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Transmeta to Release Processor in January?

Roblimo posted more than 14 years ago | from the one-can-only-wonder dept.

Technology 152

Scipius writes "German tech-mag c't reports that Transmeta's new processor will likely be released on the 19th of January 2000. It also reveals the apparent code name: Crusoe." The article's in German, of course. But we'll take a juicy Transmeta rumor - and that's all this is - in any language. Babelfish time!

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Personally... (1)

bconway (63464) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543577)

I'm really glad to see from progress out of this company. Despite the vapourware rumors, that is. Should be interesting to see how the competition goes. Perhaps a real intel downfall?

Babelfish! Hee hee... (2)

198348726583297634 (14535) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543578)

The rumor kitchen reports that the geheimnisumwobene processor prozessorschmiede Transmeta on the first Comdex day, to which 15 November -- as announced by Transmeta coworker Linus Torvalds already - admits now finally the date for the conception of their long expected processor to give wants.

*snicker* .. the rumor kitchen. Mahir, head chef of the rumor kitchen, kiss you!

Processor, Yeah... (0)

azi (60438) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543579)

By reading the U.S. patent databases by searching patents claimed by Transmeta, it isn't quite hard to quess that transmeta's projects have something to do with processors.

Re:Personally... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543580)

I really hope to see some 90's processor technology, no more of Intel's 70's technology. :-)

compustores.net [compustores.net]

Re:Personally... (1)

coaxial (28297) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543581)

I really hope to see some 90's processor technology, no more of Intel's 70's technology. :-)

Yeah but would still be 10 years out of date. :)

For Notebooks! (1)

dej05093 (7707) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543582)

c't claims that it is thought for notebooks, due to it's low power consumption. Maybe "Crusoe" is cheap also ;-)

What about the fab? (3)

A Big Gnu Thrush (12795) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543583)

If Transmeta is a fabless chip manufacturer, then this will just be an announcement of what they plan to build. Not that I'm accusing them of vaprware, but early chip announcements tend to be more like bad sci-fi than actual news. Think of Intel and their gHz processor - cooled by a desk sized freezer beneath the unit.

Either way, it will be more interesting than the Lucent (might not be a) router announcement.

Re:Processor, Yeah... (3)

Bob Ince (79199) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543584)

it isn't quite hard to quess that transmeta's projects have something to do with processors.

Well, yes, we'd kind of known that for some time. :-)

The new-news hidden in this article (apart from the codename itself) is that Crusoe is to be aimed at low-power devices like laptops, which is quite a different market to the mega-workstation many people here wanted it to be (perhaps due to dislike for Intel).

'Course, low-electrical-power doesn't mean low-computing-power. Look at the ARM series, for one. Or c't could be wrong, though they usually aren't. Guess we'll just have to wait and see - to use a phrase already worn out in Transmeta discussion...


--
This comment was brought to you by And Clover.

"...aimed at the notebook market" (1)

trurl3 (112621) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543585)

Hmmm, I guess I might just have to wait before buying my new laptop.
By the way, is this going to be an entirely new architecture, or is it compatible with some already-extant standard?
(And the obvious question) Will Linux run on it? :-)
(Perhaps that's why they hired Linus, hmm?)

Codename: VAPOR (1)

mistabobdobalina (29109) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543586)

kinda like that biz markie song...

on non-flamer tip transmeta's most recent patent release pretty much let the cat out of the bag. if they deliver i'll be first in line to order!

Update (2)

ylle (38991) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543587)

Transmeta's home page has been updated. It is apparently Y2K compliant. Does that mean we can't expect to see it change before next year?

Transmete website (2)

BorgDrone (64343) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543588)

Anyone seen they changed the transmeta website ?
how long has this 'new' site been up
their new design really kicks ass!
never seen a website so well designed, and it works with all browsers and it loads fast too. great! kudos to their webdesigner! :-)

---

Re:Personally... (1)

Greg Merchan (64308) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543589)

Hey! I didn't see the Y2K-compliance mentioned last time I checked the site. Isn't that progress?!? :)

If it's hardware . . . (5)

cureless (35682) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543590)

If it's a processor then some software is going to run on it? This could explained, as mentioned in an article above, why they hired Linus.

Think about it. A *new* architecture, with some really fancy new characteristics but no software? I don't think so. On the other hand, if they involve the opensource community . . . BINGO! a real competitor to Wintel.

Who else would you choose as youre link to the community but Linus. He's the head of development. He can make sure everything runs on this "Crusoe".
I'm not directly tied into kernel development, but you sometimes wonder why some patches don't get included . . . :-)

But in the end, if it's a processor, Linux will run on it. How else can you have a top-secret processor? Who can they really trust as their OS of choice? Windoze? MacOS? BE? . . .
You never know, kernel 2.4 might as well be ready to run on "Crusoe"

cl

--
Reply . . . let's get it over with
--

The Linux Rocket (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543591)

Linus has optimized this baby to make Linux scream. It was designed with Linux in mind, to support the Linux Way. Great day in the morning! I love it; this is better than Hiroshima!

The full article bablefished (2)

Hanzie (16075) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543592)

In English: The rumor kitchen reports that the geheimnisumwobene processor prozessorschmiede Transmeta on the first Comdex day, to which 15 November -- as announced by Transmeta coworker Linus Torvalds already - admits now finally the date for the conception of their long expected processor to give wants. But already beforehand the message penetrated for c't editorship that was to be introduced the processor circulating under the name " Crusoe " on 19 January 2000 (by the way one Wednesday, no " Friday ").

Crusoe is to direct owing to its very low current consumption primarily at the Notebook market (s/c't)

Re:Update (1)

Psiren (6145) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543593)

Can you imagine the slashdot effect thier web server(s) will see once they have some real content? They'd better be ready for one bumpy ride...

Why Crusoe?? (1)

cubitt (89858) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543594)

So, why is it going to be called Crusoe ??

There must be a reason for this name?!

It's years since I read the story but involved some bloke shipwrecked, washed up on an island, and meeting a native he called 'Friday'.

Hmm...

Or are they just playing with us?!!

BTW: www.transmeta.com [transmeta.com] has changed! (And no, www.transmeta.com/crusoe.html and www.transmeta.com/crusoe/ dont exist!

Fabless or not, it's sure to make waves... (5)

Sir_Winston (107378) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543595)

The fact is that if the Transmeta CPU architecture is anything like what's in the Transmeta patents, and if they can at least come up with a few engineering samples, if will mean a radical shift in our ideas about processor design. As it stands, the instruction set is what defines a CPU--CISC, RISC, x86, HP-UX, etc., are all involved in defining the processors which use these instruction sets, but Transmeta changes this. The Transmeta idea as expressed in their patents would create a category above this--no longer is it 'an x86 processor', it's 'a processor running x86 instructions'. This is a radical idea, and a radical paradigm shift--we should all hope it comes to pass. If it's a great and practicable design, it shouldn't be too difficult for Transmeta to partner up with anyone from AMD to Motorola. This sort of radical advancement--again, if it comes to pass--makes me wonder what the heck Intel and all their capital were doing designing the inflexible Itanium, which executes its native (and sure to be poorly supported except for network/server apps for at least a year or two till prices come down remarkably) instructions with Alpha-killing speed but chokes on anything else including the x86 with which they were supposed to be compatible to some reasonable degree. Just 2cents from a guy who plans on supporting anything but the Itanium (mmmm, legacy games under 64-bit AMD....)

Dare to hope? (3)

Daffy Duck (17350) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543596)

I'm as excited as anyone by the prospect of totally new technology, but I'm also bracing myself for the possiblity of both short and long term disappointment when this mystery product debuts.

In the short term, it could turn out that the product isn't the fusion-powered anti-gravity time-travel device that all the secrecy has led me to expect.

In the long term, even a fantastic product could end up going nowhere. I'm thinking particularly of AMD's woes. Not only has Intel (allegedly) managed to convince some major motherboard manufacturers not to ship their Athlon boards, now [cnet.com] they've gotten a major OEM (Gateway) to drop all AMD processors from their product line. And Intel's anti-trust case inexplicably disappeared into thin air.

Even if Transmeta has the coolest CPU ever, do they stand a chance against Chipzilla? Here's hoping...

Re:Personally... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543597)

It's not exactly vapourware, since they haven't announced ANYTHING. Real vapourware should be competing in the marketplace preferably years before it becomes a real product, to keep potential competitors from designing something similar.

Re:If it's hardware . . . (1)

mrogers (85392) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543598)

Does this mean the whole "morph host" x86 emulator theory is out the window?

Re:Update (1)

xtra (24662) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543599)

and did you check out the source code:

There are no secret messages in the source code to this web page.
There are no tyops in this web page.

Re:Update (1)

eiPi (102703) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543600)

Reason for the new look website:
Someone finally worked out how to survive the slashdot effect :-)
Did anyone else think to look at the source?- worth a look.

Better translation (5)

Stephen (20676) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543601)

Here's a better translation, albeit only based on a bit of high-school German and a small dictionary. E&OE.
The rumour on the grapevine is that the secretive processor manufacturer Transmeta will finally reveal the date for the introduction of their long-awaited processor on the first day of Comdex, 15th November (as already announced by Transmeta employee Linus Torvalds). But c't has already heard that the new processor will be launched under the name "Crusoe" on 19th January 2000 (a Wednesday, not a "Friday", by the way). Owing to its very low current consumption, Crusoe will be aimed primarily at the notebook market.

A comment on that article has even more info (2)

kzin (3595) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543602)

The comm ent [altavista.com] doesn't specify what are its sources, but it:
1. Confidently states that Crusoe works by special hardware translating the instructions and then storing them in a huge cache,
2. Says that because of that, MS-Windows will probably not run on Crusoe. This is because of Windows' habit of altering its code on the fly for reasons of optimization, and
3. Speculates that Linus was hired because Linux is to be [one of the] first OS[s] to run on Crusoe (ok, so this isn't new :D ).

It looks like both Intel and Microsoft are facing Interesting Times... :)

Crusoe? (2)

BigTed (78942) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543603)

The name Crusoe could be a suggestion at what the developers think of their new chip. Being seperate from the rest of the manufacturers but close enough that it is still reminiscent of what users are comfortable with.

A new platform that runs native Linux and without all the flaws and inherited legacy hardware in the INTEL architecture, sounds good to me :-)

Re:If it's hardware . . . (1)

cureless (35682) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543604)

Not really. Those not-so-opensource-products-with-no-source-code might need to run on a x86 achitecture.

This processor might be able to run non-native (what ever native means) linux binaries, it might even be able to run the whole thing; linux-x86-on-Crusoe, linux-ppc-on-Crusoe, linux-sparc-on-Crusoe, and obviously linux-Crusoe.

Also, once the plataform is up and ready, sooner or later other stuff (non-linux) might want to be ported, and while it's ported a non-native version can be "emulated" (what ever that means to this processor).

I don't remember the whole discussion on the patent thing, but did it specifically target x86? What about other architectures, even new architectures? This might give Transmeta the upper hand in a place where 64 seems to split compatibility all over.

cl

P.S. I'm making stuff up as I go so don't trust me.

--
Reply . . . Let's get it over with.
--

Re:Babelfish! Hee hee... (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543605)

Linus Torvalds already - admits now finally the date for the conception


Linus is having a baby! I hope his boys can swim.


"If you can't take the shoddy journalism than stay out of the rumor kitchen."




goodluck to them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543606)

we need someone to get rid of all this imcompatiblity thing which goes on all the time over different CPU instruction blah blah sets

Truly Exciting Rumor Mill (4)

ZahrGnosis (66741) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543607)

This is why Transmeta is absolutely cool. Notwithstanding people that can read German (and I'm sure you're plentiful), we've got a one paragraph article that babelfishes really poorly about some bizarrely unsubstantiated rumors and it's going to be a VERY popular slashdot thread, because, well, because it's Transmeta. (Circular logic... cool).

As for real content, I'm surprised by even the rumor that the supposed chip would be a notebook chip. Why a notebook? Linus has said recently that Linux is likely to develop towards embedded applications (it really does perform well there). How let down would we be if Transmeta's first chips were low powered, linux-powered embedded app chips? Really think TV/Network Computers or the like...

Also, if I read the babeled German correctly, they're going to announce the Concept on Jan. 19th. It still could be sometime before we see product (whatever it may be). This should come as no surprise, since TransMeta clearly hasn't employed hundreds of chip-builders lately (someone would have noticed that, I think).

I'm waiting to be awed by whatever they eventually produce, but for now, it's enough to be in awe of the amazing hype and free-publicity. Amazing, isn't it that doing the exact opposite of Microsoft (by spending NOTHING on advertising) is garnering TransMeta (and thus Linus, and thus Linux) a decent amount of press?

Keep it up TransMeta!

Why Linux (1)

kzin (3595) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543608)

If Crusoe is really aimed at laptops, wouldn't Linux be a strange choice for its main OS?
Now I know we all like to think Linux is better at everything, but right now it's still a server OS that's rather hard to operate for non-techie users, which makes choosing it as the main OS for laptop a risky vote of confidence.
Wouldn't MacOS make a much better choice, especially considering its recent revival? (iMac)
Well maybe there's already a hidden deal with Apple. Or maybe Linus is developing Linux to take advanteges of Cruso's unique features and be the first OS to run everything. That would be nice... :)

For the lazy Slashdotter... (1)

pen (7191) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543609)

Transmeta processor " Crusoe " in January expects

The rumor kitchen reports that the geheimnisumwobene processor prozessorschmiede Transmeta on the first Comdex day, to which 15 November -- as announced by Transmeta coworker Linus Torvalds already - admits now finally the date for the conception of their long expected processor to give wants. But already beforehand the message penetrated for c't editorship that was to be introduced the processor circulating under the name " Crusoe " on 19 January 2000 (by the way one Wednesday, no " Friday "). Crusoe is to direct owing to its very low current consumption primarily at the Notebook market. (as/ c't)

--

Expect nothing (1)

Solus_corvus (101010) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543610)

I'd have to agree. All of this secrecy is causing quite a large number of people to get really anxious about the possibilities. In all reality we have little reason to belive this "product" will do anything, aside from the patents.

From the patents we can derive quite a lot about what "it" is supposed to do, however because patents are public information, "it" might not be what transmeta is really doing. Transmeta is being really secretive thus the information in the patents is what transmeta wants us to "know". To take it one step further, transmeta could be working on anything, and the patents could be an attempt to mislead those who copy or stop them, or the patents could be on an auxiliary technology (ie. supporting chipset).

My friend and I joke about what transmeta is really doing, we have concluded that they are making chips that will power the next generation of washing machines. Don't expect anything from transmeta. I'm not saying they are making vapor, I'm just saying that if you don't expect anything you will be nicely supprised when they make the awesome chip you never expected :)

German Humour (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543611)

>by the way one Wednesday, no " Friday "
Kind of ironic that the only part of the translation that makes any kind of sense is the joke bit at the end :)

Re:A comment on that article has even more info (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543612)

If it capable of storing the hardware instructions in a huge cache then wouldn't also work as the new JAVA OS that SUN couldn't make?

Re:Why Linux (1)

DragoonAK (17095) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543613)

Yeah, but half the reason Linux is hard to operate involves less than stellar hardware compatability. I know Linus has been interested in improving Linux's laptop capability (due to purely selfish reasons, natch) and if this is a new architechure, one would imagine it would require a new, designed-for-Linux bunch of hardware that would be easily supported.

Transmeta - Linux - JAVA?? (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543614)

Isn't this going to be capable of becoming a JAVA OS.
If it stores the machine instruction set in a local cache and runs it from there.. Well that seems to be exactly what JAVA would need to have a Java-Chip.
Considering it's low power consumption it would make an excellent candidate for the jini - appliance environment as well as the PC. Add to that the potential JAVA chip concept and you have the Jini Project from Sun sitting in your lap.

It doesn't work with all browsers! (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543615)

My IE 5.0 loads the page 5 MINUTES and then CRASHES! There must be an EMAIL WORM on the page! I think I have to install a SERVICE PACK from BILL!

Re:Processor, Yeah... (2)

ReadErr (25815) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543616)

According to my sources, that processor-related patents are just side-effects of tests of the new caffeinated beverage they're developing...

English translation (1)

jw3 (99683) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543617)

Well, I don't think my translation is in much better English than the babelfishes one, but... - oh well, I'll have a try. Here it comes:

The rumour says that the mysterious processor company Transmeta will eventually anounce the release date of their awaited processor on the first day of Comdex - 15th November - as earlier stated by Transmeta-coworker, Linus Torvalds. However, a message got through to the editorial board of c't, stating that the processor - codenamed "Crusoe" - will be presented on January, 19th 2000 (which is, by the way, a Wednesday, and not a Friday). Crusoe, which is supposed to have a low energy uptake, is believed to be aimed at the laptop market.
Regards,

Babeluary

Crusoe, easy to confirm... (1)

Chexum (1498) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543618)

Just search for transmeta on the uspto.gov web site among the *trademarks*... (BTW: it can be long known from the maniac rumour monger yours truly here [linuxtoday.com] in this [linuxtoday.com] Linux Today article...)

VM on the fly on a chip on a wing and a prayer (3)

clarkma (32199) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543619)

So Transmeta are finally going to be ready to *say* something. The funny thing is that their patents are quite revealing about what they're up to - a speeded up version of the self-modifying FPGA technology that has occasionally spawned 'new era' claims. I'm not saying that their chip is just an FPGA, but that the effect is meant to be much the same: a metamicrocode that can be optimised in near-real time by a JIT-like (or is dynamic compiler a better term than JIT?) compiler and scheduler.

Please though, don't beleive all the speed hype. Remember, it was a year ago or so when 1GHz sounded astonishing, but now it's almost boring for those chiller guys. The thing is going to be *flexible* not *necessarily* fast.

Curiosity killed the cat, but who ever saw a cat reading a patent application?

.sig thingy

Re:A comment on that article has even more info (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543620)

Somebody please tell me that Windows doesn't really have self-modifying code in it. I may die laughing!

German translation (0)

aUser (78754) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543621)

Ho ho, I think all the criticism on the Babelfish translation is unwarranted.

To tell you the truth, the bad translation is much clearer to me than the original German text, because I don't speak German at all, but I was able make up out of the bad translation what the intended meaning was.

What's more, Babelfish wins on counts of being available, right now, without being perfect, but being quite helpful.

Anybody who doesn't like the bad translation, should read the original German text instead or else shut up.

Do the patents really reveal anything? (3)

ebcdic (39948) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543622)

As has been pointed out elsewhere (comp.arch I think), the patents that are available on the net reflect what Transmeta was doing a couple of years ago, when the patents were filed. So don't be sure that they are central to their current plans.

Re:A comment on that article has even more info (1)

Tjl (4493) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543623)

#1 and #2 and the previous patents collide badly:
the processor should be able to run self-modifying
code. Naturally, it will be a lot SLOWER because
of the retranslations... If it is in critical timing loops, then just maybe there is a problem
but on the whole, I'd think this is a rosy herring.

Re:Crusoe, easy to confirm... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543624)

Uhm, exactly what does this mean in their trademark registration?:
--
Serial Number: 75422458

Registration Number: (NOT AVAILABLE)

Trademark (words only): TRANSMETA

Current Status: An office action making FINAL a refusal to register the mark has been mailed.
^^^^^
Date of Status: 1999-08-05

Filing Date: 1998-01-23


CURRENT OWNERS

1. Transmeta Corporation

GOODS AND SERVICES

computers; computer operating systems; computer hardware; computer peripherals; integrated circuits; semiconductors; printed circuit boards; firmware; middleware;
utility software; and application software for use in connection with computers systems, computer hardware, computer peripherals, integrated circuits, semiconductors, and
printed circuit boards


PROSECUTION HISTORY

1999-08-05 - FINAL REFUSAL MAILED

1999-05-03 - COMMUNICATION RECEIVED FROM APPLICANT

1998-11-03 - NON-FINAL ACTION MAILED

1998-10-20 - ASSIGNED TO EXAMINER

1998-10-20 - ASSIGNED TO EXAMINER
--

Does this mean Transmeta Corp. is up a creek without a paddle on the trademarks or does it mean that they can't get a trademark for vaporware?

Some thoughts..... (3)

Dacta (24628) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543625)

Had anyone else heard the rumor about the Transmeta chip being low power consumpion before? I sure hadn't, and to me, it doesn't mesh well with the idea that it can run multiple instruction sets.

Surely this would require a large amount of memory, and isn't (fast) memory something of a killer for low powered devices?

If Transmeta can produce something that emulates other architectures, and uses a comparable amount of power to the low power versions of those architectures, it has to be one of the most impressive breakthoughs ever.

I do worry though - you know what they say -

A chip can be fast, cheap or effecient - pick any two.

Okay, I made up the quote, but I think it is slightly accurate at least, esp. in the early generations of a design.

What else.... Oh yeah.

If they are really going to announce this in January (or at Comdex), I don't think we will see it in use anywhere for a couple of year. If Tranmeta had contracts with fab plants somewhere, someone would have said something by now.

I doubt very much if you can go down to your local chip maker, and say "We want you to switch your plant to making our funcky new designs - forget about this multi-billion dollar contract you have", so they can't just get manufacturing facilities like that. It takes a long time to build a fab plant, too, and it's not like you can just convert a derelic factory to a state of the art chip fabrication plant.

--Donate food by clicking: www.thehungersite.com [thehungersite.com]

Re:Some thoughts..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543626)

Transmeta is THE uber-secretive company - If they signed with a fab, they no doubt are under contract to keep everything a secret.

Re:Babelfish! Hee hee... (1)

holloway (46404) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543627)

Ah Mahir [xoom.com] , the cause of and solution to all of life's problems... or just the real name of Transmeta's new chip... you decide! [salon.com]

Re:What about the fab? (1)

substrate (2628) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543628)

TransMeta has been around long enough that silicon may be close if in fact test silicon isn't already there. Given TransMeta's reluctance to say anything at all regarding their product I'd say that if they do announce a processor on November 15th they'll also announce a relatively short time till actual delivery.

You don't need a fab to build a microprocessor. Many CPU's are built using third party fabrication resources such as the MIPS microprocessor.

Re:Some thoughts..... (2)

Dacta (24628) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543629)

I realize that, but while Transmeta people seem to keep their mouth shut because they really enjoy their work, do you really think some mid-level manager is going to care?

Here Dave, make sure we have enought people to staff the canteen to server X people from 15 January.

Oh, Okay Jim, what's happenening?

We've just signed a new contract with some manufacture, but you can't tell anyone.

- Infact you should probably have some factor in there for the motivation of them, too.

--Donate food by clicking: www.thehungersite.com [thehungersite.com]

Re:Some thoughts..... (1)

marcos76 (113405) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543630)

Nono :) Transmeta's cpu is a VLIW cpu. That means that MANY MANY transistors that in other architectures are devoted to out of order execution and/or superscalar esecution are not 'wasted' on transmeta's cpu. So, this mean less transistors and less power consumption. All the translation stuff is done by software (with hw aid), so complexity is moved out of the hw (cpu die) and moved into software. (emulators and compilers)

Re:Babelfish! Hee hee... (1)

eyeball (17206) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543631)

Yeah, but you know what they say about having kids: they never grow up the way you want. Linus's kid will probably be totally anti-drug and work at microsoft (probably writing Windows 2030).

Re:If it's hardware . . . (1)

eyeball (17206) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543632)

Keep in mind that not all CPUs run user os's.. Perhaps it's some embedded system that isn't even positioned to compete with Microsoft Windows. (Of course, it would be competing against MS's lame attempts at an embedded os.)

Transmetta's fab (1)

Lebo (100113) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543633)

Didn't I hear a rumor a while back that transmetta was talking to IBM about having them build whatever it is that they are developing? I very well might be mis-remembering, so take this with a grain of salt.

What's all the fuss about (1)

John Bridges (103918) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543634)

Soft instruction sets ? That's gonna make it really easy for compiler writers - NOT.

If you want to see truly excellent processor technology take a look at the ARM processors.
www.arm.com

Very low power, very fast and modular.

For innovation look at the clockless designs they've prototyped - they're really funky - fast and use next to zero power.

They're also Intel's biggest headache - having inherited the rights to the StrongArm they don't know what to do with it. It craps on all their processors and is CHEAP!


Re:Why Crusoe?? (1)

Mattsson (105422) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543635)

Maybe the chipset needed to run it will be called Friday. ;)
Or they may be implementing "advanced Friday cache architecture". =)

Primarily For Notebooks?!?! (1)

cyberdonny (46462) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543636)

Does anybody else find it odd that this processor is being touted as "primarily for notebooks". If it is really the revolutionary beast that it is rumored to be, it would make much more sense to have it first on desktops than a notebook. Years after, when it will have replaced the Intel processors, we'll see it on notebooks, just as we have Intel compatible processors on notebooks now.

Re:Some thoughts..... (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543637)

to quote theregister

That said, Transmeta's filed patents hint at technologies to make applications run
considerably faster than they do now, at a given clock speed. So if you're willing to run them
at standard speed, you could, we imagine, run the chip rather more slowly than your
average PIII and thus make a big saving on power.

Re:It doesn't work with all browsers! (1)

Mawbid (3993) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543638)

Are you the guy who makes all these really strange fortunes? :-)
--

Re:Crusoe? (2)

revnight (8980) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543639)

or it could just be named crusoe to give us a witty name if it flops...

will crusoe=gilligan?

:)

Re:VM on the fly on a chip on a wing and a prayer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543640)

1 ghz never sounded astonishing, back in amiga days when we have had Devcon docs and pages by motorolo on future 680x0 chips, post 68060 + and beyond, (back in 1993 here) they said back then that their cpus based on technology plans and micron sizes etc... are headed for 1000mhz by late 1999 or early 2000.

They are right on schedule! nothiong is amazing, everything is run on a 5-7 year time frame plan.

You can only do SO MUCH with human minds in a 24hr period and 6month period.

Re:Processor, Yeah... (2)

artg (24127) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543641)

Targeting at the low-electrical-power market does usually mean that it isn't (yet) competitive in the high-computing-power market. It makes sense to sell your new product into the niche that suits it best, just to get a foothold and some income before you try for a more difficult area. If it can take on the high-power end adequately, there's not a lot of point in restricting it to a particular market segment.

The Arm is reasonably powerful now, but wasn't always : before StrongArm, it was computationally powerful for it's price and wattage, but not really comparable with 486/Pentium.

Re:Fabless or not, it's sure to make waves... (1)

JavaFox (98763) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543642)

Ha, I guess there ARE people out there that know what the hell those patents were talking about! :)

Re:For Notebooks! (1)

myconid (5642) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543643)

Yeah, because we all know notebooks are cheaper than desktops... :P
Stan "Myconid" Brinkerhoff

Re:"...aimed at the notebook market" (1)

myconid (5642) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543644)

Hmmm, I guess I might just have to wait before buying my new laptop.

Why not wait until the next generation of chips, or the next next? I heard thoes cpus 3 generations are mad sweet...
Stan "Myconid" Brinkerhoff

Re:Babelfish! Hee hee... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543645)

What exactly is the Mahir connection? Will he be playing his musicenstrumens at the release party?

Re:Update (1)

stevef (5539) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543646)

This is the biggest news story of the week... it should be on the front page :^)

Steve

replies (2)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543647)

There are two replies to this article that are rather interesting. Follow the links containing:

No boards (nevertheless!), and faster despite cheaper (x, 11,11,1999)

(Enlish butcherization)

Re:Truly Exciting Rumor Mill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543648)

Since when has hype become a cool thing? Right now that's all Transmeta is. I don't try speculating on how great Transmeta is because although they may have a new architecture for processors, they still need to prove it to be better than anything that currently exists (cost-wise, performance-wise, whatever). I can tell you one thing though. With all this hype, they had better produce something spectacular lest they look like fools once they have their product in the spotlight.

Re:Primarily For Notebooks?!?! (2)

dublin (31215) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543649)

Actually,no. Haven't you noticeda shift over the past few years to putting better technology into notebooks?

Many OEMs (correctly, I think) see notebooks and even desktops derived from notebook technology like Gateway's Profile as the wave of the future. It's likely that conventional "desktop" technology will die off over the next few years.

This will be a good thing - computers will get smaller, quieter, more power-efficient, more flat-panel-ready, and finally, the huge gap between notebook and desktop computing costs should close considerably.

Notebook technology is the future...

Question... (1)

LLatson (24205) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543650)

Here's a question for people who know more than me:

Suppose Transmeta actually does have a really cool new chip. Obviously they are going to need some help developing software (compilers, etc.) for it. I assume that's where Linus fits in. But seeing as the trend these days is to get Linux to run on everything from the Palm Pilot to old 286's, don't you think that Linus would be at least slightly interested in developing a Linux kernel for this thing...

So my question is: does he have a Linux kernel? Can he develop code for it and keep it secret from the rest of the community? Is 2.4 going to support this chip?

LL

Apache and linux (2)

QuMa (19440) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543651)

According to netcraft, transmeta runs apache and linux (Who would have guessed ;-) ). But it runs apache 1.1.1! Isn't that risking it a bit, even if there is nothing to hide on that box?

Re:Why Crusoe?? (1)

CoffeeNowDammit (5514) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543652)

The Gilligan's Island theme keeps going thru my head: "Like Robinson Crusoe / as primitive as can be.. / as primitive as can be.. "

Not that I'm dissing Transmeta here (hey, maybe they're using a very simple "primitive" instruction set).

Hopefully, their sales force will provide a nice "three-ee hour tour/ a three-ee hour tour"..
-----

Re:Do the patents really reveal anything? (1)

clarkma (32199) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543653)

Good point. It's pretty much all we've got to go on for the mo' though, so until more emerges...

Re:A comment on that article has even more info (1)

AndrewHowe (60826) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543654)

OK then... Windows doesn't really have self-modifying code in it.

Windows generates code and executes it, which is subtly different to having self modifying code. This is done for things like Blt routines... the code for a particular ROP is generated on the fly. I believe the SGI software OpenGL implementation for Win32 generates scanline routines in the same way, taking into account the relevant renderstates.

And, of course, the context of this discussion is the TransMeta processor, which is said to generate native code as part of its emulation strategy.

Do you have a problem with self-modifying code?

Re:Truly Exciting Rumor Mill (1)

ZahrGnosis (66741) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543655)

Well, not Hype persay; or hype for hype's sake... but the fact that TransMeta has so MUCH Hype for not marketing any itself, is rare... that's what gets me excited about it. They still have to prove themselves of course with an actual product (or do they? Economics students should respond here).

And the side effects of the silent publicity are cool too. Any time Linux can get in the media in a non-negative (if not positive) way, I'm probably going to support it. TransMeta has been doing that, so yay!

Linux source code (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543656)

Anyone know if Linus has managed to smuggle a secret message about Transmeta into the Linux source yet?

Re:Fabless or not, it's sure to make waves... (2)

GnuGrendel (16068) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543657)

But you've left one of the most interesting possible instruction sets that the transmeta chip could support.... JAVA BYTECODES!

Imagine Java running natively... ease of development and native speed.

Re:Update (1)

.pentai. (37595) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543658)

Actually their page was updated with that weeks if not over a month ago...and yes the, err, comments are still there in the HTML.

Tricorders (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543659)

So..... the transmeta processor is to be the "heart" of the tricorder :-)

because MacOS is closed (1)

arielb (5604) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543660)

and only runs on Apple hardware

Re:It doesn't work with all browsers! (1)

rmull (26174) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543661)

Ziggy! I've found you at last!

NT anyone? (1)

XNormal (8617) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543662)

Remember that Microsoft's Paul Allen is one of the major investors in Transmeta. And I definitely remember seeing somewhere that the Transmeta CPU is supposed to run Windows NT as its primary target.

My guess would be that they are writing a new HAL and recompiling the performance-critical parts to native code. You can afford to run MSWord in emulation. Even your soundcard driver won't mind too much.

Now all that remains is to get a few CPU-hogging killer apps like Lightwave or Adobe Premiere to recompile to Transmeta native code. A really fast JVM would make a Transmeta box an attractive middleware application server, too.

But I am definitely looking forward to a linux kernel that can execute both i386 and transmeta executables...
----

Re:The *real* translation (0)

eyeball (17206) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543663)

Troll!?! Sheesh! I try to liven up the lives of a few people with a little laugh and what do I get? Damn, I actually thought my post was a little witty. Did someone actually take me seriously?

Is it that sarcasm now frowned upon on slashdot? 'Jeeze, I hope so!' (That was sarcasm)

Or maybe someone of the Jewish persuasion was offended, in which case I have a few things to tell you: I'm Jewish, nazism affected more than just jews, and lighten up!

Re:What about the fab? (1)

markhb (11721) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543664)

When National Semiconductor [national.com] announced that they were selling the Cyrix line to VIA, they also said that they were looking to sell a good-sized piece of their interest in their South Portland facility [national.com] . I haven't heard anything more on that part of it, so maybe it's still in play.

BTW, as far as Transmeta's PR budget goes: it's Linus' salary. They get enough coverage out of the fact that they employ him (and give kernel.org the server space), that they can come out with an enormous IPO even if all Linus does is answer his Email all day. (NB: I'm not trying to imply that that's what he actually does... I'm sure he would not be comfortable in an environment where he was wanted only for his celebrity PR value.)

Re:Primarily For Notebooks?!?! (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543665)

Don't forget how many companies are absolutely biting the big one on low-end desktops.
Hell Packard Bell is out, IBM is out of direct-sales, etc.
Laptops still offer a nice profit margin.

Hell, if you're PC Magazine, you can then compare the $1599 iBook against a $2499 IBM ThinkPad and beleive it's fair! :P


Pope

Other reasons "low power" is a win (2)

Lumpish Scholar (17107) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543666)

A lot of /.'ers hear "low power" chip and think "laptops." Don't be so limited.

Obviously, low power chips are good for any battery-powered applications: PDAs, cell phones, devices we haven't thought of yet.

Low power chips are also important when you have a lot of them. Say, for the sake of argument, the Transmeta chip is very well suited to parallel processing, maybe massively parallel processing. You'd have a lot of such chips in one box. You'd want low power chips, both to reduce power consumption and to ease the cooling requirements. I presume low power chips also generate less EMF.

For example, along these lines, low power chips are useful in the telecommunications market. I've been associated (loosely) with some hardware that needed to be redesigned to have more fans. One customer was the electric company's third biggest customer in that city (and you've heard of the city and the two bigger customers).

Re:If it's hardware . . . (2)

Thomas Charron (1485) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543667)

That's the catch. According to the patents they have filed, it'd most likely be able to run ANY OS, and hence, any software. There chips would morph x86, etc, calls, to it's own internal architecure, hence, 'emulating' nearly any chip on the market currently..

I'm pretty sure it's just rumor (2)

Ted V (67691) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543668)

I'm pretty sure it's just rumor. If they were actually close enough to start constructing the chip itself, they'd have a patent for that. Once all the patents are in order I'll start considering the truth of these rumors.

Re:If it's hardware . . . (1)

/dev/niall (1043) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543669)

That's the catch. According to the patents they have filed, it'd most likely be able to run ANY OS, and hence, any software. There chips would morph x86, etc, calls, to it's own internal architecure, hence, 'emulating' nearly any chip on the market currently..

Bingo on the emulation. If we wre to explect a native Linux on this platform, we could also expect a large chunk of new, untested code in the kernel; something Linus has been heavily against in the past.

Re:Update (1)

Thomas Charron (1485) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543670)

HeHe.. I submitted it as a story nearly 3 weeks ago, got rejected soon after... ;-P

Re:Processor, Yeah... (1)

Bob Ince (79199) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543671)

Indeed. Your point is well-taken.

On a purely historical note, however, the ARM series was, at its inception, more than comparable with the x86 processors of the day; that'd would've been about 1987, I guess.

ARM Ltd was spun off to develop the processor and aimed at the embedded market in particular, resulting in the less spectacular mid-range chips such as the ARM6 core; as you note, it took Digital's involvement in the StrongARM project to make another high-end processor.

Of course, no ARM ever ran the x86 instruction set, which is where (we think) this may differ...


--
This comment was brought to you by And Clover.

Re:Linux source code (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543672)

maybe someone could do some bible-code analysis on the kernel source? along with various portents about the end of the world and hitler, you may find something about transmeta.

Re:Crusoe, easy to confirm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543673)

vaporware->venture capital->fast cars

Re:Other reasons "low power" is a win (1)

Cuisinart (332) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543674)

Linus has been saying for quite a while he sees Linux being big in embedded computing systems and appliances. If these rumors about Transmeta releasing a low-power chip are true, could this chip be the killer chip for embedded designs running Linux?

Re:Fabless or not, it's sure to make waves... (1)

greenrd (47933) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543675)

Unfortunately, you can't run Java 100% natively because there are no bytecodes for accessing hardware or anything like that. And I don't think having the garbage collection algorithm executed as bytecodes would work very well, either...

Re:For Notebooks! (1)

dej05093 (7707) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543676)

> Yeah, because we all know notebooks are cheaper > than desktops... :P

They are at least cheaper than servers or high end workstations for which something like a Xeon or a high end Sparc processor might be reasonable.
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