Power.org, a soi-disant open source organisation based around IBM's Power instruction set, has just expanded. It shows, said IBM, the health of the open source movement, this time in hardware not just software.

Eleven new members joined the 17-strong organisation which describes itself as "dedicated to accelerating collaborative innovation on the Power microprocessor technology". Among the innovations on show at the Barcelona conference where the new members were announced was a parallel processor architecture from small, 15-person start-up Rapport.

Rapport aims to harness large numbers of simple, parallel processors -- somewhat similar to the original 8088 PC chip, according to marketing VP Debby Hinds. Applications for such chips, dubbed Kilocore, include replacing large single or dual-core CPUs while generating much less heat because they run at a much lower clock speed. The kinds of tasks to which they might be put, said Hinds, include compute-intensive jobs for which massively parallel embedded processing is inherently suited, such as pattern recognition, VoIP and encryption.

Other companies present at the conference included Thales, which announced a new Power-based avionics system designed specifically for use in cutting-edge avionics development and military embedded applications.

Apple departure leaves dry eyes behind
Among the delegates Techworld spoke to, few seemed fazed by the departure, announced just 24 hours before, of one of the Power chip's most prominent - if not necessarily the most profitable - users: Apple. If anything, the attitude was that it made little difference, given that Apple's volumes are low, with just two percent of the PC market.

The stock market agreed, and IBM's shares barely shifted on the news. Big Blue makes chips for a range of other customers as well as its own servers. And with other customers such as Sony and Microsoft having selected IBM chips for the latest generation of Xbox, analysts do not expect too many tears to be shed when Apple finally folds its tent. Instead the tears, if any, look likely to be shed mainly by the Mac faithful who will end up funding Apple's third change of fundamental platform.