25th > February > 2002 Archive

E-marketplaces get cold shoulder in Europe

European companies are choosing to sell direct to businesses online rather than experiment with alternative means such as e-marketplaces and e-procurement systems, according to a report from research house International Data Corp. Only 10% of the 600 companies it surveyed said they used e-marketplaces. According to Mikael Arnbjerg, program manager for IDC's European B2B and e-Marketplaces research, this is partly because there are still several e-marketplaces to choose from in each industry, and users have been cautious about selecting one in case it collapses or is acquired at a later date. Indeed, organizations have been slow to experiment with new web technologies, such as electronic payments, and are opting instead to use their existing systems and investments. However, satisfaction remains high among users of B2B e-commerce, despite the fact that only 35% of those selling online are making a profit or breaking even from online sales channels. Instead, they are using the experience to gain familiarity with the technology, enter new markets, and meet new clients. © Computerwire.com. All rights reserved.
ComputerWire, 25 Feb 2002

Commission calls for Euro push on IPv6

The European Commission has called on member states to do more to propagate uptake of IPv6 in the EU. The need for widespread adoption of the latest version of the internet protocol is essential before 2005 when existing IPv4 addressing is expected to run out of space, the EC said in its latest Communication: "IPv6 Priorities for Action". The EC said it is satisfied that European research and development is staying abreast of IP issues, but said that this technological commitment now needs to be matched by the political will to raise awareness of IPv6 issues, and to drive creation and adoption of standards based on IPv6. The diminishing capacity of IPv4's address structure is a global concern, but the Europeans are particularly concerned by the problem, since it holds the potential to cramp development of wireless device development and 3G telephony. These are areas where the EC believes the EU has a leadership position that could be threatened if anything is allowed to slow the momentum behind mobile technology and service roll-out. © Computerwire.com. All rights reserved.
ComputerWire, 25 Feb 2002
server room

iAnywhere Sharp deal gives Linux PDAs boost

iAnywhere Solutions Inc may have inadvertently provided a major shot in the arm for Linux-based PDAs through a tie up with electronics giant Sharp Electronics Corp. The relationship will see the Sybase mobile subsidiary working with the Japanese electronics giant to encourage developers to build Java-based enterprise applications for Sharp's Linux-powered Zaurus SL-5500 PDA using the iAnywhere m-Business platform, writes Tony Cripps. Interested members of both companies' developer communities are set to gain numerous benefits from the partnership. Most notably, the benefits include $99 membership of Sybase's SQL Anywhere Studio Subscription Program, providing some $2,000 worth of tools in the shape of the SQL Anywhere Studio mobile database and synchronization products. Members will also have access to discounted Zaurus developer units, sample application code, white papers and development tips and tricks. The relationship is not the first of its kind that iAnywhere has initiated - similar programs have in the past been undertaken with iAnywhere investor Casio and Symbol Technologies - but it is certainly the most interesting. The fact that Sharp's Zaurus is the first mainstream PDA to be powered by an embedded form of the open-source operating system (in this case Lineo Inc's Embedix Linux flavor with a GUI created using Trolltech AS's Qt application framework) looks more than simply a side issue given the perceived high status of the iAnywhere products among the many wireless enterprise infrastructure alternatives. Despite having long lost its position as a major player in enterprise databases, iAnywhere undoubtedly holds a strong suit of cards in the embedded database space. Indeed, its product is frequently leveraged by enterprise application vendors such as Siebel Systems Inc for wireless extensions to their core products. This enthusiasm appears also to be shared by rival vendors. For instance, in a recent interview with ComputerWire, Said Mohammadioun, CEO and chairman of Synchrologic Corp said he believed iAnywhere's products were second only (naturally) to his own company's offerings in terms of functionality and provide its major competition. With these factors in mind, Sybase's decision to openly back what is currently a peripheral platform for PDAs, whether or not the decision is principally concerned with Java application development, may provide a strong basis for Linux to invade the corporate handheld market, currently dominated by Palm OS- and Pocket PC-based devices. Linux has so far failed to make much impression on the PDA world to date, with few dedicated Linux-based terminals. Instead, PDA users wishing to make use of the open source software have instead had to replace the device's existing operating system. The Microsoft Pocket PC-powered Compaq iPaq is probably the PDA of choice for this surgery. © Computerwire.com. All rights reserved.
ComputerWire, 25 Feb 2002

Cutting edge P2P, crypto comes to your PC

CodeConCodeCon The wonderful CodeCon conference that took place in San Francisco last weekend is now available as an audio stream. And in keeping with the true hackish nature of the event, the audio stream is a cross-platform DIY project in its own right. CodeCon gathered together much of the most interesting bleeding-edge R&D work on distributed networks and crypto, and we'll give you a few pointers on where to move your WinAmp dial below. Probably what made this grassroots conference so enthralling was the absence of people who talk about stuff, and an abundance of people who do stuff. This is in marked contrast to the O'Reilly P2P conference exactly a year ago, which no self-respecting blog giant (hi Dave!) or media pundit could afford to miss. Such folk were conspicuous by their absence at CodeCon. On the other hand, we did get to hang out with Captain Crunch, which was a treat beyond compare. Instead, there were precisely three hacks in consistent attendance. Annalee Newitz, who writes the terrific Techsploitation column for the Bay Guardian and the San Jose Metro; Danny O'Brien, whose natty precis of the event tops this week's NTK, and your own humble scribe. So if you were one of the creme de la creme of cryptographers present, you had no fear of Declan creeping up behind you to take your picture. Phew! So the MP3 stream is here, but visually, you're not missing much, if you can conjure up the Hacienda-like ambience of Jamie Zawinski's DNA Lounge. This is the Hacienda, but without the Gay Traitor bar and the Moston scallies. And the DNA Lounge has the coldest toilet seats in town - they're made of steel. (But it's still open.) Although the organizers promised only working-demos, most of the demos didn't um, actually work. Most nearly worked, and in some cases were compiling before our very eyes - an authenticity trip that's hard to beat - but that didn't make them any less engaging. So for nuggets we recommend the following. The important thing to remember is that the three day sessions are divided into four hour chunks. The bit where Eric Hughes confesses to posting the RC4 code anonymously onto the cypherpunks list back in 1995 takes place nine hours in. The most "rock and roll" event, the details of Peek-A-Booty, takes place an hour later. Neglected but no less intriguing, is the Invisible IRC Project by 0x90. He's got a stream of the session itself, a 5MB download here. IIP has a three-tier approach, and looks and smells like an IRC network but has a fundamentally different approach: it rotates the keys constantly. 0x90 reckons it "can be used to do anything." If you've got a Windows, Mac OS X, Linux or BSD box you can download working code. Tell us your results, because the transparency of today's IRC keeps us away from using it as much as we would like. The other show-stopper is Jonathan Moore's ad-hoc 802.11 network project, Wiki Wiki Wan. Now the benefits of such spontaneous wireless networks are obvious, but hacking one together isn't easy, as it runs counter to how networks are put together. Did you say "packet collision"? Imagine two nodes both transmitting at once. Neither is currently set up to detect collision, so this is a major hurdle the Wiki Wiki Wan project is tackling. Surprisingly DNS is less of a problem. Jonathan told us that "it's not solved, but DNSis not necessary" in such a configuration. The bones of Mojo live on, in Zooko's MNET project, an hour into the stream, and the BitTorrent project. Of course BitTorrent shouldn't exist: we should all be using multicast IP by now, right? But we aren't, and BitTorrent is a neat hack to distribute one to many file shares over today's IP. For random nuggets, you have to listen to the whole stream, which you can assemble here.® Related Stories Censor-buster Peek-A-Booty goes public Freedom Network source code now available Peek-A-Booty to debut at grassroots P2P show
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Feb 2002

Grateful Dead lyricist lambasts DMCA

Grateful Dead lyricist and Electronic Frontier Foundation co-founder John Perry Barlow has denounced the Digital Millenium Copyright Act as likely to turn the Internet into an information desert. Speaking at the RSA Security Conference 2002, in a session entitled "Copyright or Copy Wrong: Digital Millennium Copyright Act Examined," Barlow used the example of the Dead's approach to copyright to illustrate how the free flow of content did not necessarily choke off content availability. Or indeed lead to anarchy, communism, the end of the world and very poor record companies (although he might agree that last one could be a good thing). One of the weird things about the Dead was that they positively encouraged fans to tape their concerts and share the tapes around, so in that sense they provided an early blueprint for some of the more radical ideas that are kicking around today. And in some other senses, if Barlow were not an EFF founder, aspects of the EFF would still be kind of 'based on an idea by...' The Register however has no recollection of being positively encouraged to share tapes of Dead records around, and indeed remembers having to save up what at the time a king's ransom for the vinyl of Europe 72 live. Barlow's point that you can share without stifling its availability may or may not be supported by this, depnding on your point of view. You could argue that we're now in a different world, where the relatively clear-cut difference between live and studio (or packaged) material doesn't exist as it did in the Dead's time. Or you could argue that Linux distributors are actually doing something similar by building on something that's freely-available. If nothing else, the argument that you can still make money out of it will cheer them up. Barlow argues that it's a matter of ethics, that Dead fans didn't sell the bootleg tapes the Dead encouraged because they were encouraged. But maybe it was because they were free, and therefore there wasn't a market price, or maybe it was just because they were hippy weirdos. In any event, there were the beginnings of a revolutionary idea in there, and it's one that becomes more revolutionary when it comes to new media. You can find out more about Barlow, his career and his thinking here. But if you want Dead lyrics jokes, as only two people noticed last time we did it, this time we're not going to even draw. Shucks... ®
John Lettice, 25 Feb 2002

No prisoners: Intel unwraps SMT Xeon

IDFIDF Even by its standards, Intel has prepped an aggressive roll-out of its SMT multi-threaded processors across its server line, beginning right about now. Xeon is the first mainstream processor to incorporate SMT (simultaneous multi threading), although the technique was nurtured with the Alpha EV8, which as we now know, will never see the light of day. We first confirmed that Intel's Jackson project was slightly more than a skunkworks sideline here, last February in fact. The wheeze was pioneered by Burton Smith in some pioneering Cray machines, but it's Dean Tulsen, who coined the expression SMT, who can take the credit for nurturing it into mainstream processors. Dean worked with DEC in 1994 and 1995, when DEC was thinking about next generation processors. SMT, or in Zilla-speak, "HyperThreading", is an approach to increasing parallelism that makes a processor appear as two CPUs to the operating system. It adds about ten per cent to the die, but using virtual registers, can increase the throughput significantly. How much? Intel says roughly 30 per cent, but the Alpha designers were far more optimistic with their SMT Alphas. What's interesting is that Intel isn't putting a price premium on this bounty. SMT will be everywhere in Xeonland. There won't be a Xeon without SMT, in fact. Beginning today, the P7 Xeons with 200Mhz DDR technology, with 512k cache, and using the E7400 chipset will sell for $251 for the 1.8Ghz version, $417 for the 2Ghz version, and $615 at the top end 2.2Ghz chip. Intel reckons this can add up to a 89 per cent improvement in web performance over a 1Ghz Xeon. In days gone by, Intel used to introduce high-end technologies at a leisurely pace, and sit back and watch the orders roll in, as it could bank on the demand for the high-margin debutantes. But the SMT roll-out obsoletes the current Xeons in one spectacular sweep, and is particularly aggressive, even for Intel. Intel's execution on its server line has been pretty consistently good, too, and whether there's a market left for AMD and low-end RISCs such as Jalapeno in a year's time, we'll see. Those guys need to show us real chips, and real numbers, real soon now, to convince there's a pulse. ® Related Stories Project Jackson - why SMT is the joker in the the chip pack Intel's Jackson will offer 2 chips for 1
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Feb 2002

Big Brother award nominees pile in

UpdatedUpdated The great and the good, when it comes to privacy invasion, have been "honoured" for their efforts to mess up life for the rest on us online. Privacy International has shortlisted the UK government agencies, civil servants, companies and initiatives which have done most to invade personal privacy for its fourth annual "Big Brother" awards. Sir Richard Wilson, the Cabinet Secretary, earns a nomination as worst civil servant "for his long standing commitment to opposing freedom of information, data protection and ministerial accountability". He's also up for a "lifetime menace award". Home Secretary David Blunkett, for his patronage of the proposed national ID card and Michael Cashman MEP, for his opposition in the European Parliament to controls over email spam, are also up for consideration as worst public servant. In the companies category The Countryside Alliance, for holding data on (among many other categories) sexual, political, religious, health, intelligence and lifestyle information on a vast range of individuals, is also up for a gong. The Internet Watch Foundation and Norwich Union, for "using unapproved genetic tests for potentially fatal diseases when assessing whether to offer life cover", are also in the running. But PI seems to have goofed as far as Norwich Union is concerned. Norwich Union have been in touch with us to say that the nomination is based on the “false allegation that we ask for unapproved genetic tests to be carried out”. It said that Norwich Union has always complied with the Association of British Insurers (ABI) Code of Practice on genetic testing and that it does not ask for a genetic test. In May last year, the ABI issued a press release which said that “insurers will extend their existing moratorium on the use of genetic test results. For the time being, they will not ask for any genetic test results from applicants for insurance policies up to £300,000.” Among the projects attracting the opprobrium of Privacy International is The National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS), for its proposal to archive and warehouse all email, internet and telephone call traffic records. Brickbats were also thrown at the Electoral Reform Society for the way it plans to introduce electronic voting which provides "woefully scant assessment of the substantial privacy and security threats", according to Privacy International. The Department of Education and Skills, for creating a student tracking system, The Internet Watch Foundation and (naturally) the Home Office are nominated in the most heinous government organisation category. If you think Privacy International has missed a worthy candidate for consideration, there's an opportunity to submit nominations. The awards will be judged by a panel of experts, comprising lawyers, academics, consultants, journalists and civil rights activists prior to an awards ceremony at the London School of Economics on March 4. The awards aren't all doom and gloom. Privacy International will also present awards - Winstons - to organisations and individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the protection of privacy. The name Winston, of course, comes from the hero of George's Orwell's seminal work on totalitarianism 1984, which also gave the world the phrase "Big Brother". You can find more details on the events and the nominations here. ® Related stories Biometric passports for Brits - by 2006 Big Brother Award nomination for WPA, Passport pains MS NSA and FBI big winners at Big Brother awards Bosses are snooping on 27 million workers worldwide The solution to RIP, email sackings and Big Brother Definitive list of 'dangerous' Big Brother spin-offs revealed! External links Privacy International
John Leyden, 25 Feb 2002

Steve Gibson invents broken SYNcookies

He dares to call it "GENESIS" (Gibson's ENcryption-Enhanced Spoofing Immunity System). He dares to call it "Beautiful and Perfect." It's the product of "Three Key Innovations" for which he takes credit and which culminate in an "Encrypted Token," which is another way of saying a "SYNcookie", a quite useful thing developed by Dan Bernstein and Eric Schenk back in 1996. He dares to claim "immunity" from SYN floods. Only Steve Gibson's lame knockoff is dangerously broken. What it is A SYN flood is a DoS attack in which server resources, not bandwidth, are stressed. It fakes the initial handshake of a TCP connection with spoofed IPs which the target machine is unable to answer, so the target machine allocates system resources in anticipation of a connection which is never completed. Re-tries and time-outs add up to perhaps three minutes per bogus SYN. A server's capacity to respond to legitimate requests can be devoured in a matter of seconds with very small packets. Only four or five compromised client machines can cripple a server; in this way it's a fiendishly economical attack. The handshake is simple: a client initiates with a SYN (synchronize) packet; the server replies with a SYN/ACK (synchronize/acknowledge) packet; and the client finalizes with an ACK (acknowledge) packet. If these steps are followed, a TCP connection is established between the two. GENESIS attempts to negotiate the handshake without allocating system resources until the client's IP can be verified. This is a common-sense approach, essential to SYNcookies as well. But SYNcookies were worked out over time by people who, unlike Gibson, have a solid grasp of TCP/IP and the machines it connects. Even so, it took time and collaboration, and intellectual modesty, to get all the kinks ironed out. Unfortunately Gibson is so infatuated with the self-created myth of his own genius that he can't be bothered to consult Bernstein and Schenk, or anyone else for that matter, but goes it alone, inspired only by his overweening pride and essential incompetence. Of course his "Beautiful and Perfect" creation is going to be sadly defective. How could it be otherwise? One Reg reader who wishes to remain anonymous believes that GENESIS is more than a mere failure, but actually worse than no SYN protection at all. It was this person who originally brought the GENESIS project to our attention, and s/he's offered some very insightful observations. How it's done Put simply, authenticating a TCP connection request requires the server to encrypt some aspect(s) of the client's and the server's status so as to ensure that the final ACK comes from the same source as the original SYN (pun fully intended). Data such as the client's ISN (Initial Sequence Number), originating IP and port, MSS (Maximum Segment Size), and the server's IP and port, can be hashed to produce a server ISN which must be available for decoding in the final ACK packet. If the arithmetic fails, the ACK is rejected and no resources are devoted to the bogus connection. If it works out, a connection is made. Old cookies absolutely need to expire so they can't be reused; and old sequence numbers need to be identifiable so that they don't get mixed up with those belonging to a newer connection. Something unique ('secret') needs to be plugged into the hash so that cookies valid for one server can't be used on another, and so that valid ISNs can't be guessed or bruteforced easily. Broken Anyone who reads Bernstein and Schenk's correspondence linked above will see that authenticating a SYN request is no trivial matter. There are a number of obstacles, but Gibson manages to overcome only one of them. Yes, he does manage to deal with the problem of disembodied sequence numbers, so that out-of-date numbers aren't carried over to complicate packet reconstruction on a new connection. But Gibson is silent on the rest of the issues Bernstein and Schenk have labored to solve. First, he offers no means to cause a cookie (or "Encrypted Token," as he prefers to call it), to expire. A valid cookie can be used to establish a connection. A lot of valid cookies can be used to establish a lot of connections. Perhaps Gibson is unfamiliar with the term 'packet sniffer.' Too bad. We'll just sit back and watch the kiddies gather up zillions of his broken SYNcookies to use against the fools who trust him. Second, he ignores MSS. It's hard to achieve decent performance without knowing it. Third, he doesn't use a secret, which means that valid ISNs can be bruteforced and valid ACKs generated -- and abused. Fourth, he uses RC5, which is slower than MD5 used in SYNcookies -- another performance hit (just in case his gross security sloppiness didn't already frighten you away). Pants on fire Gibson dares to pretend that he'd never heard of SYNcookies when he set off in quest of beauty and perfection. "Immediately after I posted the second part of this work to the Web, several participants in the news groups at grc.com reported that similar work had been done before. I was unaware of previous work in this area, and consequently developed my solution independently and without the benefit of any previous work," Steve claims. I don't believe a word of it. I think he deliberately set out to knock-off SYNcookies and simply failed because the work was too difficult. He's not an übergeek; he just plays one on his Web site. I did a Google search and turned up more than 7,000 Web pages with the terms 'SYNcookies' or 'SYN cookies'. This guy is hacking TCP, yet he never once encountered a single mention of it? Impossible. No human being could have his head that far up his own ass -- not even Steve Gibson. ®
Thomas C Greene, 25 Feb 2002

IBM unveils ‘fastest’ IC at 110GHz

IBM says it has created the world's fastest semiconductor circuit, one that operates at speeds of more than 110GHz. The technology, called SiGe 8HP, uses the latest silicon germanium (SiGe) chip-making technology, and will be made available to telecommunications equipment manufacturers. The first chips built using SiGe 8HP building blocks are expected to appear later this year. High speed, low power circuits generally use gallium arsenide and indium phosphide materials but IBM reckons what SiGe offers is better suited for top of the line communications chips because it uses less power. Compared to pure silicon chips, SiGe provides increased integration capabilities, enabling designers to pack more function onto a single chip, resulting in speed, power, cost and weight savings. Market research firm IC Insights estimates that SiGe sales totalled $320 million in 2001 and are projected to grow to about $2.7 billion by 2006. IBM had an 80 per cent stake in the market during 2001, IC Insights reports. IBM's SiGe technology has found its way into RF components in cellular handsets, Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) chipsets, high speed test and measurement equipment, and chipsets for optical data transmission systems. ® Related stories IBM preps 210GHz chip technology Intel preps transistor for 20GHz+ CPUs How many Itaniums can you fit on the head of a pin? Scientists tune in to molecule-sized transistors
John Leyden, 25 Feb 2002
DVD it in many colours

HP touts advances in self-healing to trump IBM

Hewlett-Packard fortified its mid-range server offering with the introduction today of an 8-way server, the rp7410. To support dynamic partitioning and maximise server usage, the rp7410 uses technology from HP's top of the range Superdome, which was introduced into the mid-range Unix market with the 16-way rp8400, last September. The rp7410, which occupies 10 rack units (four servers in a standard two-meter rack), is configured with up to eight PA-8700 processors at 650 or 750 MHz running HP-UX11I and up to 32GB in memory. The server is being positioned as a platform for e-business and enterprise applications within corporates, mid-market companies and service providers. To differentiate its product in the fiercely competitive (and lucrative) mid-range market, HP argues that it has superior self-healing and redundancy features to its competitors'. IBM has made much of Project Eliza's drive towards self-healing, self-managing computers but "HP is implementing ideas IBM is just talking about for now", Jon Jacobs, HP's mid-range marketing manager in EMEA, told us. According to HP's technical bumph, the rp7410 offers processor hot-standby, business application integration with HP MC/Serviceguard clustering software and electrically isolated hardware partitions. The partitioning is a first for HP in 8-way servers, and will be followed with software partitioning features by September. The rp7410 also boasts self-healing cache, processor hot failover and chip kill technologies. Hot-plug cell boards make it easier to upgrade. Thomas Ullrich, Unix category manager at HP, said since the mid-range Unix market is a "strong profit contributor" the rp7410 is a "safe" investment regardless of what happens with the proposed acquisition of Compaq by HP. Like other servers in HP's Unix fold, the rp7410 roadmap looks towards eventual use of processors based on Intel's Itanium architecture. HP remains sanguine about that approach, despite the industry's lukewarm reception to the first Itanic boxes. "McKinley is a proof point and, like the introduction of Windows NT, with two to three years traction in the market it'll be proved as a proven platform for 64-bit computing," Ullrich said. As usual with server launches, HP cited analyst estimates (33.7 per cent share of the mid-range Unix market, according to IDC) and benchmarks to back up its rhetoric of leadership in the mid-range market. The HP Server rp7410 hits 84,600 Java operations per second in the SPECjbb2000 benchmark, or 16.8 per cent better than the 8-way IBM P660-6M1 system and 35.4 percent better than the 12-way Sun 6800, according to HP. For technical applications, the rp7410 delivered a top score of 49.9 on SPEC CINT2000 rate and 36.8 on SPEC CFP2000 rate, or 22.6 per cent and 44.6 per cent faster than the IBM P660-6M1 and Sun 3800 mid-range UNIX servers, respectively. Available now, the HP Server rp7410 has an estimated US list price starting at $69,000. HP also is offering qualified customers pay-per-use options, along with other financing packages, and is extending its HP Instant Capacity on Demand program to include memory in addition to the CPU to customers investing in the rp7410. ® External links HP Server rp7410 technical rundown Related Stories HP adds 8700 to low-end Unix kit HP parades the PA-RISC 8700 HP fills out in the mid-range HP's Blade strategy isn't so dense eLiza asks: what makes you say you want a self-healing server? Quite Big Iron - new baby IBM mainframe HP looks beyond Superdome 'sabotage' Sun shows off mainframe chasing 106 chip StarCat SunFire servers to trash HP by Friday, says McNealy Sun debuts UltraSPARC III and embraces copper Server sales down 20% in 2001, may be up in 2002 - IDC
John Leyden, 25 Feb 2002

HP puts clear blue water between McKinley, Itanic Mk1

IDFIDF When we spoke to Jim Carlson, HP's IA-64 chief on Friday, we also got treated to an all-star line up of engineers from its chipset division. Andrew Wheeler, who heads up the R&D at the chipset division, and Jim Brokish talked us through the new chipset design. Real kit based on the zx1 (for Brits of a certain age, it's sooo hard not to slip an '8' between the x and the 1, there) won't appear until the summer. But the zx1 is the first detailed McKinley chipset to streak into public view. The zx1 has an integrated I/O controller (the zx1 ioa) that handles AGP-4X, PCI and PCI-X. The memory controller (zx1 sme) talks to 200Mhz DDR, with a 4.3 GB/s throughout. There are eight I/O channels. The fourway version of the chipset uses four of these for two PCI-X 133 buses, and the remainder for PCI-X 66. The two-way version opts for an AGP bus in place of one of the PCI-X buses. The single-processor chipset divvies six channel between the AGP bus (two), the PCI-X 133 (two) and two PCI-66 buses. HP claims a slightly lower throughput of 3 GB/s for the single processor version. "Only data transfers from the processor cache to I/O appear on the processor bus," says Andrew. "That minimizes the traffic: all other DMA transfers are kept off the bus." "Some chipsets take advantage of DMA off the bus, but we're sensitive to performance and cost. We attach the DIMM buses directly to the chipset." "Our product strategy is to run through the low-end RISC and then the midrange, then high-end," explains Carlson. So zx1 has been built with price performance as an important consideration. But HP still expects trials to continue for some time. "We expect interest from the public sector - particularly in simulation and modeling. And for Linux clusters. For another year people will say 'I want to put this in a pilot that mimics a business process. Or add some to existing web server farms'". HP says it's already taken an order for the zx1-based McKinleys, but can't say who. ®
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Feb 2002

HP tackles Yamhill questions

IDFIDF Yamhill is one of many projects intended to give life to x86, HP's Jim Carlson tells us, but it leaves breathing room for Itanium. Yamhill is Intel's skunkworks effort to add 64bit instructions to the x86 line. Jim is product marketing chief for IA-64 at HP, and IA-64 is Intel's multi-billion dollar, long-term successor to x86. But Jim didn't flinch from tackling our Yamhill questions head on. "Yamhill is where Intel is working on the IA-32 line; they expect to have good returns for 8-10 years; they have 6 or 7 projects to give the IA-32 line a long life." "They may do Yamhill if AMD becomes a threat to them - they're very paranoid," he says. But Xeons are already giving low-end RISC a good run for its money, and the SMT Xeons turn up the heat considerably. Jim agrees. " IA32 will provide a phenomenal value proposition - for a decade - but the high end is where Intel is trying to get into, that's the focus, and a Yamhill extension doesn't provide that the reliability and scaling that IA-64 offers. That's built into IA-64. IPF is already 64 bits; you can plug-it in down the road; the 64bitness is already there." "If you're trying to get in on the front-end of a process, then you're investment is diminishing returns." Jim was speaking to us about the new McKinley zx1 chipset, which we cover here and which recommend you read, because it does suggest HP is going to price the McKinleys aggressively. And for the confirmation that if the IA-64 business takes off, it isn't going to be a box-shifting economy. Or at least not without a fight without the good folks at HP. ®
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Feb 2002

The Register Comes to the US

Today we officially launch a North American version of The Register for our 700,000 readers in the US and Canada. It's at a different URL - www.theregus.com in partnership with Tom's Hardware Guide. So please adjust your bookmarks. It's just like The Register UK in style and (mostly) content - only without so many stories about BT and UK broadband. We will also be running stories that Americans may find more interesting than their European counterparts. So in answer to questions from many of you who have found the Register USA in recent weeks - The Register USA is not a mirror - but a site with its very own identity. So what's the deal with Tom's Hardware? It's very simple - we will be handling the content, while THG, which has established a huge audience in the US will look after the publishing. Here is the official press release, issued today. Tom's Hardware Guide to Publish The Register USA Date 25/02/02, Carpinteria, CA, US: The Register, Europe’s biggest online IT news service, is coming to the US, through a joint venture with Tom’s Hardware Guide (www.tomshardware.com), the world’s biggest hardware technology site. The Register USA, www.TheRegUS.com, will deliver witty, irreverent, hard-hitting IT reporting, just like its British parent, but targeted specifically at North America. The Register currently has a monthly base of 700,000 North American readers and anticipates rapid expansion through the backing of Tom’s Guides Publishing LLC, publisher of Tom’s Hardware Guide, and now publisher of The Register USA. "We are very excited about our partnership with The Register," says Omid Rahmat, general manager, Tom’s Guides Publishing LLC. "As the technology industry matures, tech savvy readers are looking for more depth, more insight, and reporting that cuts through the technology market hype. The Register delivers the kind of hard hitting, cutting edge reporting that a technology audience demands." Linus Birtles, managing director of The Register, says: "We have seen continued growth in our US readership which now gives us the opportunity to deliver a site targeted at our North American audience. In partnership with Tom's Guides Publishing we will continue to broaden our services and content to a North American audience." About The Register The Register began life as an occasional free email newsletter in 1994. It turned into an occasional Web publication in 1997 and became a full-time IT news publication in 1998. The Register is the UK’s biggest online IT publication, but it also has a worldwide reach – 1.6 million readers surfing through 23 million pages a month. About Tom’s Guide’s Publishing Tom’s Guides Publishing is the publisher of Tom’s Hardware Guide, www.tomshardware.com. Tom’s Hardware Guide has grown consistently since 1996 from a hobby site to becoming the leading resource on the Web for computer hardware reviews, news, and information. The website, the brainchild of Dr. Thomas Pabst, has risen from its humble origins to become a powerful force in the PC hardware industry, with operations in the US, Europe and Asia. As of January 2002, Tom's Hardware Guide had achieved over 42 million page impressions and attracted an audience of 2.3 million unique visitors per month in North America, making it the most popular independent hardware website in the world. The site draws a high volume of high-quality readers who are early adopters and enthusiasts of technology products. Tom's Hardware Guide continues to attract thousands of new readers every month. In addition to www.tomshardware.com, Tom’s Guides Publishing publishes sites in several other languages (German, French, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Polish and Hungarian). Contacts Shannon Kelley Tom's Guides Publishing LLC 410 Palm Avenue Unit A-15 Carpinteria, CA 93013 www.tomshardware.com tel: 805.745.8028 fax: 805.745.8098
Drew Cullen, 25 Feb 2002

Sun to charge for StarOffice (Linux and Windows)

Sun Microsystems is to charge for Linux and Windows versions of the StarOffice suite with the launch of the next version of the office productivity suite in May. According to Hesse Online, only a Solaris version of StarOffice 6.0 will remain freely distributed after the upgrade, and Windows and Linux versions will attract a license fee. The proposed license costs are unclear, and Sun wasn't prepared to talk to us about the issue ahead of the release, but are more or less certain to be much lower than Microsoft charges for Windows - Sun would be cutting its own throat otherwise. The news isn't as bad as it may first seem. For one thing, Sun is promising better support will be available if it charges royalties and charging money might encourage corporates to take StarOffice more seriously. Secondly, OpenOffice Community Edition - which is similar to StarOffice but shorn of useful extras such as a data base - will remain free from OpenOffice.org and third-party sites. However, Sun risks putting the nose of Linux developers out of joint by charging for the Linux version. Sun recently committed to developing its own Linux distribution, so it'll be interesting to watch whether Sun charge for StarOffice 6.0 on that platform... ® Related Stories Danish local govt. rebels against MS license terms Sun embraces x86 in Linux overture Sun unveils kinder, gentler StarOffice (beta release) Open sourced StarOffice 6 vapes download site StarOffice creator on the GNOME pact Sun making StarOffice GPL, dumping SCSL?
John Leyden, 25 Feb 2002

Symantec intros 5-in-1 security appliance

Symantec is bundling five security apps into one box. The idea is to make it easier for small businesses and branch offices to manage security risks more efficiently by using a single appliance. And save money. Symantec Gateway Security appliance combines firewall, gateway antivirus software, intrusion detection, content filtering and VPN (virtual private networking) capabilities. It will become available next month. Symantec reckons the one stop shop approach delivers a cheaper total cost of ownership and tighter integration than a best-of-breed assembly of products from different vendors. The company also argues tighter integration is a must to combat today's blended security threats, such as Code Red and Nimda. Symantec is offering three models of the appliance: the 5110, which supports up to 50 nodes; the 5200, which handles up to 250 nodes; and the 5300, which is designed to scale up to 1,000 nodes. These appliances are priced at $11,790, $23,590 and $51,990, respectively, Infoworld reports. Appliances which combine multiple functions are becoming fashionable among networking vendors. This week, ArrayNetworks launched version 3.0 of its ArrayOS software for its hardware appliances, Array 500 and Array 1000 Web Traffic Managers, which combine load balancers, content switches, caches, and SSL accelerators in a single device. ®
John Leyden, 25 Feb 2002