Corel chief dismisses Crusoe

Exclusive: Cowpland says Transmeta's new low-power chip doesn't make 'any big advance'
Written by Will Knight, Contributor on

Canadian software giant Corel has already dismissed the idea of developing software for the Crusoe family of microprocessors, according to president and CEO Michael Cowpland.

The new chip, designed by Californian start-up Transmeta, is going to have little impact on the consumer computing market, if any at all, according to Cowpland.

"We've looked at the Transmeta and haven't seen any big advance," he says.

The Crusoe family of processors are designed from the ground up to conserve energy. The chips use a layer of "Code-Morphing" software to translate conventional x86 commands, allowing them to run, say Windows applications. "Long Run" software also enables the chips to regulate power consumption according to a particular application's needs.

But Cowpland, speaking at this week's CeBIT technology show in Hannover, Germany, says he remains unimpressed by this fancy code-morphing business. "The Strong ARM chip seems to do most of what the Transmeta does," he says. "And the new version will be three or four times more efficient."

Transmeta's software-based, super-energy-efficient chips was part-engineered by the founder of Linux, Linus Torvalds. Torvalds also created a special version of his operating system, mobile Linux, designed for Crusoe.

Despite a commitment to Linux, however, Cowpland says that Corel is not considering porting its own version of the OS to mobile Internet appliances for the foreseeable future.

Cowpland says that Corel will, however, reveal partnerships with a number of thin client manufacturers to package Corel Linux with the next two months.

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