Uncorrectable freedom and security issues on x86 platforms

Davide Baldo davide.baldo.88 at gmail.com
Sat Apr 9 13:04:23 UTC 2016

I think the situation is far worse than ""just"" locked boot loader, the
very idea that the most diffuse architecture in the desktop and server
environments is closed and without any meaning competition is outrageous,
_it seems_ intel is not even willing to sell even the rights to use it:


I deep believe in the current IT revolution AI, self driving cars, virtual
reality, current mobile platforms, medical innovation, etc, the idea that
these fields do not have the all the tools we could provide because one
company holds a (de facto) monopoly makes me furious.

What we are missing is innovation and collaboration in a broader sense than
open source, as far as i know Intel cannot provide a customized cpu in
dynamic and responsive way to help for example a research into artificial
vision, with arm this is doable, granted you have enough funds, and i
believe that arm business model, while being still closed, still encourage
competition and allow any new company to join in the cpu race, to bring
more innovation, even if is very far from being open source.

On a personal note I'm boycotting Intel (and x86) for 3 years, for their
less than ethical behaviours and choking market strategies, see the
antitrust ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMD_v._Intel ) in 2009 and the
recent partnerships.
I'm not saying Intel is breaking any law.

I've learned verilog and making a new ISA & cpu to get a better view of
what it takes to make a cpu.
ps: if you wanna laugh a bit, the day my altera FPGA was delivered was the
same day intel announced altera acquisition.

I'm currently using a chromebook 14" powered by arm (A-15 based with 4gb of
ram, FHD touch screen, 7h battery life, 0db) with gentoo and i'm able to
develop without any restrictions, i'm not sacrificing anything, the cpu is
able to fluidly decode a x265 FHD video using _software_ decoder with mpv.
Latest arm cpu compete with lower end of intel with a much better PPW, MIPS
are quickly catching up.

What can we do?

Even if every developer were to buy an x86 alternative desktop/laptop, it
wouldn't make a dent in x86 market, in my humble opinion we should provide
all the tools needed to actually use risc-v in production environments and
promoting it for embedded use (arduino replacement, low end devices such as
microwaves), and from there involving more companies to expand the cpu, for
most companies cpu is just a component, the cheaper the better, some work
with such high volumes that it could actually save a lot of money to use
risc-v, even if they have to invest human resources to adapt it and expand
it. I'm willing to spend several hours a week to help this cause.

I apologize for going a bit off topic.
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