New Architectures

Although over-shadowed somewhat in recent years as Intel-compatible processors have dominated the marketplace, a major advantage to Linux is still its almost ubiquitous compatibility. Linux 3.0 includes support for several new processor architectures. UniCore, for example, is a low-power processor designed in China and intended for embedded devices. Linux also supports (or will support, when the hardware is generally available) the Tile processors designed by Tilera in Silicon Valley. They massively multi-core processors have a unique split between functionality of general-purpose processors and more specific processing such as would be done on a GPU. Other new supported processors include the Microblaze, S+core, Blackfin, Atmel, and the 64-bit version of the Super-H.

Although NOT supported by their respective owners, Linux 3.0 includes some hardware support for Nintendo Wii and Gamecube systems, as well as the Sony Playstation 3. Actually installing Linux on one of these devices may be a violation either of your warranty or the law, depending on your jurisdiction.

In the smart phone space, Linux has become a dominant player thanks to Google's Android OS, an offshoot of Linux. Although a version of Android was briefly included in the official Linux kernel distribution, it has been removed prior to Linux 3.0 due to lack of maintenance and an increasing divergence between the Linux-maintained and Google-maintained codebases. It is hoped and anticipated that a future version of Linux will include these changes.

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