Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Unfazed, IBM pumps Power chip program

Filed under
Hardware

On Wednesday, IBM announced that 11 new members have joined a consortium of Power processor users. It also released specifications and software to make it easier to build computers using the forthcoming Power-based Cell processor that IBM, Toshiba and Sony developed. In addition, Big Blue has new customers in medical imaging and in defence, said Nigel Beck, chairman of the Power.org consortium.

And on a new section of its Web site, IBM makes the case that most growth in the processor market is taking place with servers, game consoles and mobile devices--markets where Power is used -- not personal computers. IBM disclosed the site in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday.

Apple has been one of the highest-profile customers for Power processors, buying PowerPC chips from IBM and Motorola spin-off Freescale Semiconductor since 1994. That changed on Monday when Apple announced its 2006 shift to Intel processors, chips it disparaged for years.

But IBM, far from being daunted, instead set the stage for a showdown with Intel by declaring just how ambitious its Power plans are: "IBM's strategy is to spread its open chip technology and establish Power Architecture as the dominant industry standard," Big Blue said on its Web site.

On the one side, Apple's departure tarnishes the image of the group and its related "Power Everywhere" marketing campaign, said Illuminata analyst Gordon Haff. "This certainly takes some of the sheen off of it," he said.

On the other, for burnishing the Power image, the arrival of Cell should offset the departure of Apple. "We believe opening hardware and software specs for Cell will likely expand interest in Power.org," Pund-IT analyst Charles King said in a report.

Though Apple's move won't hurt IBM's Power processor manufacturing business much, there are direct effects elsewhere in its business. The company is trying to make Linux useful on its PowerPC- and Power5-based servers, but Apple's move left in the lurch two allies in that effort. Terra Soft Solutions and the Fedora PowerPC project both use Macs in their efforts to develop Linux for Power-based computers.

Terra Soft, which sells Yellow Dog Linux and Macs with the operating system already installed, said it has options to survive Apple's switch to Intel processors. In a statement, CEO Kai Staats said the company doesn't plan to switch its product line to Intel chips but that it still plans to sell its Y-HPC version of Linux for high-performance computing clusters, which can be used on systems such as IBM's JS20 blade servers. And, Staats added, "Things are already in motion to enable a world of greater Power Architecture diversity."

Colin Charles, a lead programmer for the effort to bring the Fedora version of Linux to PowerPC chips, pledged future support for the project.

"I'm not going to back off the project, even if it means that its real use will only last another two more years, and after that, it'll just be for big iron IBM (computers)," Charles said. "IBM hardware will always still exist, though consumer Apple stuff is going away in about two years, sadly -- I think it's a big mistake."

IBM's response is to fight back with numbers, calling out In-Stat statistics forecasting that the game console market will grow from 3.5 million units this year to 33.5 million in 2008.

Two nongaming customers are using Cell, Beck said, though he wouldn't name them. One is involved in medical imaging, and the other is tapping the chip for military use in image recognition and targeting, he said.

Eleven new organisations joined the 16 existing members of the Power.org consortium.

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

PC-BSD 10.1.2-RC1 Now Available

The PC-BSD team is pleased to announce the availability of RC1 images for the upcoming quarterly 10.1.2 release. Please test these images out and report any issues found on our bug tracker. Read more

Entroware Announces Aura, a Tiny PC That Runs Ubuntu or Ubuntu MATE 15.04

Entroware introduced today, May 2, their first mini-PC called Aura and powered by Canonical's recently released Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet) computer operating system, or the popular Ubuntu MATE 15.04 flavor. Read more

Ubuntu-Based Black Lab Linux Enterprise Desktop 6.5 RC2 Released with KDE 4.14, MATE 1.8

Roberto J. Dohnert, the lead developer of Black Lab Linux and owner of Black Lab Software, announced the immediate availability for download and testing of the second and last Release Candidate (RC) version of the forthcoming Black Lab Enterprise Desktop 6.5 computer operating system based on Ubuntu. Read more Also: Black Lab Linux Will Standardize on the KDE Desktop Environment

today's leftovers

  • Kodi 15.0 Isengard Beta 1 Officially Released
    Kodi, a media player and entertainment hub that was named XBMC until a few months ago, has been upgraded to version 15.0 Beta 1 and is now ready for download and testing.
  • RcppArmadillo 0.5.100.1.0
    A new minor release 5.100.1 of Armadillo was released by Conrad yesterday. Armadillo is a powerful and expressive C++ template library for linear algebra aiming towards a good balance between speed and ease of use with a syntax deliberately close to a Matlab.
  • How many Chrome OS devices do you own?
    Chrome OS devices have proven to be quite popular with Chromebooks, Chromeboxes and Chromecast devices all regularly showing up in Amazon's various bestseller lists, and also getting good ratings and reviews by the people who have bought them.
  • Lucid sleep in the free desktop
    One of the areas I'm currently working on is what Google calls Lucid Sleep, which is basically the ability of performing work while the machine is in a low power state such as suspend. I'm writing this blog post because there has been interest on this in different communities and the discussion is currently a bit dispersed.
  • A Request for Help from a Linux Community Member in Nepal
    At the Linux Foundation we focus many of our programs on personalizing and connecting the talented network of Linux developers and users in all corners of the globe. Everyday we are witness to the Linux community innovating irrespective of geographic boundary; that is why this week we were moved by an email we received from one of our community asking for help.
  • Quicklisp and debian
    Common Lisp users are very happy to use Quicklisp when it comes to downloading and maintaining dependencies between their own code and the librairies it is using.
  • Qt4's status and Qt4's webkit removal in Stretch
    Hi everyone! As you might know Qt4 has been deprecated (in the sense "you better start to port your code") since Qt5's first release in December 19th 2012. Since that point on Qt4 received only bugfixes. Upstream is about to release the last point release, 4.8.7. This means that only severe bugs like security ones will get a chance to get solved.
  • LinuxFest NorthWest 2015, ownCloud 8 for stable Fedora / EPEL
    The Fedora booth was extra fun this year. As well as the OLPC XO systems we usually have there (which always do a great job of attracting attention), Brian Monroe set up a whole music recording system running out of a Fedora laptop, with a couple of guitars, bass, keyboard, and even a little all-in-one electronic drum…thing. He had multitrack recording via Ardour and guitar effects from Guitarix. This was a great way to show off the capabilities of Fedora Jam, and was very popular all weekend – sometimes it seemed like every third person who came by was ready to crank out a few guitar chords, and we had several bass players and drummers too. I spent a lot of time away from the booth, but even when I was there we had pretty much a full band going quite often.
  • Rugged, Linux-ready PC/104-Plus SBC offers onboard DAQ
    Diamond’s “Aries” is a Linux-friendly, Atom E3800 based PC/104-Plus SBC for data acquisition, featuring SATA, mSATA, mini-PCIe, and -40 to 85°C support.