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MIT's Hybrid Microchip To Overcome Silicon Size Barrier

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the keeping-up-with-the-moore's dept.

Hardware 77

schliz writes "MIT researchers have successfully embedded a gallium nitride layer onto silicon to create a hybrid microchip. The method could be further developed to combine other technologies such as spintronics and optoelectronics on a silicon chip. It is expected to be commercialized in a couple of years, and allow manufacturers to keep up with Moore's Law despite today's shrinking devices."

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77 comments

Hybrid microchip (2, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#29491589)

MIT researchers have successfully embedded a gallium nitride layer onto silicon to create a hybrid microchip.

Arthur: What do you mean, an african or european gallium nitride layer?
Bridgekeeper: Both! That's why it's an hybrid!
Arthur: I didn't know that! Auuuuuuuugh!

Re:Hybrid microchip (3, Funny)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 4 years ago | (#29492119)

MIT researchers have successfully embedded a gallium nitride layer onto silicon to create a hybrid microchip.

Arthur: What do you mean, an african or european gallium nitride layer?
Bridgekeeper: Both! That's why it's an hybrid!
Arthur: I didn't know that! Auuuuuuuugh!

Meanwhile, a few hundred years later...

Customer : So, um, I'll only have to refill my computer half as often right ?
Best Buy Salesperson : Actually it so happens that we have a promotion on computer tanks in the next aisle.

Re:Hybrid microchip (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 4 years ago | (#29497601)

Nicely done, but my first thought on reading the headline was that scientists had found a microchip that allowed for insanely sized artificial breasts.

Beowulf (-1, Redundant)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | more than 4 years ago | (#29491595)

Imagine a Beowulf cluster of those... in my smartphone.

Re:Beowulf (4, Funny)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#29491759)

Imagine a Beowulf cluster of those... in my smartphone.

Eventually the smartchip in your credit card will get bored, nano-build a wifi connector out of the card's polymers and connect to the net, building its own Facebook page and getting more friends than you have. And then Skynet wins teh interwebs.

Does Moore's Law end when things get too tiny? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29491609)

Unless the figure out a way to make plastic stronger, I think cellphones shouldn't get much thinner or smaller.

Re:Does Moore's Law end when things get too tiny? (4, Insightful)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 4 years ago | (#29491661)

Smaller equals faster, and can equal lower power. Both of these are good for cellphones, and lots of other things.

More to the point, this particular advance means fewer individual chips, which means cheaper.

Re:Does Moore's Law end when things get too tiny? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29491871)

This is true, however, the real killer of cellphone battery life is the fact that the law of inverse squares is at play (power required is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between the source and destination.)

Re:Does Moore's Law end when things get too tiny? (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#29492707)

Since when did running a 50 foot extension cord instead of a 5 foot shorty divide the power used by 100?

Re:Does Moore's Law end when things get too tiny? (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493045)

Duh, haven't you heard of Ohmmygod's Law of energy-saving distances? Why do you think the guy trying to run an extension cord to the moon was 'taken out' by Big Energy. They are trying to keep us addicted!

Re:Does Moore's Law end when things get too tiny? (1)

emjay88 (1178161) | more than 4 years ago | (#29498191)

I'm pretty sure GP is talking about (radiative) wireless transmission...

Re:Does Moore's Law end when things get too tiny? (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#29498251)

Which has nothing to with the topic at hand.

And cell phones are fucking stupid - they don't lower the power when they're near a tower.

They lower the power when there's a high SNR.

And if you're near a tower, odds are a million other people are, and your SNR will actually suck, even though you have "more bars in more places".

Re:Does Moore's Law end when things get too tiny? (1)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 4 years ago | (#29507739)

If your received SNR is way above what is required, it's appropriate to reduce power. (With digital signals, you either do or don't have a good-enough connection.) If other cell phones or any other devices are making your SNR go down, an algorithm based on SNR won't reduce power, since you need the extra to overcome the interference.

Besides, cell phone systems use various schemes (CDMA and others) to reduce the effects of phone-to-phone interference. This is why cell phone towers can handle multiple calls at once.

Re:Does Moore's Law end when things get too tiny? (1)

hot soldering iron (800102) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493551)

That is kind of simplified... There are more factors involved: is the transmitter omni-directional? the receiver? Or is the cellphone loaded with REAL next-gen gear and have a micro-phased array antenna to steer the beam at the closest tower? Has the phone evolved to a function instead of a device? Does it have a OCR scanner looking through the CCD camera? Is it capable of being a computer with the camera acting as an optical mouse (no external box involved)? Does it have night vision? Biometrics? Accelerometers? It already has mp3, GPS, phone, video, data storage, audio recording, games, internet connectivity, timer alarms, what else can you think of to incorporate into it?

Re:Does Moore's Law end when things get too tiny? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 4 years ago | (#29496089)

power required is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between the source and destination.
It's actually worse than that

You are reffering the free space model. That is what they teach you at undergraduate level but it only really applies in certain situations (basically situations where there are no reflections)

Another model is the plane-earth model, this assumes a single perfect reflection from the (flat) ground that introduces a phase inversion. This causes destructive interference and you end up with an inverse fourth power law.

IIRC reality in an outdoor environment with lots of reflections the path loss exponent tends to be somewhere between inverse square and inverse fourth power.

Re:Does Moore's Law end when things get too tiny? (1)

palisaide (1135555) | more than 4 years ago | (#29492145)

Smaller equals faster

Not necessarily. As transistor gate widths get smaller, parasitic capacitances become more of an issue. When you place metal traces as close to each other as is required for a sub-45 nm MOSFET gate, the capacitance between them becomes greater, thus actually reducing performance.

Re:Does Moore's Law end when things get too tiny? (3, Informative)

imgod2u (812837) | more than 4 years ago | (#29492753)

You're talking about coupling capacitance, which is something that can be alleviated by design. The biggest issue is that shrinking wires don't result in faster signals due to the load capacitance remaining relatively the same. This becomes the majority of the delay and the speed of the transistor becomes a smaller part of the equation.

Add to this the fact that transistors themselves aren't getting faster. The speed of a FET is proportional to its gate dielectric thickness. That is 1nm at 45nm and 0.9nm at 32 (for Intel). This can't really shrink much more like it has in the past -- once you're down to a single layer of Hafnium, you can't really cut out any more -- and as a consequence, transistors won't be getting faster at the same rate that they have been in the past (for MOS at least).

Looking at Intel's roadmap, upcoming node shrinks scale in power and size but not in speed.

Re:Does Moore's Law end when things get too tiny? (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 4 years ago | (#29491957)

The electrical components can get smaller without shrinking the phone. Just more empty space, or mayb e a larger battery. Possibly even a faster CPU.

I want a cell phone that can run my chosen desktop with my chosen word processing software, web browser and a few other productivity apps.

Re:Does Moore's Law end when things get too tiny? (1)

masshuu (1260516) | more than 4 years ago | (#29492421)

why not step up a bit further and play your games like Crysis or GTA4 on max settings

Re:Does Moore's Law end when things get too tiny? (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#29497475)

I can log in to my laptop from my phone and play wow... There is some input lag and i wouldn't pvp but I did a OS run (10man raid) on it without tooo many problems.

Re:Does Moore's Law end when things get too tiny? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29492011)

Technically, Moore's law wasn't supposed to last through the 70's.

The point of this isn't so much to make things smaller (though they do want things as small as they can be while still being usable), but to put MORE into that smallest device that people will use.

Re:Does Moore's Law end when things get too tiny? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29492017)

Plastic? How quaint. In the future they will be using synthetic hyperdiamond for commercial applications.

Re:Does Moore's Law end when things get too tiny? (1)

noundi (1044080) | more than 4 years ago | (#29492029)

Unless the figure out a way to make plastic stronger, I think cellphones shouldn't get much thinner or smaller.

Two words: carbon nanotubes.

Re:Does Moore's Law end when things get too tiny? (1)

imgod2u (812837) | more than 4 years ago | (#29492799)

Nanotubes have great tensile strength but very very poor compression/lateral strength. Your cell phone would resemble the rigidity of wool fabric.

Re:Does Moore's Law end when things get too tiny? (2, Informative)

treeves (963993) | more than 4 years ago | (#29495917)

You don't make the case out of CNTs. You put them in the plastic to make it (much) stronger. A composite material. The carbon fibers needn't be "nano" to work well though.

Re:Does Moore's Law end when things get too tiny? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29492095)

No, Moore's Law doesn't end when things get too tiny. Moore's law says that the number of transistors you can get on a chip for a fixed dollar investment doubles every 18 months. This doesn't need to end once you hit the hard limit of silicon, because then the technology for making things that small will mature and you will still be able to get the same number of transistors but for half the price.

Re:Does Moore's Law end when things get too tiny? (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493659)

This doesn't need to end once you hit the hard limit of silicon, because then the technology for making things that small will mature and you will still be able to get the same number of transistors but for half the price.

We're starting to hit some fundamental limits. The ultimate one, of course, is that at some point atoms are too big, and you need at least one electron per bit of data. We're not quite there yet, but we're getting close. There's serious work on single electron memory cells. [nd.edu]

The current big problem is getting rid of the heat. Smaller transistors are possible, but not too many of them can be active at one time. This is why flash memory currently leads in density; at any one time, only a small fraction of the transistors are using power. Even RAM now has serious heat dissipation problems. With CPUs, heat removal dominates design. Chip designers are worried about MIPS/watt, rather than MIPS/cm^2. 3D designs have it worse; getting the heat out of the intermediate layers is very tough.

There's another limit worth bearing in mind - electromigration [doitpoms.ac.uk]. After fabrication has put all the atoms where they're supposed to be, they don't always stay there. Some, pulled by electrical and thermal forces, do come off edges and move around. This causes failures over time. The smaller the device, the worse the effects of this process.

Re:Does Moore's Law end when things get too tiny? (1)

Imrik (148191) | more than 4 years ago | (#29494349)

You're missing the point, once you get to the point where you can't make transistors smaller, you can still make them cheaper.

phone blobs (2, Interesting)

zogger (617870) | more than 4 years ago | (#29492567)

It will just become one plastic blob, with the circuitry embedded right in the plastic, and being semi immune from bending fatigue breakage. No board and separate case in other words. I guess they'll need a way to do the sim card, but perhaps they can do with with bluetooth.(or some other shortrange wireless tech). Charging the blobbed batt will be inductive. Pros are sturdy, weather proof and most likely pretty cheap, cons, no user serviceable entry at all without some serious leet dremel skills and a microscope and so on. But really, if they can get them cheaper than even now, along with much higher resistance to breakage, most people won't care about getting inside the thing anyway.

Re:phone blobs (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 4 years ago | (#29498027)

SIM card shouldn't be a problem - you'll still need a way to connect the screen, buttons, etc. - some traces for SIM card contacts aren't going to break the cost advantages of this kind of integration.

I'd say, if it weren't for smartphones needing so much processing, that we're probably there (should a dumb-phone be allowed to come to market).

nothing larger than its interface & power sour (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493621)

The video screen would be a sheet of paper; audio just the earphone, text input just the keyboard etc. The power source is the other barrier. Batteries are still bully and less than an order of magnitude more efficient than a century ago. Smaller computing device would shrunk the power need, but the interface consumes lots of power.

In the more distant future the interface would bypass the senses and connect to the nervous system.

Hey now! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29491623)

> "...despite today's shrinking devices."

It's not the size of the device, it's how you use it.

Self-fulfilling prophecy? (5, Interesting)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#29491659)

It's been getting interesting these past couple of years to see chip manufacturers not only content with observing the results of Moore's Law, but working hard to actually meet it as a self-imposed deadline. Would Intel have come as far as it did recently if Moore had never put his famous observation onto paper?

Re:Self-fulfilling prophecy? (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29492263)

Would Intel have come as far as it did recently if Moore had never put his famous observation onto paper?

Yes. Someone else would have made a similar guess. Developing a CPU takes around 5 years. When you start, you need to know roughly how many transistors you will be able to use to make it. This depends on the market segment it will be aiming for (and the amount people are willing to pay for a chip in that segment) and the number of transistors you will be able to fit on a chip for that much money. Moore's 'law' is a good rule of thumb that lets you make a reasonable guess as to how many transistors you can fit on a chip by the time it is ready to be made. Sometimes it works, sometimes (e.g. the P4) it doesn't. Without it, Intel would have had to use some other mechanism for making guesses, but given that Moore's law is just a simple extrapolation from their past performance, that's probably what they would have used anyway.

Natural consequence (2, Insightful)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 4 years ago | (#29492373)

Would Intel have come as far as it did recently if Moore had never put his famous observation onto paper?

James Burke talked a lot about the phenomenon of the exponential explosion of technology in his Connections series [wikipedia.org]. Many others have commented about this as well. (Toeffler, Vinge, Kuzweil, to name a few) Technology often makes other technology easier, so you have an exponential chain reaction. Moore's law is just a consequence of this acceleration of technological advance in a highly technical field.

I am also reminded of a chip industry quip: "Gallium Arsenide, the technology of the future! Always was, always will be!" I hope that finally becomes wrong!

On "exponential" growth (4, Interesting)

sean.peters (568334) | more than 4 years ago | (#29492765)

Technology often makes other technology easier, so you have an exponential chain reaction.

I hear a lot about the "exponential" growth of technology. I'm not sure whether technology is really growing exponentially, but I do know this: exponentially growing processes don't go on forever - they can't. Rather quickly, they hit upon some underlying limitation in the physical world, and progress stops. I think it's much more likely that growth in technology follows a logistic curve [wikipedia.org], which grows pseudo-exponentially for a while, but then plateaus. We're just in the steep part of the curve right now.

Re:On "exponential" growth (1)

mhajicek (1582795) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493969)

People have been predicting such limitations for some time. Time and again someone thinks of something new that the predictor of the limit hadn't thought of, and the improvement continues.

Re:On "exponential" growth (1, Redundant)

vertinox (846076) | more than 4 years ago | (#29494157)

Rather quickly, they hit upon some underlying limitation in the physical world, and progress stops.

The problem is that you are viewing the technology industry as the same as natural evolution.

Yes, bacteria and various species do hit limitations on their exponential growth because they run out of food.

But technology in general expands on those limitations and raises the bar faster than the limitations can keep up.

I mean when is the last time you saw a bacteria species create their own irrigation system and food storage systems?

The difference between natural evolution and applied intelligence is that intelligence adjust the limitations directly and not simply live with them.

Re:On "exponential" growth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29497181)

What exactly makes you think that there are no limits? I don't dispute that we can go further than unintelligent processes, but at some point, something has to give. It may not happen right away, but when we do hit the wall, we'll slam into it at full force.

Things made of atoms can't be boundlessly small. At some point, you hit a size limit and that's the end of it.

Re:On "exponential" growth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29502719)

Many people predict doom by observing limits of current technologies. Frequently enough, they turn out to be wrong because of some new technological innovation. However the possible is limited by economy, technology and science. New technology is invented all the time so that there are better and/or cheaper ways to produce something, that was either economically or technologically, impossible or nonviable. However breakthroughs in physics is very uncommon. We know how small a transistor can be made. But this is subject to all three kinds of limits and someone may just invent something to overcome one of them. But we also know for sure how small an operational transistor can be. That is not subject to correction unless there is a novel understanding of physics, which must supersede quantum theories. I expect that someday we will go beyond current theories, but I also expect we would have hit the size wall for transistors long before that. So at some point, Moore's law won't hold. Of course the progress in computer production may not be limited by size of the transistors, a new technology may replace transistors just as transistors replaced vacuum tubes. But that is not the same thing as Moore's law holding despite predictions to the contarary. In fact, I think resource transfer for development of such a technology requires impending or past failure of Moore's law to be economically feasable.

Re:Self-fulfilling prophecy? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29492387)

Or would they have been progressed at a far faster rate, because the progress would have been based on competition instead of an arbitrary expected development?

Re:Self-fulfilling prophecy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29492609)

Well, it's not arbitrary, it's an extrapolation from previous work, which is a model that everyone would have used anyway. Competition can't overcome the laws of physics, and it just works out that moore's law matches the best business decision.

Re:Self-fulfilling prophecy? (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#29492667)

Or would they have been progressed at a far faster rate, because the progress would have been based on competition instead of an arbitrary expected development?

Either that or the industry as a whole would have fallen into an lethargic pause, feeling no need to reinvent themselves as no standards are imposed on them to create faster hardware. The demands of the gaming market may have done this eventually, but then again we might still be playing Pong 12 Remix Championship 30th Anniversary Edition...

Re:Self-fulfilling prophecy? (1)

BryanL (93656) | more than 4 years ago | (#29492533)

I thought that was the point of Moore's law: to double the nuber of transistors on a circuit every 18 months-two years. The "law" is more of a business strategy or practice than a true law. That would, by definition, make it self fulfilling. The reason most people think it is a law proper is that chip manufacturers have been able to continue this strategy for so long.

Maybe I can evolve smaller fingers (1)

yourassOA (1546173) | more than 4 years ago | (#29491719)

to go with todays shrinking devices. Watch in a few years everyone will be humped backed with T-rex arms.

Re:Maybe I can evolve smaller fingers (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493623)

Not to mention t-rex sized jaws to consume all the delivery-junk food our society produces.

Boobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29491743)

My mind went straight to breast implants after I misread the title as being about the silicone size barrier.

Great idea (4, Funny)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 4 years ago | (#29491829)

i should get my girlfriend to use silicon to overcome her size barrier.

Re:Great idea (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29491851)

i should get my girlfriend to use silicon to overcome her size barrier.

Perhaps she'd say the same about you.

Re:Great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29491915)

As long as everyone's happy, right?

That's step 2 (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29493955)

Step 1 is to get her to overcome the virtuality barrier.

Re:Great idea (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#29504271)

I should get my girlfriend to use silicon to overcome her size barrier.

You want her boobs miniaturized? Maybe that's why your example is purely hypothetical...

tu36irl (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29491929)

direct orders, or told Reporters, states that there Survival prospects it was fun. If I'm ARE ATTENDING A posts on Usenet are learn what mistakes need to scream that

Silicone has a size barrier? (1)

TuxCoder (1641657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29491939)

Leave it to the guys at MIT to find that. I guess if you do enough 'research' on silicone sizing, you'll find the barrier.

Not what Moore's Law means (3, Informative)

imgod2u (812837) | more than 4 years ago | (#29492019)

They aren't talking about shrinking existing MOS transistors (which make up 99.999% of digital circuits); which is what Moore's Law talks about. They're talking about the ability to integrate transistors with better matching characteristics (CMOS is terrible at it) for analog and photoelectric circuits onto existing silicon. This idea has been done again and again from Intel's hybrid silicon laser to Silicon Germanium, which is already widely used in cell phone chips.

This won't make digital circuits smaller and isn't a solution to it so the headline isn't accurate. What this will mean is that potentially, cell phones won't need 4-5 separate chips for RF, digital, baseband, etc. You can integrate all those functions into one. But again, that's nothing new. IBM already provides BiCMOS with a SiGe layer on top for analog circuits. It's not been economical since it usually lags behind their bulk CMOS process for digital-only chips.

Re:Not what Moore's Law means (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29492725)

There is another impact of this technology that has nothing to do with Moore's law. If a GaN device such a blue or green LED can be grown on a Si substrate then it could be a lot less expensive. This could pave the way for much less expensive white light LED's. Why? Because some of the methods of making a "white" LED require a blue and/or green LED. You can make a red LED (in AlGaAs, not GaN), a green LED (in GAN), and a blue LED (in GaN) and combine them to make white. Or, you can make a blue (or purple) LED and use it to excite a phosphor to get the red and green light. Both of these methods rely on GaN devices. And as of a few years ago, GaN was grown on less ideal substrates such as sapphire or (expensive) SiC. GaN substrates were beginning to appear, but they were obscenely expensive.

If this works, it does change the game for lighting. But, that isn't covered by Moore's law.

Re:Not what Moore's Law means (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29500445)

Unfortunately the article doesn't mention how they're growing the GaN on silicon. If you can't grow it fast, and very uniform, then this won't be of use for LEDs.

A quick Google for "GaN on silicon" yields this [ledsmagazine.com] cautionary article.

Which part of Moore's Law? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29492049)

"We think heterogeneous integration will allow us to keep up with Moore's Law in terms of performance enhancement rather than device scaling,"

So this really won't make the cores go any faster or reduce the number of flaws that would allow manufacturers use larger areas on the wafer without reducing their yields. But it does show potential for interfacing high speed RF circuits with the cores on the same chip.

The real question is going to be, "how is memory design affected by the hybrid substrate?" In the multi-core era bigger faster memory is one of the single largest stumbling blocks to general computer performance.

Combine this with... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29492057)

the Gaydar, http://yro.slashdot.org/story/09/09/20/1753254/MIT-Project-Gaydar-Shakes-Privacy-Assumptions?art_pos=1 and you've got something.

Microchip is not a word (2, Funny)

onkelonkel (560274) | more than 4 years ago | (#29492347)

Well, ok, it is. But in my day we called them chips. A micro was a microprocessor. So unless you were talking about a microprocessor chip, using the word microchip marked you as a clueless non-technical luser of the sort that writes the science articles for the local paper. Now get off my lawn, uphill both ways, in the snow.

Re:Microchip is not a word (1)

witch-doktor (1592325) | more than 4 years ago | (#29492491)

Integrated Circuit. If you are in a hurry/need column space say 'IC' and hope no automobile engineers are around.

Coleslaw vs Mooreslaw (-1, Offtopic)

hitnrunrambler (1401521) | more than 4 years ago | (#29492467)

I've never eaten Mooreslaw but you can't beat a classic. Coleslaw is made of sweet cabbagey goodness, while Mooreslaw is made of silicon wafers; silicon does not taste or digest well.

oh and about the chips (we call them "fries" in the US)... micro chips are a bad idea! Give me big starchy chunks of potato everytime.

p.s. Is the article about the same thing the tags are about?

Re:Coleslaw vs Mooreslaw (1)

hitnrunrambler (1401521) | more than 4 years ago | (#29492991)

Oh sure... silicone vs silicon gets +funny

but point out that the story is tagged "coleslaw" and some wanker marks you off topic.

This is nothing new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29492819)

Nitronex has been doing this for years.

http://www.nitronex.com/

minus 3, T8oll) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29492887)

stagnant. As Linux I'm discussing of WEalnut Creek, survive at all development. BSD Of business and From one folder on fact there won't area. It is the
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