back to article Russian Arm SoC now shipping in Russian PCs running Russian Linux

Russian fabless semiconductor company Baikal is celebrating after local PC-maker IRU started using its silicon in a workstation. Baikal designs SoCs that employ Arm and MIPS technology. On the latter architecture, it offers the twin-core Baikal-T that it says is the "first silicon implementation of the MIPS P5600 CPU core with …

  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    ambition comes at a price on the desktop

    Ambition has always come at a price. But one has to ask whether the latest fastest shiniest hardware is a requisite for the majority of devices to be sat under/on office worker's desks. It seems to me that in most cases office workers' (and home users') requirements are for something that runs an office suite, a browser, and if you're really radical, perhaps an email client. A machine which would make a gamer happy would be out of place in such a use case - there's a reason why you don't see people popping down to the shops in a Ferrari.

    1. I am David Jones
      Unhappy

      Re: ambition comes at a price on the desktop

      Workers don’t need decent computers? Well a lot of office workers need Teams and that is a right processor hog when you start videoconferencing.

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: ambition comes at a price on the desktop

        Do you expect the Russians to be using Teams? Really?

        Perhaps they have some better software that does not such as badly as MS Teams. That is quite a low bar for sucking actually...

        1. I am David Jones

          Re: ambition comes at a price on the desktop

          Sorry I was not referring to Russian workers in particular. Just responding the the comment which seemed to be about office workers in general.

        2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

          Re: ambition comes at a price on the desktop

          They are using RedStar Comrades.

          1. aqk
            Big Brother

            Re: ambition comes at a price on the desktop

            Listen, Tovaritch_ команда??

            В Советской России компьютерная команда будет управлять ВАМИ !!

      2. Henry Hallan
        Boffin

        Re: ambition comes at a price on the desktop

        I'm typing this on a Raspberry Pi 4, which is one of my daily drivers in this strange COVID/BYOD world -- and is probably comparable to the Russian offering (Linux, quad-core ARM64, 8G memory.) The other is a HP Elitebook provided by the client and running the inevitable Windows 10.

        I use Teams on both -- one as native and the other as the web version on Chromium.

        I can confirm that both experiences are equally unsatisfactory. The only real difference is that the RPi has an external webcam which can be positioned without tilting the screen.

        1. unimaginative
          Thumb Up

          Re: ambition comes at a price on the desktop

          My daughter uses a Pi 4 as her main machine. We did have some issues with Jitsi and Zoom while using Ubuntu. I have just installed

          Everything else she needs: wordprocessors, web browsers, graphics (including quite large Krita drawings) works fine.

          I suspect I could make do with one if I had to.

      3. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge

        Re: ambition comes at a price on the desktop

        Teams (and videoconferencing in general) is hardly a requirement for most office duties (after all people managed quite well without it up to the early 2000's).

        Some managerial types might find videoconferencing to be a large benefit - but for most office users email and telephone suffice. Look at a large civil service office - how many of them need to use conferencing facilities beyond email CC for their daily job.

        1. I am David Jones

          Re: ambition comes at a price on the desktop

          You know homeworking is quite a thing these days, right? Without videoconferencing I’d barely see most of my colleagues. And every time my laptop turns into a hairdryer…

          1. _LC_ Silver badge

            Re: ambition comes at a price on the desktop

            What makes you think that you need extraordinary powerful CPUs for video conferencing?

            1. Dan 55 Silver badge
              Happy

              Re: ambition comes at a price on the desktop

              I'm sure management weighed up the pros and cons and chose Teams for a very good reason.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: ambition comes at a price on the desktop

            "I’d barely see most of my colleagues"

            You say that as if it's a bad thing.

          3. TDog

            Re: ambition comes at a price on the desktop

            Don't rest it on your lap. Particularly if you are male. If you are into personal horror google (other search engines are available) scrotal hyperthermia laptop computers. DON'T look at the pictures.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: ambition comes at a price on the desktop

              Cheer up. For the scrotal hyperthermia to become a problem, you have to either a) sit with your legs close together, pinning your balls between your thighs, for quite a long time or b) point a heat source(laptop, hairdryer, whatever) directly at your wedding tackle, again for a long time.

              Who DOES that? Talk about uncomfy!

        2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: ambition comes at a price on the desktop

          Performance for most video-conferencing apps is largely driven by whether there is direct access to the GPU or not. On mobile devices this is almost always the case, otherwise video calling just wouldn't work. But on desktops, thanks to Electron, it's often not the case. However, as I normally disable both incoming and outgoing video after a brief initial greeting, this rarely a real problem.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ambition comes at a price on the desktop

        Teams and that is a right processor hog when you start videoconferencing.

        That has been for decades the problem with Microsoft products: they're so badly and inefficiently coded that you need to throw a lot of hardware at it to even run (ditto in the server arena). The Microsoft approach to performance improvement is equivalent to fitting a bigger engine to a car because they can't be asked to release the handbrake.

        If office workers were to run decent software they would indeed not need so much hardware power.

        1. Lipdorn

          Re: ambition comes at a price on the desktop

          Perhaps. But teams takes that to a ridiculous level of terribleness. Teams just seems to "ooze". The only thing as bad is windows search...

          1. Mike Richards Silver badge

            Re: ambition comes at a price on the desktop

            If you're ever unlucky enough to become a victim of Adobe Connect you will crave the user friendliness, speed and stability of Microsoft Teams.

            It's bad - even for an Adobe product.

      5. Down not across Silver badge

        Re: ambition comes at a price on the desktop

        Well a lot of office workers need Teams and that is a right processor hog when you start videoconferencing.

        FTFY

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: ambition comes at a price on the desktop

          "Well a lot of office workers need Teams"

          As a consultant, I can counter that with the fact that most office workers don't even need email, much less Internet access. (This Covid blip in time not withstanding.)

          1. I am David Jones

            Re: ambition comes at a price on the desktop

            As a non-consultant, I can only really talk about my own experience in a large company. The option to homework is here to stay and a big chunk of staff will be exercising that option. Which means that, even post-COVID, the vast majority of our internal and external meetings will be by videoconference.

    2. Alpharious

      Re: ambition comes at a price on the desktop

      the specs do not sound that bad to be honest. Also consider that they are running linux too, so odds are real good that the software will be a little better optimized. It sounds like a solid work machine, which harkens back to the commie days...

  2. jake Silver badge

    Interesting question ...

    "How much work can you do with eight Arm Cortex-A57 cores?"

    Depends. Are you trying to emulate a Система Малых ЭВМ to run code lifted from DEC 40-odd years ago? Or are you more modern and up to date, running pirated copies of Windows 3.1?

    1. Richard Jones 1

      Re: Interesting question ...

      Upvoted more for comedy effort than anything else, I am not sure Teams runs that well on Windows 3.1...

      1. jake Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Interesting question ...

        Congratulations, Comrade. You have no need for humo(u)r transplant.

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          Re: Interesting question ...

          In Russia, Teams runs you...

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Model T from Bailkal

    You can have any colour, so long as it's red

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: The Model T from Bailkal

      And is the model M heavy and very clicky?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: The Model T from Bailkal

        Gawd/ess, I hope so!

  5. Wolfclaw

    Approved by Russia's Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications and Ministry of Industry and Trade, so spyware guaranteed to be installed and hidden away.

    1. RayG

      How marvellously different from PCs in so many other countries!

    2. hplasm
      Big Brother

      "spyware guaranteed to be installed and hidden away."

      Like Cisco et al, then?

  6. John Jennings Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Well done

    Its not trivial to open up a new processor line, os for it and make it usable. If its equivalent to a pi or better, then great.

    The use of FOSS in the workplace is laudable too - it can be done.

    And then think of the generation of people who should support such a thing - agnostic to processors and knowing more about Linux than anyone - and able to scale to the server.

    TBH, probably most users could more than get by with a pi equivalent for their basic work tasks - browser and productivity software - and an OS that at least nods at security (Linux) - though - lots of people here want their willy extension of a top end processor, lots of tera Hertz and Bytes and some shiny shiny...

    1. HildyJ Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: Well done

      As I understand it, they aren't targeting new computers but are replacing existing computer Windows installations completely with this OS. If it works it will be a major step towards Linux on the desktop.

      Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that the source code is available and the license prohibits decompilation and disassembly. It also prohibits commercial use.

  7. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Quintessence

    Quintessence of communist thinking - appropriate someone else's work and then get drunk.

    1. find users who cut cat tail

      Re: Quintessence

      Because our capitalistic overlords would never…

  8. TeeCee Gold badge
    Alert

    How much work can you do with eight Arm Cortex-A57 cores?

    In Russia, you do work for cores!

  9. mark l 2 Silver badge

    "the machines reflect Russia's desire to be less dependent on technology sourced from its antagonists in the West."

    It make sense for a government to roll their own SOC especially for its own internal use due to the security concerns of buying off the shelf kit made by another country, especially if the country you are buying from has been outed for spying on its allies never mind less friendly nations.

    After all even the US gov orders their Intel kit with the management engine disabled so they obviously worry it could be a security concern.

  10. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "a 2010 decree requiring use of open products. Baikal said all software installed on the machines is approved by Russia's Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications and Ministry of Industry and Trade"

    So now we know what they mean by "open".

  11. naive Silver badge

    Its is a real innovation

    Using a setup that doesn't exist in the West.

    Since Russia hosts many hackers, they probably know the weaknesses of Windows desktops too well.

    Better try something like this than whine about ransomware and a never ending stream of high prio CVE's.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bad news for agencies

    Well, they scr*wed the pooch on this one then. If they had left them powerful enough computers to drudge through the crud that is Windows, they would be running Windows, and thus ensure a backdoor to their entire national infrastructure like there is in practically any other country (which is one of the reasons I dislike any use of Windows in any government setting, but I digress).

    Instead, the Russians have pretty much closed the door on them. Ironically, the US government and industry still runs Windows. Heck, even the majority of their voting systems do..

    1. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

      Re: Bad news for agencies

      And the majority of ATMs, which is why I don't use them.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Bad news for agencies

        The ATM doesn't manage your money, it's just a dumb terminal into the system that manages your money. It could be a VT-100, it would still provide the same functionality. You using the thing makes no difference to the crooks[0], who target the back-end equipment.

        [0] Strong-arm thugs standing behind you, waiting for you to withdraw funds, are an exception.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Bad news for agencies

          1 - dumb Windows can be encouraged to empty the entire money supply (has happened already)

          2 - it's much more fun to collect data when nobody notices because there's no need for an external device

          3 - a money withdrawal can be done in your name.

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