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MS ‘screw Linux’ Blade tech debuts in… Transmeta servers

'Clarity of Intellectual Property ownership'? Phew.

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Right on cue - and on a day of rolling black outs in California - Transmeta server startup RLX Technology took the wraps off its much talked-about baby. It's a superdense server fitting up to 336 Transmeta CPUs in a rack that can be populated by at most 42 CPUs using today's Intel boards. Transmeta CPUs are slower than their Chipzilla counterparts, but RLX reckons the density more than compensates for clock speed. And power consumption is dramatically down.

Each 'blade' - and RLX wants you to think blades, mentioning the word no fewer than 24 times in its press release - uses 15W of power. It's practically fanless - RLX claims an 18:1 reduction in the number needed per rack - and we imagine, pretty quiet too as a consequence. All for under $5,000. Very nice.

But blink and you'll miss it, it's the debut for Microsoft's me-too server appliance technology, which we wrote about here. Coincidentally, Microsoft launched its Server Appliance Kit on Monday

As we noted then, Microsoft spends a lot of time as a software company reminding us that it doesn't do hardware. And it's been figuring out a way of stemming market share loss to Linux in various areas, with web hosting being one of the most prominent. That's prominent as opposed to lucrative - the commodity file and print services that Samba offers is a more subversive and far more damaging hit to Microsoft's revenue stream than the web hosting niche - it's just that it's more visible, as NetCraft's 'What is that site running?' question is just so easy to answer.

RLX comes in two flavours, with Red Hat Linux or <f/x: drum roll> the Windows Powered Web Server. Redmond actually snuck this out of the door on Monday, and you can read all about it here..

Note that two of the compelling features that Microsoft boasts for the Server Appliance Kit are 'clarity of Intellectual Property Ownership' and 'Predictability of the Development Process'. This is the first time we've seen Microsoft give up its position of lofty distain towards Linux and software libre in its product marketing materials, and after Craig Mundie's assault on open source (and GPL) last week, we can conclude that there'll be plenty more where this came from.

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RLX

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