Russia says 'nyet' to Intel and AMD, 'da' to Baikal


It is very sad that countries cannot trust each other anymore. Maybe they never did and I am simply naïve, but I never gave a second thought as to which country manufactured my electronics. Hell, as an American I have to trust the goods from other lands -- we do not manufacture any! (OK, we do manufacture some things). But could my motherboard, Blu-ray player or cable box have secret spying capabilities baked in? I suppose so. Even sadder, I am powerless to do anything about it -- I am not about to create circuit boards in my garage.

What once may have been seen as paranoia, now becomes reality in the aftermath of PRISM and other Snowden-leaked programs. It seems every country is spying on the other, including allies. It is rumored that the USA may have directly spied on German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Germany is supposed to be a friend an ally, so if that is happening, lord only knows what the USA would do to its less friendly world neighbors. Today, it comes to light that Russia is looking to ditch computer processors made by Intel and AMD in favor of its own, presumably to prevent spying by the USA.

Rather than be under constant worry using chips from USA manufacturers, Russia will instead manufacture its own processor called Baikal. However, rather than utilize the popular x86, it will be using 64-bit ARM. This in turn rules out the using of Windows (another product of the USA) as an operating system, so it is a safe bet that Linux is in the future too.

Of course, the country will not be forcing citizens to abandon Windows, Intel or AMD (at least for now). No, this will supposedly be for government and state-run computers only.

The question becomes, is Russia being paranoid and foolish or proactive and genius? I must go with the latter. Sure, there will be huge costs involved in the project, and it ultimately could prove to be a failure. But, to remain dependent on USA technologies at a time where the USA is allegedly spying on everyone, without even investigating and trying to go home-grown, would be the true foolish move.

Photo Credit: Frederic Legrand/Shutterstock

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