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HP Sues Oracle For Dropping Itanium Support 153

Posted by samzenpus
from the unplanned-obsolescence dept.
Fudge Factor 3000 writes "HP is suing Oracle for a breach of contract, claiming that Oracle was contractually obliged to continue supporting the Itanium architecture, which they recently nixed support for. Oracle has fired back that Itanium is essentially a dead architecture and will soon be discontinued by Intel. And so the blood feud continues between Oracle and HP."
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HP Sues Oracle For Dropping Itanium Support

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  • by atari2600a (1892574) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @05:51AM (#36460462)
    Why in my day Oracle had to support my UNIVAC for fifteen miles in the snow barefoot uphill both ways!
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @05:57AM (#36460488)

    and any other company following this issue is that they're essentially at the mercy of the business decisions of a third company, Intel, and that's not a very smart business position to get in in the first place.

    • by stiggle (649614) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @06:11AM (#36460560)

      Oracle now has their own hardware line, which doesn't involve Intel, on Sparc processors.
      HP used to produce their own, PA-Risc, but combined the tech with Intel to make the Itanium.

    • by Targon (17348)

      Any new architecture is always a huge risk when it comes right down to it, and both HP and Oracle were foolish enough to buy into what Intel was selling at the time. Hell, it took a LONG time before x86-64 aka AMD64 was supported, so the difference is that people listened to Intel when Intel released a bad product while they pretty much ignored AMD when it released a great product. And of course, both HP and Oracle didn't have people who remembered the failed attempts of the Pentium Pro, which was als

      • by gmack (197796)

        The P Pro was actually a decent chip as far as x86 goes and sold well on servers so it's really not a good example. The thing it sucked at was 16 bit performance where Microsoft's entire consumer OS lineup resided at the time.

        The Itanium isn't a failure because it was designed for large systems. It is a failure because they started by throwing out everything tried and tested when it comes to architecture design in search of the textbook "perfect" design that offloaded far too much on the compiler and in s

        • by Pharmboy (216950)

          Actually, the Pentium Pro was a GREAT chip, assuming you were running 32 bit software, and there was no reason to not run 32 bit software if you were going to run the Pentium Pro. Cache on die running at cpu core speeds, true SMP performance up to 4 cpus, Linux ran incredible on these processors, even if NT/2000 didn't. If you used them for what they were designed for, they were amazing.

          I had several IBM dual PPro system that we finally trashed the other day. Not because they failed, but because they wer

          • Mostly because the picture [wikimedia.org] is pretty, I'll note that cache was technically on package; but separate die, though it ran at full core speed and had many of the features that later on-die caches would have, making it pretty glaringly superior to the old on-motherboard cache RAM. The 1MB version even had 3 dice embedded in the same package, no wonder it cost so much...

            This arrangement also made the PII-based "overdrive" upgrade card look kind of weird(more or less normal PII on the left, cache on the right).
          • Actually, the Pentium Pro was a GREAT chip, assuming you were running 32 bit software, and there was no reason to not run 32 bit software if you were going to run the Pentium Pro.

            Also, the PPro is the basis for the Pentium II, III processors. It's one of Intel's most successful CPU designs. It was so good that Intel went back when they ran into problems with the Pentium 4. (Creating the Pentium M and Core 1 processors.)

        • by yuhong (1378501)

          Yea, it exposed the 16-bit code that was still in Win9x despite being hyped as a 32-bit OS. Later this also delayed Transmeta's first processor by a year or so too.

      • And of course, both HP and Oracle didn't have people who remembered the failed attempts of the Pentium Pro, which was also a huge failure and didn't sell.

        You do realize that the Pentium II and Pentium III and hence the whole Core2 series are direct successors of the Pentium Pro, right? The Pentium (I, MXX) has basically nothing to do with the Pentium Pro. For example, the Pentium was the last Intel chip with in-order execution until the Atom came out. Pentium Pro and decendants were out-of-order.

        The Pent

        • the client i supported in my previous job still had a bunch of PPros running SCO unixware (yeah, i know, SCO is a surso word in /. , but keep in mind those servers were there running for some 12 years) and they run fine.

          and it wasn't a flop in the server market. in my whole career (some 16 years of network, wnidows, unix and linux administration) i saw a lot o PPros running as servers. think on it as the the first incarnation of xeon.

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        Uhhh AMD64 was released in late 2003 [wikipedia.org] and XP x64 (aka Server 2K3 X64) was released in Apr 2005 [wikipedia.org] so I'd say a year and a half to jump from 32 to 64 bits really isn't a "long time".

        As for TFA Oracle can plainly see that This chip is no more! It has ceased to be! 'Its expired and gone to meet Its maker! Its a stiff! Bereft of life, It rests in peace! If Intel hadn't nailed It to the motherboard 'It'd be pushing up the daisies! 'Its VLIW processes are now 'istory! 'Its off the twig! Its kicked the bucket

        • This is a Chip that Intel still make and the last new version was released just over a year ago... that may be dying but not dead ... ...If you bought a just released new model of a car just over a year ago, would you be surprised that it was no longer supported ...?

    • by Dunega (901960)
      Right. So every company should build everything they need themselves. That way we could have multitudes of incompatible hardware and software. Sure would generate a lot of jobs though.
  • Makes sense. HP probably has several contractual obligations of their own since there are many large corporate clusters which are using HP-UX running on a shitload of Itanium systems.

  • fuck off, HPaq (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hazel Bergeron (2015538) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @06:44AM (#36460716) Journal

    You are the epitome of modern corporate culture. You destroyed the Alpha and are letting VMS rot. You outsource or offshore everything that isn't bolted down, but nothing is improved. Under Fiorina you demonstrated precisely how to run a company down for short term profit while cosying up to the corporation-friendly government. Hell, you've even ruined your reputation for building hardy calculators. Over a decade after this mess started, the only thing you have left to be proud of is the propotion of your profits which come from selling printer ink.

    It's a small wonder zombie Hewlett and Packard haven't risen from the grave, given a new lease of life in death by recently shuffled Olsen, to personally escort every HP executive to the lowest region of hell.

    • Re:fuck off, HPaq (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rogerborg (306625) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @06:57AM (#36460768) Homepage
      HP now appears to be composed entirely of execs, lawyers, marketeers, and one guy called Mike who runs runs the offshored sweatshops from his basement office in Woodside. How the mighty have fallen.
    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @07:55AM (#36461102) Journal
      I believe that you mean:

      "HP's the very model of a modern multinational,
      their expertise confined to MBAs and quibblers contractual,
      the rest's been outsourced from Shenzhen to Hyderabad,
      a plan that makes none but investors glad,
      seeking strategies for how to make their systems worse,
      they gobbled up Compaq with the power of their purse,
      and after they had freed themselves of ghastly Fiorina,
      she left the private sector to afflict the state of California."

      With deepest apologies(not to be construed as admission of wrongdoing) to Gilbert and Sullivan.
    • You destroyed the Alpha and are letting VMS rot

      I spent a while at the 2007 XenSummit talking to someone from HP's operating systems research group. I mentioned that some of the stuff she was working on was similar to something in VMS. Blank stare. It took me a while to realise that she wasn't joking, and she really hadn't ever heard of VMS.

      • by Compaqt (1758360)

        How old was she?

        Also, I assume she was actually a she, not using it as a generic pronoun.

        • Mid to late 40s, at a guess, and I got the impression that she'd been with HP for quite a few years (yes, an actual woman).
    • Oh, Sweet Mother of Fuck, I loved that fucking Alpha microprocessor. A truly beautiful beast if there ever was one. It would have been a dream come true to see that gorgeous hunk of doped silicon gain market share. Imagine where we would be today if it had the R&D and resultant performance gains that the 8086 line did.

      You, who cling to your Intel and work-a-likes are to blame. I am talking to you, Microsoft and HP. Shit, fuck, ass! Even Apple uses that fucked instruction set now!

      If you know no
      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        Get over it. Really same thing happened to the 68K as well. It was so much better than the 8086 and the 80286 at that time but people didn't buy it. Heck you could even buy them in inexpensive computers like the Amiga and Atari ST that had far better and more advanced OSs then MS-DOS at the time. Heck the Amiga had real multi-tasking and stereo sound when PC users where trying to get their software to run with TSRs and got a bleep now and then.
        Dude best doesn't really win all that often, marketing does. I w

        • by Temkin (112574)

          Get over it. Really same thing happened to the 68K as well. It was so much better than the 8086 and the 80286 at that time but people didn't buy it. Heck you could even buy them in inexpensive computers like the Amiga and Atari ST that had far better and more advanced OSs then MS-DOS at the time.

          The 68k shipped in vast numbers, but it never got the business desktop uptake that it needed to dominate. It originally shipped in what was then a non-standard DIP package, which demanded a manufacturing price premium. As an architecture it hit a major brick wall after the 68030. This was the RISC / CISC wars of the late 80's that gave birth to things like the Alpha, PA-Risc, SPARC, etc... The 68k isn't dead. It had long had standing in embedded devices, arcade game consoles, and found a home in PLC con

          • by LWATCDR (28044)

            And the Alpha found a home in servers, super computers, and so on. The 68k ran into a brick wall because it didn't have the PC money pump to allowed Intel to make the X86 the fast pig that it is now.
            Yea I know about the H11 which is why it is so sad. Imagine if DEC had expanded the memory space and built in a display and keyboard interface for the same price as the PC. It would have been a much better system than a PC running MS-DOS.

          • I have a growing computer museum/collection that would be very happy to give an H11 a new home. Please get in touch with me if you are serious. Douglas Goodall douglas_goodall@mac.com http://www.goodall.com./ [www.goodall.com]
        • by barole (35839)
          Not to mention the Zilog Z8000! Imagine where we would be if it had won the 16-bit wars. We'd all be running TRSDOS 64-bit edition and SuperScripsit 2011.
          • by LWATCDR (28044)

            The Z8000 was terrible. It really sucked as a CPU and was segmented at that. Please the 68K was much better than any of them.

      • by Kalriath (849904)

        Don't blame Microsoft - it was only around 2003 that they finally decided to stop shipping Windows Server for the Alpha processor. HP though...

    • by rubycodez (864176)
      that's a laugh, OpenVMS is alive and well, supported, and gets new features added with each release. The Alpha was 1990s, plenty of other chips have fallen by the wayside since then, get over it
      • that's a laugh, OpenVMS is alive and well, supported, and gets new features added...

        ...at a snail's pace and only for a CPU which has been slowly dying for the past decade, even while x86-64 has been sitting there for the porting.

        The Alpha was 1990s, plenty of other chips have fallen by the wayside since then, get over it

        Why would I get over a philosophy of excellence in engineering? Will you ask me to embrace mediocrity next?

        • by rubycodez (864176)
          Don't blaim HP, it is the choads at DEC who failed you, Alpha aquired with the rest but already HP an Intel customer with their own plans.

          As for slow introduction of features, It's called a mature and stable operating system, quite foreign to the PC users realm I admit. It does the things enterprise customers want, including j2ee.
    • by yuhong (1378501)

      Yea, I know. At least Leo is finally trying to fix this mess.

    • by amiga3D (567632)

      I remember when HP was THE hardware company that ruled. I remember seeing a photo of a Japanese R&D shop back in the 80's that featured HP test equipment. Everything HP made screamed quality and performance. Too bad they died off. I wish that zombie that uses their name would go away.

  • by Tuqui (96668) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @06:50AM (#36460746) Homepage

    Oracle should rename mySQL as "Oracle for Itanium" and send it to HP.

  • If Oracle wants to countersue HP for dropping the Alpha, I'd be happy to testify on their behalf. The idiots at HP killed off one of the best architectures for scientific computations ever.
    • by hughk (248126)
      In total agreement and it wasn't just scientific performance, Alphas were at one time very big on commercial processing powering most of the world's big exchanges. Alpha was innovative and a very clean architecture. It was also designed for multiprocessing from the very beginning. It had a good toolchain available under Unix (incl. Linux) as well as VMS: However HP and Intel for committed to flogging that dead horse called Itanium.
      • by rubycodez (864176)
        Why do you blame HP? Alpha is a DEC invention. They fucked up their business, then sold a portion including Alpha to Compaq, already planning to phase it out since they were intel customer. The reason Alpha is dead is because your limp dick numb nuts DEC twinks couldn't get it up. suck on it.
        • by hughk (248126)

          The reason Alpha is dead is because your limp dick numb nuts DEC twinks couldn't get it up. suck on it.

          Didn't know it was 4chan here? The truth is that HP/Intel Betamaxed Digital. Their chips were crap (until Intel started stealing tech from Digital) but they were good at the low end and had the marketing tie-ups. Unfortunately, we all lost on that one.

    • by erroneus (253617)

      Science isn't good for business. There is less short-term money to be made in R&D and a lot more in keeping existing and legacy businesses running. Money spent to keep things the same is money well spent.

      • Science isn't good for business

        Bullshit.

        Science is great for business. What do you think the world's most powerful computation clusters are doing? They aren't doing financial transactions, I'll tell you that. The largest computation clusters are doing scientific calculations. There is a lot of money to be made in that realm - hardware sales, configuration, support, upgrades, etc. Hell it is one of the core focuses of IBM since they sold off their PC & laptop division to Lenovo, and they seem to be doing quite well with it.

        T

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          I think you missed his <sarcasm> tag...

        • by iggymanz (596061)

          HP didn't kill the Alpha, look it up. DEC failed, sold Alpha to compaq, who already were deciding to phase it out and sold the IP to Intel. that was the knife to the heart of Alpha. HP bought compaq after that, and only planned to continue to sell Alpha to existing customer base with death of it the goal. Blame DEC for failing, blame Compaq for killing. HP just inherited a walking dead zombie.

          • Indeed Compaq killed it more actively than did HP, but when HP bought Compaq they could have changed the direction of its demise if they so desired.

            And I know signatures are automatically offtopic, but I agree with yours - Obama is indeed just another Bush presidency. Which leaves one to wonder why people who so euthusiastically supported Bush are so eagerly doing everything they can to derail Obama.
  • by Dishwasha (125561) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @09:19AM (#36461802)

    If Itanium is dead, then why does Intel have all this [realworldtech.com] architectural investment?

    • by rubycodez (864176)
      Executives do all manner of things to justify their horrible decisions, throwing good money after bad after worse. Even though Itanium sales a trickle compared to the forecast and promised tens of billions a year, Intel and HP won't admit their stupidity.
  • For everytime I had to call for support, or try to use their itrc, or everytime I had to come up with a model number from a device that had 20 different numbers on it, none of them matching the format they expected, for everytime I had to deal with HPUX...serves them right.

  • The Mongolian cluster-fuck that the Intel-HP-Oracle triangle centered around Itanium has become, was spotted way way before any of their management drank the Kool-Aid. (And oh man, they were guzzling the Itanium Kool-Aid by the gallon). Google "Itanic".
    • by rubycodez (864176)
      Most Oracle customers don't run on Itanium anyways, it's a freak side show. Solaris and Linux dominate Oracle server market.
  • So, do they have a contractual obligation to keep the port going or not? Whether it's a dead architecture doesn't matter if they took the money and there's no 'dead architecture' clause in the contract.

    Hey, Oracle guys: talk to the Redhat Itanium team. Last I heard they were passing the hat around the office and were going to buy the remaining few Itanium machines left in the world and throw them off the roof at HQ (and then promptly recycle the remains, I'm sure).

    • by rubycodez (864176)
      we'll have to see the contract, but I suspect Oracle can quite rightly claim that portions of the planned Itanium design never appeared, this chip Intel is making is not an Itanium as defined years ago
  • The same could easily be said about the sparc architecture.

  • HP has to beg a single vendor to continue producing wares for it's dying chip, because that is the only remaining justification for producing servers based on Itanium. Give it up already HP. Oracle has no such contractual obligation.
  • I don't care if they contacted to support an Atari 800 for 40 more years. If they breach contract they are liable for damages. That the Itanium is going away is not relevant to the discussion at all. They agreed to do it, so they have to. ( unless there was some special clause in there tied to availability from Intel, which it sounds like there was not )

    • by iggymanz (596061)

      So you're accepting HP's word at face value that there *was* a contract? Oracle says their was not, but just "talk" last september. Since they are both run by greedy evil lying sacks of shit, I'm curious why you'd believe any particular one.

  • by TaleSpinner (96034) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @03:27PM (#36467032)

    Apollo Computer was shipping the 64-bit PRISM workstation when they were bought by HP. HP killed the PRISM because they were going to do their own 64-bit architecture.

    Digital was shipping the 64 bit Alpha machine when they were bought by Compaq which was then bought by HP. HP killed the Alpha because they were committing to Intel's Itanium.

    So what happens? HP, the owner of two, market-proven, debugged and viable 64 bit architectures finds itself backing the loser, having killed both of the projects they bought and paid for.

    And so, what is HP's 64 bit architecture in the end? The x86_64.

    You've really got to wonder what kind of idiots were running the company.

    • by iggymanz (596061)

      Compaq began the killing of the Alpha, and sold the IP to Intel, before HP ever got its mitts on it. Blame DEC for not being able to stay in business.

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