Sometimes, it's just better to build something yourself - even microprocessors. That's something that Russia proved this week as it was announced that the government would be funding a project to build a custom CPU, codenamed Baikal. The deal is worth "dozens of millions" of dollars, and supercomputer designer T-Platforms will be the firm to head-up development.
Like every other country on earth, Russia wants to keep its secrets and internal information secret and internal. As such, it feels that it can't trust American-built processors, eg: Those made by Intel and AMD. Given the fact that it's been heavily rumored that the NSA has worked with both of those companies in the past, and also that it is possible to build a nearly undetectable backdoor in computer hardware, it's easy to understand why Russia wants to go this route. It's an ambitious one, however.
Russian Linux distro "ROSA"
Russia's Baikal processor will be built around an ARM Cortex A57, which ties into Vladimir Putin's goal, established in 2010, to move all government computers over to Linux - another move that's easy to understand given the OS' open-source and modular nature.
Building a custom microprocessor isn't "easy", but it is very feasible for governments which have millions to throw at such a product. If Russia's going down this route, which basically mimics China's move to Linux backed by a custom processor (MIPS-based Loongson), I can't help but wonder if other countries might follow-suit as well. One thing's for sure: neither AMD or Intel will be fond of these moves.
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