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Transmeta Receives $88 Million In Funding 103

rak3 writes "Transmeta has received $88 million in investments from AOL, Gateway, Compaq, and Sony among others. Now where's my Sony Vaio with Crusoe inside :) " Wow - pretty cool - congrats to Transmeta.
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Transmeta Receives $88 Million In Funding

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Transmeta is not newsworhty. Linus Torvalds does not make it newsworthy. Now, if Bill Joy were part of the adventure, then we would have something. Bill Joy is an acknowledged genius (BSD, Xemacs, Java, Jini, etc.) Plus, he's a billionaire.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Now that Transmeta has a $ecure future, I wouldn't be surprise if Mr. Torvalds was either "let go" or has simply "left to persue other interests". Linux is hotter than anything else at the moment, so where Linus goes, so goes the money. Personally, I think that it would be in his best interests to simply take his cut and move on to another company, one looking for a little cash which the Torvalds name will surele bring with it.

    It is unknown exactly what Torvalds's position in the organization is, but considering as he is an OS developer rather than a chip engineer, I think that it's pretty safe to say that the hired him for his name. Yeah, they get dibs on having Linux ports to Transmeta chips, but without him, they'd just hire someone more competent, or wait for the Linux "community" to do it for them (in the manner of other Linux companies). Torvalds is in much the same position as Britney Spears: He's got a hot seller and a big name, but in a few years we'll be seeing Linus Torvald's retrospectives showing his meteoric rise from a simple Finninish university student to an h4x0r hero, through a downward spiral of drug abuse and all-night partying until he hits rock bottom, finds Jesus, and becomes a small-town sheriff in New Mexico.
  • It's been 3 months since the announcement. Shouldn't that be long enough for someone to start making and marketing one, or at least publicly committing?

    The Linux Journal I just received has an article on them and states "These devices are just beginning to reach the market..." priced at about $999. But it lacks details of who makes them, and I haven't heard it anywhere.

    I want one. Now. I'll pay $500 or maybe $1000 if it's standards compliant, runs Mozilla, and can be upgraded to newer versions and supports all Web standards. These things would be huge timesavers. I could do all my casual websurfing (that I MUST do every day to stay sane) when I would otherwise be wasting time - like in the car, etc.
  • Last I heard he was in the middle of moving.. kernel hacking is difficult when most of one's equipment is in boxes..
  • So you're using Slashdot, a site that likely wouldn't exist if not for Linus Torvalds, to call for his exit from this country and to make offensive remarks about him?
  • Due to AOL's um... insane way of running their site, the URL is: lease_num=25100430&title=AOL%20%26%20Gatew ay%20to%20Offer%20Groundbreaking%20Consumer%20Inte rnet%20Appliance%20Featuring%20%27Instan t%20AOL%2C%27%20Expanding%20AOL%20Convenience%20To %20Every%20Room%20of%20the%20House

    Slashdot didn't like that and ate 75% of it. Ah well, read the Gateway release. You'll feel less dirty. :)


  • Hm... they hired him for more than his name... there's a lot of tricky software going on with the Crusoe, and they need somebody who can think outside the MS/Intel/X86 box to make it work. I'm guessing he could do that.

    Have you ever read an interview with him? I don't think the downward spiral is even a remote possibility. I assume that was sarcasm on your part anyway... :)


  • "Gecko, Netscape's smaller, faster and more potent browser engine technology, is a key component of the AOL Anywhere strategy and is designed to power Internet devices across a range of platforms and
    enable Web developers to create more compelling
    Internet-based content and applications. All of these devices will utilize the LINUX operating system."

    I assume this means that AOL will be opened (overall) to Linux. That would make for a larger user base (obviously). My gf would run Linux if she could access AOL w/it.
  • Not quite. You can't exactly open up a Computer Shopper and point to a device carrying a Transmeta CPU. Nor were they shipping to OEMs on the day of the announce, IIRC.

    That said, their product was alot more real than alot of companies' annoucements. *cough* Microsoft *cough*

  • The number I heard was more like in the mid 500MHz territory, and then that was on the less-Crusoe-friendly benchmarks. Am I mistaken? (ie. do you have a link with hard data?)

    Their technology should be able to do much better than a 400MHz Pentium II on non-synthetic benchmarks with a 700MHz part, otherwise the Crusoe isn't worth it. (That is, unless the 700MHz part is cheaper than the 400MHz part at the system level.)

  • Transmeta was unique in that they actually RELEASED a product before announcing it. They actually put forth some physical product before asking for investors to kick down.

    Good job, and I hope Linus has some principal equity (I'd be suprised if he didn't).
  • Because most of the computer world still thinks Microsoft >IS the computer industry, and that fatter binaries are faster. 90% of the programmers in the world think they can write bad code and the compiler will optimize it making up for thier mistakes... but I've never seen a compiler yet that could make up for you re-reading the same database or file over and over and over
  • I got one in the keep case too... Would have been a whole lot cooler if the post office hadn't ripped it up so much! Definately cooler than a piece of cardboard.
  • not efficiently, no... But a software x86 emulator like VirtualPC does well enough on my 300MGhz G3 to play PC games.
  • Sure thing, but G3 doesn't run x86 software as efficiently as Crusoe does, and that's was the main idea to have LOW-power chip that runs more or less ok x86 stuff. G3 doesnt' qualify.
  • For a company that's not aiming at Intel, they sure did mention x86, i386, Pentium, MMX, oh, and even Intel quite a few times during their press conference. Face it, right now if you buy any laptop besides the sub $1000 ones, you're getting an Intel chip inside it. And that's the turf that Transmeta's stepping into... and you say they're not aiming for intel????
  • I keep seeing "Cool, next-to-free Linux terminals running on Crusoe given away by AOL" being posted as if AOL was to start handing out computers that only needed a dip switch flipped to be turned into mobile X terminals.

    I don't understand the assumption that these will necessarily be usable for anything other than AOL or some other Time-Warner content, or modifiable for Linux usage by anyone other than a serious hardware hacker.

    What I'm afraid of is the end of the general purpose computer. If all most people REALLY want is a $500 gizmo that can connect only to their local TimeWarnerAOL node, we'll lose the economies of scale that allows us to buy high-powered workstation for that same money.
  • The transmeta cpu actually executes x86 instructions...

    Not at all. The Transmeta CPU:s execute their own set of instructions. The x86 code is interpreted by a small piece of software, that can be replaced. Thus no more CPU bugs, like in Pentium and K6. Simply upload a new code parser.

    Although another instruction set could be developed, this would provide little improvement over emulation of x86. (at least according to initial tests as reported by Linus.)

    This can't be the Crusoe chips you are talking about! Transmeta change the instruction set between each model of the Crusoe chips, the original posting was actually more correct than your "correction".

  • Now that's what I'd call a good flamebait ;)

    Ought to be marked as funny imho. :)

  • but the biggest hog is the screen

    How very true, especially it's backlight. I guess the contrast on LCDs isn't good enough for indirect light sources (mirror instead of backlight?).

    About cooling the CPU, time for the naked die on the inside of the casing? The drive could use a good thermal coupling with the case too. Then, in the water, the laptop would have water cooling to take care of the heat.

  • What is $88 mil? Like 1/7 of Intel's advertising campagin per year? And this is the company that is going to bring down the giant? Inverstors that really believe in technologies invest Billions, not millions into companies like these. 36 months from now, Linux will be working at the Burger Fling in hopes of keeping the green card.
  • Lower heat means a lot more than just overclocking. The low temps of the Crusoe make it unnecessary to use a processor fan. This means cool things like completely sealed laptop cases and lower power consumption. I would love a laptop that was completely waterproof. It would be plain stupid to try and somehow overclock a crusoe which is not even designed to be a high performance processor. If you are looking for pure performance, why even look at the Crusoe?
  • ..this makes a lot of sense. Portables really don't need a damn x86 in it, drawing enough juice to heat a small house. After all, we see very little commitment from Intel or AMD to make low-power chips. Hell, the Athlon requires you to have an extra buff power supply.

    Cripes! Effeciency my foot..
  • This is only one segment of their strategy. They are looking more at mobile/embedded/portable systems like WebPads et al. They emulate the x86 so that they have fast market acceptance into the current structures that are in place. Others have not embraced x86 and look where they are.. companies like... umm... umm... exactly.
  • The real question of course, is when is the IPO? :-) This is a good example of a business in the new economy that can live in the existing business model: They can show profits. I need to talk to my friends at TM about stock. :-)

    Hey Rob, Thanks for that tarball!
  • To whom ever moderated me down, FUCK YOU VERY MUCH! This is NOT offtopic! KISS MY BIG FAT WHITE ASS!!!

    Hey Rob, Thanks for that tarball!
  • You never want to unnecessarily dilute yourself by raising more money than you need.
  • So a silicon valley startup goes through another round of funding. What an uncommon occurence!

    Why this is considered 'important' whereas the turmoil of the _entire_ high tech sector week(s) ago was unimportant and shouldn't have been posted if not for us whining slashdot users... it's beyond me.

    Perhaps my view of the glass is half empty whereas other's view is half full. But you are walking barefoot though pieces of the broken glass on the floor you shouldn't be pretending you can still drink from it.

    -- Greg
  • You're thinking of Amdahl's Law (and you're right).

  • You're forgetting that lower power consumption isn't quite the main goal of the Transmeta processors.

    The main point of such processors is that they're very quick to research. The research behind the hardware takes a fraction of the time that a full-blown processor takes since there is significantly less to be done.

    See, most of the actual core instructions that make it x86 compatable are done with low level software programming, which then interface to the transmeta hardware. This is in contrast with the faster hardwired instructions of Intel and AMD processors.

    All of this allows for smaller chips that produce less heat, and consume less power. Granted. But the purpose? It costs less money to produce for the company, and is a LOT less expensive for Joe Average and Corporate Mike, thus allowing for more people to be able to afford them. That is cool!

    I'm looking forward to 400$ vaios. :)


  • What's that supposed to mean?

    The Crusoe will run x86 stuff, not Linux-specific stuff. Mobile linux will be the only thing at stake, and no one's using it yet anyway. So, basically, it's a non-issue.

  • It seems like a lot to me!

    Late round funding like this doesn't get you much in terms of equity in the company. So if you estimate that at most they 'sold' 10% of the company in this round, that means they have a projected market cap of close to a $1B which is an awful lot for a pre IPO company. Also, with the funding coming so close to an actual product launch, it might mean the float for an eventual IPO will be more like 5% of the company, which could drastically increase the pop in stock price following the IPO due to a limited number of shares in circulation.

  • If Linus walks away from Transmeta, he will very likely not wind up employed by a US company, as he would be asked, fairly shortly, to return to Finland.

    Wrong. Having an H-1B doesn't mean that you're a poor peon at the mercy of your current boss.(I'm an H-1B myself) H-1B visas can get transferred between companies, and the process is relatively hassle-free. The only catch is that this has to be done in 10 days, and there are a lot of workarounds to remedy this, which I will not mention here.(Hint: How hard do you think it is to get a student visa?)

    Linux wanting to work and not getting a job offer is quite simply impossible as you will very well know. Bay Area phone switch systems will come crashing down the minute he lets his availability be known.

    -- []
    A site for everything Bluetooth. Coming soon.
  • IBM is almost certainly the fab-of-choice because their licensing of the x86 (many years back) gives TM some legal protection against Intel's lawyers .....
  • if so, can John Q. Linux (ha) get his hands on one?

    Probably you have to buy one on a board, or in a box (sounds like a line from GE&H)..... from TMs point of view they are a (very) small company who are trying to do big things - supporting lots of small developers who are buying single chips probably doesn't buy them much - they have to be very carefull where they spend their money (even if they have $88m to play with their burn rate will be high - figure $150k+/engineer/year including benefits - $88m means ~200 engineers for 2 years, a CAD budget of $2m+/year etc - that should last them 'till their IPO ..... if they're carefull)

  • I bet Linus is doing usefull work - consider that their on-the-fly code recompilation requires there be a hidden meta-OS hanging around managing the emulation world in which an x86 emulation (and linux) is embedded ....
  • Hm. The article does say that IBM will be involved in production, although not to what scale (i.e. will they be the sole producers, and how much capacity are they devoting to it?).

    But IBM probably has the capacity if TM has the dough and the customers. :)
  • hey, my apologies if my .sig comes off too commercial. I guess the transmeta connection is too obnoxious, and I should post as AC in cases like that.

    My bad.
  • I agree completely.

    All the companies that are creaming themselves over the potential of the 'handheld' market seem to completely ingnore the battery-life problem. Until thats solved, they're going to remain niche products, hampered by their inability ro really supply enough juice to run processor and video-intensive applications for more than a couple of hours per battery charge.

  • Also, I suspect that if Linus wanted a green card, all he'd have to do is drop a hint, and the immigration services would roll out the red carpet...

    Have you read any of the articles about Green Card processing, and how Linus, along with many others, is stuck in the long backlog of applications? (He applied several years ago IIRC.) He's getting the same "red carpet" as everyone else, and so might get his card sometime this year. Also, an visa for someone "exceptionally valuable" is not H1B - it's some other sort of H1, I believe.

  • on Linus, and spitting on the monopolistic pigs at Micro$haft and Intel.

    May Transmeta and AMD conquer the world with fast, low priced chips and reign supreme!
  • Yep, You're blind.
  • Man, ROFL, slashdot is on a roll today!
  • Oops, I meant:

    Don't mention it, coward.

  • IMHO it should be marked as "Insightful".
  • I like this one better: lease_num=25100430&title=AOL%20%26%20Gatew ay%20to%20Conspire%20to%20Consume%20the%20Souls%20 of%20All%20of%20Humanity%20Using%20%27In stant%20AOL%27%20Allowing%20Satan%20to%20Reign%20o ver%20Every%20Room%20of%20the%20House

  • all i meant was- how do people know Transmeta? because they may have an awesome chip? possibly, but more likely, because that's what Linus is doing right now. if people think bad of the crusoe, then they cast a frown on Linus, which is bad for linux. nothing about software platforms was meant in any way.
  • I imagine he's buried in paper right now... unless of course he used some of that new found wealth to contract out the source maintenance...

    HEY, LINUS! I'll work CHEAP!

  • I need to talk to my friends at TM about stock. :-)

    Ah... insider trading. Don't forget to cut me in.

  • I *FEAR* this... just imagine, an AOL port that runs on Linux! *shudder* Now imagine the influx of clue-impaired persons trying to run linux in its current state.

    A scary thought.
  • Yeah, well running a startup requires running the fine line between not having enough money to get product out the door, and selling too much stock too early, and loosing control and ownership of the whole thing.
    Releasing a prototype allows them to go to the next tier of investors (as well as their older investors) and say.. "Look: all those patents really DO do something useful. NOW will you give us some more money -- even though we're not selling anything yet?

  • In a way, Linus now works for AOL....scary...
  • (Sigh, another example of great moderation. I'm really starting to believe that most moderation is done by bots nowdays.)

    Why do people spend so much effort in overclocking, when they could overclock the software? If you have the source, you can profile the C code and rewrite the critical 1% in asm, without overheating the cpu.

    I guess that the easy answer would be that most people overclock in order to improve the speed of their games; something which people often do not have source code for. Anyhow, I believe that most game developers (at least those who deal with graphic engines or compute intensive algortihms) have spent a good deal of time analyzing and optimizing their inner loops.

    That said, after fiddling around with those lovely pentium performance counters, I've found that the code you're optimizing many times tend to behave quite differently depending on the type of CPU, and its speed (stalls at different locations, slightly different cache behaviour, etc.). Understanding exactly why things behave differently is therefore paramount when doing these sort of optimizations. Unfortunealty, in order to understand why things behave differently you will need a thorough understanding of mostly all the components of the CPU. Few people -- if any -- have this understanding.

    PS! I don't mind if anyone calls me a Perl Monkey (I proably am one). I also consider myself competent enogh to do the occasional low level programming. I fully have to agree with you on those script kiddies though. :-)

  • Sure this is cool news for Transmeta, but i don't think that it's really the most important point. As the article states, this is a peak into where the investment companies are going. This is a strategic investment for them and probably an area they will be focusing more and more in the future.
  • Crusoe processor does not use a lot of watts. Perhaps they'll come out with a chipset that supports some kind of multiple processor setup, through multiple devices if necessary. Can you imagine a Beowulf(TM) cluster of Crusoe devices?
  • Although another instruction set could be developed, this would provide little improvement over emulation of x86.

    The most efficient instruction set would be a virtual instruction set designed for the efficient expression of C language programs in low-level terms, perhaps similar to the register transfer languages that compilers use internally. The JIT^H^H^HCodeMorphing(TM) recompiler would translate it into VLIW code for the backend.

  • Perl monkeys won't understand that though as the art of low level programming is mostly gone.

    If I didn't care about my three figure karma, I would agree with you about Perl kiddies being monkeys, as well as all those other script kiddies, awk, Tcl/Tk, python, etc. And, unfortunately, I must agree with you that the art of low level programming seems to be slowly disappearing.

    Why do people spend so much effort in overclocking, when they could overclock the software? If you have the source, you can profile the C code and rewrite the critical 1% in asm, without overheating the cpu.

  • Yes, they did release their prooduct specs and design, and show a few prototypes, but the submitter of the story said it best: "Now where's my Sony Vaio with Crusoe inside?"

    I know I'll be labeled a flamer for saying this, but Microsoft actually did this the right way with their latest PocketPC stuff. They announce their new technology, and wow, look, there are already PDAs for sale with the technology in use.

    Transmeta was the latest in a whole string of companies who like to announce their greatest new technology when no actual products using the new technology were actually available.

    Don't get me wrong, I totally support Transmeta and the way they did it, because at least with Transmeta you had a good idea that this wasn't going to be permanent vapor ware, and all along they had their release date and they MADE their release date.

    But they announced their product long before it was released, because it was announced mid January, and I have yet to come across a laptop with a Transmeta chip inside.
  • He's a real Slashdot Fan
    Sitting in his LINUX LAN
    Making all his LINUX .plans
    For nobody.

    Knows the blocksize from du
    Cares not where /dev/null goes to
    Isn't he a bit like you
    And me?

    Slashdot Fan, please listen
    My lpd(8) is missin'
    Slashdot Fan
    The wo-o-o-orld is at your command.

    He's as wise as he can be
    Uses lex and yacc and C
    LINUX Man, can you help me
    At all?

    Slashdot Fan, don't worry
    Test with time, don't hurry
    Slashdot Fan
    The new kernel boots, just like you had planned.

    He's a real Slashdot Fan
    Sitting in his LINUX LAN
    Making all his LINUX .plans
    For nobody ...
    Making all his LINUX .plans
    For nobody.
  • Maybe it's just me, but I hate to see anything associated with Linus Torvalds getting money from AOL. ;)

    (JK - of course you'll take money from wherever it comes. But AOL really worries me. Bastardization of the net....)
  • I agree too. The Transmeta chip is just Yet Another possibility in the tradeoff between speed and wattage.

    It's not the coolest (least-powered) solution as that is to be had with a pure software emulator running on a 0.1MHz Z80.

    It's not the fastest either - a real P-III with the same clock frequency kicks Transmeta's butt.

    It's just ... midrange. Boring midrange power & speed for people with boring midrange tastes for power & speed.

    The only (IMHO) vaguely interesting thing about Transmeta is the architecture, but as their press releases and documentation make clear, the architecture is hidden (security through obscurity - future compatibility is guaranteed by hiding the underlying emulation layer). So even that interesting thing is a no-show.

    Which leaves the "Transmeta are all alone against Intel" thing. Unless you consider AMD, of course.

    Which finally only leaves "Linus works there" as Transmeta's saving grace.

    Big, fat, hairy deal.

  • I don't suppose this would help Linus get a new kernel out the door, would it? :)

  • There's already a huge contender on the horizon. Python. This thing could revolutionize computing as we know it. It gives almost platform independence on several levels. It's easy enough for the man in the street to use. Could take over the market.

  • chill. new cpu designs can be expected to have long lead times. M$ can announce and release new products simultaneously because they have hardware manufacturers at their beck and call. Transmeta doesn't have that. The fact that ANY top tier hardware manufacturers are going for Transmeta's tech right off the bat shows that the prototypes work pretty freakin well. And besides, it's a little hard to hold off the announcement once you file the patent.
  • ??? No, if it wasn't for the patents and for the media speculating, then at the point where Transmeta comes out and announces their product a bunch of people stand around and go "who the hell is Transmeta?" The approach that Transmeta took to marketing their product modeled on how the Blair Witch Project was marketed. Yah, people who think like you may be annoyed, but more people end up knowing about Transmeta in the end.
  • Given this comment, it's worthy to note that Intel is an investor in C|Net, as they like to note every time they have a "positive" Intel story.
  • >. At least they'd be more useful than those stupid CDs...

    OT, but anyone get an AOL5 CD in the mail in a DVD case like I did the other day? I couldn't believe it! Turned out handy 'cause my daughter had ruined a DVD case and this made a nice replacement.
  • It is not just the heat a chip produces that makes fans necessary, though. In a laptop case, there is NO possibility of good convection/conduction of heat. It can not dissipate unaided. For example. a 400 Mhz G3 iMac does not need a fan but a 300 Mhz G3 iBook does. The sealed case will make things worse. Crusoe is not much cooler or low current draw than a G3 is. IIRC, Crusoe is =/- 2. G3 is +/- 5 with AMD adn dIntel in the 20 range even for mobile. In terms of power consumption, someone mentioned speakers and drives as a hog...but the biggest hog is the screen. We just do not have good low power LCDs.

    Tom Dutton

  • I'm not thinking about the short term of "a few weeks."

    I am rather thinking of the longer term of "a few more years."

    1. How long, after all, does an H1B last?
    2. What is required after that period of time?
    3. What time must elapse outside the US before one may return?

    (Answers available here. [])

    Add to the above the question: How long is it taking for the INS to process Green Card applications at the California office, these days?

    I'm sure that many people would be prepared to make offers...

    At the time that Linus was completing his Master's, there was a joke going around that Linus would wind up walking in to the offices of some UNIX-related company, and say (Finnish/Swedish accent mandatory):

    Hello, my name is Linus Torvalds. I have come here to work at your company. Please show me where my desk is.
    (The assumption being that there's no particular point in resumes, interviews, or any such stuff...)

    Jokes and offers aside, life isn't usually that simple...

  • If I remember correctly, in the initial release Transmeta said something about the chips being made available only to manufacturers. The question is, are they going to use all the new loot to ramp up production, and if so, can John Q. Linux (ha) get his hands on one?

  • I think Transmeta has a lot going for them. This is a groovy little niche, and I think they've got a great plan.

    As long as the pricing is right.. I'd _love_ a linux palmtop that didn't make my hand too warm :)

    Your Working Boy,
  • No, I'm afraid I don't have any links handy ... this is off the top of my head. As to whether a consumer would care about the 400-500 Intel-equivalent-MHz performance, consider that affordable laptops (roughly defined as costing less than $2.5K) don't have Intel or AMD processors running faster than 500MHz.
    Christopher A. Bohn
  • Hey, the IOpener runs QNX... done right, Grandma can use Unix...


  • Transmeta IS taking on Intel - Intel is taking the mobile market seriously (as well it should, it has a much higher profit margin than desktop processors), both with X86 chips and Strongarm (which intel got when they bought Digital's fabs and development foundries.)

  • Not that I want an AOL-only set-top box, but the possibility of AOL sending out millions of under-$100 single-purpose set-top PCs in the mail instead of CDs is kinda kicky.

    Ok, so maybe I'm living in fantasy land a little bit. At least they'd be more useful than those stupid CDs...

    I'll say. I've already got as many drink coasters as I'll ever need. Maybe AOL set-tops can be used as trivets!

  • Transmeta's been filing patents for years, which led to the immense speculation about what in the world could they be doing. It didn't mean that they've told the world exactly what they were up to, they just filed patents to protect the important stuff, and all the news writers said "well these are the patents they've been issued, and this is who they're hiring... What could they be doing?"

    No... I wish transmeta had held off on announcing anything until they had manufacturers lined up behind them saying "this product will be available on this date". it would have been so much more substantial than them simply saying "here's our chip, everybody!"
  • My dream come true would be a "webpad" with:

    -detachable keyboard/mouse
    -size of legal pad
    -wireless networking
    -standards standards standards (TCP/IP, etc)
    -no "service committment" (i.e., just the webpad no contracts)

    -under $500

    I could use this to run remote X sessions from my desktop anywhere in the house. It would totally ROCK!!
  • Actually, it was only a couple of years ago that the power utilization of the CPU fell below that of the display for a brief time. Since then, Intel's relentless push for faster and newer processors has more than counteracted more efficiency in other components and more power capacity from prismatic LiIon batteries.

    Haven't you noticed that battery life has *fallen* over the past few years after hitting a peak of nearly 8 hours a while back, we're now back down to 2-3 hours on the heavies, and only an hour or so on the ultralites?

    I worked for Dell's laptop group a couple of years ago, and can attest to the fact that the 300 MHz mobile Deschutes (P-II) processor had less than half the battery life of some of our earlier mobile Pentium products - and the CPU was the only significant difference from a power point of view.

    Can you imagine how long the batteries in a Sony 505 would last if you could use a two-year old mobile pentium instead of the room heater you have to buy now? I for one would gladly trade 400 MHz of clock for all-day battery life...

    CompactFlash: IBM Microdrive, Flash, Ether, Modem, etc.

  • ...maybe we could begin to have overclockable laptops.

    Due to the variable clock-rate of the Curso chip and the new chipset needed to drive it. I highly doubt that over-clocking would be a possiblity.

    But I could be wrong...

  • Read their page. I quote:

    Transmeta Corporation is a privately held Company. The Company presently has adequate funds available to support its operations as well as immediate access to cash to support future growth, and therefore, is not seeking new investments.
    While we do see a public offering as a viable alternative for financing future growth, at the present time the Company has not set a timetable for a public offering and can not predict when the stock may be available to the public. If and when the Company were to decided to pursue a public offering, information would be available on the Web site. We would suggest that you stay tuned to the Web site for future news.

    So it doesn't look likely any time soon.

  • um, what kind of mid-range laptops are you talking about?

    Every laptop I've used since 486 days has been quite high on heat. Sure, some are better than others, but most now have a fan installed in them. That makes then loud, and less battery efficient.

    Consider: The Crusoe-700 is supposedly comparable to a PII-400. So you've got a trade off in the power dept. But how many applications are you going to run on a web pad that requires a high-end PIII? Even a full-fledged laptop isn't really going to need that kind of power. Games don't look terribly good on LCD's, so where is the power going to go? Unused, IMHO.

    Now, how many handhelds have a PII-400 in them? None. Personally, I'd love that much power in a little touch screen wireless pad that I can carry around with me. And the fact that it can last 12 hours rocks. It's also going to be lighter. (S3's is supposed to be 2 pounds)

    I think Transmeta has a lot going for them. This is a groovy little niche, and I think they've got a great plan.

    I'll take one. If you don't want one, then that's more for me. :)

  • zTTTz writes:

    The Transmeta chip is an emulation chip, I believe


    and thus get's away from the ancient x86 architecture.

    Partially correct. It escapes some of the external hardware architecture, but that's really not much of an issue for a non-IO-heavy system. The transmeta cpu actually executes x86 instructions. Although another instruction set could be developed, this would provide little improvement over emulation of x86. (at least according to initial tests as reported by Linus.)


  • The real question is: who's pissed in their pants more, OS vendors like Microsoft or chip vendors like Intel?

    Anyone have the scoop on what the money's going to be used for? Just more bigger faster marketing, or do they plan on branching out/diversifying their products...? Massive hiring spree or massive tech spending? Both?
  • So last week Cmdrtaco has to be begged to publish a message regarding the 80% haircut in all linux stocks. Today, a private company get's an $80M 5th round, and for some reason known only to hemos and taco it warrants an immediate message.

    These guys have no editorial integrity.
  • Dell has a funding organization call Dell Ventures [] specifically intended to fund companies like Transmeta. The fact that they are not funding Transmeta is just more evidence that Dell is nothing more than Intel's sex slave. Dell doesn't do anything that Intel doesn't want them to. I wouldn't even consider Dell a technology company, because they don't do any original research. The fact that Dell sells computers is just a coincidence - they could be selling toasters without needing to hire new people.
  • well, we've heard many arguments, much hype, and several good points about the crusoe. my question is when can we get some reviews of this beast to evaluate whether it's been worth this much of our time? it looks to be cool from the specs and such, but if we believe specs than Windows 2000 is the most stable, fastest operating system on the planet. i honestly hope, for linux's sake, that the crusoe ends up surpassing expectations. can it? it'll be difficult. the most important thing is the price...they have to keep it under $100 for the low end one, while remaing quake3-able. who knows, maybe it will take over the Celery or K6.
  • unless of course he used some of that new found wealth to contract out the source maintenance...

    Remember, Transmeta is maintaining a distribution called Mobile Linux [], right?

  • by jbarnett ( 127033 )

    Massive production on this chips should be along shortly with all this cash they have now.

    If they can produces these chips in large numbers, they will be extremely cheap for the average user I am willing to bet.
  • Ever occur to anyone that Linus might be getting bored with Linux? I mean, if I had worked on a *NIX clone for the past 10 years, I think I'd be bored. Code morphing low-power CPUs are new, exciting, different. Linux could end up being just a small part of his day. Also, the fact that it depends so much on him has been cited as a weakness. Maybe Linux will be turned over to a successor or some kind of committee (sp?).

  • First posting aside... It looks like after 20 years of the PC business, some real contenders are rearing their heads to do battle with the big boys, and they have a serious fighting chance.

    Now, if we could just do that with our government....

  • The Transmeta chip is an emulation chip, I believe *check article twice* and thus get's away from the ancient x86 architecture. This approach is much like Apple's constant changing of processor architecture, but this relies on a hardware emulator in the chip. Sounds like a lot of speed loss but the benchmarks will prove the point. Of more intrest, lower voltage means lower heat. If this processor doesn't produce as much heat, maybe we could begin to have overclockable laptops. As it stands right now, I'm running a CPU idler (rain) for my laptop (dell inspiron 7500), but it is still too hot to handle. Anyone out their use the built-in functions for "CPU throttling?"
  • by EngrBohn ( 5364 ) on Monday April 24, 2000 @09:53AM (#1113101)
    Sounds like a lot of speed loss but the benchmarks will prove the point

    Transmeta has already said that a 700MHz Crusoe will perform comparably to 400MHz Pentium II, but that the average user won't notice (and I tend to agree).

    Of more intrest, lower voltage means lower heat.

    Which means laptops without fans -- another (tiny) reduction in the power demands.

    Christopher A. Bohn
  • by Master Switch ( 15115 ) on Monday April 24, 2000 @10:24AM (#1113102) Homepage
    But I don't see the point of Transmeta. Sure, maybe five years ago when Transmeta was just beginning, a low power X86 chip was in need. But, today, I don't see the point. The biggest Power hog for most moderate performance laptop devices(including so called web-pads) isn't the CPU, it's the damn backlit color display. Shaving wattage off of cpu requirements will not gain you much in laptop time.
    Now, you can say that the super fast laptop chips are power hogs, no one will argue that a PIII mobile running at 600+ MHZ isn't a serious lap heater. The problem is that Transmetta doesn't seem to be able to compete with the high speed chips. So, that targets Transmetta at the
    midrange laptop device, which again, doesn't suffer from CPU drainage, as much as it suffers from screen power drainage. Now, what happens when the battery manufacturers start to make inroads into higher power density batteries, well, power consumption becomes less of a worry.
    Now, you could argue that the Transmetta chip could be targeted at devices other than laptops, but here we find that X86 compatablility is a non-issue. Most cell phones use ARM's, PDA's use either MIPS or Motorla 68K variants. You don't need to run PC binaries on these devices. Since power consumption isn't a problem for these chips, what would be the push to use Transmetta chips here? It certaintly wouldn't be performance, since
    that is not what Transmetta touts as a selling point. It wouldn't be cost either, since ARM's, M68K's, and MIPS variants are all dirt cheap, and can be had from various suppliers, all of whom have a proven track record of delivery.
    So, no real market in the midrange laptop arena, no market in the high end laptop arena, no market in the PDA and Cell Phone arena. Hmmmm, what market is the Transmetta CPU targeting then? Now, it's cool technology, but I just don't see a strong market for it. I sure hope I'm wrong.
  • The H1B rules have some set aside for people who are considered to be 'exceptionally' valuable to the US, and as far as I know Linus has one of those, so his employment is not relevant to his visa status. Also, I suspect that if Linus wanted a green card, all he'd have to do is drop a hint, and the immigration services would roll out the red carpet...
  • by Ledge Kindred ( 82988 ) on Monday April 24, 2000 @09:34AM (#1113104)
    The most interesting, IMHO, is AOL.

    Can anyone say "Crusoe-based AOL set-top box that just might be running Linux inside"?

    Not that I want an AOL-only set-top box, but the possibility of AOL sending out millions of under-$100 single-purpose set-top PCs in the mail instead of CDs is kinda kicky.

    Ok, so maybe I'm living in fantasy land a little bit. At least they'd be more useful than those stupid CDs...


  • by Asparfame ( 96993 ) on Monday April 24, 2000 @09:32AM (#1113105)
    Lots of stock market gurus are beginning to assert that wireless technology will be the the next booming market as the Internet is now.

    Companies all over the planet are making billions off of the Internet. Cisco made $500 billion in only 10 years! If Transmeta is going to be such a fore-runner in the field of wireless, a field that will supposedly be exploding in value in the near future, why is 90 million dollars a lot?

  • I'd expect there to be several sets of "handcuffs" to hold him at Transmeta for a while yet, notably:
    • I'm sure that Linus has a bunch of stock options, but. Stock option plans tend to have some stipulations.
      • They tend to vest over time.

        Thus, if Linus has options to $20M of shares, it is fairly likely that he only has part of that now, and that leaving now would cost him big.

      • Those options that aren't vested are lost if he leaves.
      • At this point, Transmeta stock isn't publicly traded.

        Repeat after me: Not Publicly Traded.

        I've gotten phone calls from people (morons!) who want to buy Transmeta stock who thought that my Speculations About Transmeta [] indicated that I actually owned shares.

        Despite the "excitement," there is no public market in the stock. Any stock that has vested in Linus Torvalds' hands doesn't have a market in which to sell it.

        The theory that the stock is somehow "worth something" is only made true when there is actually a public market in Transmeta stock. Maybe that will happen next year; I suspect it won't be this year.

    • For those that didn't know, Linus Torvalds is Finnish. He is not an American citizen. And so, his employment at Transmeta is at the "sufferance" of the INS, under an H1B visa.

      There was a Slashdot story on this; see Workers - Including Linus - Left in Limbo by INS []

      If Linus walks away from Transmeta, he will very likely not wind up employed by a US company, as he would be asked, fairly shortly, to return to Finland.

    • As for why Transmeta hired him, I would tend to think that they wanted something more than just a marketing figurehead.

      Suggesting that he's a worthless figurehead is decidedly "flameworthy;" I don't have to be part of the Linus Personality Cult to find that distasteful.

    Long and short is that there are a number of reasons why Linus is not likely to leave Transmeta tomorrow.

  • AOL and Gateway are working together to make a linux-based wireless web pad with a Gecko based browser - I guess this means it'll have a Crusoe chip in it. Cool! Maybe they'll tuck 'em into magazines for free....

    AOL release is here [] and the Gateway release is here []


  • by Merlin_ ( 22156 ) on Monday April 24, 2000 @09:41AM (#1113108) Homepage
    "Transmeta, which aims to take on Intel in the processor market, announced that it has received $88 million [snip]".

    I guess that the author of this story on CNET was not at the Transmeta press conference way back when. Transmeta is _not_ looking to take on Intel. They specialize in the mobile market, where Intel has not made serious efforts. Looks to me to just be sensationalist journalism. And 88 Million is nothing much for a chip company considering that Transmeta has been running on Angel money for the last 5 years... a lot more than 88 million.....

"This is lemma 1.1. We start a new chapter so the numbers all go back to one." -- Prof. Seager, C&O 351