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Linus on Intel's 64 bit Extensions 720

ceswiedler writes "KernelTrap is running a thread on the Linux-Kernel mailing list about Intel's new IA-32e 64-bit chip. Linus complains 'what I found so irritating is that _hours_ after the Intel announcement, people were _still_ confused about whether the new intel chip was actually compatible with AMD's chips.' It is, of course, but you have to do a thorough comparison of Intel's reference manuals to discover that-- they don't mention the fact that their new chip is instruction-set compatible with AMD's x86-64 chip." See the previous story for background. So it looks like the reason Intel was vague about their announcement is that they didn't want the WORLD TO KNOW THAT THEY WERE COPYING AND FOLLOWING AMD rather than developing some new thing on their own. Slashdot is proud to help Intel in this quest; wouldn't want the public to know that INTEL WAS SIMPLY FOLLOWING IN AMD'S FOOTSTEPS. Hope this helps.
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Linus on Intel's 64 bit Extensions

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  • by Can it run Linux ( 664464 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:54PM (#8376032)
    THIS ARTICLE SUMMARY NEEDS MORE UPPERCASE.

    Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
    Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like MICHAEL SIMS BLOWING A GASKET.
    • by mws1981 ( 643309 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:57PM (#8376077) Homepage
      I think it needs more cow bell...
      • by RetroGeek ( 206522 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:28PM (#8376558) Homepage
        I think it needs more cow bell...

        <bink>ceswiedler <bink>writes <bink>"KernelTrap <bink>is <bink>running <bink>a <bink>thread <bink>on <bink>the <bink>Linux-Kernel <bink>mailing <bink>list <bink>about <bink>Intel's <bink>new <bink>IA-32e <bink>64-bit <bink>chip. <bink>Linus <bink>complains <bink>'what <bink>I <bink>found <bink>so <bink>irritating <bink>is <bink>that <bink>_hours_ <bink>after <bink>the <bink>Intel <bink>announcement, <bink>people <bink>were <bink>_still_ <bink>confused <bink>about <bink>whether <bink>the <bink>new <bink>intel <bink>chip <bink>was <bink>actually <bink>compatible <bink>with <bink>AMD's <bink>chips.' <bink>It <bink>is, <bink>of <bink>course, <bink>but <bink>you <bink>have <bink>to <bink>do <bink>a <bink>thorough <bink>comparison <bink>of <bink>Intel's <bink>reference <bink>manuals <bink>to <bink>discover <bink>that-- <bink>they <bink>don't <bink>mention <bink>the <bink>fact <bink>that <bink>their <bink>new <bink>chip <bink>is <bink>instruction-set <bink>compatible <bink>with <bink>AMD's <bink>x86-64 <bink>chip." <bink>See <bink>the <bink>previous <bink>story <bink>for <bink>background. <bink>So <bink>it <bink>looks <bink>like <bink>the <bink>reason <bink>Intel <bink>was <bink>vague <bink>about <bink>their <bink>announcement <bink>is <bink>that <bink>they <bink>didn't <bink>want <bink>the <bink>WORLD <bink>TO <bink>KNOW <bink>THAT <bink>THEY <bink>WERE <bink>COPYING <bink>AND <bink>FOLLOWING <bink>AMD <bink>rather <bink>than <bink>developing <bink>some <bink>new <bink>thing <bink>on <bink>their <bink>own. <bink>Slashdot <bink>is <bink>proud <bink>to <bink>help <bink>Intel <bink>in <bink>this <bink>quest; <bink>wouldn't <bink>want <bink>the <bink>public <bink>to <bink>know <bink>that <bink>INTEL <bink>WAS <bink>SIMPLY <bink>FOLLOWING <bink>IN A<bink>MD'S <bink>FOOTSTEPS. <bink>Hope <bink>this helps.<bi<bink>

        How is that?
      • by zephc ( 225327 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:35PM (#8376677)
        <best-walken-impression>I have a fever!... and the only cure... is more cowbell!</best-walken-impression>
    • by geeber ( 520231 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:33PM (#8376648)
      You sir are absolutely correct. Without all the uppercase MICHAEL MIGHT BE IN DANGER OF ALMOST APPEARING SOMEWHAT PROFESSIONAL.

      Nah. On second thought, there was never any danger of that.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @04:09PM (#8377101)
      Oh, snap! Someone used too many capital letters. Boo hoo! I am so offended! Let's make a big deal about it while silently letting slide those who happily exchange ``it's'' for ``its,'' ``cant'' for ``can't,'' ``your'' for ``you're.''

      ``Hey, look at me! I cant spell seperate; its too hard. But that's OK---oh, crap in a hat! I just used two capitle letters in a roe! Seeing capiddle letters causes me phizicle pain! Oh the humanity! Woe is me! Armageddon is here: somebody just posted a slashdot article containing sequential capittel letters! Will the madness never stop? I must band together with other concerned posters (you know who your) and set the capital poster straight---wait, did I just spell capital correctly? I cant take it anymore. Its just to much for me! Goodby, cruel world!'' [Blam] DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD [Hand falls to keyboard, simultaneously holding down the Caps Lock and D keys.]
    • The proper way (Score:4, Informative)

      by infernalC ( 51228 ) <matthew.mellonNO@SPAMgoogle.com> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @05:36PM (#8378123) Homepage Journal
      It seems the author of the article wished to place emphasis on certain words in the article. I contend that he went about achieving his end with the incorrect means.

      HTML [w3.org] has provided authors with a means of deliniating emphasized content since version 2.0 [ietf.org] and this means has not been depricated since.

      The following is taken from RFC 1866:

      5.7.1.3. Emphasis: EM

      The <EM> element indicates an emphasized phrase, typically
      rendered as italics. For example:

      A singular subject <em>always</em> takes a singular verb.

      This is the best way for authors to indicate emphasized content because user agents may then style the content according to a stylesheet. For example, a user agent may perform a text transform to all capitals (which would achieve the effect he created), boldface the content, or raise the volume of the content (for an aural browser).

      It should be noted that Slashdot is written in accordance with the HTML 3.2 Reccomendation from the W3. Comments, since they are displayed under this doctype, should follow spec.
  • thanks.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by srinivas_rc ( 737431 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:57PM (#8376059) Homepage
    for clarification :) Now slashdot will clarify things that businesses cannot ;)
  • Decaf!!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:57PM (#8376060)
    Whoa easy on the caps there cowboy :)
  • I hope.. (Score:4, Funny)

    by ooby ( 729259 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:57PM (#8376062)
    Nobody smart reads Slashdot, otherwise the goose is loose.
  • by loserbert ( 697119 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:57PM (#8376074) Homepage
    In any business, when you are getting your arse kicked, you look at your competitors to see what they are doing. Why reinvent the wheel and all that....
    • by MoonBuggy ( 611105 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:06PM (#8376238) Journal
      Not only that, Intel are benefiting the consumer by keeping compatability across the two major brands thus helping the uptake of the 64bit desktop in the mass market. What will those bastards try next?

      BTW, I do actually dislike Intel's processors - I use AMDs on my systems and those I build for others, this article is making a mountain out of a molehill though. It's unfortunate that Intel didn't publicise it as a positive thing (increased compatability) but it's not like they lied or withheld the information.
    • by Oopsz ( 127422 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @04:30PM (#8377361) Homepage
      Intel and AMD have, and have had for many years, full cross licensing agreements. AMD could use MMX, SSE, and SSE2 from intel's original implementation, and Intel can use x86-64 directly from AMD's reference implementation. Similarly, Intel could use 3dnow instructions in their processors, but they simply haven't exercised that option.

      These companies been `not reinventing the wheel` for quite a while not.
  • by Jonas the Bold ( 701271 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:57PM (#8376076)
    If there was any doubt that Slashdot is a valid news source, those fears can now be LAYED TO REST.
  • by ageoffri ( 723674 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:57PM (#8376079)
    Intel has to be very careful right now, for years they have been seen as the innovator in processors. Now AMD got the jump on them and they don't dare not respond, but they have to respond in a way that seems like it was thier choic.
    • by r0xah ( 625882 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:03PM (#8376186)
      Intel doesn't have to be as careful as you may think. The general public has no idea about Intel/AMD differences. This makes it much easier on Intel to just keep producing crap that is just couple tenths of a gigahertz faster and pass it off for a few hundred more dollars and make more profit. AMD is still not close to taking the processor lead.
      • by Luscious868 ( 679143 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:34PM (#8376654)
        Intel doesn't have to be as careful as you may think. The general public has no idea about Intel/AMD differences. This makes it much easier on Intel to just keep producing crap that is just couple tenths of a gigahertz faster and pass it off for a few hundred more dollars and make more profit. AMD is still not close to taking the processor lead.

        What you say is true now but AMD could do some real damage though by launching a series of commercials with some catch phrase (think "Intel inside") that plays up the fact that Intel chips are based on a standard developed by AMD. Something to effect of "Why pay more for a processor based on AMD's standard when you could be paying a lot less and using the real McCoy?"

        Not exactly phrased that way, but you get the idea. It could be a real plus for AMD if they could find the right way to market it. Hence Intel doing the smart thing and trying to burry it for as long as they can.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:45PM (#8376789)
          Do you really think a catch is all that's needed to propel AMD to greatness? Please.

          People have been saying this kind of shit for years now. Apple and AMD are only months away from overcoming Intel! All they need to do is !!

          Intel didn't get where it is today by not being business and market savvy. The Intel Inside campaign is so brilliant because it's not just a catch phrase, it's whole emotional experience they're selling that basically tells people they can feel confident because their computer has Intel Inside. It's so powerful that people staring at two PC's, one expensive underpowered Intel machine, the other a bargain Athlon, will choose the Intel simply because it has the Intel Inside logo. Don't believe me? Go ask sales people at Best Buy or CompUSA
        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @04:26PM (#8377299)
          I'd like to see an AMD commercial (with the Blue Man Group) that hypes up Intel Inside, only at the end to show an Intel CPU with a little AMD Inside sticker on it.
  • Why's it so bad? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kulaid982 ( 704089 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:58PM (#8376082)

    Why would Intel be embarassed or whatever to "follow in AMD's footsteps"? I mean, sure Intel's bigger and badder than AMD, but can't you learn something from the little guy sometimes? Don't things like this happen all the time in the car industry with various technologies?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:14PM (#8376356)
      For one very important reason: this is the first time its happened.

      You are right; auto companies regularly copy each others technologies, and the public is fully aware of it. But, that is not the case in the chip industry. Intel has always defined the technology, and AMD has always been the follower. Not so anymore. For Intel, this is very embarassing.

      There are people out there that for whatever reason, will not buy AMD because of a perception (real or false) that AMD is a second rate follower company. This recent development possibly means the beginning of the end of this perception, and less money flowing into Intel's coffers.

      Maybe 30 years from now, the chip industry will look more like the auto industry with Intel/AMD/Transmeta and whomever, and maybe then things like this won't be a shock. But it isn't like that today.
      • Re:Why's it so bad? (Score:4, Informative)

        by jmauro ( 32523 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @04:52PM (#8377585)
        For one very important reason: this is the first time its happened.

        It's the second time. The x87 math co-prossor was developed by AMD and latter incorperated into Intel line of processors. the x87 is now better known as the FPU.
      • by kylef ( 196302 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @05:38PM (#8378140)

        It is fairly well-known to insiders that Dave Cutler, chief software architect for Windows NT at Microsoft, approached AMD with the concept of extending the x86 instruction set for 64-bit instructions and data.

        The motivation for this move was probably complicated, but Intel's slow-motion malaise regarding its IA64 strategy was no help. Microsoft needed a 64-bit platform that would gain wide acceptance before it devoted a significant amount of resources to drive Windows support on the platform to consumer-level quality.

        Some even make the further claim that Cutler may have actually designed the instruction set for AMD and handed it to them intact. In other words, he approached them and said, "If you build a chip that runs this instruction set, we can guarantee NT support for it, and backwards compatibility with x86-32 will come for free."

        AMD even acknowledges Dave Cutler and has a page with his information [amd.com] on their web site. If you do a search for articles, you'll find supposedly leaked memos mentioning builds of NT running on the new chip before it was even announced publicly (and hence before SuSe knew about it either).

        You be the judge.

    • by stevesliva ( 648202 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:15PM (#8376383) Journal
      Why would Intel be embarassed or whatever to "follow in AMD's footsteps"?
      Mostly because they've been telling investors that Itanium is sure to take over all 64-bit enterprise computing any day now-- that's how they can justify the $12 billion (or whatever) they've dumped into it so far.
    • by philthedrill ( 690129 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:20PM (#8376444)

      Why would Intel be embarassed or whatever to "follow in AMD's footsteps"?

      It's all about PR and marketing. Intel has invested billions of dollars and years of R&D into IA-64 (something that originated in HP's labs), and said that they're committed to IA-64. x86 is a dirty ISA, and with shrinking transistors and increasing hardware complexity, their rationale was that wire delays will become a major limiting factor in performance (not that I'm arguing against it). Itanium 1 comes out years late and performance is lackluster. The power consumption is quite high (and it's even an in-order core).

      So then comes IDF, and they demo 64-bit x86, something that they've been denying that they've been working on. If Intel had confirmed the rumors that they were working on x86-64 (AMD64), I think they would have been worried about it cannabilizing their Itanium sales. Worse, they're adopting a technology developed by a company a fraction of their size with a fraction of the resources. It gives AMD much more credibility.

      • Re:Why's it so bad? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Dalcius ( 587481 ) <chrism3413+slashdot.gmail@com> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:46PM (#8376795)
        "they're adopting a technology developed by a company a fraction of their size with a fraction of the resources. It gives AMD much more credibility."

        How much credibility is AMD really lacking when buck for buck they've almost always been a better deal for the speed than Intel? How much are they really lacking when they beat Intel to the 1 GHz mark and for a long while thereafter had the fastest x86 desktop chip on the market? Or when they beat Intel to wide market penetration with 64 bit chips? Or when they beat Intel to 64-bit on the desktop? Or when benchmarks showed that the Athlon FX-51 beat both Intel's flagship and PPC chips?

        If AMD doesn't have credibility now, this 'specification war' won't give it to them if you ask me.

        Cheers
        • by philthedrill ( 690129 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @04:03PM (#8377024)

          How much credibility is AMD really lacking when buck for buck they've almost always been a better deal for the speed than Intel?

          You're right... they're not lacking credibility with the great majority of the computer-competent. And this is/was not a slam on AMD by any means. But in the business and server space, it takes much longer to penetrate the market. When they had problems shipping the K6 in volume to meet customer demands, they had to rebuild their image, and fortunately, Athlon helped them achieve that. There's a twist on an old saying that goes something like, "no one got fired for buying Intel." Unfortunately, a lot of people still don't trust "the other company." And many people still feel that lower cost also means lower quality.

        • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @04:29PM (#8377350) Homepage Journal
          When it comes to servers AMD is still lacking a little in the credibility area. The early Via chip sets for the Athlons where not as stable as Intels. Not really AMD's fault but still was an issue. Now with IBM and Sun selling AMD servers it will soon be a none issue. And yes Intel needs to worry. Not just about AMD but also IBM's PPC.
    • by Futurepower(R) ( 558542 ) <MJennings.USA@NOT_any_of_THISgmail.com> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:35PM (#8376668) Homepage

      This is just one small symptom of many. Intel is having extremely serious management problems now. Intel hasn't been very humanistic in the past 15 years, and now the company is failing in many hidden and not-so-hidden ways.
    • by allanc ( 25681 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:42PM (#8376755) Homepage
      Yeah, just like how IBM was the lead manufacturer of PC hardware from 1981, but when Compaq was the first to make a PC with a 386 in it, IBM continued to be the lead PC manufacturer forever.

      Wait, no, that's not quite right.

      (See, up until now, it's always been Intel doing the new stuff first, then AMD playing catch up. For the first time, those roles have been reversed. That's pretty significant)

      --AC
  • by PornMaster ( 749461 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:58PM (#8376083) Homepage
    All your instructions are belong to us.
  • by paroneayea ( 642895 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:59PM (#8376116) Homepage
    I'd rather have AMD be the leader than Intel. I've always been happy with AMD, seeing as how they don't bloat the appearance of speed on their cards to the average dolt at the expense of clear technical data.
    • by FuzzyBad-Mofo ( 184327 ) <fuzzybad.gmail@com> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:36PM (#8376698)

      Which is more misleading, engineering chips with an impressive clock speed but a mediocre instruction-per-cycle ratio, or to engineer chips with an impressive instruction-per-cycle ratio and market them as comparable to the industry leader's equivalent processors?

      I'm not crazy about AMD's processor ratings, but I understand the necessity. Joe Blow doesn't know squat about processors, all he knows is that higher clock numbers are (supposedly) better. At least AMD keeps their marketing department out of the engineering meetings.

  • by robslimo ( 587196 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:59PM (#8376117) Homepage Journal
    but micheal beat me to the punch. I'm not sure whether Torvalds was complaining about Intel not coming out with a ready admission "We had to follow AMD because they got there first" or complaining about programmers missing the (in hindsight, at least) obvious conclusion that Intel would make a Howitzer-size hole in their clean-room booties by not going with the AMD flow.

  • i86 64 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:00PM (#8376121)
    Good for Intel. You may think that the important thing is that they are "following in AMDs footsteps," but I think the important thing is that people won't have to write for two architectures now.
    • Re:i86 64 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jmichaelg ( 148257 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @04:12PM (#8377141) Journal
      I think the important thing is that people won't have to write for two architectures now.

      Eventually, they'll have no choice. Bob Colwell, a former P4 architect, gave an interesting talk [stanford.edu] which basically said x86 is running out of steam due to, among other things, carrying compatibility baggage going all the way back to early DOS.

      • What a shock! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by El ( 94934 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:03PM (#8378484)
        carrying compatibility baggage going all the way back to early DOS.(P> All these years I thought x86 was backwards compatible with the Intel 4004, and now you tell me it's actually backwards compatible with an old operating system! Well, I guess you learn new something every day...
  • it gets better (Score:4, Informative)

    by randyest ( 589159 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:00PM (#8376128) Homepage
    Keep reading down the comments at the linked site and you'll see an even more explicit gem from Linus:

    Actually, I'm a bit disgusted at Intel for not even _mentioning_ AMD in their documentation or their releases, so I'd almost be inclined to rename the thing as "AMD64" just to give credit where credit is due. However, it's just not worth the pain and confusion.

    Any Intel people on this list: tell your managers to be f*cking ashamed of themselves. Just because Intel didn't care about their customers and has been playing with some other 64-bit architecture that nobody wanted to use is no excuse for not giving credit to AMD for what they did with x86-64.

    (I'm really happy Intel finally got with the program, but it's pretty petty to not even mention AMD in the documentation and try to make it look like it was all their idea).


    I don't think anyone is surprised by this -- Intel would be nuts to mention AMD in any press release about anything unless it's incredibly negative toward AMD (which this definitely is not), and even then it would be ill-advised from a amrketing perspective.
    • Re:it gets better (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Quixote ( 154172 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:05PM (#8376217) Homepage Journal
      Intel would be nuts to mention AMD in any press release

      Why? Intel could just come and take the high road, and claim that they are keeping their chips instruction-set compatible with AMD64 to "preserve the customers' investment" or some such marketing-speak. Good marketers never let the facts or the truth get in the way of a good spin.

      • Re:it gets better (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Shisha ( 145964 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:16PM (#8376385) Homepage
        Actually I'm glad that Intel has done at least as much as making it compatible. Shouldn't we at least be glad for this? I mean if they put a bit of marketing spin on what they have done, fine it will go away.

        Imagine the mess though, if they decided, "ok we're going to make our instruction set just a little differnt and then use our dominance in the market to win over AMD." It would mean more work for hardware designers (I know PCI bus should take care, but you still need to test), kernel developers, window's driver's writer's, distributors and you and me, because we'll have even a harder time shopping for hardware.

        I'm pretty certain that MBAs have been considering the above option. This is a compromise and people have to learn live in a world that is not ideal and thus full of compromises.
    • Re:it gets better (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bay43270 ( 267213 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:49PM (#8376837) Homepage
      I don't think anyone is surprised by this -- Intel would be nuts to mention AMD in any press release about anything unless it's incredibly negative toward AMD (which this definitely is not), and even then it would be ill-advised from a amrketing perspective.

      AMD could send out the press release:

      AMD Develops Intel Instruction Set
      Sunnyvale, CA -- February 24, 2004 --Intel Corperation announce last week it would be using an instruction set pioneered by long time rival AMD (NYSE:AMD) in it's new 64-bit processor....
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:00PM (#8376133)
    ..but are still accurate.

    Intel will never, ever, ever put anything out that their name isn't all over it.

    Example: Firewire. An industry standard. Does Intel put it in their motherboard chipsets? I remember old Intel comments stating their 'commitment to IEEE-1394' but it was all a load of crap. The PII and PIII chipsets could (and should) have had it on board.

    Here, finally, Intel has decided to take someone else's tech. But even now, they won't admit it's someone else's tech.

    What a bunch of arrogance..
  • Full Linus Message (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:00PM (#8376136)
    On Wed, 18 Feb 2004, Mikael Pettersson wrote:
    >
    > What about naming? IA-64 is taken, AMD64 is too specific, Intel's
    > "IA-32e" sounds too vague, and I find x86-64 / x86_64 difficult to type.
    > "x64" perhaps?
    x86-64 it is. Maybe you can remap one of your function keys to send the
    sequence ;)

    This whole "ia32" crap has always been ridiculous - nobody has _ever_
    called an x86 anything but x86, and Intel is just making it worse by
    adding random illogical letters to the end.

    In contrast, x86-64 tells you _exactly_ what it's all about, and is what
    the kernel has always called the architecture anyway.
    Linus

    On Sun, 22 Feb 2004, Herbert Poetzl wrote:
    >
    > hmm, so the current x86_64 will be changed to x86-64 or
    > will there be x86_64 and x86-64?

    No. The filesystem policy _tends_ to be that dashes and spaces are turned
    into underscores when used as filenames. Don't ask me why (well, the space
    part is obvious, since real spaces tend to be a pain to use on the command
    line, but don't ask me why people tend to conver a dash to an underscore).

    So the real name is (and has always been, as far as I can tell) x86-64.

    Actually, I'm a bit disgusted at Intel for not even _mentioning_ AMD in
    their documentation or their releases, so I'd almost be inclined to rename
    the thing as "AMD64" just to give credit where credit is due. However,
    it's just not worth the pain and confusion.

    Any Intel people on this list: tell your managers to be f*cking ashamed of
    themselves. Just because Intel didn't care about their customers and has
    been playing with some other 64-bit architecture that nobody wanted to use
    is no excuse for not giving credit to AMD for what they did with x86-64.

    (I'm really happy Intel finally got with the program, but it's pretty
    petty to not even mention AMD in the documentation and try to make it
    look like it was all their idea).
    Linus
    On Mon, 23 Feb 2004, Adrian Bunk wrote:
    >
    > In the long term, x86_64 creates more confusion:
    > - SuSE says AMD64 [1]
    > - RedHat says AMD64 [2]
    > - Debian says AMD64 [3]
    >
    > Renaming might be some work today, but it might actually remove
    > confusion in the future.

    Well, the thing is, I _like_ a vendor-neutral name.

    I think it's important to have multiple sources for a chip, and I think
    one of the problems with IA-64 was that it was a locked-in chip with
    patents and no serious competition internally (ignore the Intel mouthing
    about "open").

    The x86 is so great partly because there's been real competition. So I
    think it's very important to x86-64 to have real competition to make sure
    nobody gets too dishonest.

    So AMD64 is a bad name, partly for the same reason IA32 is a horrible name
    (and who have you ever heard use the IA32 name except for people who are
    paid to do so by Intel?)

    What I found so irritating is that _hours_ after the Intel announcement,
    people were _still_ confused about whether the new intel chip was actually
    compatible with AMD's chips. Why the f*ck not just come out and say so,
    and talk about it? It took people actually reading the manuals (which
    didn't mention it either) to convince some people on the architecture
    newsgroups that yes, "ia32e" was really the same as "amd64" except in the
    small details that have always set Intel and AMD apart.
    So I don't really want to change the name. "x86-64" is a good name. I just
    wish there was more honesty involved, and less friggin *POSTURING*.

    Linus
  • by Amadaeus ( 526475 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:01PM (#8376149) Homepage
    This is how technology goes mainstream and becomes inexpensive enough for the everyday consumer: following.

    Being a trailblazer may get you bragging rights, but you risk fragmenting the industry and the market you feed. For the longest time in the 90's AMD and Cyrix went on a follow-quest, and breached the low-cost PC market. Not only did they enhance choice and lower prices, they kept the number of standards down to a minimum. Just imagine what would occur if AMD, in the 1990's, came up with something completely different, but can run exactly the same thing Intel chips can at the same price: the market gets fragmented, prices remain high and stagnant, and no one is the winner until one of the two gets clobbered, eliminating competition in the market and raising prices even further.

    It's not characteristic for Intel to follow AMD, but IMO, it's the smart thing to do to be competitive.

    Oh yes, just because they are following, doesn't mean they can't do it better. AMD did in the 90's and today.
  • by prostoalex ( 308614 ) * on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:01PM (#8376156) Homepage Journal
    So we are ridiculing Intel for supporting common architecture and collaborating with competitor? I guess the implication is that the proper thing Intel should have done is develop its own set of 64-bit extensions, making it absolutely incompatible with AMD's offering. The world would be a much better place then, right?

    And Intel doesn't really have to advertise the fact that it's AMD-compatible, it's not like AMD owns more than 80% of the market, and Intel is below 20% [itfacts.biz]. To hyperbolize, you don't expect Microsoft to announce the next version of Office to be compatible with Joe's Software Shop's software.

    • by MP3Chuck ( 652277 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:07PM (#8376250) Homepage Journal
      No, the implication is that Intel should have just said "Yea, we're AMD x86-64 compatible" instead of being so roundabout. I'm sure it wasn't a coincidence, you know?
    • by rsidd ( 6328 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:08PM (#8376262)
      So we are ridiculing Intel for supporting common architecture and collaborating with competitor?

      They're not doing it out of the goodness of their hearts. They're doing it to stay alive.

      To hyperbolize, you don't expect Microsoft to announce the next version of Office to be compatible with Joe's Software Shop's software.

      You're right, that is a hyperbolic comparison. AMD64 is already outselling IA64 [theregister.co.uk] despite being much later on the market.

    • by TwistedGreen ( 80055 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [neergdetsiwt]> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:09PM (#8376276)
      Because Intel isn't acknowledging AMD's contribution. AMD's current market statistics are not relevant. The market for 64-bit processors is not yet established, and that is the market at issue. AMD beat Intel to the punch and established their standard first, and Intel is too arrogant to admit it. This isn't about incompatibility, it's about (as much as I hate to use this word) 'face.'
    • by SuperBug ( 200913 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:10PM (#8376283) Homepage Journal
      They're being ridiculed for not being up-front. That's dishonesty being practiced there. Yes, it's in their manuals, but they didn't say something like this: "Having seen what our competitor AMD has accomplished, we've decided to collaborate with them , at our request, and follow suit in extending the 32-bit architecture to 64-bit with seemless compatibility with said competitor."

      Now I'm not some marketing guy, but I'm sure they could've put even more Intel-positive spin on this issue, rather than attempting to bury the truth in their manual, knowing that someone would see it and take offense for Intel not simply stating it by now. We should not encourage dishonesty where the public interest and common good are involved. i.e. collaboration for a common architecture can surely benefit the common good. No?
    • by SirSlud ( 67381 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:10PM (#8376291) Homepage
      I'm pretty sure Intel was forced to go with AMDs 64 bit instruction set only because a ways back, Microsoft had already said that their Windows 64 bit edition will only support AMDs instruction set.

      Or am I confuddled here? Intel wouldn't have supported a common architecture were it not for Microsoft.
    • by MBCook ( 132727 ) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:16PM (#8376387) Homepage
      If that's what Intel did, we'd all be happy. With the exception of a little "Ha ha, they were right" we'd all be happy for the most part.

      Instead we got the NEW IA32E ARCHITECTURE (read: the one AMD has been selling for a year+) that WE DEVELOPED TO HELP CONSUMERS (read: "borrowed" from AMD because they are killing us). NOWHERE in everything Intel said or did mentioned that it was x86-64 or developed by AMD. You had to wade through the low level techincal documentation to find that out. They are basically taking all credit for what AMD has done so they don't look like they lost a battle (which they DID). If they had any honor, they would have done things MUCH differently.

      That's why the Klingon Empire will no longer buy Intel chips for their ships computers.

  • by WinDOOR ( 741468 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:02PM (#8376163)
    AMD needs to wait until Intel is completely involved in x86 32-64 and then launch a complete advertising compaign to the General Public about this. Show benchmarks. Help manufacturers freindly to their product push their wares. And really nail them hard. No Blue Man Group silliness. No stupid ads. Just plain facts and examples. But they must do so in mainstream media. Telling a bunch of geeks about their products doesn't work, they already get all the information themselves. And they buy based on reasearch anyways, not on advertising.
  • by pinkboi ( 533214 ) <magusofthedark@nOsPam.yahoo.com> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:02PM (#8376164) Homepage
    It's about bloddy time. Isn't that what's next?
  • by mapmaker ( 140036 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:02PM (#8376175)
    This is Microsoft's doing. They laid down the law and said there would be only ONE 64-bit version of Windows XP, and since AMD's 64-bit instruction set was out first that's the one they used.

    Intel had no choice but to use AMD's instructions if they wanted their chips to be Windows-compatible.

  • Personally (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:02PM (#8376178)
    I don't like the fact that the Slashdot headline takes Intel to task for doing the right thing. It would have been bad for everyone (Intel, AMD, and all of their developers and users) for Intel to adopt a "not-invented-here" approach and conjure up yet another 64-bit instruction set out of thin air. The fact that they didn't is a good thing.

    Crappy journalism on Slashdot's part.
  • by Egekrusher2K ( 610429 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:03PM (#8376192) Homepage
    Up until recently, AMD has had to follow in Intel's footsteps. They have been forced to use Intel's extensions for years- until this (VERY) bold move by them. Now, the tables are turned, and Intel are backed into the corner instead of AMD. I love it.
  • by secondsun ( 195377 ) <secondsun@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:05PM (#8376222) Journal
    AMD and intel have numerous cross liscencing deals goinging on that ammount to Intel can use AMD's IP and AMD can use Intel's IP for, I believe, compatibility. I am not sure about the exact deals but in theory AMD can make a compatible implementation Intel's HyperThreading tech (via reverse engineering) and Intel can (apparently) in practice use AMD's 64 bit extensions with neither paying royalties or considerations to the other. Other examples from the other direction are AMD implementing MMX and SSE as 3DNow and 3dNow Pro.

  • Licensing? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) * <richardprice@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:07PM (#8376246)
    Uhm, didnt i read somewhere that Intel licensed AMDs 64bit extensions? Just the same as AMD license ia-386 stuff from Intel? This may be covered in the article, which I cant currently get to, and i just cant be bothered to google.
    • Re:Licensing? (Score:5, Informative)

      by shirai ( 42309 ) * on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:48PM (#8376827) Homepage
      Here are the immportant parts of the article from CNET:

      Because of the details of a lengthy 1995 legal settlement between Intel and AMD, Intel can in all probability create and sell chips that are completely compatible with AMD's Opteron and Athlon 64 chips, which can run both 32- and 64-bit software, according to the companies and legal experts. Intel won't even have to pay AMD royalties if it incorporates ideas from any AMD patents into its chips.

      "My understanding, based on the licensing agreement, is that Intel has access to AMD's patents so patent protection should not be a problem," said Richard Belgard, a noted patent consultant.

      Intel may have to rename some of the instructions, or commands, embedded in any chip that is similar to Opteron, but "the code can be 100 percent compatible," Belgard added.


      For the full article:

      Article at CNet [com.com]
  • by retro128 ( 318602 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:10PM (#8376296)
    While I found the submission entertaining, I still have to give props to Intel. OK, yes, they are making a chip that's compatible with AMD's instruction set, but this can only be a good thing. Instead of running out and introducing a new 64 bit instruction set to the market to directly compete with AMD, and thus create market confusion and compatibility problems, they've decided to do the best thing for us, the consumers and programmers - embrace an existing standard to avoid market fragmentation.

    Yes, it might have pissed Linus off that they weren't very forthcoming about it, but just think how ticked he'd be if they introduced something completely different and he had support two competing 64-bit architectures.

    Maybe Intel is taking a lesson from IBM. Just because you are the big boy on the block doesn't mean you can make your own rules. Anyone remember Microchannel Architecture?

  • PR mishap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Twillerror ( 536681 ) * on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:12PM (#8376328) Homepage Journal
    I really don't understand why Intel is handling this so poorly. Someone in the higher ups must have thought this to be a horrible end of the world type of thing. In my mind it isn't. They have ended up making Intel look worse if they would have just quitely said, we are supporting x86-64...which is compatible wiht AMD, at the end of the sentence.

    AMD is an x86 processor. Something Intel invented. Becuase of the agreement between Intel and AMD over the use x86, Intel can use the new extensions without paying royalties.

    A) The only people that might loose faith in Intel are some techies, most of who are already AMDFanBoys ( and girls ) anyways. The average consumer ain't going to care who created the 64 bit extensions.

    B) AMD DID THE WORK. No need waste time designing the specs out.

    C) MS has an OS ready to go out the door, no time waiting for you apps to be deployed.

    D) AMD has spent a lot of time marketing the technology, all you have to say is we do it with more GHZ ( please don't let the GHZ thing spin off into another thread ).

    E) You've got something to help ease the pain between your Xeon and Itanium lines.

    This is a good thing for Intel. Sure you are copying AMD's instruction set, but lets face it, compared to the man hours needed to actually implement the instruction set in trannies, an instruction set is pretty simple. Intel saves money, says hey look we are not a monopoly anymore don't hate us, and has a good product.

    Intel made a bad PR decision, they should just admit it and move on.

  • by ChaseTec ( 447725 ) <chase@osdev.org> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:32PM (#8376614) Homepage
    Given a general cpu register like eax it looks like this:

    31--------------15-------7------0 Bits

    |--------------eax--------------|
    |------ax------|
    |--ah---|--al---|

    And now AMD's come up with the brillant idea of extending a register. The 64 bit accumlitive register is now RAX with it's low 32 bits being EAX and the low 16 are ax and so on.

    The continuation of adding on register extensions is great for backwards compatiblity but it makes the instruction set a mess. Intel knows this but people don't seem to be will to give up compatibility or performace. The only way this is probably ever going to go away is if every one is forced to write a C compiler.

    The sad thing is that a new cpu could have a compatibility layer that had a slight performance hit but with a lack of software supporting new 64 implementations people wouldn't buy it because the pretty little bar graphs that the sales drones produce.

    • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @04:16PM (#8377193) Homepage
      It's not so much that AMD is "still following in Intel's footsteps", it's that AMD chose to remain x86-compatible. If that's following in Intel's footsteps, then Intel is following in Intel's footsteps too, I guess, because Intel sells lots of x86-compatible chips.

      The continuation of adding on register extensions is great for backwards compatiblity but it makes the instruction set a mess.

      But -- who cares? Modern CPU chips translate instructions into RISC-like micro-ops, and feed the micro-ops into multiple execution units. AMD chips can do a whole bunch of stuff in a single clock cycle, which is why they are much faster per clock cycle than an Intel chip. The pain of a wacky instruction set is isolated in the translation part of the chip, and doesn't significantly hold back the chip in other ways.

      RISC fans predicted years ago that CISC would die, because RISC is so much better. But CISC chips contain RISC cores these days, and meanwhile architectures that were originally "RISC" have all kinds of special instructions for working with video data and such (doesn't seem so "reduced" to me). What really happened is that RISC and CISC kind of met in the middle.

      And the old idea that RISC instructions would win because they are easier to decode didn't pan out. CISC instructions get decoded to RISC-like micro-ops, as I said, and it turns out not to be a huge deal. Meanwhile, those CISC instructions are denser than RISC instructions, so you fit more of them into your limited cache space, which helps speed.

      In short, modern chips do all kinds of clever stuff, and the instruction set architecture is not really holding them back.

      The sad thing is that a new cpu could have a compatibility layer that had a slight performance hit but with a lack of software supporting new 64 implementations people wouldn't buy it because the pretty little bar graphs that the sales drones produce.

      If you want me to feel sad, you need to back this up with some facts. Show me why you feel the Athlon64 would be faster if it were not backward-compatible with x86.

      As it is, the Athlon64 is already a sweet chip in 32-bit x86 mode (you know, "following in Intel's footsteps"). Then it gets better when you run 64-bit software (mainly due to the extra registers). Good in 32-bit, better in 64-bit... why am I supposed to be sad again?

      steveha
  • by Junks Jerzey ( 54586 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:33PM (#8376635)
    People like to think that AMD is a bunch of guys working out of someone's basement. In reality, AMD is a hulking monster of a corporation. This is a company with tens of thousands of employees and 2.7 billion (US) in revenue in 2002. So, yay, one monstrous corpororation is better than another!
  • by scorp1us ( 235526 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:33PM (#8376640) Journal
    Seriously people, everything but x86 is Big endian, and we (embedded software people) have endian issues all the time. Wil there finally be 32 and 64 bit big endian instructions?

    PLEASE SAY YES!
  • by nukem1999 ( 142700 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:34PM (#8376655)
    Downplaying the announcement wasn't just to keep down the shame of following their chief rival, it was also to confuse those in the current market for a new server. From what I understand, Itanium/Itanic has been a serious flop thus far. What will the motivation be for IT departments to buy Itaniums now if they know something more compatible and better for them is coming along Real Soon Now?
  • by Kegetys ( 659066 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:44PM (#8376774) Homepage
    Whats the big deal with this? I quickly went through some AMD's Athlon PDF's, and while all of them mentioned SIMD/SSE and MMX support, I didn't spot any mentioning that those are actually technologies originally developed by Intel. And why is this? Maybe because Intel and AMD have the cross-whatever license on their technologies so they can leave all that out. Come on, who would voluntarily put their competitors name in their product sheets?

    After all, its not either of them copying anything from each other, but just making their own product compatible with a certain set on instructions, while still using their very own under-the-hood implementation.
  • by avat ( 756154 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:56PM (#8376944)
    http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit20021226. html Either way, it only helps the consumer to have a standard like this.
  • how the hell? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by batura ( 651273 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @05:13PM (#8377816)
    How the hell do you mark an article -1 Toll?
  • by cactopus ( 166601 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @09:32PM (#8380918)
    First HP makes PA-RISC. This turns out to be a kick-ass architecture with a lot of room to grow. Years go by and Intel enters into a partnership with HP to develop PA-RISC into Merced... nee Itanium. This is good. Intel of course bojos everything up and many millions of dollars later, we have really kick-ass PA-RISC chips and Itanium 1 which nobody gives a rats ass about. Some improvement later and we still have some even more kick-ass HPPA chips and Itanium 2 and its ilk.

    Then $SUIT_IN_THE_EXTREME Carly decides after buying CornPACK and Tandem to say F*** all common sense... we have this next-gen PA-RISC design called MAKO and our current Superdomes that outperform Itanium 2 (but shhh don't publish those results)... lets throw it all out... HPPA, MIPS (Himalaya), Alpha, yes all the good processor technology we own... to be dependent on Intel who has no prior experience with 64 bits other than our partnership that makes crappy chips and bet the farm on Intel as being the bomb diggity of 64-bitness.

    Now Intel realizes... WE GOOFED big time. WE HUFFED the SCO crack-pipe... lets make x86-64 (one big head smack for the obvious not occurring to them earlier, and another one for extending the life of x86 even farther). WHERE does this leave both Intel (with IBM and POWER4/5/6+ spanking their asses back to the stone age) and poor (NOT) HP who bet the farm on Itanic 2... ?

    Oh this is too good.

    I hope they both sink in the same boat.

    and for AMD's sake I hope they add a fs*ckin thermistor to their procs so if the heat sink is loose they don't smoke themselves... (fsckin unacceptable).

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