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Merced/Itanium design secrets revealed

Why not write your own compiler?

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In a move as unexpected as Scott McNealy forgetting to brush his teeth or Larry Ellison confessing that he really kinda fancies Bill Gates, Intel is posting full – and we mean full - specs of the forthcoming Itanium aka Merced chip on the web here as of 0800 British Summer Time today. The information, until yesterday bearing a red cover and classified as Intel Secret, effectively puts Intel's 64-bit architecture in the public domain and allows anyone with the inclination and ability to develop their own compilers for the new chips. Open source CPUs are certainly a radical new departure for Chipzilla, an organisation so famously paranoid that it slaps a writ on anyone even divulging what's on the menu of international cuisine in the Swindon canteen today. (Chicken Biryani and pilau rice, in case you're wondering) The move – which is, we have to admit, only to be applauded - is clearly aimed at encouraging the development and porting of 64-bit applications, but who can doubt that shadowy organisations such as the Linux collective will leap at the chance to assimilate the information to build the ultimate operating system? Resistance is futile. ®

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