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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 skaaman on 7/2/2007 6:13:56 PM , Rating: 2
The oil argument never holds up once you look at the facts. Simply put, Iraq is not that oil rich and does not supply all that much oil. Kuwait has as much oil in it's ground than all of Iraq. The first Gulf War was clearly about protecting our oil assets, the second Gulf War had several other motivating factors. Iraq's production accounted for less than 4% of the top 14 oil exporting countries in the world, and only 3.3% of overall production. If Iraq refused to export to the US, then prices would rise, but it certainly wouldn't be enough to justify the cost of a war.

It has nothing to do with what they have. Every increment in the pulse rate of the middle east drives the price per barrel up. Sustained tension keeps it there.

Lets say for argument sake the whole thing resolved itself tomorrow. Sunnis love shiite love kurds. Everyones happy. Hezbollah says sorry Israel, you have a right to exist. In that instance, are you shorting that barrel of oil or going long?

RE: De Raadt or the nut?
By stromgald on 7/2/2007 7:00:59 PM , Rating: 2
Political tension and investor worries have secondary, short-term effects on prices. Supply and demand are the over-arching drivers in almost any commodity market. Think about this, even if tension is high, if there's a flood of oil coming out, people/countries would simply stock pile some (short term increase), then start using whatever comes out (back to low prices).

The main reason prices have been going up is because OPEC has not been increasing their production (i.e. the supply) at a rate that matches the increases in world demand (which is skyrocketing with China and 3rd world nations becoming more industrial).

In addition, whether or not everything gets resolved, I would go long on oil, because I expect its price to go up over time. Selling short just allows you to cash in when it goes down, and it acts as a way for the economy to 'dampen' the price drop from a surge of oil onto the market.

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