All in all, ELC was a great event - full of interesting keynotes, sessions and opportunities for networking. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the level of interest around Linaro and what Linaro does. Given the number of questions we were asked over the course of the event, we thought it would be useful to summarise the most common ones:

What is Linaro? Linaro is a collaborative engineering organization focused on improving the ARM ecosystem. Our members fund the engineering activities, such as Linux kernel development, toolchain optimization, and validation. The main goal being that we can build the foundational pieces of software together, so that every System on Chip (SoC) vendor can leverage which reduces fragmentation and time to market.

Why is Linaro building hardware? Linaro is purely a software company. Linaro is not building hardware, our members are.

What is 96Boards? 96Boards is an initiative inside of Linaro, which defines various hardware specifications for members/non-members to build a board from. Currently, there are two specifications, CE, and EE. The CE specification targets the embedded, IoT, and mobile markets, whereas the EE specification is targeted towards enterprise use cases. To find out more, click here to go to the 96boards website.

How are 96Boards different than the Raspberry Pi? 96Boards hardware specification defines various standardized form factors, unlike the raspberry pi. The raspberry pi uses only broadcom SoC’s and the form factor changes from board to board. With 96Boards, you get choice, the choice of various different SoC’s at different price points.

Raspberry Pi is cheaper, how can the 96Boards compete? Raspberry Pi is indeed cheaper, and you get what you pay for. Linaro being a software company focused on ARM, can provide a much more mature software stack than the community based raspberry pi. For example, a 64bit kernel is supported on all of the 96Boards hardware which is currently available, this is not the case with raspberry pi.

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