A year ago I posted the following comment at LWN in the context of excitement about Yet Another Little Linux Server:
If you buy an Atom or Geode barebones, it's guaranteed to boot a normal Fedora or Ubuntu. If you buy ARM, you're a hostage of vendor support. If that fails (which is the default), you're all alone in the bizarre maze of incompatible bootloaders and out-of-tree patches which quickly become obsolete. Until ARM comes up with a full computer instead of just a CPU, it's no contender in Linux server space. Instead, the vicious cycle of "make a product, patch something to boot on it, ship it, forget about it immediately" will continue forever, with publications hyping up the next wonderful widget and the platform going nowhere.
It looks like someone else figured it out, ergo Linaro. Unfortunately, they do not seem to be eager to create a real platform, but rather slap a veneer of something OpenFirmware-like on top of exising systems. Also, they are buddying with Ubuntu. So, a half-hearted effort and a top-down deal. But it's a step in the right direction.