Less Watts: Intel's Power Saving Initiative for Linux

Sep 21, 2007

At its own Intel Developer Forum (IDF) the semiconductor manufacturer introduced its power saving initiative. Under the Less Watts umbrella a number of Open Source projects have joined forces to help reduce the power consumption of Linux systems.

The Powertop tool has found a new home on the page; it was released by Intel this summer. Powertop tracks down processes that unnecessarily wake up the CPU. The culprits include the kernel's tickless timer. The Tickless Idle kernel patch disables the ticker when the CPU is inactive and in idle mode.

The Linux Battery Life Toolkit (BLTK) is a test framework that generates system load and collects power consumption statistics. This will help developers check the effectiveness of their modifications. Six scenarios are provided as test workloads: idle, document view, office, DVD play, software development and 3D games.

There are also projects that aim to teach applications on Linux how to save power by means of advanced power management, and that provide Linux support for the power saving features provided by Intel's contemporary and future chips.

Representatives by Linux companies such as Red Hat, Novell and Oracle announced that they will be supporting the Less Watts while at the same time emphasizing the fact that their own products do offer power management features.

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