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Torvalds confirms Transmeta 19 January 2000 ‘D-Day’

Finally, a Transmeta rumour comes true

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Updated Transmeta will spill the beans on 19 January 2000, the company's most famous employee, Linus 'Linux' Torvalds, revealed today. That's the day on which the secretive chip company will come clean on what it's been up to. Torvalds revealed the date during his Comdex keynote -- a talk that centred on how the IT industry has finally "got the point" about open source software, and touched on Transmeta just once. His statement confirms a report last week which claimed that 19 January would be D-Day for Transmeta. The report, which appeared on German IT magazine c't's Web site, also suggested the chip was codenamed 'Crusoe' and is aimed at the notebook market. Getting the date right would certainly imply that the rest of the c't story is accurate too. Update And indeed, it is, as a trip to the (now live) Transmeta Web site proves. The chip is called Crusoe and, as the company puts it: "We rethought the microprocessor to create a whole new world of mobility." And buried in the page's HTML: "Crusoe will be cool hardware and software for mobile applications." Torvalds didn't offer much more than the date. He did say that Transmeta's product was a "smart" CPU, and claimed it was the first chip designed in software. Quite was he meant by this isn't entirely clear -- all modern chips are designed to a greater degree using software simulation tools. However, it could be that Torvalds was indicating the chip's functionality is programmable, a concept that emerged a couple of years back in a paper published in Scientific American. That would certainly tie in broadly with some of the technologies Transmeta has been awarded patents for. However, at least now we know for certain that we don't have too long to wait to find out for sure. ®

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