CPU as a service has come!
paul at boddie.org.uk
Wed Nov 29 11:23:21 UTC 2017
On Wednesday 29. November 2017 10.01.25 Giovanni Biscuolo wrote:
> in other words (sorry if I'm stressing on this), some computing devices
> have become **virtual machines** running in a stealth host with a complete
> OS running on it; you have not root access to the host, just to the
> virtual machine (NIBM - aka not invented by me)
Right. For example, it is important that people question whether their
smartphone's "root" mode, generously allowed by the vendor, is actually giving
them "device root" privileges or whether it just lets them install something
they like into a virtual machine.
> >So we need to consider all of these things, or at least many of them.
> >These days, I constantly find myself reminding people to beware of the
> >zero-sum game, as they promote their favourite things at the expense of
> >other, equally worthwhile things. This is no different.
> I'm not promoting anything, I'm just questioning the proposed solutions in
> the light of this new "discovery"
But it is irresponsible to categorise various kinds of technology as "useless"
when they are only insufficient under certain circumstances, such as those
where people can access your device and read your keychain as if they were
you, for example. People may think that they and others are focusing on the
wrong things when we can surely agree that these are also the right things to
use and to work on.
I would formulate this as a matter of the hardware *undermining* the
successful use of these other technologies, which may make the *application*
of those technologies appear "useless" if the hardware's undesirable
characteristics are exploited, but do not make the technologies themselves
useless. With a remedy for the hardware problem, these technologies do not
suddenly become inherently useful, because they were useful all along.
> ...not true, I'm _promoting_ a serious question: can the market alone fix
> the "CPU as a service" issue?
It depends on what measures are in place to prevent people "corrupting" the
hardware without some kind of strong, independent regulation. It has been
noted that adopting other CPU architectures doesn't solve this problem ("what
about the foundries?" and so on), but that doesn't make things like RISC-V
(which may ultimately be part of Google's way out of this) "useless" and not
worth pursuing. The solution involves pursuing many things at once and
recognising that they are all worthwhile.
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