Chris Williams

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Chris is The Register's US bureau chief based in San Francisco, California. He writes about chips and code. You can contact him securely using his public PGP key [ A57B 6DAC 2FDD 335A 4A81 8654 7EF3 24FC 8FF5 C9E7 ] and look him up online at diodesign.co.uk or on Keybase.io or Twitter.

Explo-Xen! Bunker buster bug breaks out guests from hypervisor

Code dive A super-bug in the Xen hypervisor may allow privileged code running in guests to escape to the underlying host. This means, on vulnerable systems, malicious administrators within virtual machines can potentially break out of their confines and start interfering with the host server and other guests. This could be really bad …
Chris Williams, 27 Jul 2016

Citrix's GoTo goes to LogMeIn in $2bn merger

LogMeIn has effectively taken over Citrix's unwanted GoTo business. The merger comes after Citrix axed 1,000 staffers in November and threatened to spin off GoTo. The gobble is worth $1.8bn in shares, and effectively puts remote desktop developer LogMeIn in charge of GoTo, Citrix's remote access and conferencing family. …
Chris Williams, 26 Jul 2016
Far Cry 4 in game at 4K

AMD, Nvidia in pro GPU battle

Rival chip designers AMD and Nvidia continue to fight for dominance in the professional graphics processor market. Here's a summary of what's gone down this week: AMD is cooking up a Radeon Solid State Graphics (SSG) card that has 1TB of M.2 flash memory. It'll be powerful enough to scrub through 8K video at 90 frames per …
Chris Williams, 26 Jul 2016

Official: AMD now stands for Avoiding Miserable Death

AMD fans are over the moon today as their favorite processor designer has sold more chips than expected in the three months to June 25. The Sunnyvale, California, biz beat analysts' estimates on revenue and earnings per share in a billion-dollar quarter that ended in the black rather than the usual red: the Radeon maker banked …
Chris Williams, 21 Jul 2016

The cloud ain't making it rain for Intel right now: Tech giants pause server chip sales

Analysis Intel's stock price fell on Wednesday after it became clear the processor maker is not selling quite as many server processor chips as investors had hoped. The Silicon Valley giant reckons its CPU sales into data centers will hit double-digit growth by the end of the year. So far, with half the year gone, we're staring at mid- …
Chris Williams, 21 Jul 2016

Tor for IoT toothbrushes

If you want to hide your Internet of Things devices within the anonymizing Tor network, there's now a guide here for you to follow. Basically, you run your devices behind a hidden service, keeping them out of sight of internet-scanning miscreants and protecting them with HTTPS encryption. You can find out more from the above …
Chris Williams, 21 Jul 2016
Gigabyte fantasy gaming girls

Gigabyte heads ARM push

Motherboard maker Gigabyte has announced a dozen or so standard rack-mountable server systems powered by Cavium's 64-bit ARMv8-compatible processors. The dual-socket mobos can take ThunderX system-on-chips with up to 48 cores per processor, clocked at up to 2GHz. Each box should be able to take up to 1TB of DDR4 RAM at 2. …
Chris Williams, 20 Jul 2016

Debian: s/Chairman/Chair/g

The Debian Project is considering replacing all instances of "chairman" with "chair" in its constitution – the blueprint that defines the management of the GNU/Linux distribution. Argentinian Debian developer Margarita Manterola, who is also a member of the Debian Women project, proposed the change this month: The Debian …
Chris Williams, 16 Jul 2016
A large hand flicks an icon of a little red man. Image via shutterstock (Lasse Kristensen)

Seagate defrags 14% of workforce: 6,500 axed

Seagate is cutting 6,500 staff, or 14 per cent of its 46,000-strong workforce, across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas. Those losing their jobs will shown the door over the next 12 months; the redundancies will cost the hard drive maker US$164m. These layoffs are on top of the 1,600 heads put at risk at the end …
Chris Williams, 11 Jul 2016
Layout of IBM's four superconducting quantum bit device. Using a square lattice, IBM is able to detect both types of quantum errors for the first time. This is the best configuration to add more qubits to scale to larger systems. (Credit: IBM Research)

Chrome anti-quantum crypto

Google is experimenting with encryption in Chrome that, in theory, cannot be cracked by powerful quantum computers. Today's quantum computers are science experiments, but it is believed future machines – if they ever materialize – will be able to perform the calculations needed to break today's cryptography. With that fear in …
Chris Williams, 07 Jul 2016
Pic by Ilya Schurov, Computerra Weekly

Debian founder Ian Murdock killed himself – SF medical examiner

Debian Linux founder Ian Murdock, who died late last year in strange circumstances, killed himself, according to an autopsy report obtained this week. On the evening of December 28, the 42-year-old fired off a string of increasingly incoherent tweets, claiming he had been beaten up by police officers near his home on Green …
Chris Williams, 07 Jul 2016

Oracle says it is 'committed' to Java EE 8 – amid claims it quietly axed future development

Exclusive Oracle has told The Register it is "committed" to Java amid growing fears the IT giant had all but given up on Java EE – aka Java Platform, Enterprise Edition. The Redwood City titan said it will present fresh plans for the future of Java EE 8 at its JavaOne conference in San Francisco in September. Version eight is due to be …
Chris Williams, 07 Jul 2016

InfiniBand-on-die MIA in Oracle's new 'Sonoma' Sparc S7 processor

Oracle's Sparc S7 processor codenamed Sonoma will not feature on-chip InfiniBand interfaces as expected. The CPU, designed for scale-out systems and revealed in detail by The Register in August, was due to sport an integrated InfiniBand controller capable of shoveling 28GBit/s directly between the processor and other nodes and …
Chris Williams, 29 Jun 2016

Now Intel swings axe at sales, marketing peeps

Intel has turned its axe on sales and marketing staff as part of its ongoing workforce decimation. In April, Chipzilla announced it will lay off 12,000 employees worldwide – roughly one in ten of its 107,000 staffers – over the coming months as it weans itself off the dwindling desktop computer market. People working on doomed …
Chris Williams, 27 Jun 2016

Patch the Pidgin, patch the...

Dastardly security bugs in widely used chat app Pidgin have been discovered and patched. You should grab version 2.11 as it fixes the following exploitable information-leaking and buffer overflow programming blunders, all found by Cisco's Talos crew: CVE-2016-2365 - Pidgin MXIT Markup Command Denial of Service Vulnerability …
Chris Williams, 22 Jun 2016

You're not cool unless you have an app store, apparently. So Docker's building one

DockerCon Docker is sprucing up its container repositories website with fancy steel architecture and floor-to-ceiling plate glass windows to create a corporate-friendly online store. The San Francisco-based startup has gathered more than 100,000 free and open-source applications and services for its Docker Hub from which you can …
Chris Williams, 21 Jun 2016

Intel's Knights Landing lands

Intel's latest Xeon Phi processors for high-performance parallel computer systems are now, finally, shipping in volume. The 14nm chips, which feature eight billion transistors, were already in the hands of Cray, Sandia National Laboratory in the US and a few other boffinry types. Today, our sister site The Next Platform …
Chris Williams, 20 Jun 2016

Fujitsu picks 64-bit ARM for Japan's monster 1,000-PFLOPS super

ISC Fujitsu has signaled it will use 64-bit ARMv8 cores in the whopping exascale supercomputer it's building for Japan's boffins. Back in 2014, the Japanese IT giant was hired by the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science to construct the Flagship 2020 machine – dubbed the Post-K super because it will succeed Japan's K …
Chris Williams, 20 Jun 2016

Docker taps unikernel brains to emit OS X, Windows public betas

DockerCon Docker will kick off its DockerCon 2016 conference in Seattle this morning with a bunch of announcements: its OS X and Windows Docker clients will be made publicly available as beta software for anyone to try out; out-of-the-box orchestration is coming to Docker 1.12; and integration with Amazon's AWS and Microsoft's Azure is in …
Chris Williams, 20 Jun 2016

All aboard the PCIe bus for Nvidia's Tesla P100 supercomputer grunt

ISC Nvidia has popped its Tesla P100 accelerator chip onto PCIe cards for bog-standard server nodes tasked with artificial intelligence and supercomputer-grade workloads. The P100 was unveiled in April at Nvidia's GPU Tech Conference in California: it's a 16nm FinFET graphics processor with 15 billion transistors on a 600mm2 die. …
Chris Williams, 20 Jun 2016

RIP ROP: Intel's cunning plot to kill stack-hopping exploits at CPU level

Intel is pushing a neat technique that could block malware infections on computers at the processor level. That's the 40,000ft view of the new safety mechanism, the details of which were published on Thursday. What's really going on is this: Intel's so-called Control-flow Enforcement Technology (CET) [PDF] attempts to thwart …
Chris Williams, 10 Jun 2016
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Apple App Store adds ads

Apple is making some changes to its App Store ahead of next week's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco. Revenue from an iOS app is split 70-30 with the developer and Apple, respectively. Under the shakeup, that will change to 85-15 after an app's spent its first year in the online store. This will apply to …
Chris Williams, 08 Jun 2016

'MongoDB ate my containers!'

Line Break Welcome back to The Register's weekly software bug parade, Line Break: Season Two. After a hiatus, and a vacation here or there, Line Break has been recommissioned. You can catch up on previous episodes, here. The idea is simple: if you spot buggy code in the wild that's driven you bonkers or to hysterics, drop us a line with …
Chris Williams, 08 Jun 2016
Houses of Parliament in night-time

MPs pass new UK spy law

UK MPs tonight voted 444-69 in favor of passing the Investigatory Powers Bill, aka the Snoopers' Charter, thus sending the proto-law off to the House of Lords to debate. The government-pushed IPB ramps up the powers granted to British spies, effectively legalizing the mass surveillance systems revealed by Edward Snowden – …
Chris Williams, 07 Jun 2016

FTC top techie's mobe fraud

Talk about picking on the wrong person. Lorrie Cranor, chief technologist at US consumer watchdog the FTC, said today she fell victim to a brazen identify thief. Cranor now wants to use her experience to alert citizens, helping them and phone carriers to take action to combat scammers. As she explained: A few weeks ago an …
Chris Williams, 07 Jun 2016