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Powertop is Linux tool to find out what is using power on a laptop. This program only works on Intel based laptops. It is very good software to extend Laptop battery life time. I've tested this software with following Intel based laptops:
=> My Sony VAIO Laptop
=> My Dell 6400 Laptop
=> My office HP / Compaq Laptop

From the project page:

Computer programs can make your computer use more power. PowerTOP is a Linux tool that helps you find those programs that are misbehaving while your computer is idle.

PowerTOP combines various sources of information from the kernel into one convenient screen so that you can see how well your system is doing at saving power, and which components are the biggest problems.

PowerTOP has these four basic goals:

=> Show how well your system is using the various hardware power-saving features
=> Show you the culprit software components that are preventing optimal usage of your hardware power savings
=> Help Linux developers test their application and achieve optimal behavior
=> Provide you with tuning suggestions to achieve low power consumption

Quick PowerTOP installation

Type the following commands:
$ sudo apt-get install powertop
$ sudo powetop

PowerTOP ~ Save and Extend Linux Laptop Battery
(Fig. 01: PowerTop in Action [ Image Credit Intel Corp / Powertop Project] )

Download PowerTOP

=> Visit official project home page to grab PowerTOP software.

From my mail bag:

Where can I get free interactive access to HP-UX or Linux distro or UNIX shell access?

You can simply grab and try out any Linux / BSD / Solaris Live CD. However, some time you cannot install and use particular UNIX like os. So, if you want to try the latest technologies over the Internet? Try HP TestDrive program:

This program allows you to testdrive some of the hottest hardware and operating systems available today. Have you ever wanted to try out HP's exciting 64-bit Integrity and PA-RISC technology? Get time on SMP x86 and Opteron ProLiant servers? Try out a Blade server. Try different Open Source operating systems such as FreeBSD, Suse, Redhat, Debian and other Linux distributions.

This program is perfect for students and new users to try out and learn basis of UNIX. You can also try and test your C/C++ programs using latest Intel compilers. It is intended for those users who want to sample the 32- and 64-bit servers running a variety of HP, UNIX, Linux and third-party operating systems and applications.

=> HP Test Drive Program [hp.com]

Intel has just released source code for Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE). It provides some Fibre Channel protocol processing as well as the encapsulation of FC frames within Ethernet packets. FCoE will allow systems with an Ethernet adapter and a Fibre Channel Forwarder to login to a Fibre Channel fabric (the FCF is a "gateway" that bridges the LAN and the SAN). That fabric login was previously reserved exclusively for Fibre Channel HBAs. This technology reduces complexity in the data center by aiding network convergence. It is targeted for 10Gps Ethernet NICs but will work on any Ethernet NIC supporting pause frames. Intel will provide a Fibre Channel protocol processing module as well as an Ethernet based transport module. The Open-FC module acts as a LLD for SCSI and the Open-FCoE transport uses net_device to send and receive packets.

This is good news. I think one can compare bandwidth and throughput for copper and fiber Ethernet. If you are going to use copper you need to stay within 15m of the switch. This solution will try to bring down cost. One can connect to 8-10 server to central database server with 10G and there could be few more applications.

=> Open FCoE project home page

Intel has open-sourcing their cross-platform Thread Building Blocks 2.0 (TBB) template library. This is considered as Intel's largest open-source commitment to date. TBB is a popular software C++ template library that simplifies the development of software applications running in parallel on multicore computer. From the project page:

Intel Threading Building Blocks (TBB) offers a rich and complete approach to expressing parallelism in a C++ program. It is a library that helps you leverage multi-core processor performance without having to be a threading expert. Threading Building Blocks is not just a threads-replacement library. It represents a higher-level, task-based parallelism that abstracts platform details and threading mechanism for performance and scalability.

For developers, the clear benefits of Threading Building Blocks are:
1. TBB significantly reduces the number of lines of code required to develop multithreaded applications;
2. TBB significantly reduces the programming complexity for developing multithreaded applications (by abstracting many details of thread management);
3. TBB's task manager automatically analyzes the system the software is running on, chooses the optimal number of threads, and performs load balancing that spreads out the work evenly across all processor cores;
4. As a result, TBB threaded applications automatically scale to fully utilize all available processing cores on whatever computer they run on – including future systems that will have many more cores than are available (or affordable) today.

Download Intel Threading Building Blocks

Update: Many issues mentioned in linked articles are no longer true. This post was originally written way back in 2006.

Nathan Willis has some good information on this topic.

From the article:

So you just bought and assembled a brand-new AMD64 workstation. The only decision that remains is whether to install a 64-bit Linux distribution, or stick with comfortable, tried-and-true IA-32. If you are seeking an easy answer to that question, I can't help you. Running 64-bit Linux has its pros and cons. Unfortunately, a lot of the cons are out of your hands -- but they're not really Linux's fault, either.

For starters, you should know that there are essentially no proprietary applications for a 64-bit Linux desktop. Google, Adobe, iD, Skype, and the rest of the independent software vendors (ISV) who release Linux binaries of their apps by and large do so solely for 32-bit Intel architecture only.

Read more at Linux.com...

You should always aware of maximum amount of memory and maximum number of CPU supported by Linux systems / server.

This is an essential task for making out decisions. You must consider at least AMD and Intel platforms, tested under RHEL 5 only:
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