Linaro has emerged as a great place to find well tested toolchains, Linux kernels, and evaluation builds for Ubuntu and Android. Everything is focused on the ARM Architecture which is great news for me since almost all of the projects I work on also involve ARM processors.
Last year I looked up a presentation by Christian Reis, the Linaro VP of Engineering, titled, The Weird World of Linux on ARM. For me, ARM is the primary architecture I work with. Although I run Linux on multiple x86 machines for software development, I recall only one time I compiled a Linux kernel and tried to debug a broken device driver on the x86 architecture. The diversity of the ARM ecosystem and the popularity among Cadence customers has made the ARM architecture the focus of most of my work. It didn't actually occur to me that Linux on ARM was weird at all since I have very little x86 experience.
One of the challenges of a Virtual Platform developer is access to software to use in testing new models. While I find embedded Linux very interesting, there is not always time to spend on actual software development and creating new software to run on a new model. The good news is there is no shortage of information and open source software available. The challenge is that it all takes time to find, learn, build, and use. Linaro is a great place because it provides easy access to various useful and time saving components.