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Logo linaro.png
FoundedJune 3, 2010; 8 years ago (2010-06-03)
TypeEngineering organization
Registration no.07180318
FocusOpen-source software for the ARM architecture
Key people
George Grey, David Rusling, Rob Booth

Linaro is an engineering organization that works on free and open-source software such as the Linux kernel, the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC), power management, graphics and multimedia interfaces for the ARM family of instruction sets and implementations thereof as well as for the Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA). The founding of Linaro was announced at Computex in June 2010 by ARM, Freescale Semiconductor, IBM, Samsung, ST-Ericsson, and Texas Instruments in a joint press conference.[1] It also provides engineering and investment in upstream open source projects, a monthly release of tools and software[2] and support to silicon companies in upstreaming code to be used with their system-on-a-chips (SoC). At some point Linaro joined the HSA Foundation.[3]

Linaro focuses on the use of the ARM instruction set in its versions 7a (32-bit) and 8 (64-bit) including concrete implementations of these, such as SoCs that contain Cortex-A5, Cortex-A7, Cortex-A8, Cortex-A9, Cortex-A15, Cortex-A53 or Cortex-A57 processor(s). Linaro engineering works with upstream projects on a set of requirements that are determined by the Technical Steering Committee (TSC).

At the end of each month there is a release of tools and software that acts as a staging tree for code that will be pushed upstream. Linaro works on software that is close to the silicon such as kernel, multimedia, power management, graphics and security. Linaro aims to provide stable, tested tools and code for multiple software distributions to use to reduce low-level fragmentation of embedded Linux software.[4]


The following are milestones in the history of Linaro.

March 2010 – Company founded
  • Membership agreements initiated
  • Engineering begins
June 2010 – Company launch
  • Website and wiki opened
  • Engineering organization ramps
November 2010 – First release
  • Linaro's 10.11 release is announced at TechCon
May 2011 – Second Release
  • Linaro's 11.05 release and monthly releases announced
  • Linaro Partner Program announced
August 2011
  • First independent Linaro Connect held
January 2012
  • Demo Friday begins to be held at each Linaro Connect
October 2012
  • LG Electronics joins Linaro
  • HiSilicon joins Linaro
November 2012
  • Linaro Enterprise Group (LEG) announced
February 2013
  • Linaro Networking Group (LNG) announced
May 2013
  • Broadcom joins Linaro
July 2013
  • Fujitsu Semiconductor joins Linaro
February 2014
  • Linaro forms Security Working Group
  • Qualcomm joins Linaro
March 2014
  • Allwinner joins Linaro
  • MediaTek joins Linaro
  • ZTE joins Linaro
May 2014
  • Linaro Digital Home Group (LHG) announced
October 2014
  • Spreadtrum Communications joins Linaro
February 2015
  • Linaro announces 96Boards initiative
  • Actions Technology joins Linaro
  • Marvell joins Linaro
April 2015
  • Alibaba joins Linaro
June 2015
  • LeMaker joins Linaro
July 2015
  • Qualcomm becomes Core Member of Linaro
August 2015
  • Meizu joins Linaro
October 2015
  • Guy Berruyer joins Linaro as Chairman of the Linaro Board
  • Tinno Mobile joins Linaro
  • Acadine joins Linaro
June 2016
  • Thundersoft joins Linaro
August 2016
  • ArcherMind joins Linaro
September 2016
  • HopeRun joins Linaro
  • Linaro joins the Linux Foundation Zephyr Project
  • Linaro announces the Linaro IoT and Embedded group (LITE)


Linaro has two core engineering groups.

The Core Development Group[edit]

The Core Development Group works directly with upstream projects supporting core technologies including Linux Kernel core features, power management, security and virtualisation.

The Core Technology and Tools Group[edit]

The Core Technology and Tools Group works on toolchain support (both GCC and LLVM) and makes regular public releases along with a number of reference builds of kernels and userspace for various Linux distributions (including Android and Ubuntu) on member SoCs.

The group includes the automated testing system called LAVA (Linaro Automated Validation Architecture) that Linaro developed.[5] LAVA is for automated testing of the open source components that are used in the major Linux-based software platforms. A lab running LAVA and a wide variety of ARM hardware is run for the use of Linaro and member company engineers.

Additional groups[edit]

The remaining work done by Linaro is split into various segment groups focusing on particular markets where ARM processors are used. These include:

The Linaro Enterprise Group (LEG)[edit]

The Linaro Enterprise Group (LEG) focuses on Linux development for ARM servers.[6] The Enterprise Group is made up of the following companies: AMD, AppliedMicro, ARM, Broadcom, Cavium, Citrix, Facebook, HiSilicon, HP, QuIC, Red Hat and ZTE. The team's mission is to bring competing companies together to work on common solutions to problems and enable OEM's, commercial Linux providers and System on Chip (SOC) vendors to collaborate in a neutral environment on the development of the core software needed by the rapidly emerging market for low-power hyperscale servers.

The Linaro Networking Group (LNG)[edit]

The Linaro Networking Group (LNG) is a coalition of technology companies whose mission is to deliver an enhanced core Linux platform for networking equipment.[7] Its current members include ARM, Broadcom, Cavium, Cisco, ENEA, Ericsson, Freescale, HiSilicon, MontaVista, Nokia, Texas Instruments, Wind and ZTE. With ARM-based SoCs part of the transformation occurring in cloud and mobile infrastructure applications such as switching, routing, base-stations and security, LNG’s members collaborate on fundamental software platforms to enable deployment of new services across a range of converged infrastructure platforms.

Linaro Digital Home Group (LHG)[edit]

The Linaro Digital Home Group's (LHG) purpose is to work on solutions common to its members, namely those related to open source software for ARM-based set top boxes, smart TVs, media boxes, TV dongles and home gateway products.

The Linaro Mobile Group (LMG)[edit]

The Linaro Mobile Group (LMG) focuses on development for mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. As of March 2015, LMG has 3 sub-groups focusing on Android, Linux kernel changes for mobile devices, and Graphics. In the future, LMG is expected to also support ChromiumOS.

Linaro Community Boards Group[edit]

In February 2015, Linaro formed the Linaro Community Boards Group (LCG)[8] to support the new 96Boards initiative. 96Boards is an open platform specification that provides a platform for the delivery of compatible low-cost, small footprint 32-bit and 64-bit Cortex-A boards. Corporate members of Linaro provide funding and engineers plus direction through various steering committees and resources are split into semi-autonomous groups with their own members. LCG is one of these groups and its member companies contribute to the development of the 96Boards specification, the maintenance of the website, and support for the software builds for their compatible boards.

A fixed set of minimum interfaces are required by the specifications, for example the Consumer Edition (CE) specification requires standard USB, micro-SD, HDMI, power, and low- and high-speed peripheral connectors. Vendors may add customized hardware and feature sets provided the form factor and minimum set of interfaces are supported. Since the original consumer edition release there have been specifications for Enterprise, Set-top box and IoT devices.

Despite Linaro's ARM focus the 96Boards specification is fairly relaxed about the processors that need to be supported which allows vendors to experiment with boards such as the Curious Curie[9] which is based on the Intel Quark processor with an embedded binarized neural network (eBNN).

On April 27, 2017, a board adhering to the 96Board Consumer Edition Open Standard becomes a development platform for the Android Open Source Project (AOSP).[10][11]

Specifications and implementations[edit]

There are currently[when?] three published 96Boards specifications for low-cost ARMv7-A and ARMv8-A development boards:[citation needed]

  • The Consumer Edition (CE) targets the mobile, embedded and digital home segments.
  • The Enterprise Edition (EE) targets the networking and server segments.
  • The Internet of Things Edition (IE) is designed to support development in the IoT space.

Linaro IoT and Embedded Group (LITE)[edit]

In September 2016 Linaro announced the Linaro IoT and Embedded Group (LITE)[12] that will focus on delivering end to end open source reference software for more secure connected products, ranging from sensors and connected controllers to smart devices and gateways, for the industrial and consumer markets.

Release schedule[edit]

Since May 2011, Linaro has had a monthly engineering and release cycle.


Linaro runs and continuously tests its output on member platforms. For the ARMv7-A code, these include TI's OMAP 3 and OMAP 4, Samsung's Exynos, and ST-Ericsson's NovaThor U8500. For development on platforms prior to silicon availability, e.g. big.LITTLE development starting at the end of 2011 and ARMv8-A work begun in 2012.


Initial release10 November 2010; 8 years ago (2010-11-10)[13]
Stable release
13.11 / 28 November 2013; 5 years ago (2013-11-28)
LicenseEPL (default) and other licences

There are three types of software downloads available from Linaro:

  1. At the end of each monthly cycle Linaro release an integrated build including all the software worked on during the cycle.
  2. There are monthly versions of upstream software, such as GCC or QEMU. These are downloads from places.
  3. Linaro maintains public staging trees of upstream code they are working on.


All code developed within Linaro working groups is open source and therefore available under standard Open Source Initiative (OSI) license terms. For more details see Linaro Membership Rules and Linaro Articles of Association.[14]


  1. ^ McGlaun, Shane (2010-06-03). "IBM, Freescale, Samsung Form Linaro to Aid in Developing ARM-compatible Software". Retrieved 2012-07-22.
  2. ^ Paul, Ryan (2010-06-04). "Linaro nonprofit aims to fight ARM Linux fragmentation: A group of hardware companies has formed a new nonprofit organization that …". Retrieved 2012-07-22.
  3. ^ "HSA Foundation".
  4. ^ "Linaro seeks to simplify ARM Linux landscape". 2010-06-09. Retrieved 2012-07-22.
  5. ^ Linaro Limited (2011-05-27). "Linaro completes first year with demonstrations of Linaro Evaluation Builds for Android and Ubuntu and introduction of new partner program". Retrieved 2012-07-22.
  6. ^ Linaro Limited (2012-11-01). "Industry leaders-collaborate to accelerate software ecosystem for ARM servers and join Linaro". Retrieved 2013-01-15.
  7. ^ Linaro Limited (2013-02-20). "Networking Leaders Collaborate to Maximize Choice, Performance and Power Efficiency". Retrieved 2013-01-15.
  8. ^ Linaro Limited (2015-02-09). "Linaro announces Actions Technology as a founding member of the Linaro Community Boards Group". Retrieved 2015-02-09.
  9. ^ "The Case of the Curious Curie 96Board". Electronic Design. 2017-05-03. Retrieved 2017-08-04.
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ Linaro Limited (2016-09-26). "Linaro Announces LITE – Collaborative Software Engineering for the Internet of Things (IoT)". Retrieved 2015-09-26.
  13. ^ Bennett, Jamie (2010-11-10). "Linaro 10.11 Final released". Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  14. ^ Linaro Limited. "Linaro presentations and documents for download". Retrieved 2012-07-22.

External links[edit]