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Intel Says Clover Trail Atom CPU Won't Work With Linux 434

girlmad tips this news from the Inquirer: "Intel's Clover Trail Atom processor can be seen in various non-descript laptops around IDF and the firm provided a lot of architectural details on the chip, confirming details such as dual-core and a number of power states. However Intel said Clover Trail 'is a Windows 8 chip' and that 'the chip cannot run Linux.' While Intel's claim that Clover Trail won't run Linux is not quite true — after all, it is an x86 instruction set, so there is no major reason why the Linux kernel and userland will not run — given that the firm will not support it, device makers are unlikely to produce Linux Clover Trail devices for their own support reasons."
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Intel Says Clover Trail Atom CPU Won't Work With Linux

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 14, 2012 @08:52AM (#41333523)

    Chips aren't exactly designed to "run Linux" or any other OS. It's Linux that supports CPUs.. NOT the other way around.

    All this means, is that Intel doesn't want to help. It does not mean it won't run Linux. Linux always finds a way to work.

  • Qui Bono? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Simon Brooke ( 45012 ) <> on Friday September 14, 2012 @08:53AM (#41333527) Homepage Journal

    I can't see what possible benefit it is to Intel to deliberately limit the market for their processors. Unless they are doing this for Microsoft's benefit, in which case, surely, there are anti-trust implications?

  • by macromorgan ( 2020426 ) on Friday September 14, 2012 @08:56AM (#41333543)
    Doubt it. They can choose to support or not support whatever they want. They just can't actively use their current monopoly position to harm competition in another market (operating systems). If they put in some special instructions that actively sabotage the Linux kernel from running, that would be one thing. From what it sounds like though, they are merely not providing drivers/source code for Linux for some of the CPU features for this platform. Of course since a lot of geeks will try to get Linux running on a toaster for the lulz, I expect this to only be a short-term hindrance.
  • by beck001 ( 26515 ) on Friday September 14, 2012 @08:56AM (#41333545) Homepage

    I am sure you didn't mean any disrespect, but the whole "Linux always finds a way to work" irks me. Linux doesn't fine a way, some extremely talented and hard working individuals spend vast amounts of their time building/designing/testing code to support hardware. It's not magical.

    Again, I am sure you didn't mean anything negative by your comment, but I have seen this perspective become pervasive an I'd like it stop.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 14, 2012 @08:57AM (#41333555)

    So anyone that brings a processor to the game that doesn't support an existing version of Linux can face a lawsuit? Where do you people get this stuff?
    Read a bit more, talk a bit less. Try to get some critical thinking skills. Maybe you won't come off like a Geek Squad reject.

  • by Dyinobal ( 1427207 ) on Friday September 14, 2012 @08:57AM (#41333559)
    If there is one thing life has taught me it is that anything can run Linux. All intel has done now is simply issued a challenge which my guess is won't take long for some skilled hardware hacker.
  • Re:Qui Bono? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NoNonAlphaCharsHere ( 2201864 ) on Friday September 14, 2012 @09:07AM (#41333681)
    No, It's just another case of Intel trying to steer the market in a certain (advantageous to Intel) direction. And the "cannot run" is a red herring, the real issue is "will not support"; and it's not so much "Linux" as "Android" that'll be lacking that support.
  • by Errol backfiring ( 1280012 ) on Friday September 14, 2012 @09:08AM (#41333687) Journal
    "Not supported" is very different from "Can't run Linux". I would call this monopoly abuse.
  • by Truekaiser ( 724672 ) on Friday September 14, 2012 @09:13AM (#41333749)

    They stated this is a windows 8 only chip. So they won't release specs for other operating systems to use this. Also since windows 8 'require's' the uefi secure boot option, how much do you want to bet intel made Clover trail boards 'won't' support either disabling it nor adding your own keys?

    This won't stop linux dev's. Saying something can't work is a challenge to some of them. it's just intel won't provide patches for the in kernal systems to get it running, they might even go as far as to stop such patches being added if they actually 'did' make an agreement with microsoft to make this a 'windows 8 only' chip.

  • by FriendlyLurker ( 50431 ) on Friday September 14, 2012 @09:24AM (#41333853)
    ...into the Appelsk walled garden that Windows 8 appears to be heralding in (Windows Store only apps, "for your own security, comfort and ease of use", coming to you in Windows 8.5/9). Last thing our walled gardeners want is an alternative OS weed like Linux, working perfectly on the same hardware...
  • by postbigbang ( 761081 ) on Friday September 14, 2012 @09:40AM (#41334005)

    Let's say the reason is either one.

    Let's say that Intel wants to limit the audience for the chip, and cut their own sales. Let's say that AMD, VIA, and the ARMs makers will be delighted to fill in any vacuum.


  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Friday September 14, 2012 @09:43AM (#41334053) Homepage Journal

    Actually it means Intel won't support running Linux on it.

    Apparently Wintel is alive and well.

  • by Bill Dimm ( 463823 ) on Friday September 14, 2012 @10:15AM (#41334409) Homepage

    All intel has done now is simply issued a challenge...

    Well, that's not all they've done. They've also pissed away a lot of karma with the Linux community.

  • by KingMotley ( 944240 ) on Friday September 14, 2012 @10:24AM (#41334481) Journal

    There aren't any antitrust issues here. Intel can do whatever it wants with it's processors so long as it doesn't use it's processors (I'm not even sure you could call Intel a monopoly in processors, but that would be for a court to decide) to give another of their products an unfair advantage.

    Pretty much the same for Microsoft. Unless you think somehow Microsoft strong armed Intel into it, and can prove it in court. Even then it would be difficult. You would have to prove that Microsoft abused it's monopoly position in OSes to do so in a way that harms consumers. Good luck with that.

  • by Khyber ( 864651 ) <> on Friday September 14, 2012 @10:40AM (#41334681) Homepage Journal

    "Intel is just not going the extra step to allow Linux compatibility"

    According to TFA: However Intel said Clover Trail "is a Windows 8 chip" and that "the chip cannot run Linux".

    That's not saying "We won't support it" that's LYING IN MARKET about the capabilities of its chip and causing direct harm to a competing kernel and subset of operating systems based upon that kernel.

  • by Khyber ( 864651 ) <> on Friday September 14, 2012 @10:44AM (#41334741) Homepage Journal

    "There aren't any antitrust issues here."

    Bullshit, Intel is falsely advertising that a chip with all the standard (for today) x86 instructions will not run Linux, which is an x86 compatible kernel, and says that the chip is for Windows 8. Intel is colluding with Microsoft in this instance to create an anticompetitive market.


  • PowerVR SGX (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ssam ( 2723487 ) on Friday September 14, 2012 @10:50AM (#41334819)

    I think this mostly due to the PowerVR SGX graphics engine (remember the gma500 poulsbo). for the gma500 intel made a binary linux driver that did not impress anyone. I guess for clovertrail they are just not bothering with releasing a binary driver.

    So it might work fine as a CPU, but have no graphics acceleration. however for a tablet chip that cannot play video or composite a desktop in software, it might be effectively useless.

  • by marcosdumay ( 620877 ) <> on Friday September 14, 2012 @10:57AM (#41334895) Homepage Journal

    You know that this is a processor, right? A processor is something that you use at both phones,tablets, netbooks, notebooks, desktops, workstations and servers. Also, all of those categories are fuzzy, and processors do leak to the neigboring ones.

    For the looks of it, this one is a tablet's processor. On tablets, iOS has most of the market, Linux is a minority and Windows does not even mark outside of the error margin, that last OS is the one Intel is going to support. Of course, it will leak to netbooks and notebooks, where Windows rules (but is losing space fast for OS-X).

    I have no idea why Intel would even make such a decision, and I doubt AMD, VIA, or ARM management agree with it. From the public info it just doesn't make any sense, there must be something Intel is hidding.

  • Re:Qui Bono? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Friday September 14, 2012 @11:00AM (#41334931)
    Does MS have a monopoly on tablet OS? No. An emphatic no. Why can't MS (or anyone) enter in agreements with other companies especially since they clearly do not have a monopoly? This decision by Intel means that Intel won't support Linux on these processors. It's their idiocy. Apple doesn't support Linux/Android on their iPads or iPhones either. Nokia doesn't support Linux/Android on their Lumia phones either. Are you asking for anti-trust in these cases? If the answer is no, then don't you have a bias?

I was playing poker the other night... with Tarot cards. I got a full house and 4 people died. -- Steven Wright