Intel Notes Next Gen Clover Trail Atom CPUs Won’t Run Linux

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News Posted: Fri, Sep 14 2012 10:09 AM
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.
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fat78 replied on Fri, Sep 14 2012 12:25 PM

Love the video

sad about intel

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RWilliams replied on Fri, Sep 14 2012 3:26 PM

The statements "will not support" and "will not work" are quite different from each other. Unless Intel implements some hidden flag in the ID of the CPU, it should work just fine with kernels compiled for an x86 architecture. Linux users might miss out on some specific optimizations Clover Trail brings tot he table, but whether or not that'll truly matter remains to be seen.

It's upsetting nonetheless, because without official support, we're not going to see commercial Linux tablets released with Clover Trail. I can't imagine Canonical is too pleased about this.

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realneil replied on Fri, Sep 14 2012 7:37 PM

It's a good reason not to buy them.

Dogs are great judges of character, and if your dog doesn't like somebody being around, you shouldn't trust them.

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JDiaz replied on Fri, Sep 14 2012 9:10 PM

Paul, have you forgotten that the 32nm Intel ATOM's are all using GMA's based on Imagination PowerVR GPU's?

Intel can't support Linux because Imagination doesn't support Open Source!

This is the same issue as the last time Intel used Imagination based GMA's with the GMA 500/600 used in the Z-Series ATOMs...

Fortunately, Intel will be going back to their own GMA technology when they roll out the 22nm ATOMs and then should supply Linux support as they have traditionally done.

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JDiaz replied on Fri, Sep 14 2012 9:23 PM

This is the same issue being experienced with the Cedar Trail ATOM netbooks... Linux can run but the graphic drivers are pretty much crippled. There has been some progress though...

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RTietjens replied on Sat, Sep 15 2012 5:06 PM

No problem. I shun Intel processors anyhow. Their performance per dollar is inferior to AMD and even VIA processors. When I worked at Intel I was informed that we were NOT to use the term "Wintel" as it implied a collusion between Intel and Microsoft, which for legal reasons Intel would prefer to deny. But it *does* exist. TYhis announcement is simply proof of that collusion.

As for "crippled graphic drivers," Intel's video chipsets are greatly inferior to Nvidia's and AMD's that they are unable to support a widely used CAD file viewer properly, requiring us to buy dual-GPU laptops for our field staff (because no one makes laptops with *just* AMD or Nvidia GPUs at a reasonable price).

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JDiaz replied on Sat, Sep 15 2012 8:26 PM

Apparently, AMD's upcoming Hondo (replaces Desna for tablets) won't support Linux at launch either.

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