Intel playing catch-up with open source

Intel playing catch-up with open source

Summary: I personally think it brings Intel, in some ways, back to its roots. Open source does to software what Moore's Law does to hardware. It drives down prices and drives up value.

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TOPICS: Intel
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We have seen it so many times in the software business. A lagging product goes open source, and suddenly what was old looks new again.

Can it work for hardware?

Intel thinks so. (Yes, that sentence was fun to write.)

Yes, Intel. Intel's release of 3-D Linux graphics software, with an open source license, is all about catching rivals ATI (recently bought by AMD) and nVidia in a niche where it's lagging. The software will support its new 965 Express chipset. The result will be graphics supercomputers using open source, probably within a year.

Many readers laughed at this trend as databases and applications became open source projects and got .org sites. I remember writing that these moves were proof those products could not compete. But now, with lower costs and community support, many of them do compete.

Intel has seen this and placed heavy bets on the open source process. In hardware.

Best of all, this move will be of enormous benefit to Linux generally. It dovetails well with efforts by RedHat and Novell to add more "bling" to the operating system. This, in turn, will increase the competitiveness of open source graphics applications, creating still more value.

I personally think it brings Intel, in some ways, back to its roots. Open source does to software what Moore's Law does to hardware. It drives down prices and drives up value.

It's all a virtuous cycle. And for proprietary vendors, it's a vicious circle. The circle remains in spin.

Topic: Intel

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9 comments
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  • InHell makes hardware

    why should it write software? If they could farm out ALL of their software development - they could concentrate on core business - and maximize profits. BTW, InHell owns quite a big chunk of DeadRat so it has stakes in the game . . .
    Roger Ramjet
  • Open-source for hardware makers...

    Open-source for hardware makers, that's not new. But I agree, it is new for a graphic chipset maker. I really hope ATI and nVidia get a clue and do the same thing, because proprietary hardware drivers are not good for the Linux kernel (even if they swear their design secrets would be disclosed... c'mon, aren't they protected by patents?).

    MV
    MV_z
  • A pig with lipstick is still a pig

    "We have seen it so many times in the software business. A LAGGING PRODUCT GOES OPEN SOURCE, and suddenly what was old looks new again.

    CAN IT WORK FOR HARDWARE?"


    I guess it is accepted universally including you (on record) that open source has not worked in software



    "a lagging product goes open soruce, and
    SUDDENLY WHAT WAS OLD LOOKS NEW AGAIN"

    A pig with lipstick is still a pig
    zzz1234567890
    • A pig with lipstick is still a pig

      that phrase works fine regarding Microsoft OS's as well
      barsteward
  • economic terrorism

    Can it work for hardware?

    Intel thinks so. (Yes, that sentence was fun to write.)


    It doesnt mean that the Intel graphics chip can do a better job, is designed better. This move by Intel is economic terrorism or big bully. Agreed they have money and this is nothing but using that money as a war chest.
    code_Warrior
    • and that is so different to MS giving

      Internet Explorer away for free thereby kicking a hole in Netscape's market?

      Intel could do really well with this as their graphic chips are fine for 90-ish% of the market. How many people apart from graphics based workers and gamers need a high spec card from Nvidia or ATI?
      barsteward
  • Playing Catchup?

    Interesting headline.

    From another recent ZDNet article on this same subject (http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9584_22-6103941.html):
    "Intel has a major part of the overall graphics market; it shipped the graphics chips for 40 percent of PCs in the second quarter of 2006. ATI's share was 28 percent, and Nvidia's, 20 percent, according to research analyst Jon Peddie. "

    I do think you should more carefully define what you mean by "playing catch up". Intel certainly is not playing catch up in regard to cooperation with open source trends and Linux, they are already a leader there in many areas, not the least in graphics hardware. In terms of market share, a more accurate lead-in would be "to solidify it's market dominance, Intel .. blah blah blah". So I'm left with your use of the term "catch up" as referring to performance/reputation, but hey, one out of three ain't too bad.

    Of course, given the numbers above, it seems to me that if Intel "catches up" much further, the competition will be relegated to niche/high performance status. In fact, ATI's willingness to merge with AMD looks to me a lot like an acknowledgement of that trend.

    Peter Yellman
    pyellman
  • There are no open source support from ATI or NVIDIA. Intel is leading.

    There is a mistake in the article. Intel is not playing catch up, it's leading the open source graphics. Both ATI and NVIDIA only provide closed source drivers on top of the Linux system, hindering compatibility, binding customers to specific kinds of Linux systems etc.

    Intel, instead, is the only big vendor which develops fully open source drivers which benefit everyone and integrate flawlessly with the rest of the open source Linux Operating System.
    mrregistered
  • They should open source their compiler too

    As its supposed to create faster code than GCC
    barsteward