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The Register: Intel lobs software grenade back at chippy Redmond

Aug 25, 2000, 15:17 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Andrew Orlowski)

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"Although it got buried in the XScale announcements this week, Intel is stepping up its software offerings in intriguing fashion. Intel's Integrated Performance Primitives are a set of libraries that run across Intel architectures and began life as way of tapping MMX and Screaming Sindy instructions without dropping down to assembler code. These libraries already exist for image processing, signal processing, maths and recognition primitives, including Hidden Markov models and neural nets. That's already a substantial body of useful code, and not something you'd knock together over a weekend."

"It's not an API, he insists, but just when does a rich programmer's toolkit become a cross-platform API? Well, when it becomes truly cross platform, for a start. Although IIP is StrongARM, IA-32 and IA-64 that's all. But should the free software community want to adopt the programming interfaces and backfill the code for generic x86 or MIPs chips, then you start to have a framework that makes the underlying OS less important. And that in turn makes the OS choice based on ubiquity (which should favour Symbian) or flexibility and price (which should favour Embedded Linux)."

"Perhaps emboldened by the antitrust verdict (in which it was revealed that Intel agreed to sideline some software initiatives at Gates' request), Intel feels it can take the lead. ... So what started life as an initiative to banish assembler coding looks like it could be a framework for wireless and multimedia development. It's already halfway there, and the history of free software should tell it just where the finishing line lies."

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