Linux architect Linus Torvalds released version 3.3 of the open-source operating system, its first upgrade to incorporate elements of Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android mobile operating system. The integration will enable developers to use the Linux kernel to run an Android system, to build drivers for either the Android kernel or the Linux kernel and to reduce or eliminate the strain of maintaining independent patches from release to release.
"For a long time, code from the Android project has not been merged back to the Linux repositories due to disagreement between developers from both projects," states the Linux 3.3 Kernel Newbies page. "Fortunately, after several years the differences are being ironed out. Various Android subsystems and features have already been merged, and more will follow in the future. This will make things easier for everybody, including the Android mod community, or Linux distributions that want to support Android programs."
Google runs a heavily modified Linux kernel. CNet reports that merging Android with the "mainline" Linux 3.3 should translate to easier programming and accelerated progress for all parties, allowing Google to more exploit new Linux features sooner while reducing efforts to keep Android code in sync with the mainline kernel. In addition, others leveraging Linux across mobile devices can benefit from improvements included in Google's separate fork. The Inquirer adds the merger could theoretically result in support for Android applications running on Linux distributions like Ubuntu and Mint.
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