You Probably Won't See Intel Evo "Project Athena" Linux Laptops In The Near Term
Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 2 September 2020 at 07:09 PM EDT. 9 Comments
INTEL --
In addition to Intel talking a lot today in virtual briefings about the new 11th Gen "Tiger Lake" mobile processors, they were also talking at a higher level extensively on their second-generation "Project Athena" laptop innovation program and their new Intel Evo branding for premium laptops.

Project Athena has been about encouraging their OEM partners to design thin-and-light laptops that perform well and meet a number of different criteria from battery life to bezel thickness and other hardware/software attributes. With Intel Evo they are elevating it as branding for indicating basically the best next-generation Intel laptops that meet their various key experience indicators and specifications.

Given Lenovo offering more Linux options moving forward, HP also increasing their Linux pre-load options, and Dell's XPS Developer Edition laptops continuing to be quite popular, among various other OEMs at least evaluating more Linux options, I was curious if any Linux-based Project Athena / Intel Evo laptops were being worked on...


During the Project Athena briefing this afternoon I asked if Intel was working with any partners on a Linux-preload Project Athena laptop. The answer was no -- at least for now they aren't engaging on any Linux loaded Project Athena / Evo hardware.

It was also reiterated that their specifications are Microsoft Windows focused. Given the Project Athena specifications around battery life and other experience/usability indicators tieing into software, it's to little surprise they would be all Windows focused given the current marketshare and other factors. Particularly with these thin-and-light laptops where power management becomes increasingly important along with other software criteria needing to be met over just designing a great piece of hardware, it could be a while before we see any Intel Evo laptop with Linux pre-loaded.

Long story short, Intel Evo doesn't mean much for Linux users right now with no partner designs currently in the works and their specifications being suited to Windows. Intel Evo may imply a great laptop from a hardware perspective but no guarantees how it will handle power management or suspend/resume under Linux as one of the areas still up in the air at times, any device specific quirks that may or may not be added yet to the kernel, and other factors important in choosing a laptop for Linux usage. Granted, modern Intel-powered laptops generally work well on Linux assuming you are on a new enough kernel as well as the latest Mesa if making use of the UHD/Iris/Xe Graphics, and other potential issues to worry about before getting to the point of the real "key experience indicators" that are the focus of Project Athena.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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