Welcome!

Linux Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Victoria Livschitz, Ignacio M. Llorente

Related Topics: Linux, Wireless

Linux: Article

Intel Counsels Desktop Linux Movement

Does Intel Want To Be "The Man Behind The Curtain" For Desktop Linux?

Everyone knows Intel wants to sell processors but the question is does it really care what operating system is running on the chip? The answer is apparently yes. It's taken notice of the effect Linux is having in the IT market and it's reacting. For example, Linux has continued to grow as governments worldwide invest in Open Source software. These users want an end to proprietary lock-in (think Windows desktop upgrade cycle), to keep IT dollars local (OSS installed by local firms), and to reduce costs. According to a 2004 IDC study Linux is expected to be in use on approximately 17 million PCs by 2008 worth $10 billion in PC sales.

Intel has also taken note of ISVs like MySQL AB and JBoss, which have created new business models based on revenues from services and related tools. Intel is also looking to China were dollars spent by IT users could be allocated to hardware in lieu of proprietary operating systems like Windows.

An initiative announced by Intel in January heralded five new Intel platforms including Mobility, Digital Home, Digital Enterprise, Digital Health Care, and Channel Products. The announcement indicates that the new Intel will stop focusing on silicon and chip speeds and start focusing on platforms on which to build solutions including Linux. At Novell's BrainShare in March Intel marketing manager Matt Semenza offered a presentation called "Intel and the Linux Desktop" saying that Intel is working to ensure that Linux and Open Source software solutions perform optimally on Intel platforms.

Intel isn't exactly new to Open Source software. It's a co-founder of OSDL and Richard Wirt, general manager of Intel's Software and Solutions Group sits on OSDL's board. Intel's Matt Wichmann is chairman of the Free Standards Group's (www.freestandards.org) Linux Standards Base Workgroup (www.linuxbase.org/).

Intel has also let free software developers use Intel products that were formerly only available for a licensing fee, including Intel compilers, VTune analyzers, performance libraries, threading tools, and cluster tools. Intel was also an early investor in now industry-leading Red Hat so it can't be considered a Johnnie-come-lately to Open Source.

Intel has a realistic view of the forces at play in the desktop market. These forces include accelerators, which have both technological and economic components. It sees the evolving government policies favoring keeping IT dollars in country so American companies like Microsoft and Apple seem to be at a disadvantage where Linux can be substituted. Lack of choice in software has led to anti-Microsoft sentiment. Having a chance to choose between Windows and Linux makes more sense and prevents single vendor lock-in. The rampant propagation of worms, viruses, and other security risks are making desktop PC users take notice of less vulnerable or less targeted operating systems like Linux. On the other hand, the outlook for desktop or client PC Linux (an Intel moniker) isn't that rosy. There are significant inhibitors to Linux adoption that Intel hopes to mitigate like providing hardware driver support to making sure that its hardware is supported under Linux. It also acknowledges that there are feature gaps like a Plug N Play architecture that's as seamless as the ones Windows and Mac OS users enjoy on their desktops. Application availability is also a concern. Windows the long-time leader has many more applications available for its operating system. A shift in the market where Linux becomes more widely used will make it profitable for ISVs to start offering solutions on both Windows and Linux. And as the time comes for older applications to be updated, moving them to Web Services as Intuit did with its Turbo Tax for the Web opens the door to new operating systems. Finally, Intel participation in making sure that there's adequate validation and training in best practices will help to relieve potential Linux desktop users of doubts about the Linux desktop.

Intel's Linux Agenda
Intel is very aware of the spike in malicious software attacks, globalization, the increased need for technology mobility, and the driving demand for storage of traditional data like databases as well as digital voicemail and the like as a result of VOIP adoption. Intel is trying to drive the digital office through richer collaboration among PCs, data analysis, and mobility through pervasive connectivity. Intel has even put together a Linux Quick Start Kit for system builders offering drivers for video (Extreme Graphics Driver, Graphics Media Accelerator 900), LAN (Gigabit LAN, Marvell Yukon Gigabit Driver) and Audio (Intel High Definition Audio, AC '97 Audio Driver). These drivers are being supplied in conjunction with Novell's Linux Desktop.

Intel has committed to supporting key vertical market segments for Linux on client PCs including basic office automation, government, transactional enterprise, and education. Additionally, it's working with technology providers like Novell to develop robust Linux solutions.

Vanderpool and Multi-Core Processors
Until recently Intel has been using the codename Vanderpool to describe its new Virtualization Technology. This virtualization technology is expected to be available on the new dual-core Pentium D. It's expected that PC users will be able to run multiple instances of the same OS simultaneously. The next step, though not confirmed, could be to run Windows and Linux side-by-side using it.

AMD has launched its multi-core Opteron chip as well helping to usher in a new era of multi-core architectures. AMD has outlined the possibility of running multiple operating systems side-by-side using its new Pacifica technology, scheduled to be out in 2006. This technology will let different operating systems reside on the same hardware.

It means that Linux could start living on the same PC in harmony with Windows, setting the stage for an eventual migration to a Linux desktop. In theory it sounds plausible, that solution and a way to do a side-by-side comparison. The likelihood of the server market also pushing this trend is very good since speed is less a concern these days and more emphasis is being put on hardware utilization. Consolidating servers in a virtualized environment makes a lot of sense not only from a hardware prospective but the point of view of space savings and power consumption.

Summary
Bottom line Intel sees Linux as a valid platform not only for the server but the desktop. As a corporation that believe in investing in emerging technologies that compliment its products, it has chosen to promote desktop Linux and ensure its success. It obviously wants to be the platform of choice for Linux solutions. It will continue to push new innovative technologies like its Virtualization Technology while being involved in the Open Source software community. It's apparent from speaking to its staff that its approach is to help reduce risk and time-to-market for Linux solutions by lending its support.

SIDEBAR

Intel Offers Centrino Support
As much a personal peeve as a legitimate gripe about Intel was its lack of support for Linux on Centrino. Centrino is a collection of chips aimed at maximizing the utility of mobile computers with low power consumption by virtue of the Pentium M chip as well as wireless capabilities. However, things are changing. With the release of its Intel Pro/Wireless Network Adapter Drivers (http://support.intel.com/support/notebook/sb/CS-006408.htm), Intel has started to offer e-mail support on installation issues and it has started Open Source projects to help with its PRO/Wireless 2100 driver (http://ipw2100.sourceforge.net/) and Pro/Wireless 2200 BG driver (http://ipw2200.sourceforge.net/). Centrino launched in March 2003 and an Open Source initiative started in 2004. Going forward it appears that Linux will supported as a legitimate desktop platform in Intel's eyes and if not there have been successful projects to work around the wireless problem like Linuxant's (www.linuxant.com) DriverLoader for Wireless LAN (www.linuxant.com/driverloader/) devices that load native Windows drivers under Linux to power certain hardware including the Centrino wireless chips.

More Stories By Mark R. Hinkle

Mark Hinkle is the Senior Director, Open Soure Solutions at Citrix. He also is along-time open source expert and advocate. He is a co-founder of both the Open Source Management Consortium and the Desktop Linux Consortium. He has served as Editor-in-Chief for both LinuxWorld Magazine and Enterprise Open Source Magazine. Hinkle is also the author of the book, "Windows to Linux Business Desktop Migration" (Thomson, 2006). His blog on open source, technology, and new media can be found at http://www.socializedsoftware.com.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people's real needs and desires.
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) i...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.