Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 22nd Sep 2009 21:54 UTC
Intel The Intel Developer Forum is currently in full swing, but it kicked off with a speech by Intel CEO Paul Otellini. Well, there's bad news for those of us who long for a time where lots of different architectures compete with one another, ensuring that technology is moved forward. Otellini's plans for Intel basically come down to one thing: x86 everywhere.
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RE: x86 everywhere ?
by cade on Thu 24th Sep 2009 00:04 UTC in reply to "..."
Member since:

Hiev mentioned ...

"... x86 everywhere makes the life of the programmers a lot easier."

This would be true for system programmers.
For application programmers (like myself), the CPU platform has little consequence in terms of producing code since we (the application programmers) can rely on "standard" libraries (POSIX, pthread, standard C library, standard C++ library,OpenGL, etc) that allows our domain-specific code to interface with any system (ie. a system that supports these "standard" libraries).

I deal with C++ software development on OpenSolaris (using free SunStudio tools). One of my in-house research projects is optimisation of rendering of massive landscapes on a planetary level using a high-performance (in-house developed) persistent object database as the data-store for the landscape detail. The core of this system deals with standard C,C++,OpenGL, POSIX, pthread libraries. Higher-level libraries have been built from this core. The graphics engine (G3D Innovation Engine) has some optional inline assembly but the absolute amount of assembly code is so small that any extra time required to maintain the assembly code is a minor issue. While my hardware platform is 64-bit AMD-x86, the same code-base could instantly be ported to the scalable processor architecture (SPARC) platform with the only source code change being the optional inline assembly.

It stands to reason that there would be much more application developers than system (kernel, OS, device driver, etc.) developers and so the "average" developer would probably be more "application"-driven that "sysdem"-driven.

I think it's foolish to promote the "x86 everywhere" fantasy since you have CPU platforms like SPARC with an "enterprise-ready" design goal that have traditionally contrast the design goals for x86 CPU. The enterprise-readiness, massive multi-threading ability, etc. of the SPARC platform has no use in the general home PC where the latter is the familiar and realistic territory of x86 platform.

Remember, Intel/AMD have used ideas from other platforms (e.g. DEC) to enhance the design of their CPUs.

How much creativity would exist if there was a monopoly ?

Edited 2009-09-24 00:07 UTC

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