down-clocked its embedded Eden model to 500MHz for a 1-Watt ULV model. AMD added lots of parts to its embedded roadmap in 2007, and also managed to launch some parts with integrated graphics, following its acquisition of ATI.
- In 2007, handset vendor Motorola shipped its first Linux handset for the U.S. market. The MotoRizr E6 is based on a highly integrated chipset, and was later renamed MotoRokr Z6. Later in the year, Motorola launched the Razr2 V8, the first use of Linux in its “iconic” Razr line. Despite these design wins, Motorola struggles financially, and CEO Ed Zander eventually resigns (while retaining his board presidency).
- Linux continued to convince market analysts of its large potential as a mobile phone OS, partially in response to the formation in 2007 of two large industry groups aimed at promoting and standardizing mobile phone Linux. These included:
- LiMo, founded by Motorola, NEC, NTT DoCoMo, Panasonic Mobile Communications, Samsung Electronics, and Vodafone, and led by an ex-Symbian VP
- Open Handset Alliance (OHA), founded by Google and dozens of large companies around Google's Linux- and Java-based Android stack, which we reviewed here from a developer's perspective.
- The GPLv3 shipped, with little apparent impact other than many lawyers and developers working to learn GPLv2 vs. GPLv3 differences. And, late in the year, the GPL was tested in court several times, with quick results.
- Several mass-market computers shipped with Linux, instead of the typical Microsoft-supplied consumer OS. These included the $200 Walmart PC, the managed Zonbu Zonbook, and the Asus EEE PC, as well as the kid-oriented XO OLPC device.
- Lots of cool Linux-powered devices arrived in time for the holidays
But these are just a few of the highlights. For a more in-depth look back at the year that was, we invite you to peruse the pages below. They highlight what we consider to be the top 200 or so stories, culled from about 1,200 for the year. Enjoy . . . !
This article was originally published on LinuxDevices and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.