Mobile phone chip designer Arm has announced an alliance with the makers of the Ubuntu the open source Debian derived Linux-based operating system software.
The deal will produce a version of the operating system for netbooks (small and medium sized, light-weight, low-cost, energy-efficient laptops) with the potential to have the long battery life enjoyed by users of mobile phones.
"The release of a full Ubuntu desktop distribution supporting latest ARM technology will enable rapid growth, with internet everywhere, connected ultra portable devices," said Ian Drew, vice president of Marketing, ARM.
"The always-on experience available with mobile devices is rapidly expanding to new device categories such as netbooks, laptops and other internet connected products."
This version of the Ubuntu Desktop operating system will target the ARMv7 architecture including ARM Cortex-A8 and Cortex-A9 processor-based systems.
The netbooks are likely to have 25cm (10in) screens and include tools to browse the internet, send email, listen to music, watch video and include a productivity suite such as OpenOffice.
"This is a natural development for Ubuntu, driven by the demand from manufacturers for an ARM technology-based version," said Jane Silber, COO of Canonical, the commercial sponsor of Ubuntu.
"Joining the considerable community of free software developers working on the ARM platform ensures that a fully-functional, optimised Ubuntu distribution is available to the ARM ecosystem, providing wider choice for consumers looking for the best operating system for their digital lifestyles."
Rob Coombs, director of mobile marketing at Arm, said he expected to see the first devices running the version of Ubuntu by the time of the Computex show in June next year.