Canonical plans to build a version of Ubuntu to run on ARM's v7 processors, which are aimed at mini-notebooks and other mobile Internet devices.
The ARM version of the Linux-based desktop operating system is expected to be released in April. ARM competes with Intel's low-power Atom processor, which is gaining traction in so-called "netbooks," defined as sub-$500 systems with screen sizes of 10 inches or less. The mini-notebooks, which typically run Linux or Windows XP, are primarily aimed at schoolchildren or at adults who want a light, compact system for checking e-mail and browsing the Web on the road.
Canonical, the commercial sponsor for Ubuntu, plans to port the OS to the ARMv7 architecture, including the ARM Cortex-A8 and Cortex-A9 processor-based systems. ARM chips are used in many smartphones, such as Apple's iPhone.
ARM, based in the United Kingdom, has been making low-power processors for small devices much longer than Intel, but the market muscle of the latter makes the company a formidable opponent.
The building intensity of the competition was reflected last month in comments from Intel executives, who said the use of ARM processors in the iPhone was responsible for the device's Web-browsing shortcomings. Intel, which sells processors to Apple for use in its desktops and notebooks, apologized for the comments at its Developer Forum in Taipei and acknowledged that ARM processors draw less power than Atom.
In hopes of gaining more support for its products, ARM on Monday said it would collaborate with Adobe in making sure Adobe's Flash Player 10 and other technologies could run on ARM chipsets in smartphones, netbooks, and other devices.