"The advent of affordable 64-bit computing could be the
best thing to happen to Linux in a long time, opening up a new
market potentially as important as the original PC market,
according to Linux "kernel hacker" Alan Cox. He also criticised new
guidelines suggested by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
covering the reporting of software security holes.
New processors emerging from AMD and Intel -- whose main focus
has until now been desktop chips -- will allow many companies
currently locked into expensive computer systems to switch to
mainstream chips and open software like Linux, Cox said. The new
Itanium line from Intel and the upcoming Hammer range from AMD
offer similar performance to the RISC processors made by the likes
of IBM and Sun Microsystems, but aim to achieve desktop-level
"Large numbers of people will be able to dump a lot of expensive
hardware," said Cox in an interview with ZDNet UK. "It will
effectively extend the PC into a whole new market area. It could be
as big as the 386." The 386 was an Intel processor introduced in
the late 1980s, known to Linux developers as the first consumer
processor powerful enough to run industrial-strength software like
the Unix operating system."
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