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posted by janrinok on Sunday June 22 2014, @07:35PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the chipski dept.

Announced shortly after the 1 year anniversary of the first revelations by Eric Snowden that American spy agencies have their fingers in everything, the Russian government will be funding a project to build a custom microprocessor. Codenamed Baikal (after the lake with Earth's largest volume of fresh water), it will be built around an ARM Cortex A57, a 64-bit architecture running at 2GHz. No core count or other details are available. First deliveries are expected in 2015.

The ARM architecture aligns with Vladimir Putin's goal, announced in 2010, to move all government computers onto Linux. It also comes in the wake of another large country's recent barring of some American technology in favor of a homegrown Linux distro.

Related Stories

Zhaoxin KaiXian KX-6000: A Chinese x86 SoC 29 comments

Zhaoxin Displays x86-Compatible KaiXian KX-6000: 8 Cores, 3 GHz, 16 nm FinFET

Zhaoxin, a joint venture between Via Technologies and the Chinese government, this week for the first time displayed its upcoming x86-compatible CPU, the KaiXian KX-6000. The SoC features eight cores running at 3 GHz and increases performance over its predecessor by at least 50%.

The KaiXian KX-6000 is a successor to the KX-5000 CPU launched earlier this year. Both chips integrate eight-core x86-64 cores with 8 MB of L2 cache, a DirectX 11.1-capable iGPU with an up-to-date display controller, a dual-channel DDR4-3200 memory controller, contemporary I/O interfaces (PCIe, SATA, USB, etc), and so on. The key differences between the KaiXian KX-5000 and the KaiXian KX-6000 are frequencies and manufacturing technology: the former is produced using TSMC's 28 nm fabrication process and runs at up to 2 GHz, whereas the latter is made using TSMC's 16 nm technology and operates at up to 3 GHz. Zhaoxin claims that the Kaixian KX-6000 offers compute performance comparable to that of Intel's 7th Generation Core i5 processor, which is a quad-core non-Hyper-Threaded CPU. Obviously, performance claims like that have to be verified, yet a 50% performance bump over the direct predecessor already seems beefy enough.

Related: Russia Plans to Dump Some American CPUs for Homegrown Technology
Russian Homegrown Elbrus-4C CPU Released
U.S. Export Restrictions Lead to Chinese Homegrown Supercomputing Chips
Linux-Based, MIPS-Powered Russian All-in-One PC Launched
China Dominates TOP500 List, Leads With New 93 Petaflops Supercomputer
Chinese Company Produces Chips Closely Based on AMD's Zen Microarchitecture


Original Submission

China Bans Windows 8 From Government PCs? 20 comments

ZDnet is reporting that China has banned Windows 8 from government PCs. According to Chinese news agency Xinhua, China doesn't want another Windows XP support debacle to deal with, so it's banned Windows 8 from government machines.

In a brief statement on China's Central Government Procurement Centre's website about a particular class of energy-saving products [page in Chinese], the agency noted that new government computers are forbidden from having Windows 8 installed. As Reuters notes, it's not clear how the ban on Windows 8 is related to the use of energy-savings products.

So, fellow Soylenters, is this "payback" (as the article seems to hint), or is this an "it's about time" move by the largest PC market in the world? Either way this will affect Microsoft's business going forward, and possibly new PC sales in China as the current XP hardware is repurposed with Linux rather than being replaced.

Linux-Based, MIPS-Powered Russian All-in-One PC Launched 27 comments

Liliputing reports

Most modern desktop and notebook computers ship with Intel or AMD processors and Windows or OS X software. A few companies are positioning products with ARM-based chips as desktop computers. But the Tavolga Terminal TB-T22BT(русский [1]) is something different.

This all-in-one desktop PC has a MIPS-based processor and runs Debian 8 Linux software.

The computer is made by Russian company T-Platforms, which also offers an SF-BT1 processor module for those that want to build their own hardware.

Both devices use a Baikal-T1 processor which is a 32-bit dual-core MIPS P5600 processor. Like the computers, the chip was designed in Russia, although it's based on work from Imagination Technologies (the company behind the MIPS architecture).

The all-in-one desktop features a 21.5 inch IPS display, support for up to 8GB of DDR3-1600 memory, and up to 64GB of flash storage. It has four USB 2.0 ports, a PS/2 port, Gigabit Ethernet, and a fanless case for silent operation. There's also support for smart cards.

T-Platforms is positioning the TB-T22BT as a device that can either be used as a standalone computer with support for Linux-based apps such as LibreOffice and Firefox, or as a thin client system that you can use to connect to remote machines using remote desktop software.

[1] The translation dropdown menu did not work. Google translation

Previous: Russia Plans to Dump Some American CPUs for Homegrown Technology


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 22 2014, @07:42PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 22 2014, @07:42PM (#58776)

    Do away with the imperialistic western backdoors!
    Enjoy the imperialistic eastern backdoors!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 22 2014, @08:02PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 22 2014, @08:02PM (#58781)

      Hey you're completely missing the point!

      Now we actually get the CHOICE of to whom we're gonna be sending our data.

      • (Score: 1) by middlemen on Sunday June 22 2014, @08:22PM

        by middlemen (504) on Sunday June 22 2014, @08:22PM (#58787) Homepage

        Now we actually get the CHOICE of to whom we're gonna be sending our data.

        You're now going to be sending your data to your own country as opposed to someone else. That is being in a better position in some regards.

        • (Score: 2) by frojack on Sunday June 22 2014, @10:36PM

          by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Sunday June 22 2014, @10:36PM (#58815) Journal

          The processor is the least of your worries in this regard.

          Switching from X86 to Arm offers no improvement with regard to security, other than the fact that they can license ARM easier, and build their own chips. That will take them several years.

          In the meantime, just doing their own Linux/BSD will give them as much protection at far less cost.

          However, unless they manufacture the entire machine, they are as likely to find a backdoor in a network card as in a processor. Both of these possibilities are better managed by by strict egress filtering by an upstream boxes.

          --
          No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
          • (Score: 4, Interesting) by cafebabe on Monday June 23 2014, @01:32AM

            by cafebabe (894) on Monday June 23 2014, @01:32AM (#58841) Journal

            Switching from X86 to Arm offers no improvement with regard to security

            That's not true. Increased instruction word length hinders some buffer overflow attacks. In the case of x86, it is possible to transform code into seven bit clean ASCII, get it past some cases of validation code and then perform a buffer overflow. This is much harder to achieve when instruction word size is 16 bits or 32 bits because fewer instructions are valid. In the case of 8 bit instructions, 37% of one byte instructions are printable 7 bit ASCII. 14% of 16 bit instructions are valid and 1.9% of 32 bit instructions are valid. A similar principle applies for UTF-8 filtering.

            The downside is that longer instruction word length is harder and slower to emulate. That's a contributing factor to the dominance of x86 binaries but it shouldn't be mistaken as an equal or better solution.

            --
            1702845791×2
            • (Score: 2) by Dunbal on Monday June 23 2014, @09:24AM

              by Dunbal (3515) on Monday June 23 2014, @09:24AM (#58927)

              If only you could use an operating system that was written in a way that handles buffers properly eliminating buffer overflow attacks altogether. Oh wait -

              • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Tuesday June 24 2014, @10:55AM

                by cafebabe (894) on Tuesday June 24 2014, @10:55AM (#59326) Journal

                The solution to buffer overflows is to never handle variable length data on a stack. The proper place for variable length data is a heap where it can then be attacked with heap overflows.

                Obviously, I'm being facetious but I find it odd that it is easier to check buffer overflows at runtime through the use of guard values (gcc compile option -fstack-protector) rather than check buffer overflows and heap overflows at compile time.

                --
                1702845791×2
          • (Score: 3, Informative) by bob_super on Monday June 23 2014, @09:12AM

            by bob_super (1357) on Monday June 23 2014, @09:12AM (#58923)

            > Switching from X86 to Arm offers no improvement with regard to security

            A lot of US military gear has ARM chips in it. Which means that if there are any backdoors, the NSA believes they're unbreakable by potential enemies.
            Considering their normal paranoia, that's supposed to mean that there aren't backdoors (unless the GCHQ is hiding something from the NSA).
            And yes, the NSA does get to veto which chip you're going to put in military gear.

            • (Score: 2) by frojack on Monday June 23 2014, @10:58PM

              by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 23 2014, @10:58PM (#59162) Journal

              Yeah right.

              I distinctly remember seeing General Schwarzkopf standing in front a huge room full of computers running windows xp inside the command tents during the invasion of Kuwait.
              They got so much flak about trusting XP that by the time they invaded Iraq nobody was allowed in the tents anymore. Lot of good that did.

              A lot of gear has arm for power usage requirements only.

              --
              No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 23 2014, @07:29AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 23 2014, @07:29AM (#58900)

          You're now going to be sending your data to your own country as opposed to someone else. That is being in a better position in some regards.

          And worse in some other places. Many people in the world should worry a lot more about their own government than some other country's government*. Some random person who stays in Russia and never goes to the USA is unlikely to have as much to fear personally from the NSA/CIA/etc than from the Russian FSB. Similar for some random person in China.

          * While it is true that everyone should be concerned about the governments of countries that have a large number of nukes - that danger isn't a "personal thing". They're not going to nuke you and your country just because of your "actual tax position" or your stash of illegal drugs/weapons/porn/movies, seditious materials. But these might cause you problems with your own government.

      • (Score: 2) by chromas on Sunday June 22 2014, @09:53PM

        by chromas (34) Subscriber Badge on Sunday June 22 2014, @09:53PM (#58803) Journal

        Digital spying will become fiercely competitive until it ends up so cheap it's Walmart-quality and we'll have peopleofspymart.com.

    • (Score: 2) by Bot on Monday June 23 2014, @07:51AM

      by Bot (3902) on Monday June 23 2014, @07:51AM (#58904) Journal
      In soviet Russia, You do backdoors.
      --
      Account abandoned.
      • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Monday June 23 2014, @05:23PM

        by Gaaark (41) on Monday June 23 2014, @05:23PM (#59084) Journal

        Russian to Engrish translation:

        In soviet Russia, there are a lot of workers who do packing in fudge factory.

        --
        --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
  • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Sunday June 22 2014, @08:28PM

    by kaszz (4211) on Sunday June 22 2014, @08:28PM (#58788) Journal

    Some possible outcomes:
      * Intel and AMD takes a financial hit
      * Some agencies will feel increased less than friendly relationship
      * x86 software base may be less viable, unless smartphones and appliances already did away with that
      * UEFI hostilities may be done away with
      * Cheaper CPUs may be had from Russia
      * ARM based desktop computing will influence western markets

    Does project Baikal license the core officially from ARM?

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 22 2014, @08:58PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 22 2014, @08:58PM (#58792)

      Other possible outcome:

      Nothing happens at all.

      China went full-retard in the "build our own CPU" trend back in the 1990's, resulting [geek.com] in a 260MHz processor (in 2002!) that was actually slower than most 10-year old 486's. The remnants of that project are called Loongson, and it is garbage.

      They also went full-retard on a Linux distribution [wikipedia.org] in the early 2000's, even going so far as to ban Microsoft products for a few years (yes, last month's press release wasn't the first time China did this). Once RedHat changed their policy on distributions leeching from their RPM sources, Red Flag Linux went belly-up, because the Chinese Academy of Sciences couldn't keep up with the blistering pace of Red Hat Enterprise Linux development.

      That was China's attempt. They actually have infrastructure, money, and the fab designs of ARM and AMD64 processors.

      Russia has a smaller GDP than France. Big country, shit economy. This is going nowhere.

      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Lagg on Sunday June 22 2014, @09:13PM

        by Lagg (105) on Sunday June 22 2014, @09:13PM (#58794) Homepage Journal

        Phew, a realistic take on this. Even from an AC (but I bet you're registered here and just don't want the karma loss. Don't blame you). Yeah this is one of those silly saber rattling situations and Putin as usual thinking he has a pedestal to stand on and taking advantage of the current disgust towards the US government. Which is hilarious coming from the head of the Russian government. They might as well also grow PCB materials for fear that there might be an evil 'murikan bug in it too. Granted and despite it being way behind, russia did have its own PCs (for some value of "its own") and a fledgling indie video game/homebrew community that were mildly successful for a while even before the internet. So who knows. Maybe we'll get some designs that let us build our own 120MHz machines out of some breadboard and IDE wires. These are russians after all. They were pretty good with that kind of hacking.

        --
        http://lagg.me [lagg.me] 🗿
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by kaszz on Sunday June 22 2014, @09:27PM

        by kaszz (4211) on Sunday June 22 2014, @09:27PM (#58796) Journal

        Russia seems to have very clever people but very bad support to get their ideas into real products. Guess we just have to see what hapends. As for China, perhaps Loongson worked as a negotiation tool?

        As for the money if the Russian GDP is 2 029 812 million USD. The cost of a new fab is like 1/1000:th of the economy as a whole. I'm sure they can do something. A cheaper alternative is to design the CPU them self and then contract the fabrication to China. Upon return the chips are inspected for discrepancies. It is possible however to manipulate the layers so it looks right but ain't because some connections are or aren't properly done. Or just doped with different types of atoms.

        One aspect is that it's easy to copy. But if innovation is lacking it will be a constant playing of the catch up game.

      • (Score: 2) by Dunbal on Monday June 23 2014, @09:28AM

        by Dunbal (3515) on Monday June 23 2014, @09:28AM (#58928)

        "Russia has a smaller GDP than France."

        Such comparisons are meaningless nowadays, especially when some western countries decide to introduce "estimated revenue from prostitution and drug trafficking" as part of their GDP.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Hairyfeet on Sunday June 22 2014, @09:13PM

    by Hairyfeet (75) <reversethis-{moc ... {8691tsaebssab}> on Sunday June 22 2014, @09:13PM (#58793) Journal

    I think you mean ARM. The problem Putin will find is that ARM doesn't scale, the absolute best ARM chip on the planet can't even beat a Pentium 4 across the board and that is a nine year old chip, put the latest ARM against a first gen Core or Phenom and it just gets slaughtered when it comes to IPC. All he is doing is making sure Russia stays a decade behind when it comes to computing power.

    --
    ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
    • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Sunday June 22 2014, @09:32PM

      by kaszz (4211) on Sunday June 22 2014, @09:32PM (#58798) Journal

      Doh, doh, didn't think of that. I will demand that ministry of fat contract distribution immediately change the design contract to other beneficiaries ;-v

      Any other architectures that are suitable and thus scale? x86 does have a lot of historic left overs that one could be done with.

      • (Score: 2) by present_arms on Sunday June 22 2014, @09:41PM

        by present_arms (4392) on Sunday June 22 2014, @09:41PM (#58800) Homepage Journal

        It is ARM they are going to use, and they have a licence to use it. To be honest the speed of the chip won't be an issue, it's going to be used for governmental use, so as long as it can run a word processor, spreadsheet and a database it doesn't really matter, hell my 600 Mhz arm in my n900 can run debian just fine with open office, so a 64 Bit 2GHz chip will fly under those conditions.

        --
        http://trinity.mypclinuxos.com/
        • (Score: 1) by Horse With Stripes on Sunday June 22 2014, @10:22PM

          by Horse With Stripes (577) on Sunday June 22 2014, @10:22PM (#58814)

          so a 64 Bit 2GHz chip will fly under those conditions.

          It's vaporware until it's produced in quantities.

          • (Score: 1) by present_arms on Sunday June 22 2014, @11:29PM

            by present_arms (4392) on Sunday June 22 2014, @11:29PM (#58820) Homepage Journal

            True, my point was that if they did go ahead and made said chip, it'll be powerful enough to do whatever they want with it. I had seen a story on OS NEWS where some clever man got full motion video from an Intel 8088 and a cga graphics card, and another doing the same with a commodore 64. It was more of a reply to what Hairy Feet said about it not scaling too well. I just thought that it didn't matter that much considering the plans they say they are going to use for the chip, basically office shit. but yep right now it's vaporware.

            --
            http://trinity.mypclinuxos.com/
            • (Score: 1) by Horse With Stripes on Monday June 23 2014, @12:03AM

              by Horse With Stripes (577) on Monday June 23 2014, @12:03AM (#58823)

              my point was that if they did go ahead and made said chip, it'll be powerful enough to do whatever they want with it.

              Yes, it will have power to spare at 2Ghz. I wonder which Russian companies will be making the motherboards and the supporting chipsets? Surely they aren't going to build a homegrown processor and then farm out all of the supporting technology.

              • (Score: 1) by present_arms on Monday June 23 2014, @01:12PM

                by present_arms (4392) on Monday June 23 2014, @01:12PM (#58979) Homepage Journal

                Agreed, although I think they are still friendly with China. They could just get a load of Rasberry Pi haha

                --
                http://trinity.mypclinuxos.com/
                • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Monday June 23 2014, @05:30PM

                  by Gaaark (41) on Monday June 23 2014, @05:30PM (#59088) Journal

                  "Oh yeah... raspberry pi... gotta get me some of that. Love me some raspberry pi... and a hooker too, yeah...."
                  ---Jason Biggs.

                  --
                  --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
    • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 22 2014, @09:52PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 22 2014, @09:52PM (#58802)

      I'm pretty sure I wrote ARM in the submission.
      I know I had "Homegrown" as 1 word in the title (as it still is in the text).
      I also had a second link that went to Phoronix; that was deleted.
      I've seen worse editing, but I'd have to go back a bit.

      -- gewg_

      • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by martyb on Monday June 23 2014, @02:52AM

        by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 23 2014, @02:52AM (#58857) Journal

        gewg_ wrote:

        I'm pretty sure I wrote ARM in the submission.

        Upon seeing your comment here, I looked up the original submission [soylentnews.org] and found the AMD reference there, as well.

        I agree it should have been ARM, and have updated the story.

        I know I had "Homegrown" as 1 word in the title (as it still is in the text).

        Yes, it appears you did. The submission, however, lacked proper headline capitalization. Correcting this required modifying several words in the submission.

        I am not one of the original editors, so I cannot speak to their thinking. To their credit, though, I would point out that it is common in the English language for pairs of words to go through a gradual "merging" process over time. Frequent occurrences of two words in sequence, will occasionally over time become a single, hyphenated word. Then, with still more time and use, this hyphenated word may become a single, non-hyphenated word. In other words, language evolves with time.

        Still, I checked a few references. For example, I checked dictionary.com and found that both home-grown [reference.com] and homegrown [reference.com] are listed as valid words.

        For consistency's sake, I have changed the headline text to match the spelling in the story text.

        I also had a second link that went to Phoronix; that was deleted.

        I found three links provided at the end of the submission; i.e. not imbedded in the text as hyperlinks.

        This meant it was left to the editors to find a way to work the provided links into the story in some reasonable fashion. For whatever reason, the editors elected to not work the dangling link to Phoronix into the story text.

        For the curious, that link was: Russia To Replace AMD/Intel CPUs With 64-bit ARM Hardware [phoronix.com].

        I've seen worse editing, but I'd have to go back a bit.
        -- gewg_

        I was a bit disturbed when my first story submissions were edited into something different than what I had submitted. I had put considerable work into formatting and phrasing it "just so". It was explained to me that is what editors do -- they edit things! Further, when I am editing a story, within about 10 minutes, things turn into a blur-of-text (which, in about 50-100 years will be spelled "bluroftext" :)

        The work you see here is all done by volunteers who have families, day jobs, and all the other attendant challenges and distractions of life. Yet, they take time from their day and give it freely to support this web site. I've spent no less than an hour investigating and writing up this response, late on a Sunday night.

        The point being that we do try our best, but sometimes things get past us. And, yes, that bugs us, too.

        So, from my investigation, I see: (1) a mistake that was in the original submission made it past the editors and to the posted story; (2) Over-zealous correction of an incorrectly-capitalized headline introduced a different, though valid, spelling of a word; and (3) a separately-listed URL was not included in the story.

        --
        Wit is intellect, dancing.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 23 2014, @03:58AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 23 2014, @03:58AM (#58875)

          The work you see here is all done by volunteers
          My single-word subject line and the rest appears more harsh than my actual feelings.
          I use really nasty words when I'm truly upset.

          I was a bit disturbed when my first story submissions were edited
          The thing I objected to most, I didn't mention:
          the addition of "some" to the title.
          The Russian gov't (like the Chinese gov't) appears to want American technology out of the loop, so that was blunted.

          ...and, of course, I always assume that my own work is flawless. :roll:

          -- gewg_

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 22 2014, @10:39PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 22 2014, @10:39PM (#58816)

    Who's that?

    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday June 23 2014, @03:33AM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 23 2014, @03:33AM (#58868) Journal
      Actually the same guy as Erix Nowthen.
      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by hendrikboom on Monday June 23 2014, @12:21AM

    by hendrikboom (1125) on Monday June 23 2014, @12:21AM (#58826) Homepage Journal

    At last maybe we'll be able to get mass-market laptops with ARM pr processors!

    And as for OS, the could just use Debian until they come up with something better.

    --hendrik