Open source champion labels Clover Trial processor a technology "dead-end"


Open source campaigner Bruce Perens has declared Intel's forthcoming Clover Trial chip a business and technical "dead-end".

Writing on his blog, Perens said Intel had limited any chance of success with the silicon chip by shutting out Linux and other open source operating systems.

The power management being used on the Atom chip to make it run longer under Windows was not "magic", he stressed, and it only provides a quarter of the power efficiency of the ARM processors that run iOS and Android devices.

Perens pointed out that subsequent chips from Intel and others will offer these features to Linux developers.

These power features are not being shared with open source developers, according to Perens, and would kill any chance of the chip's success.

Perens said the architecture of Clover Trial was not right for portable devices with limited power.

To fix that problem, Intel has built a hidden core within the chip that actually runs RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computing) instructions, while providing the CISC (Complex Instruction Set Computing) instruction set that software like Microsoft Windows expects.

"But this doesn't approach ARM's power efficiency," claimed Perens.

He warned the chip is handicapped by the presence of PowerVR graphics, also known as SGX and Intel GMA 500, which he claims "doesn't play well with Linux developers."

Clover Trail's future lies with Windows 8 tablets, because these are the only devices available to the processor, given the lack of Linux support, he asserted.

He added Clover Trail offered "nothing new, or even anything that Intel is likely to re-use in future chips."

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.