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Developers told not to panic over new Intel Core 2 Duo steppings

OpenBSD founder Theo de Raadt publicly denounced Intel’s Core 2 processors on the OpenBSD mailing list. Raadt cited 38 pages of processor errata from Intel’s published CPU specifications (PDF).

“These processors are buggy as hell, and some of these bugs don’t just cause development/debugging problems, but will *ASSUREDLY* be exploitable from userland code," Raadt said. "Some of these are things that cannot be fixed in running code, and some are things that every operating system will do until about mid-2008, because that is how the MMU has always been managed on all generations of Intel/AMD/whoeverelse hardware."

Linux coordinator and former Transmeta employee Linus Torvalds, thought otherwise and considers these bugs “totally insignificant.”

Processor errata is nothing new, Torvalds said. Commodity CPUs such as chips based on the Intel Core 2 architecture have a considerably lower bug rate than proprietary boutique CPUs.

“Yeah, x86 errata get more attention," said Torvalds. "But those things are pretty damn well tested. Better than most.”

The errata document specifically mentions the Core 2 Duo E4000, E6000, and X6800 series processors. None of the errata are nearly as insidious or widespread as more infamous problems, like the original Pentium floating-point bug, although some can lead to buffer overflow exploits, claims de Raalt. All of the current errata have patches in the works or can be — and have been — worked around by developers.

In a statement from Intel Global Communications, Nick Knuppfer writes:

“Months ago, we addressed a processor issue by providing a BIOS update for our customers that in no way affects system performance. We publicly documented this as an erratum in April. All processors from all companies have errata, and Intel has a well-known errata communication process to inform our customers and the public. Keep in mind the probability of encountering this issue is extremely low."

“Specification Updates for the affected processors are available at All errata are thoroughly investigated for issues and vulnerabilities, should they have any we fix them, usually through a microcode update.”

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RE: De Raadt or the nut?
By masher2 on 7/1/2007 11:15:02 PM , Rating: 5
> "There used to be a time when criticizing your government was considered acceptable. Depending on the circumstance, maybe even "patriotic".

When was this? Criticize the war effort in WW2 or WWI and you'd earn yourself a black eye in any public house in the nation. During the Civil War, Lincoln had newspaper editors rounded up and arrested under treason charges for disagreeing with him, and even attempted to have congressmen who voted against the war hanged for it.

I think we're making pretty good progress actually.

RE: De Raadt or the nut?
By Amiga500 on 7/2/07, Rating: 0
RE: De Raadt or the nut?
By ZmaxDP on 7/2/2007 4:57:06 PM , Rating: 2
I think the point should be made that the government wasn't above criticism in this case. He criticized it and suffered no personal consequence as a direct result of that criticism. If this organization he was involved in had no funding dependent upon the government, there would have been no consequence at all.

However, if you're dependent upon anyone for funding, you might take care to criticize too openly, or too forcefully. Any action in this world has consequences, and there are many people who disagree with current politics without facing any funding cuts in their projects because they word their disagreements appropriately. It's like anything else, even like these forums. I can disagree quite vehemently with someone like Masher on the actual efficiency of certain light bulbs (thrilling subject matter, I know), but since I'm not spouting profanity, name calling, finger pointing, or posturing for whatever reason we can both take each other's arguments at face value and neither of us have been kicked off the boards.

I can think of plenty of responses that have resulted in people being kicked off the boards for them making an ass of themselves, and I don't think in any way that doing so is a violation of free speech or any such nonsense.

RE: De Raadt or the nut?
By ceefka on 7/2/2007 7:04:43 AM , Rating: 3
And critisizing the Nazi government in a local bar in Munchen in 1935-1945 would definately get you shot/hanged/one way ticket to"something else very cruel that kills you". But it would be patriotic.

RE: De Raadt or the nut?
By Spivonious on 7/2/2007 9:56:27 AM , Rating: 2
This reminded me of a movie I saw recently: Sophie Scholl. It's a good one.

By therealnickdanger on 7/2/2007 12:15:26 PM , Rating: 2
When was this?

Remember the Whisky Rebellion? Well, I don't either, it was before my time, however, there was a time when we could use more than just speech to influence the government's power... back when the "right to bear arms" actually held its meaning.

RE: De Raadt or the nut?
By Polynikes on 7/2/2007 3:45:21 PM , Rating: 2
"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer

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