Intel and Linux

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jan 1, 2009.

  1. So Intel is strengthening its Linux efforts even further by hiring kernel
    supremo Alan Cox
    <http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/190/1050190/intel-lures-alan-cox-away-from-red-hat>.
    So it's just following Joel Spolsky's advice to "commoditize your
    complement" <http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/StrategyLetterV.html>:
    the complement of hardware is software, so by turning software into a
    commodity, Intel makes its hardware sales more valuable.

    This could be a double-edged sword, though. Intel rose to prominence
    primarily because of all the proprietary software developed for the early
    IBM PCs and their MS/PC-DOS operating systems (and later Windows). Other
    CPU architectures were easier to write code for (e.g. Motorola 68K), could
    offer much higher performance (RISC during its heyday), and had lower power
    requirements (ARM, still doing well). But most people stuck with Intel and
    x86 because they couldn't get away from the absolute compatibility
    requirements that proprietary software forced on them.

    So if you move away from proprietary software, you no longer have such
    strong compatibility requirements: the Linux kernel runs on about two dozen
    different CPU architectures, and so will a lot of other Free Software. x86
    may have managed to get rid of most of its competition by subsuming their
    linear address spaces and RISC-like performance, but it did so at the cost
    of very high hardware complexity. This is causing it problems in the
    low-power market, where ARM still remains dominant.

    So Intel could be moving towards the ironic situation of encouraging the
    proliferation of software which frees its customers from the need to buy
    its own products.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jan 1, 2009
    #1
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