15th > February > 2000 Archive

The Register breaking news

Intel's Grove: AMD, Via good for PC industry

Intel Developer Forum A relaxed Andy Grove, chairman of the Intel Corporation, said today that although competition from AMD and Via was "not always fun", it was, in general, good for the PC industry. Responding to a question from The Register, Grove said that while every business was in business to compete, and therefore that in one sense competitors were enemies, the overall effect was to help the entire PC industry and brought benefits to consumers. He said that the industry included many different companies creating, for example, sub-systems such as graphics, motherboards, storage and memory, all of which had benefited from the increased competition. The whole PC industry had grown because of this. "This has clearly been a beneficial factor in growth and the cost effectivess it has brought to the consumer. Competition has been good for this industry. Not to say it's always been fun," he said. Grove said, on the eve of his keynote speech at the Intel Developer Forum, that his biggest disappointment in 1999 was the supply problems that dogged the company at the end of last year. He said: "Our main disappointment was that we were not able to supply demand in the latter end of the year and so caused problems for some of our customers and their growth." Intel, he said, had good relations with its PC customers and understood the type of problems they had to deal with. In reply to a question about whether the Sony PlayStation II posed a danger to Intel's plans, Grove said: "Something between somewhat and moderate." If there had been a Sony PlayStation II five years ago, he said, when the market was driven by gaming, it would have been dangerous. He said that even if the PlayStation II acquires Internet capability, that would not be true today. But, he said, the graphics capabilities offered by PlayStations was a good incentive for Intel to seek to excel. Grove said that Transmeta's recent announcement of its Crusoe microprocessors had not escaped the corporation, but he thought that Intel's strategy was fundamentally sound. He said: "We absolutely see it [Transmeta] as competition, but we have our own thoughts about competition and we haven't seen anything to cast doubt on our own plans." The relationship between Intel and Microsoft was, is and will be pragmatic, said Grove. "Our relationship with Microsoft has never been a formal alliance. We are two independent companies who found it useful to support each other's initiatives. "Microsoft didn't support our microprocessors because of an alliance, but presumably because it was the highest performance microprocessor on the market," he said. ® The Register will carry a full transcript of the Q&A session with Grove later in the week. IDF Spring 2000: Full Coverage
Mike Magee, 15 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

DoubleClick stands tall for on-line privacy rights

Clearly shaken by recent reports of what some consider a dangerous alliance with catalogue marketer Abacus Direct, Net marketer DoubleClick has taken the initiative in the war of words. "With notice and with choice, the merger of these two databases can be a great thing," DoubleClick President Kevin Ryan burbled during a New York press conference Monday afternoon. "DoubleClick has always led the online advertising industry in providing Internet users with notice and the choice not to receive targeted ads," he added. Ryan based this affirmation on the fact that DoubleClick gathers no information related to credit accounts, medical records or the details of children, though The Register can't help noticing that this leaves an immense field of potentially sensitive information unaccounted for. Ryan then unveiled the company's ambitions for the future. "DoubleClick will only do business with US Web publishers that have a clear privacy policy," he explained, with no word about what might be done if a site should fail to enforce its own guidelines. "We can't be involved in enforcing privacy policies," he noted when pressed for an answer. The company has also retained PricewaterhouseCoopers to perform periodic "privacy audits", Ryan said. These will begin within a few months and be carried out semi-annually, or something like that, Ryan believes. DoubleClick will also nominate a "chief privacy officer" who will report directly to the board of directors and "serve as sort of ombudsman," Ryan announced. The company has yet to nominate a candidate, but interviews are now being conducted, he said. But the company's most ambitious privacy project will be an awareness campaign employing some 50 million banner ads (what else?) extolling the virtues of advertiser-led privacy schemes and linking to the company's opt-out service called Privacy Choices. A nice gesture, but, as the company notes, "opting out on the Privacy Choices site only blocks your cookies from DoubleClick." The other score of marketing leeches dropping cookies on your box will have to be approached on a case-by-case basis, we regret to report. So, what has DoubleClick accomplished here? Very little in terms of affecting the average surfer's vulnerability to unwanted advertising, but perhaps a great deal in terms of advising Washington that it can sit back and let the Madison Avenue boys handle the numerous sticky problems plaguing on-line consumers. The flaw in this reasoning, of course, is that Washington likes meddling with such hot-button issues, in spite of the fact that it's hopelessly ill-equipped for the challenge. We told you yesterday that the current legislative session promised superior amusement....and we meant it. ® Drew Cullen writes: The Register uses Doubleclick's DART ad-serving software. We have a privacy policy too. Here it is: Your Privacy. Related Stories DoubleClick hit by email privacy war Doubleclick sued over alleged cookie abuse
Thomas C Greene, 15 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

RTLinux patent treads a narrow path

A tricky situation has arisen over a Linux patent (US: 5,995,745) obtained by Victor Yodaiken of Real-Time Linux. Although he intends that users of RTLinux, as well as Linux users who label their application as being compatible with RTLinux and who release them under GPL will not have to pay royalties, it is a narrow path that he is walking. Already there are questions as to what the situation will be for non-Linux free products like BSD and Hurd. Those who wish to use his patent in commercial systems will have to pay a royalty. Yodaiken is apparently working out details with Linux International and Linus Torvalds. But there is another issue, raised by Greg Aharonian in his Patnews: he calls the patent "of low quality", suggests that "this patent wasn't validly sought", and draws attention to the considerable inadequacy of the prior art. Yodaiken quotes just four other patents and a paper on MERT, a Unix time-sharing system described in 1978. But as Aharonian points out, IEEE started its annual symposia on real-time systems in 1979 and they have continued to the present day, making several hundred papers. Quite apart from these, there have been thousands of other papers on the subject, and hundreds of patents, all of which appear to add up to the inevitable conclusion that the patent was not examined properly by the highly inadequate US patent office. It seems rather unlikely that in all this work there is no other mention of what Yodaiken claims to be his invention: preemption in a general purpose operating system for real-time tasks - and after all, even VMS did this. The wider issue of software patents generally, and defensive patents for the Linux community, needs much more attention. The only solution would appear to be some legislation to require a public comment period when prior art could be submitted, or comments made about the novelty. This would go a long way to removing the need for expensive legal procedures to strike down patents that should not have been issued. ®
Graham Lea, 15 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

AMD becomes Cheapzilla

AMD Developer Forum The little brother of Intel -- AMD -- has booked suites at the Hilton Hotel, two blocks down from Chipzilla's Developer Forum near to the Wyndham Hotel in Palm Springs to queer its pitch, we can reveal. AMD, which does not have the millions it takes to do a developer forum, has instead adopted an old database vendor strategy and is wooing journalists and analysts away from the Intel gig, and especially a Willamette keynote speech. But when we talked to staff at the Palm Springs Hilton, on Tahquitz Canyon Road, they said they were embarrassed by the situation. At first they denied they had AMD personnel in the hotel -- close to the local Indian casino -- but under pressure confessed there were suites booked by AMD under another name. The whole situation is uncannily reminiscent of the times when Informix, Oracle and Sybase engaged in database wars. At one Oracle User Conference in Florence, Informix attempted to buy the entire range of advertising space in the Tuscan city. AMD confirmed to us by email early today that it was demonstrating alternative technology to Intel just two blocks down the road, but declined to be interviewed on specifics. According to US AMD representative Stacey Cochran, her company will be conducting a series of off site meetings for journalists and semiconductor analysts. ® IDF Spring 2000: Full Coverage
Mike Magee, 15 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

SuSE, MandrakeSoft to promote Linux NC architecture

Linux distributors SuSE and MandrakeSoft are to back a little-known French IT operation Linbox's attempt to define the open source OS as a standard for network computing. The two distributors will promote something called the Linbox Network Architecture (LNA), a diskless client/server set-up. Right now, LNA comprises Linbox's NetServer hardware, which already ships with SuSE and Mandrake versions of Linux, and up to 32 diskless NetStation clients hanging off it. Users can run Linux applications on the client, loaded off the server, or on the server itself. However, LNA systems could easily be built around hardware from other vendors, and ultimately even using software from other Linux distributors. SuSE, MandrakeSoft and Linbox plan to promote LNA as an open standard. That said, since LNA is, according to Linbox's Web site, based on "free software", it could surely be little else? Because it appears to contain proprietary software -- software, more to the point, that Linbox doesn't own. Quite apart from LNA's ability to operate like Sun's Star NC architecture and the like, Linbox claims the system offers what it calls "300 per cent compatibility" -- in other words, it's 100 per cent compatible with three operating systems: Linux, Windows 98/NT and MacOS. Linux compatibly is obvious -- it's a Linux system -- and Windows support apparently comes from VMware, inc's VMware emulation software (SuSE also has a relationship with VMware). But MacOS? Again, emulation is the only option here. A closer look at Linbox's site reveals that its servers ship with software called the "original Macintosh ROM". Since Apple no longer licenses either the MacOS nor the Mac ROMs, we're not entirely sure how Linbox can ship this -- and certainly not as software. Linbox also claims LNA presents users with a 75 per cent cost saving over Windows-based client/server systems. However, since the saving is calculated largely on up front box and software costs, some questionable hardware lifespan parameters, and, more importantly, no independent verification, perhaps we should question this claim too. ®
Tony Smith, 15 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

Another headmaster caught looking at youth porn

A British headmaster was last week found guilty of possession of youth porn and misuse of a school PC. Robert Shepherd, 54, used his own home computer as well as a school PC to download pictures of under-age youths from the Internet. The suspended head of Holy Trinity Church of England primary school in Cuckfield, West Sussex, told Haywards Heath magistrates court he had used the under-age gay porn sites as a "cry for help" over being raped at the age of 18. Shepherd, married and a father of four, had his case adjourned awaiting psychological reports. He is due to be sentenced on 14 March, when he faces being placed on the sex offenders'list.® Related Stories Teacher quits in kiddie net porn scandal Accused pedo Naughton gets a breather Man jailed over Net pedo lies Teacher's Net porn conviction upheld
Linda Harrison, 15 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

Swiss regulator investigates complaints of high MS prices

Werner Marti, the Swiss government's Preisüberwacher (price regulator) is taking a close interest in Microsoft's prices in Switzerland, following complaints by Swiss consumers that prices for all Swiss versions of Windows 98 and Office 97 were higher than in other countries. Microsoft immediately reacted with its own survey in Seattle and Zurich, claiming that on average Swiss prices were only 15 percent higher, claiming this was "scarcely surprising". In any event, Fort Redmond claimed, it had no direct control of store prices (which may be news to some stores that have tried to sell Microsoft software as a loss leader). However, Marti had done his own survey using the Internet and said he had found greater differences (including for Office 2000) and that Swiss prices were higher than in other European countries. In an interview on Swiss Radio International yesterday, he said that "If prices are artificially high and there are no reasons for it, we have price surveillance legislation and can ask Microsoft to lower prices". Marti has the power to stop price increases, or insist that prices be lowered in some circumstances. He added that the matter was one of his priorities for this year. In the past, Microsoft has had higher prices in France where it enjoys a high market share, and lower prices in the Netherlands where WordPerfect is a significant competitor. ®
Graham Lea, 15 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

Linux troops expected to rally for Win2k launch

Microsoft is bracing itself for protesting hordes of Linux supporters at this week's Windows 2000 launch. The Great Satan of Software yesterday confirmed it was expecting direct action from members of the Linux fraternity on both sides of the Atlantic. The UK launch of the Win2k operating system, taking place at London's well-barricaded Earl's Court, is expected to be picketed by at least one posse of protesters. It's unclear whether the group is intending to penetrate the building, or simply thrust CDs and pamphlets on the unsuspecting public outside the event. However, Microsoft is determined not to let the action spoil its fun. Security will be tight at the event, and all press and visitors have been warned they will not get into the venue without the regulation fluorescent green Win2k launch party badge. "While Microsoft welcomes competition, it does not believe that spoiler tactics like direct action will benefit the Linux community," said one Microsoft representative. "In fact, as our planned launched event is for customers and partners, it may do more harm to potential Linux consumers." However, the Linux fraternity seems unfazed by the comments. One supporter has even started a "February 17, 2000, Linux Demo Day" Web site. The site, by Deepak Saxena in the US, proposes the community use the day to promote Linux peacefully –- and not as "a Microsoft bashing event". "On this date, Microsoft will be releasing Windows 2000, their eagerly anticipated 'new' operating system," says Saxena. "While I am not a Microsoft hater, I think this is a good opportunity for Linux users to let end users know that there is a viable alternative. In this case, a very viable alternative." "Maybe you work at an all NT company and you can use this day to put together a presentation for management about Linux and its alternatives," suggests Deepa. Or he also proposes staging "education" events in large shops. Saxena was reluctant to discuss details of the protests. However, he did reveal to The Register that two Linux groups were expected to hold some kind of event in the UK. Saxena said was also "expecting a few" groups to take action in the US. Saxena preferred not to go into detail -- a decision which may have something to do with his job. At the bottom of his site, Saxena states that he is an employee of Microsoft's bosom buddy, Intel -- though he stresses that his views "do not in any way represent the views of his employer". ® Take the A-List with The Register The Register has four tickets in its possession for Microsoft UK's Win2k celebration on Thursday. Only 250 people are allowed in, and it's strictly invitation only. What's it worth to Microsoft for us not to make our W2K party badge open source? Donations please to Children in Need. Related Stories Linux best selling server OS in US Intel-branded Web PC will run Linux China not dumping Win2K for Linux after all, says official
Linda Harrison, 15 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

Samsung, Hyundai accelerate graphics RAM speeds

Samsung and Hyundai both announced high-speed SDRAM chips aimed at graphics card vendors, yesterday. Hyundai's 2Mb by 32-bit double data rate SRAM cleverly comes in 3dfx-friendly 143MHz, 166MHz and 183MHz clock speeds, neatly matching the clock rates of the card vendor's current Voodoo 3 line-up. The 0.22 micron chips are currently sampling, with volume production to follow next quarter. The parts will then ship at $15.50 per 1000; the current, sample price is $21. Hyundai claims it supplies a quarter of all the memory parts sold to graphics card vendors. Samsung is hoping to challenge that with its 266MHz 64Mb SDRAM part, which is fabbed at 0.17 micron. Samsung claims the technology can support the now-standard 128-bit graphics card bus, and pump up to 4GB per second through it. That amounts to a frame rate of 60fps, the company said, though of course achieving that in a game depends on the accelerator the memory's connected to and its ability to churn out and render those frames. ®
Team Register, 15 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

How much did you say Student-net cost?

There are doubts today about reports that a US company paid £10 million to buy a student British Web site, The Register can reveal.
Team Register, 15 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

Web site offers fake alibi for philanderers

A British Website has started offering a fake alibi service for men and women cheating on their partners. For a small fee, Alibi.co.uk will write and send false invitations for business events (£25), or telephone the unfaithful's partner "confirming" that their beloved will be caught up in a meeting (£15). The Lancashire-based site, which started eight months ago, is also able to provide accommodation addresses or confirmation of hotel bookings on request. Annual membership for philanderers costs £20 per year. "With the pressures of modern life many of us have occasion to stray from our long term partners and dally with a brief sexual or emotional relationship with a third party," the site claims. "This is often a short term affair, inconsequential to our long term plans and relationships. But with modern communications, and media, it has become increasingly difficult to be able to carry on such a temporary dalliance, without risk of detection." And so it goes on. "We will provide telephone answering so that if someone tries to contact you, our receptionists will handle the call in the manner which was pre-arranged with you. "As maybe a hotel receptionist, or a golf club secretary, she will offer to call your room, or have you paged, giving recognition to the fact that you are actually resident in the facility." Denise Knowles, a councillor and sex therapist with Relate (formerly known as the Marriage Guidance Council), was not impressed by the idea. "If people are having an affair they need to be able to sort the problems out within the relationship. "For someone to make it easier for them to cheat could be very dangerous and damaging," she said. "You have to question the scruples, the morals, involving a third or fourth party in the deception." Ronnie Brock, founder and MD of alibi.co.uk, says the fibbing performs a valuable service to society and actually holds marriages together. "We are protecting the family. These people don't have sex with their husbands or wives anymore. But they still love their families," said Brock. "This service stops them losing their jobs, families and homes." According to Brock, a married man who insists he does not use the service himself, the site has 18,000 members - 40 per cent of whom are women. He also claimed that the company had many famous people on its books.®
Linda Harrison, 15 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

IBM deal boosts Symbian devices in corporate networks

IBM and Symbian have signed a joint development agreement to build wireless network applications for Symbian devices. The gist of the deal is that it's intended to allow smartphones and communicators produced by Symbian licensees mobile access to the Web and corporate network data, but there seems to be quite a bit of overlap with previously announced deals. Basically, the Symbian buddies seem to be severely interested in deals within deals. This particular one is similar to a Psion-IBM alliance announced last year. This was intended to allow business users to combine Psion's netBook with IBM network services. As the netBook itself is a Symbian EPOC device, albeit a bigger one than the phone companies are likely to have in mind, it's sensible to extend the arrangement via Symbian, in order to allow devices built by other licensees, including Ericsson, Nokia, Matsushita, Motorola and Philips, to be used in similar situations. Most of these are expected to be rolling out convincing-looking Symbian devices fairly soon now, and Symbian itself is demonstrating some gosh-wow gear at its developer conference in Santa Clara this week. Provided of course the customer has a network running IBM Pervasive Computing's MQSeries Everywhere, DB2 Everywhere (a scary thought) and Mobile Connect. But you could tag this as the IBM-Symbian counterblast to the Microsoft based corporate systems that Microsoft and British Telecom are currently piloting. IBM and Symbian intend to add embedded extensions to IBM's messaging and database middleware to EPOC, allowing developers to produce wireless network applications for the platform. Curiously, IBM seems to be guilty of some curiously old thinking when it comes to objectives. According to pervasive computing division general manager Mark Bregman "we will partner with the development community to create wireless applications that allow business users of Symbian devices to be as productive off-line as when they are connected to the network." Off-line, Mark? This is dull stuff. Shouldn't you be figuring out ways where you can use a continuous SMS connection to keep them online, and anticipating the days when wireless devices have a constant data connection? Talk to Nokia about this, we think you're allied to them as well. It's possibly also worth noting that IBM, Symbian and a gaggle of Symbian partners are also buddied-up in the Vodafone blockbuster wireless Web announcements made earlier this year. But although there's again some overlap, Vodafone also has Sun and its i-Planet software in there. ®
John Lettice, 15 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

Intel demos 1.5GHz Willamette

Intel Developer Forum Andy Grove, president of Intel, emphasised today that the Internet has fundamentally changed the business model and focus of the company. The conference, which is being attended by 3181 delegates, is the seventh since Intel started the bi-annual jamboree over three years ago, and Grove said that the difference between the company then and now could best be described by the term powers of ten. He said: "We had operated with a clear model of efficiency for 15 years and we've adapted to become a building block company. These are nice words, but they're just words. Our world has changed to something that's difficult to depict." Grove showed the spread of products which Intel now sells, including the usual spread of notebooks, desktops and servers but also now Web appliances, switches, routers, set top boxes and switching devices. He said that while five years ago the computer or PC model was based on productivity software and games, today the whole model had been changed by the Internet. "The rate of growth we are dealing with in the Internet is driven by powers of ten," he said. Grove then introduced senior representatives of search engine Google, eToys and Commerce One to demonstrate the rates of change involved. This was part of Grove's way to position the Itanium (Merced) processor and Intel's 64-bit architecture as the basic engine for Internet transactions. The different companies described how the Internet had both moulded and changed their business models. It is no coincidence that all three of these companies seem to use Intel servers in their companies -- and will use IA64 in the future. The three companies represent what Grove described as the key Internet markets of information, transactions and markets, including integrated supply chain. There were parallels with previous experience with the PC industry, and the same dynamics of collaboration and competition, and the ability to use the broad distribution methods the Internet brings would allow Intel to continue to expand, Grove said. Grove then introduced Albert Yu, a senior vice president at Intel, who showed Willamette silicon and then demonstrated it running at 1.5GHz. ®
Mike Magee, 15 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

Symbol deal gives Intel IP bridgehead in wireless LANs

At first glance Intel's $100 million investment in Symbol Technologies yesterday looks like one of those impenetrably dull moves Intel's networking people make every now and again, and that sane people try not to notice. Symbol's a barcode outfit, right? Well yes, but it's been up to a lot of other stuff recently too, and while some of it's still pretty barcode-related, it could result in some intriguing products from the Intel deal. The two present their alliance in eminently snoozeworthy terms. They're going to develop "wireless high-speed local area networking (LAN) technologies. The technology will help allow mobile, handheld and desktop computers to communicate with both corporate networks and the Internet without requiring a direct wire connection." They'll develop silicon, adapter cards and wireless access points, using 802.11 wireless networking and operating at 2.4 and 5.2 GHz, and Intel intends to use the deal to accelerate its development of high-speed, low-cost wireless LAN chipsets for incorporation in other products. Now it got a little bit interesting there, didn't it? Symbol knows quite a bit about this area, and the two companies will each be getting equal rights in perpetuity to IP generated by the alliance. Intel also gets the option to buy "under certain circumstances," which aren't specified, an unspecified portion of Symbol's wireless division. Intel is quite clearly tooling up to mount its Chipzilla act in the wireless LAN arena, and we're looking forward to asking why this doesn't conflict with its Bluetooth efforts. Symbol meanwhile has some cute stuff on the go. There are wireless portable barcode scanners that shoppers can use to compile their shopping lists (we're not sure if we like this one, considering it means you have to actually go to the shop every now and again, rather than just use the Web), and in addition to the ruggedised industrial barcode scanning devices, we have a rather neat looking CE palm-sized PC device with, sorry, built in barcode scanner. ®
John Lettice, 15 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

Yu rips opens Willamette kimono

Intel Developer Forum Senior Intel VP Albert Yu has outlined Intel's roadmap for the rest of the year and promised that by next year, millions of Willamette processors will ship. By the end of the year, 100s of thousands of Willamettes will be available, said Yu. Earlier, during chairman Andy Grove's speech, Yu had demonstrated a system running at 1.5GHz, and showed a small chip which he said was a Willamette. Yu said that Willamettte will use a 400MHz system bus, use Screaming Sindie 2, which will allow 128 bits (2 x 64) to be used by the floating point unit. The integer arithmetical logic unit (ALU) runs at twice the clock speed allowing for higher clock speeds, said Yu. Willamette is optimised for the Rambus platform. The encryption abilities of the Willamette Screaming Sindie II will also provide more security, said Yu. The system bus is similar to the P6m using a 3.2Gbps transfer rate, he said. He said that Intel had now five fabs running "full blast" on .18 micron and that this would rise to six fabs in the second half of this year. Yu also outlined details of other Intel introductions during the first and the latter half of this year. Celerons will move completely to .18 micron technology by the first half of this year and achieve speeds of 600MHz. The Pentium III Coppermines, both desktop and Xeon, will rise to 900MHz by the end of the second quarter, and greater than 1GHz with 256K cache in the second half of this year. Celerons will use the i810 chipset until the middle of the year, and in the second half of the year will have clock speeds exceeding 700MHz and use the 810e and the 815 chipsets. Yu said: "We'll introduce Timna in the second half of this year. Timna is designed for sub $600 value PCs." The Timna will have integrated memory controller, graphics and cache. It will start off by using synchronous DRAM. In the second half of this year, mobile Pentium III procesors will exceed 850MHz and use Solano 2 and 440ZX chipsets. ®
Mike Magee, 15 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

AMD elaborates on MP plans

AMD Developer Forum The Register took time out this morning to wander down to AMD's suite at the Palm Springs Hilton and gaze at the Thunderbird systems on show. But the system AMD was showing only clocked 1.1GHz, although we gained some interesting info about the chip company's strategy for multiprocessing. The Thunderbird has integrated cache, and although Mark Bode, division marketing manager of the Athlon product would not be drawn on the size, it is reasonable to suppose that the first iteration will arrive with 256K on die. Further, Bode said: "This will provide a bump in the architecture from the performance perspective and it will be competitive with both Willamette and Coppermine. It's full speed on die cache at full core speed." Systems are likely to be on display at this June's Computex show in old Taipei. Mustang, as we already know, will offer far larger cache sizes. He said that AMD will continue to maintain competitive on clock speeds and performance, and said that multiprocessing systems using dual Athlons at 200MHz were likely to appear in the second half of the year. These machines will not be shown at the up-and-coming mammoth trade show, CeBIT. The chip set for the dual Athlon systems is, as we knew, designed by AMD in cooperation with API, which offers Alpha microprocessors and chipsets, and will use Hotrail technology. It is a subset of API's Tsunami chipset. But AMD seems to be taking a more pragmatic approach with Sledgehammer, its 64-bit processor due in 2001. Bode said that the part will not be targeted simply at the corporate environment, but will bridge both that and the consumer marketplace. ®
Mike Magee, 15 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

Intel elaborates on Sun Solaris spat

Intel Developer Forum While Intel was polite about Sun's future participation in the Itanium programme this morning, behind the scenes we understand that senior execs at the chip giant are livid at Scott McNealy's firm. Paul Otellini, a senior VP at Intel US, said this morning that his company would continue with its contractual arrangements over Solaris on the Itanium platform. But behind the calm face, insiders at Intel were telling The Register a rather different story. Sun is and has been very lukewarm about porting Solaris to the Itanium (Merced) platform and wants whole-hearted participation in the programme. Sun's contribution to the party, however, has angered senior executives at Intel, who have seen other OS partners, including the Project Monterey folk, the Trillian people and Microsoft engage with Itanium in a committed fashion. So far, there seems to have been little or no response to the spat from Sun, but you can bet what's going on behind the scenes there, and at the corporate offices of NCR and Siemens, which were relying on Scott McNeally's firm to deliver solutions for them. It is a very unseemly row, isn't it? ® See also Solaris for Itanium looking dead flakey
Mike Magee, 15 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

Will Intel's Timna be a graphics turnoff?

Intel Developer Forum When Intel's system-on-a-chip part, Timna, is introduced, it will be incorporated in sub-$600 devices but will include a subset of the 810 graphics capabilities. And there's no way this solution, which hasn't appealed to many people because of its limited functionality, can be tweaked to switch the graphics function off, Intel confirmed today. The inclusion of 810 graphics capability is also unlikely to appeal wildly to a number of third party graphics chip firms, which already feel that their margins are super slim and their market is over competitive. Intel, however, maintains that any lack of graphics capabilities in low price machines using the Timna will not matter. Hmm. We wonder. Wasn't there a company called Cyrix which attempted to come up with a bright idea a bit similar to this and couldn't sell the parts because of their limited functionality? ®
Mike Magee, 15 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

Rambus share price goes absolutely crackers

Intel Developer Forum Shares in Rambus Ink soared by over $40 on US markets today but no-one can exactly understand why. Intel fired up a 1.5GHz Willamette at its bi-annual jamboree earlier today, confirming details of its throughput revealed here a fortnight ago. But Willamette, despite the synchronisation of its bus speed suiting Rambus memory perfectly, will not exclusively use chipsets which just support that memory standard. Paul Otellini, senior VP at Intel US, is on record as saying today that the company will offer both synchronous memory and Rambus in future chipsets, depending on what the market -- that is its PC customers -- want. The air-cooled demonstration of Willamette gave no clue as to whether or not the first iteration will clock at 1.5GHz. Demonstrations of Itanium technology here at the show are believed to show the IA-64 architecture clocking between 450MHz and 500MHz. One US distributor at the show today told The Register: "I cannot understand why the share price has risen so high. My business, in the last three months now has the [AMD] Athlon at over 50 per cent. Most of the reasons why the business has fallen off are because of problems with the i820 (Caminogate) chipset." Roadmaps we saw at an AMD suite earlier this morning show no sign of Rambus looming on its roadmap in the next 18 months. The Rambus share price currently stands at close to $152, while it was hovering below $100 just a few days ago. ® *Register FactOid 820. Hyundai Electronics does not know how many RIMMs it is making this year, or whether DIMMs will outsell RIMMs.
Mike Magee, 15 Feb 2000