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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 http://developer.intel.com. 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 Clienthes on 7/3/2007 12:04:35 AM , Rating: 2
We went to war with Iraq because they challenged our political will. Oil had little to do with it. The US won't even recoup the expense of this war with whatever oil subsides we negotiate.

You can't let a country like Iraq refuse to bend to your political will in the very public way that they did. It gives all the other third world dictators ideas. Political power is far more valuable than oil. The entire reason the UN didn't back the war is because several other member nations were violating the very UN embargoes they had voted for just a few years prior, and to cover their own rears they decided to challenge the US political will as well. Luckily for them, the media is more inclined to make you fear and mistrust the US government than anyone else, so the crooked politicians from other countries are largely off the hook. They also managed to marginalize the UN as a political entity while saving their own hides (by demonstrating that the UN can be "bought" with some favorable trading with key nations to ensure that UN threats are never carried out, and that if you country is strong enough, UN "mandates" are mere suggestions).

You are right about one thing, if oil were not important we wouldn't be there. The reason we kicked Saddam out of Kuwait was because oil. If that hadn't happened, Saddam wouldn't have had any UN mandates to fail to comply with, and this war wouldn't have been necessary.

Ancillary benefits: A foot-hold in the Middle East. Sure, there's Kuwait and Egypt, but Iraq is an opportunity to have a very good position for our forces against countries that share a border with the host nation, so no negotiating to use airspace for countries in-between. Also, as someone mentioned, we get to test our new equipment.

The windfall in the oil industry that you're talking about has little to do with Iraq, and more to do with the lack of refining capacity in the US. You want gas prices to go down? Convince your neighbors to let a refinery to go up in your town.


RE: De Raadt or the nut?
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 7/3/2007 10:56:35 AM , Rating: 2
You pretty much nailed it.

People don't seem to understand that under Clinton the U.S. Foreign policy was weak at best. Foreign powers walked all over us, or flipped us the bird and we didn't do much about it.

On the flip side I remember Clinton taking crap from the NY Times for not doing something about Iraq every time they violated the terms of the treaty (Shot at our aircraft, etc...). Bush rolls in, things go downhill quick (9/11) we rolled into Afghanistan, which surprises a great many countries in the middle east who thought we were pansies.

I encourage you guys to pull out the history on what Saddam would do publically to the U.S. since the end of the first gulf war. He constantly ignored us and publically defied us. It was only a matter of time before a president came along that wasn't going to tolerate it anymore, Bush or whoever comes after him, and took Saddam out of the picture.

In retrospect, Bush Sr had the first crack at Saddam, but congress only gave him approval to defend and expel the Iraqi's from Kuwait, and not counter attack into Iraq. Clinton had ample opportunities to do something about Saddam, but we ended up with some cruise missile barraging on one occasion, but no real lasting solution. Bush Jr ignored Saddam for a while, but then decided to go with a more long term solution. Had Bush Jr not done something about Saddam, you can bet the next president would have had to do something to put that nutcase back in check, eventually some president would have to deal with Saddam.

Or we end up with the Castro problem, just waiting for him to die of old age or illness. Fidel Castro has been a thorn in the side of every president since JFK.


RE: De Raadt or the nut?
By sviola on 7/4/2007 2:29:22 PM , Rating: 1
So, if a foreign government does not agree with you, the solution is to invade it? Well, hope the US has a lot more soldiers, as it'll need to invade Venezuela, Iran, Syria, North Korea, China, Russia. Oh, sorry, the last two are out of league...The US doesn't have the military power to wage war agaisnt them.


By Master Kenobi (blog) on 7/6/2007 10:46:54 AM , Rating: 2
Invasion is not always necessary. China does not have the military power to beat the U.S. but at the same time the U.S. does not have the number of troops necessary to take over all of China. You need to stop thinking about military power in terms of numbers. U.S. soldiers score of a 20-1 Kill/Death ratio at a minimum in modern conflicts. With the value of our air dominance, long range missiles, cluster bombs, and A-10's and Gunships, you can bet that isnt going to change in the near future.


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