Intel reportedly revealed during IDF this week that its upcoming Clover Trail Atom processor platform will shun Linux support. As Intel explains it, the company's dual-core Clover Trail part is designed for Windows 8 and "the chip cannot run Linux." Oh really?
That's a bit of a curious statement. Clover Trail is, after all, a x86 part, so there's no reason that it can't support Linux, even if Intel has plenty of reason why it won't. Rather than some kind of technical limitation that Intel's brilliant minds back by nearly unlimited resources aren't able to figure out, it appears this is an arbitrary restriction as part of an odd power play by the world's largest semiconductor player.
Backing up just a moment, Clover Trail borrows quite a bit from Medfield, the latter of which has no problem running Android on numerous smartphones. So why would Intel shun Linux with Clover Trail? That's a good question, and it could be because Intel is trying to help Microsoft get off on the right foot with Windows 8.
It's a gamble on Intel's part. For one, the chip maker can expect a backlash from the Linux community. And secondly, locking out Linux means that tablets built around Clover Trail -- all of which will apparently have to run Windows 8 -- will be more expensive than they would otherwise be, at least until the Linux community figures a way around Intel's open source blockade.