Signal Processing DesignLine Blog
Want to port your OS to Intel's Atom? It will cost you.
I always though the term Wintel was more amusing than real, but just now I learned something that makes it disturbingly appropriate. Taking a page straight from Microsoft's playbook, Intel has decided to keep secret details of how register files operate in its new Atom mobile media processor. The register file details—necessary to port OSs other than Vista to Atom—can be obtained only by licensing the Atom BIOS from a handful of vendors. The cost? Think $50,000 plus royalties. Nice. I might understand this behavior if Intel held a near-monopoly like it does in PCs. But in the mobile media space, where ARM is the new Intel, and Linux is the new Vista (or XP?), it just doesn't compute. Compared to ARM's Cortex-A8, Atom's already a dog on size, power, and arguably its OS. Restricting the choice of OS will only make it bark louder.
Thanks to Seth Benton for his help on this.