If you're a fan of Linux on ARM hardware, you've probably heard of Linaro. If not, the short version is that they're a group of ultra-smart engineers who work on optimizing open-source and Linux software (and the tools to build them) for the ARM architecture. Yes, Linaro comprises the people who build the tools regular nerds use to build apps and software. Why am I rambling on about Linaro, you ask? First, because every embedded Linux nerd (hi there!) has a secret crush on the whole team, and also because they have shown off Ice Cream Sandwich built with their optimization process. It's fast. Very fast. Faster at benchmarks than you ever thought an OMAP 4430 could ever be. So much faster that it's going to translate into real-world benefits, unlike many of the other tweaks and tricks there are for Android.
How can this happen? In the video after the break, Bernhard Rosenkränzer, Android toolchain expert at Linaro, puts it in perfect perspective. Google builds Android. Linaro takes it and tweaks it, squeezing out every bit of performance possible. Using the Android 4.0.4 source as a base, the fellows at Linaro have tweaked both the source (string routines in Bionic are mentioned by name) and the tools used to compile it. It's like those guys on TV who tinker with car engines to get performance that GM or Ford could never imagine. Make no mistake -- this is not something you can flash on your phone and make it work. Yet.
As Rosenkränzer explains, everything Linaro does is open source. The folks at CM can (and are) working with it, as well as the collective behind AOKP. Linaro is even submitting changes back to the Android Open Source Project so Google can review and use the tweaks that offer performance increase without affecting stability. Linaro working closely with Google would be like chocolate and peanut butter. This Linux and Android nerd hopes it happens. Be sure to watch the video after the break!