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Will New Members Help LiMo Foundation's Mobile Linux Cause?

The LiMo Foundation, a nonprofit organization which includes Motorola, Panasonic, Samsung and others, has been striving to increase support for Mobile Linux. Recently the group announced the additions of McCafee, Broadcom and several more to their struggling cause.

Many have championed Linux as a viable handset OS platform back to the days of the introduction of Sharp's Zaurus. Since then, Linux as a handset platform has been slow to take off. Only a handful of phones, like the Motorola Ming (currently available in China) have adopted some flavor of Linux as their operating system. Despite being championed for years, Linux has not yet gained the popularity as competing mobile operating systems like Symbian or Windows Mobile.

Part of the problem is that the mobile Linux ecosystem is incredibly fragmented. There are multiple variations of operating systems that are all based on some version of the Linux kernel. However each flavor of Linux has included its own APIs, making it difficult for developers to program to "mobile Linux".

What has allowed up-and-coming operating systems like Windows Mobile to succeed is that they have provided a common programming environment across the various handsets that run it. Hopefully, organizations like the LiMo foundation will bring this same level of uniformity to their own Linux platform. By adding application developers like McAfee and chipset vendors like Broadcom in addition to existing partners like Motorola and Samsung, the LiMo foundation may be able to rally enough support for Linux to truly coalesce and take off.

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