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Transmeta Up For Sale 112

arcticstoat writes "After giving up on the CPU manufacturing business in 2005, low-power CPU designer Transmeta has announced that it's up for sale. In a statement, the processor company that brought us the mobile Crusoe and Efficeon series of CPUs said that it has 'initiated a process to seek a potential sale of the Company.' The announcement came straight after Transmeta reached a legal agreement with Intel over Transmeta's intellectual property and patents, which includes Intel making a one-off payment of $91.5 million US to Transmeta before the end of this month, as well as annual payments of $20 million US every year from 2009 through 2013."
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Transmeta Up For Sale

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  • by j-pimp ( 177072 ) <zippy1981@gmail.OPENBSDcom minus bsd> on Thursday September 25, 2008 @05:13PM (#25157565) Homepage Journal
    Seriously, it would be an interesting experiment, to auction it publicly.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Meaning, you pay me $50and I'll haul it away.

  • Why is this legal? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    It seriously needs to be illegal for one corporation to buy another,and, when one goesunder, they just need to die,with all IP becoming public domain.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Then maybe it should be illegal to buy the IP of a corporation, but buying corporations themselves is a fundamental system in the capitalistic economy. I don't think it's really easy to outlaw it.
      And then we're even forgetting that they would just use some dirty tricks, like buying all shares or "inheriting" it.
      • you have a point, only individuals can file most IP. Perhaps when companies fold that should go back to the creators to be used again, after all the original company is no longer doing it's duty to promote the material.

        We have corporate "personhood" last I checked people can't own people, why can companies? Corporations need to be treated like foreign governments, or Native American tribes... that are part of the country but not with the best interest of the people in mind.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cowscows ( 103644 )

      What's your logic here? Just plain ol' anti-IP mindset?

      Even if they made a law to this effect, then everyone would just set up well protected shell companies for each valuable patent or whatever that they had, and have their real business license the IP from that shell company for peanuts. So if the business crashes and goes under, the shell company can just license to someone else.

      • by lysergic.acid ( 845423 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @07:52PM (#25159565) Homepage

        no, he makes a good point, though in a circuitous manner.

        patent laws were originally meant, as most laws should be, for public good.

        the patent system gives inventors exclusive rights to patented concepts for a limited time, after which the patent would expire and the invention would be released into public domain. this gives inventors a financial incentive to contribute to the body of human knowledge and encourages innovation. patent holders get to extract profit from their inventions, and society also benefits when the invention becomes public domain.

        the patent office isn't just there to enforce existing patents. it's also an archive of expired patents that are now available in the public domain for anyone to use freely.

        but copyright and patent law have become so corrupted by industry lobbies that they no longer serve their original purpose. now the only purpose of patents is for corporations to extract profits from patents indefinitely, while keeping patented ideas from ever being released into public domain, and also stifling innovation by anyone who comes up with an idea that is even remotely similar to an existing patent.

    • It seriously needs to be illegal for one corporation to buy another,and, when one goesunder, they just need to die,with all IP becoming public domain.

      That would drastically reduce the value of IP. Which would reduce the salaries of people who create IP. I.e. most of the people here.

  • There was a lawsuit by the main shareholders that sued the board. Seems the board thought it fine to pay the company council 10 million to settle the lawsuit with Intel. Something that only took 10 months to do. Million a month. Sounds fair to me. Must have worked at Lehman Brothers before this gig.

  • by KC1P ( 907742 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @05:18PM (#25157637) Homepage

    As long as they don't mind if I pay them later. How's $19 million a year sound?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by No2Gates ( 239823 )

      I'll give them 500 shares of Lehman Brothers stock and my Star Wars collection.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by G0rAk ( 809217 )

        I'll give them 500 shares of Lehman Brothers stock and my Star Wars collection.

        You'd honestly consider trading you're first run still-in-packaging Boba Fett for a mere multi-million pound business?

        Hand your geek card in at the door.

        • You'd honestly consider trading you're first run still-in-packaging Boba Fett for a mere multi-million pound business?

          If I had multiple millions I could could get hookers to dress up as Boba Fett.

          Two at a time.

    • I offer no money down, but the former owners get a share in all profits I make from it.
  • which includes Intel making ..annual payments of $20 million US every year from 2009 through 2013."

    I'll buy it for $18M between now and 2013.

  • PT (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by Lord Ender ( 156273 )

    It's somewhat ironic that Linus Torvalds worked for a company that is nothing but a patent troll today.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by XanC ( 644172 )

      It may well be that the fate of all companies is either success or patent trolling. A company in a death spiral pretty much will become a patent troll. Sad.

      • by G0rAk ( 809217 )

        ... company in a death spiral pretty much will become a patent troll.

        It's like the Main Sequence [] - start bright, burning hard and beautiful then slowly collapse into an ugly red dwarf sucking matter off of the younger brighter stars.

    • by fat_mike ( 71855 )

      Its ironic...

      Wasn't Transmeta supposed to be the catalyst that brought forth:

      THE YEAR OF LINUX!!!!!!!


  • Hopelly, this transaction will be a mutual transformational transmutation...

  • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @05:36PM (#25157909)

    How convenient!

    If you are pissing away $700 billion, a company like Transmeta costs chump-change.

    Why the hell not?

  • Shameless plug. For $10 million, I can transform Transmeta from a has-been into the number 1 processor company in the world for decades to come. There is a way to build a super fast processor core to handle parallel tasks using very little power. Unlike a GPU (which uses an SIMD configuration), this processor will be be based on a pure MIMD vector architecture. I also got an easy-to-use parallel programming model for it. Read my articles on Tilera's TILE64 [] to find out what I'm talking about.

    • by corsec67 ( 627446 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @06:31PM (#25158597) Homepage Journal

      The 1G$ issue is getting people to use it.

      x86 is "good enough", and the only way that AMD64 has gotten anywhere is... by providing hardware compatibility to x86. If you could provide a "TILE64" processor with a built-in x86 processor that is worth using, and have motherboards made for that, maybe it could get adopted.

      Even Apple is using Intel.

      Other processors are used in embedded/cell phones/consoles, but none are making a jump to general computing.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by jawtheshark ( 198669 ) *
        But you omit the reason.... We are stuck with x86 because the dominant platform runs on that. If we had an open source operating system that was popular enough, we could have applications in source form that would compile equally well on ARM, SPARC, MIPS, x86 or AMD64.... Heck, this is the case now for open source operating systems, and the ones causing problems like Flash are.... you guessed it developed for 32-bit Win32 systems.
        • I omitted the reason because that is even harder to correct, and much harder to work around.

          Trying to get every piece of software in an open-source format would be extremely hard to impossible. It would be nice, of course, but realistically isn't going to happen any time soon.

          For example, Flash might have stuff licensed from other companies that Adobe can't open-source, so they have to keep it closed. And that is a simple application compared to some very big applications that businesses use.

          Also, games are

          • I know that, but I was talking about generic applications. Games, I don't care. Flash can most probably be implemented patent free.... And so on, the reason still stays the hegemony of x86.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by amorsen ( 7485 )

            Trying to get every piece of software in an open-source format would be extremely hard to impossible.

            There is nothing preventing you distributing proprietary software as source code. In fact, it would have made a lot more sense if copyright only applied to software distributed with the source code. That would have made the book analogy a lot more compelling.

      • The x86 is a dinosaur from the last century. It is about to go the way of the buggy whip and the vacuum tube. The same is true for all CPUs, IMO. The principles behind the CPU first surfaced 150 years ago when Babbage invented his analytical engine. It's time for something new. Vector processing is the way of the future.

        Look, if you provide dev tools that make parallel programming so easy that a child can use them, then it will take no time for people to build awesome applications to go along with your mass

      • the PowerPC chip is probably the most widely used.. from printers and military boards to computers to Xbox/PS3/Wii to IBM 32/64 way POWER servers.

        Perhaps ARM and MIPS have more units though as huge amounts of embedded devices use them.

  • by Paul Carver ( 4555 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @05:43PM (#25157997)

    I have a Fujitsu P2000 with a Transmeta CPU in it and frankly the CPU is nothing special. It runs quite hot and doesn't have any significant power saving settings.

    I love the P2000 because of the size, sturdy build, and dual batteries, but I wish I had been able to get the exact same laptop with an Intel CPU instead.

    As far as I can remember there was never anything about Transmeta to get excited about. The only hype they ever had going for them was the fact that Linus Torvalds worked for them for a while.

    • by m50d ( 797211 )
      They were all about merging CPU and RAM on the same chip, weren't they? It seems like it must be a good idea in the long run, but was clearly ahead of its time there.
    • by vlad_petric ( 94134 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @06:29PM (#25158577) Homepage

      Was highly innovative (i.e., use x86 as a "bytecode" and translate it on the fly into VLIW instructions). Many architects got excited about it, but (sadly) it didn't deliver. In the end, the "classic" out-of-order approach of PII/Opteron won.

      In the end it all comes down to two things: a) overall performance + energy consumption. b) manufacturing yield. Even if you do a) right, you still need b). IMO Transmeta didn't have either.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by 3waygeek ( 58990 )

      They had the domain, which they bought from a friend of mine for somewhere around $5K. Maybe he can buy it back now.

      • They had the domain, which they bought from a friend of mine for somewhere around $5K. Maybe he can buy it back now.

        That would be a good idea. After all, no man is an island.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      As far as I can remember there was never anything about Transmeta to get excited about.

      They did, but as many other companies have found out trying to stay in the crazy process technology race requires huge resources. There

      They did, but like many other companies most of their advantages were undone by Intel's superior process technology. They did have some laptops whose battery lifetime was unmatched for a time but today with 9.8W Atoms it requires more to just light up the screen than fuel the processor. It was an interesting run, maybe AMD should buy them up if the price is right but their f

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @07:28PM (#25159307) Journal
      Back before intel got serious about mobile devices, Transmeta looked a lot more promising. IRRC, Transmeta's first chips were available back in 2000 or 2001. The Pentium M was available starting in 2003. Before that time, the only things going in mobile x86 were the increasingly elderly mobile PIIIs, horribly energy hungry PIVs, or the not much better but somewhat cheaper Athlon XPs. All of those options were pretty uninspiring.

      Transmeta looks boring in retrospect because Intel has been selling chips with an emphasis on power efficiency for a trifle over five years now, and(with atom and core) low power CPUs can even be had on the desktop, and in bargain basement configurations. Back then, that wasn't the case. Transmeta's fate was pretty much sealed when Intel decided that low power CPUs were a priority; but there was a decent chunk of time before that occurred, during which they were genuinely interesting.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MikeBabcock ( 65886 )

        As I recall, Intel didn't start making power-conscious CPUs until Transmeta showed its hand and started bragging about its power savings.

        Intel started doing some work (or paying for technology) and suddenly had competing CPUs for sale.

    • I wish I had been able to get the exact same laptop with an Intel CPU instead.

      I also have the same laptop, but I am glad it didn't have an Intel CPU. If you remember back to when that laptop was made, Intel was mainly shipping big, fast, hot chips in the x86 line. If the laptop had been designed using an Intel CPU of the day, it would have been heavier, run even hotter, and had a battery life of about fifteen minutes, even with the extended-life battery. For its time, the Transmeta was the least power-h

    • by antic ( 29198 )

      Remember all the hype on Slashdot? It got pretty out of hand IIRC. Reminds me a bit of the Segway in that regard.

    • by sootman ( 158191 )

      My work bought one of the first tablets PCs, a Compaq TC1000, with a 1 GHz Transmeta. We later bought a slightly newer model, the (now HP-branded) TC1100 with a 1 GHz Pentium M. Same speed, same RAM (IIRC), same everything.* Night-and-day difference. The Pentium was much faster at the things the tablet was built to do, like speech-to-text. When dictating, you could say a sentence, the Pentium would crunch for a second, and the text would appear. With the Transmeta it was more like a few seconds. I remember

  • confused (Score:4, Informative)

    by unityofsaints ( 1213900 ) <unityofsaints@wP ... e minus language> on Thursday September 25, 2008 @05:44PM (#25158019) Homepage
    ... and this is in YRO why exactly?
  • Sad thing is (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @06:00PM (#25158207) Journal
    They SHOULD have gone places. The owners should have ponied up money to small start-ups based around those chips. It would have been a small amount of money and would have gotten sales moving.
    • The way I see it, Transmeta was like Via's Cyrix (I own one a Cyrix machine). They were aiming at an interesting market at a time that that market wasn't interesting yet. Their work towards low power, low performance machines was important to get the idea rolling that it was possible. However, low performance back then was really too low (you still want to watch a dvd or use flash on your cheapass laptop), and it took a few years of Moore's curve to make the concept feasible. By then, Intel could throw imm
      • but these chips were NOT underpowered. Both The cyrix and transmeta could and should have been used in a number of niche markets that were developed. Even now, if they wanted to develop these chips, they would do start-up fundings for those with interesting ideas.
  • First, Intel gives Transmeta the shaft by stealing the best ideas.

    Second, Intel says, "I actually infringed your patents? I'm shocked you would make such an accusation!" Years later... Transmeta finally gets some money after being pounded into the ground by Intel and the law firm they paid to sue Intel.

    Talk about some sad, frustrating working conditions. This would be one of them...

  • Nvidia? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EightBits ( 61345 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @06:08PM (#25158321)

    I know Nvidia has made some statements saying they aren't looking at the uproc business, but they should seriously buy this company to put them on better footing to compete with Intel and AMD.

    Here's to hoping Nvidia takes it.

    • Nvidia would be better off buying Tilera. Transmeta has potential but right now it has nothing revolutionary to offer. Tilera's got their patented Imesh technology that actually kicks ass.

      • I agree that Tilera is making kick ass tech, but Transmeta would give Nvidia x86 compatibility for the existing consumer base. Also keep in mind that Nvidia has stated they believe the CPU will diminish in the home computer while the GPU kicks it up. I don't really agree with that, but if that's their stance then Transmeta is perfect for them. Don't forget that Transmeta has some other really decent patents and Intel would be licensing some of those from Nvidia. Not a bad position for Nvidia at all!


    • by pato101 ( 851725 )
      He!, Transmeta Logo seems quite similar to NVidia's.
  • by MosesJones ( 55544 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @06:08PM (#25158331) Homepage

    One thing about the Transmeta buzz that I've never understood here on Slashdot is why almost no-one ever raise the ARM [] challenge that Transmeta faced. Transmeta wanted to be better than Intel at chips and better than ARM at low power design and their differentiation was....

    Bugger all.

    A massively over-hyped, post .com bubble company that had a better spin machine than a product line. Now can we all as engineers now formally apologise to ARM for thinking that Transmeta was worthy of being considered competition.

    • What I think? They promised x86 instruction set (with all the apps that existed), with ARM power savings. They never delivered. Intel Atom might be it.
      • by Svartalf ( 2997 )

        Nope, Atom's not "it" either. Cortex-A9 cores will perform at the same level or higher (albeit with ARM instead of x86...) and consume quite a bit less than Atom does right now.

        Atom has a chance at making a go at competing in this space, but it's not there by a longshot yet.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @07:33PM (#25159397) Journal
      Probably because Transmeta's big selling point was x86 compatibility. They never had a particularly credible chance at beating ARM, or MIPS for that matter, in markets where the x86 ISA didn't matter; but that wasn't really their objective.

      Transmeta died when Intel went chasing low power design(2003), not when ARM went chasing the laptop/desktop segment(the mysterious future).
  • this would be a good snap-up for AMD don't you think? The only bad thing about the transmeta I ran into a few years ago is that it wouldn't support VirtualPC (forgot the name prior to MS buyout - tried them both). This was on the compaq slate tablet pc.
  • I for one am sorry (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968@gm ... minus herbivore> on Thursday September 25, 2008 @06:20PM (#25158483) Journal
    To see them go. Their chips always looked interesting but I never got a chance to build a machine with one. Perhaps someone like Nvidia will snap them up? Although personally I'm betting if AMD starts to look like a threat Intel will snatch up Nvidia or Nvidia will snatch up Via. Because the CPU+GPU could turn out to be the right price/performance mix for the laptop/netop business. But if Nvidia wants to get into the integrated CPU+GPU game either the Transmeta Crusoe or the new Via ultra low power chips would probably go great with the new Nvidia Tegra chip. But as always this is my 02c,YMMV
    • "Their chips always looked interesting but I never got a chance to build a machine with one. "

      They must not have wanted adopters other than businesses.

    • nVidia + VIA = VIA will never be able to manufacture the Nano.

      On the otherhand, an effective pact like they did bringing PCIE x16, is happening before your eyes.

      ARM on media players, Nano for everything else, nvidia GPUs have a place to be, and more importantly Intel is put back in its place.

  • Buyers (Score:4, Interesting)

    by escay ( 923320 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @07:04PM (#25158987) Journal

    This fabless company is slowly but surely making its way into the mobile processor business. It has got enough market cap, has a reputation in the chip business and is not encumbered with heavy acquisitions (yes, i'm referring to AMD). Low-power, efficient mobile chips is exactly what Qualcomm is after as well (see Snapdragon). Lastly, it's business model is also entirely based on patents which makes Transmeta a perfect fit.

    Buying Transmeta would give Qualcomm the elbow room needed to jostle into the microprocessor business, and ward off hungry competitors like ST micro.

    • Qualcomm have just spent a fortune developing their own custom Arm core rather than just buying a standard ARM core like everyone else. []

      Although Scorpion and Cortex-A8 have many similarities, based on the information released by Qualcomm, the two cores differ in a number of interesting ways. For example, while the Scorpion and Cortex-A8 NEON implementations execute the same SIMD-style instructions, Scorpion's implementation can process128 bits of data in parallel, compared to 64 bits on Cortex-A8. Half of Scorpion's SIMD data path can be shut down to conserve power. Scorpion's pipeline is deeper: It has a 13-stage load/store pipeline and two integer pipelinesâ"one of which is 10 stages and can perform simple arithmetic operations (such as adds and subtracts) while the other is 12 stages and can perform both simple and more complex arithmetic, like MACs. Scorpion also has a 23-stage floating-point/SIMD pipeline, and unlike on Cortex-A8, VFPv3 operations are pipelined. Scorpion uses a number of other microarchitectural tweaks that are intended to either boost speed or reduce power consumption. (Scorpion's architects previously designed low-power, high-performance processors for IBM.) The core supports multiple clock and voltage domains to enable additional power savings.
      In addition to developing a custom microarchitecture, Qualcomm also customized the core's circuit design and layout in an effort to improve energy efficiency.

      Overall, Qualcomm has made a huge investment in creating a custom implementation of the ARMv7 architecture. By way of comparison, Texas Instruments customized just the layout for the Cortex-A8 for its OMAP3 chips, and it has been reported that the process took 45 engineers working for a period of years. If so, Scorpion's development probably represents an investment on the order of tens of millions of dollars. And what's the payoff?
      At first glance, it doesn't look like muchâ"as noted earlier, Scorpion is expected to run at 1 GHz in a 65 nm process, which is slightly lower than the 1.1 GHz top speed that ARM currently quotes for the Cortex-A8 in 65 nm. Scorpion is quoted as providing 2100 DMIPS at 1 GHz; Cortex-A8 is quoted at 2000 DMIPS at the same speed. However, a notable difference is that the Cortex-A8 top speed is for a TSMC GP (general-purpose) process, while the Scorpion speed is for the LP (low-power) process. ARM quotes the speed of Cortex-A8 in an LP process as roughly 650 MHz, and although TI does not publicize the exact speed of the hand-crafted, low-power Cortex-A8 core used in its OMAP3 chips, BDTI has estimated that it runs at roughly 450 MHz. (BDTI's benchmark results for the Cortex-A8 are available at BDTI's website, Thus, Qualcomm expects Scorpion to run significantly faster than Cortex-A8 when both are implemented in the low-power processes commonly used for mobile applications.

      What about power consumption? Qualcomm claims that Scorpion will have power consumption of roughly 200 mW at 600 MHz (this figure includes leakage current, though its contribution is typically minimal in low-power processes). In comparison, ARM reports on its website that a Cortex-A8 in a 65 nm LP process consumes .59 mW/MHz (excluding leakage), which translates into about 350 mW at 600 MHz.

      BDTI has not independently verified the above clock speeds or power figures, but if they are accurate, it appears that Qualcomm's efforts have yielded significant benefits in terms of both speed and energy efficiency. Clearly, Qualcomm is betting that its investment will pay off in chip sales, and that these improvements will give Snapdragon an edge over key competitors like TI's OMAP3430 and Freescale's i.MX31."

      It's quite impressive, it seems like a superpipelined version of the Cortex A8 that can reach a higher clock speed on the same process. And it's lower power too. Everyone else just takes the current ARM design and implements that.

      I can't see them bu

  • like Google, Yahoo, IBM, etc, because those Transmeta chips run fast and use as little electricity as possible. It is really needed to create green technology to use less energy and thus stop the coal pollution caused by the Intel, AMD, IBM etc cpus that use too much power and cause the coal burning power plants to burn more coal and thus waste our valuable resources.

    Fossil fuels we need to conserve because they are finite and we need to do it as soon as possible to not only get prices down on fossil fuels but also ensure our future by reusing our use.

    It does not matter if you believe in global warming, peak oil, or just want to stop using so much foreign oil and foreign fossil fuels and want to stop giving away $700B each year to foreign nations that hate the USA and use our fossil fuel money to fund terrorism and dictatorships that will one day do more wars and 9/11's on us using the money we pay them for fossil fuels today against us in the future. Both liberals and conservatives should be united on this issue and as a bonus it will help fix our economy as well. I'm a libertarian and I want to see everyone agree on this and help bring about greener tech for whatever their personal reasons may be. We need to work as a team on this and stop our infighting as we head into a recession and soon a depression and then when that happens money will be tight and we'll wish we didn't use too many fossil fuels as we'll really need them in the next few decades or so when they are scare or high in price due to shortages.

    • I hope someone buys Transmeta like Google, Yahoo, IBM, etc, because those Transmeta chips run fast and use as little electricity as possible.

      Do you have any numbers to show that their performance per watt is any better than the Atom or other low-power CPUs?

  • Their buyer is gonna be either a Chinese company, Nvidia or Nokia.

    If only one choice given, I'll pick the Chinese company. Transmeta, beside their spin machine, fits exactly the kind of goals the Chinese have these years regarding their own IT field.

  • If intel owns all their chip designs, what's left to buy? Does Transmeta have a 22nm fab laying underneath its quaint facade of slowish processors?

  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Friday September 26, 2008 @12:27AM (#25161737) Journal

    It's on Slashdot because Linus worked for them. IMHO, TMTA failed because they didn't make their product accessible to geeks like us. I've never heard Linus say anything about it; but it must have been frustrating to see VIA's mini-ITX boards selling in the $300-$500 range, while in the meantime the only way for the average Joe to access TMTA's chip was by purchasing a $1000+ "development system". Even that came only after a very long time. The management had a disruptive idea, but they kept trying to push it through channels. Big mistake. Disruptive ideas have to be put in the hands of people who want to be disruptive. The typical OEM simply wanted to pick the "I won't get fired..." processor, and TMTA's was not it.

    Apple got started in the garage because they could buy processors in onesies and twosies at Fry's. That was never possible with TMTA's chips. So sad. If they had allowed geeks to write their own code-morphing firmware, there's not telling what we might have had.

  • The inventor of Linux made $200,000 there in a time of $1 gas and $200,000 houses. Transmeta was a star, like VA Research & Redhat. They were going to make something that they wouldn't talk about. Finally they revealed it was going to be a mobile CPU. Now who knows where Linus is & Transmeta is gone. At least the software was free.

  • Not good for the US but it would make sense. China has been trying to make a decent cpu for a while. The transmeta chip designs would give them a boost over what they have.

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.