Embedded Linux is a fast growing operating system option in the world of mobile devices. Unfortunately, existing frameworks to embed Linux are either complex (e.g. use too many hacks to fake a native environment) or use proprietary code on the target side. This brings a lot of constraints to porting desktop applications for the handheld world and making a completely Free embedded operating system. Embedded Ubuntu is an initiative to build a community around the development of a highly flexible and simple framework to generate customised Ubuntu derivatives for target architectures found in mobile devices.


There are over 1 billion mobile phone users worldwide and over 2 billion connections. Such mobile devices, PDAs and new embedded devices such as Internet Tablets could be of more use to a wider population, mostly those who cannot afford to pay high prices to have multimedia applications in their hands. Since the Ubuntu principle is to have Linux for human beings, to embed Ubuntu into such mobile devices is the fundamental basis of having people not only connected but humanly connected.

Use cases


EmbeddedUbuntu will initially cover ARM-based platforms, preferably with a LC-Display. This includes ARM-based PDAs and Internet Tablets. Development is being done on the TI OMAP 5912 Starter Kit (see for more information about this device).

There are a number of OMAP (a popular embedded platform) devices already running Linux: These should be easier to work with because there is kernel support for most of their hardware, so we will concentrate on supporting this class of device first. There is also a good list of devices running linux on:


Data preservation and migration

The Operating System that was previously installed on the mobile device will be lost after flashing the customized Ubuntu. Support for backing up the previous OS can be added in future.

Outstanding issues

BoF agenda and discussion


Ubuntu Mobile and Embedded Edition

At the heart of the Ubuntu project lies a belief that open source software and technology can play a key role in enabling individuals to achieve their potential. A central goal has been the creation of a world-class, free and open source operating system that we have worked to make accessible across notebooks, desktops, thin clients and servers.

Three years on, it is clear that new types of device - small, handheld, graphical tablets which are Internet-enabled are going to change the way we communicate and collaborate. These devices place new demands on open source software and require innovative graphical interfaces, improved power management and better responsiveness.

Intel, specifically, have announced a new low-power processor and chipset architecture which will be designed to allow full internet use on these mobile Internet devices.

To fulfil the aims of our mission and in response to the technical challenges that these devices pose, we are announcing the Ubuntu Mobile and Embedded project.

We will start more detailed planning at the Ubuntu Developer Summit next week in Seville and the first release of this edition will be in October with Ubuntu 7.10. If you are interested in the project, please get involved. We will be working through our normal development processes on Launchpad, the developer mailing lists and IRC.

Finally, we are delighted to be working with Intel on this version of Ubuntu. Intel are making significant contributions of technology, people and expertise to the project. We hope that others who are interested in producing an easy-to-use and open source environment for this class of device will join us in making this a success.

Matt Zimmerman

Sat May 5 11:10:26 BST 2007

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EmbeddedUbuntu (last edited 2009-04-30 12:54:01 by rpr-nospam)