VIA takes steps to improve Linux support

— 4:32 PM on April 8, 2008

As HP prepares to make its new VIA-powered and Linux-based 2133 Mini-Note PC available, VIA Technologies has announced steps to improve its support for both Linux and the open-source community. At the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit in Austin, Texas, the Taiwanese firm revealed that it plans to put up an official website for Linux users and developers later this month.

The new website will be located, and it will play host to drivers, documentation, source code, beta software, a bug tracking system, and other miscellaneous information for VIA's lineup of core logic products, including CN700, X700/M, CN896, and VX800 chipsets. VIA will adopt a quarterly release cycle for new software in order to stay synchronized with Linux kernel updates and new distribution releases. Additionally, the company intends to work with the open-source community to "enable 2D, 3D and video playback acceleration to ensure the best possible Open Source experience on VIA Processor Platforms."

The relevance of the move ought to be evident. Intel's Atom processors and VIA's C7 and Isaiah CPUs look set for a standoff in the sub-$500 notebook market this year, and that market should include a considerable number of Linux-based offerings—the newly launched HP 2133 Mini-Note PC already being prime example. With improved Linux support and competitive hardware, VIA could potentially steal design wins from Intel in the coming months.

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