Russia ditching AMD, and Intel!

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Russia ditching AMD, and Intel!

Postposted on Mon Jun 23, 2014 1:32 pm

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/ ... rs-in-2015

thoughts on this? I found this to be pretty surprising. be nice if they'd do up some GPU chips, too.
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Re: Russia ditching AMD, and Intel!

Postposted on Mon Jun 23, 2014 1:36 pm

In Soviet Russia, system puts YOU on a chip!
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Re: Russia ditching AMD, and Intel!

Postposted on Mon Jun 23, 2014 1:41 pm

Seems familiar to the Chinese attempt at making their own homemade CPU: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loongson#Loongson_3

They're trying to use MIPS64 CPUs (not compatible with x86, aka not compatible with almost all of the consumer software including pirated OSes) and a modified Linux.
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Re: Russia ditching AMD, and Intel!

Postposted on Mon Jun 23, 2014 2:28 pm

UnfriendlyFire wrote:Seems familiar to the Chinese attempt at making their own homemade CPU: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loongson#Loongson_3

They're trying to use MIPS64 CPUs (not compatible with x86, aka not compatible with almost all of the consumer software including pirated OSes) and a modified Linux.


If it was easy to duplicate quality AMD and intel would be on a more level playing field with other competitors. I don't think this will mean good things for russia, sounds like a move back to USSR tactics. Soon they will do away with computers because paper makes more jobs.
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Re: Russia ditching AMD, and Intel!

Postposted on Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:33 pm

kamikaziechameleon wrote:If it was easy to duplicate quality AMD and intel would be on a more level playing field with other competitors.

Considering Intel's breakneck pace of 3-5% performance improvement per year, Russia is not in huge danger of losing out on much.
Software incompatibility is what makes this is such a crazy idea.
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Re: Russia ditching AMD, and Intel!

Postposted on Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:43 pm

fhohj wrote:thoughts on this?

Yea, here's a future prediction: the Intel and AMD products will not go away from any market there and instead few people related to this project (who will have access to this project's budget) will be adding a few yachts and/or a few millions of $$$'s to personal overseas banking accounts in a few years.

Source: I lived 20 years there. So did my parents and some of my relatives still do.

Most recent example: Google "Plastic Logic 100" and then read this http://en.rusnano.com/press-centre/news/88530 Hint: there is no factory in Zelenograd and will never be.
Last edited by JohnC on Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Russia ditching AMD, and Intel!

Postposted on Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:53 pm

I'll bet they're worried about spyware planted by the NSA in the OS and/or applications, and even at the microcode level in the CPU itself. If we assume that this is at least *part* of their motivation, being completely incompatible with the existing x86/Windows ecosystem isn't a bug; it's a feature!

These aren't consumer desktops we're talking about here, they're replacing office desktops and servers. Games don't matter. Recompiling what they need to to run a bunch of cookie cutter business and/or web-based apps shouldn't be that difficult; pretty much everything included in a typical modern Linux distro is platform-agnostic and 64-bit-clean already.

That said, the timeline does seem rather unrealistic. But the basic concept is not as crazy as some people are making it out to be.
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Re: Russia ditching AMD, and Intel!

Postposted on Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:57 pm

just brew it! wrote:I'll bet they're worried about spyware planted by the NSA in the OS and/or applications

Nah, that's not about this at all.
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Re: Russia ditching AMD, and Intel!

Postposted on Mon Jun 23, 2014 4:11 pm

JohnC wrote:
just brew it! wrote:I'll bet they're worried about spyware planted by the NSA in the OS and/or applications

Nah, that's not about this at all.

...because?
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Re: Russia ditching AMD, and Intel!

Postposted on Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:14 pm

windwalker wrote:
kamikaziechameleon wrote:If it was easy to duplicate quality AMD and intel would be on a more level playing field with other competitors.

Considering Intel's breakneck pace of 3-5% performance improvement per year, Russia is not in huge danger of losing out on much.
Software incompatibility is what makes this is such a crazy idea.


You do have to keep in mind that even if Russian could create a CPU that could match Intel's performance, Intel could still win due to performance-per-watt, which is critical in server computers or when you're running hundreds of business computers under one roof.

AMD learned the hard way when their products outperformed the P4.

Intel's response: Core 2, Nehalem, and then Sandy Bridge


And while Intel starts ramping up their R&D, AMD would troll Russia by offering support for the non-x86 architecture. AMD's Skybridge allows ARM CPUs (with a compatible pin layout), and their upcoming K12 can run both x86 and ARM.

"Hey Russian buyers! You don't have to buy Russian CPUs, you can also buy ours CPUs, and it'll work!"

EDIT: As for the Chinese, they're going to have an even harder time since MIPS usage is tiny compared to ARM or x86.
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Re: Russia ditching AMD, and Intel!

Postposted on Mon Jun 23, 2014 11:33 pm

I think that it's prudent for locked-down systems that are public-network facing; security through obscurity and all, especially if you make each component a controlled item (this is already standard practice elsewhere).

But it doesn't make much sense for private, isolated networks unless they can really get the performance and efficiency where they need it, which would be within striking distance of Intel. AMD can't even manage that.
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Re: Russia ditching AMD, and Intel!

Postposted on Tue Jun 24, 2014 2:37 am

Well, this is interesting news, but I just can't help but snort at the idea. They can probably pull it off if they really tried, but I can't see it being anywhere as successful as the Wintel platform in terms of performance/watt (who'll fab their chips?), performance/cost (Intel and AMD do have tried-and-true economies of scale), as well as compatibility, at least not in the next 10 years or so. I can just imagine Russians complaining about how their newfangled word processor isn't working well with their documents written in something like MS Office (or heck, even the compatibility problem-riddled OpenOffice and LibreOffice). Don't tell me they'll figure it out all of a sudden.

Reminds me of their laughable ReactOS project that isn't really going anywhere.
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Re: Russia ditching AMD, and Intel!

Postposted on Tue Jun 24, 2014 4:52 am

Airmantharp wrote:I think that it's prudent for locked-down systems that are public-network facing; security through obscurity and all, especially if you make each component a controlled item (this is already standard practice elsewhere).

But it doesn't make much sense for private, isolated networks unless they can really get the performance and efficiency where they need it, which would be within striking distance of Intel. AMD can't even manage that.


Stuxnet.
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Re: Russia ditching AMD, and Intel!

Postposted on Tue Jun 24, 2014 5:58 am

just brew it! wrote:I'll bet they're worried about spyware planted by the NSA in the OS and/or applications, and even at the microcode level in the CPU itself. If we assume that this is at least *part* of their motivation, being completely incompatible with the existing x86/Windows ecosystem isn't a bug; it's a feature!

These aren't consumer desktops we're talking about here, they're replacing office desktops and servers. Games don't matter. Recompiling what they need to to run a bunch of cookie cutter business and/or web-based apps shouldn't be that difficult; pretty much everything included in a typical modern Linux distro is platform-agnostic and 64-bit-clean already.

That said, the timeline does seem rather unrealistic. But the basic concept is not as crazy as some people are making it out to be.


the timeline aside I'm sure what you referred to is a huge concern. It has to be; think of what was revealed in the Snowden revelations. It's amazing to me how quickly the initial fervor quieted down. I can understand why the Russians won't publicly state "security" as a concern but it has to be high on their list of reasons to phase out AMD/Intel products. I wouldn't be surprised to hear it's their primary reason.
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Re: Russia ditching AMD, and Intel!

Postposted on Tue Jun 24, 2014 6:29 am

Anyone here thinks there could be embedded spyware inside Intel and AMD processors? IIRC AMD openly denied this but I'm not sure about Intel. Not that either one will likely admit it, of course: it's like a ticket to the bottom of the sea.
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Re: Russia ditching AMD, and Intel!

Postposted on Tue Jun 24, 2014 6:34 am

BTW, just wondering, why does Russia and China opt to go with ARM and MIPS, respectively? I reckon they'd have to pay license fees to ARM and MIPS/Imagination. Why don't they go with SPARC? I reckon SPARC is open for the taking.
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Re: Russia ditching AMD, and Intel!

Postposted on Tue Jun 24, 2014 6:35 am

ronch wrote:Anyone here thinks there could be embedded spyware inside Intel and AMD processors? IIRC AMD openly denied this but I'm not sure about Intel. Not that either one will likely admit it, of course: it's like a ticket to the bottom of the sea.


Right, and because they denied it, that means they're telling the truth, right?
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Re: Russia ditching AMD, and Intel!

Postposted on Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:03 am

FireGryphon wrote:
ronch wrote:Anyone here thinks there could be embedded spyware inside Intel and AMD processors? IIRC AMD openly denied this but I'm not sure about Intel. Not that either one will likely admit it, of course: it's like a ticket to the bottom of the sea.


Right, and because they denied it, that means they're telling the truth, right?


Just to repeat what I said, not that I think either will admit (that their chips have spyware built-in).
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Re: Russia ditching AMD, and Intel!

Postposted on Tue Jun 24, 2014 8:04 am

ronch wrote:BTW, just wondering, why does Russia and China opt to go with ARM and MIPS, respectively? I reckon they'd have to pay license fees to ARM and MIPS/Imagination. Why don't they go with SPARC? I reckon SPARC is open for the taking.

Maybe MIPS and ARM are better supported, by virtue of the fact that they are more widely used? That's just a guess, I really have no idea.

Edit:
ronch wrote:Anyone here thinks there could be embedded spyware inside Intel and AMD processors? IIRC AMD openly denied this but I'm not sure about Intel. Not that either one will likely admit it, of course: it's like a ticket to the bottom of the sea.

I think it is possible, though unlikely. (Pre-Snowden I would've probably said effectively impossible, but now I am not so sure.)

Somewhat less unlikely is an intentional flaw in the AES-NI encryption instructions (these were introduced with Intel's Westmere and AMD's Bulldozer).

That said, if low-level "out of the box" malware exists on x86 PCs, my money's on it being hidden in the UEFI BIOS. That seems like the perfect place to plant difficult-to-detect malicious code, whether by the NSA or the Chinese (I'd say those are the two entities who have motive, resources, and opportunity to pull it off).
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Re: Russia ditching AMD, and Intel!

Postposted on Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:01 am

ronch wrote:Anyone here thinks there could be embedded spyware inside Intel and AMD processors? IIRC AMD openly denied this but I'm not sure about Intel. Not that either one will likely admit it, of course: it's like a ticket to the bottom of the sea.


The AMD one can be some what explored by entering the processor's debug mode. (More info here) The additional registers can be used to further explore the machine state to verify that the chip is behaving as documented. The catch is that this debug mode works only on pre-Bulldozer cores. Bulldozer and later use a new debugging facility. Not sure if this works on AMD's Bobcat and later core designs.

The Intel one is more nefarious and widely rumored. The tin-foil hat story goes that the NSA paid off Intel to lower the entropy in their hardware random number generators. This also piggy backs off of an older rumor where the NSA asked Intel to remove a hardware random number generator form some early Pentium 2 chipsets as they made things a bit too 'secure' for the NSA's liking. Regardless of any truth to the claims some Linux and BSD distributions are no longer using the hardware random number generators.

I should also point out that being in bed with the NSA is the exact reason China is attempting to remove IBM systems from government and financial sectors. The rabbit hole goes a bit deeper as recent IBM Unix servers and mainframes offer full hardware cryptography. Mainframes in particular can offer full memory encryption to protect data from being read by an exploit in another piece of software. The keys for these features are embedded in the chip and are something that can't be publicly audited without IBM giving away the full design of the cryptographic units. (IBM has said they're licensing the POWER8 core design but it isn't clear if that license would include the cryptographic accelerators.)

ronch wrote:BTW, just wondering, why does Russia and China opt to go with ARM and MIPS, respectively? I reckon they'd have to pay license fees to ARM and MIPS/Imagination. Why don't they go with SPARC? I reckon SPARC is open for the taking.


A lot of it stems from MIPS academic roots form Stanford and early licensing model in the early 90's. ARM has had a similar licensing modeling going on for decades as well. The one thing about buying an architecture license is that you can build secure hardware and run vetted open source software on top it for a full end-to-end security model.
China also has DEC Alpha. They also have the source code for Tru64 UNIX.

Though they could do SPARC if they wanted to because well, it is open for the taking. There is the OpenSPARC initiative which doesn't require backroom dealings or outright espionage to get. They just haven't shown much interest. The Japanese however do love SPARC.
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Re: Russia ditching AMD, and Intel!

Postposted on Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:12 am

fhohj wrote:http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/7.853471-Russia-will-Spurn-AMD-Intel-for-Locally-Made-Processors-in-2015

thoughts on this? I found this to be pretty surprising. be nice if they'd do up some GPU chips, too.


This is likely a strategic move as we seem to be entering Cold War 2.0. By developing chips in-house, they can validate end-to-end security. It doesn't matter if Intel or AMD are on the NSA's payroll or not, the concept of trust has been lost by mere rumor. Ultimately a wise move by Russia's perspective but it requires a lot of resource for follow through. One of the reasons the USSR lost the Cold War is that they couldn't keep up with American military spending.
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Re: Russia ditching AMD, and Intel!

Postposted on Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:20 am

the wrote:It doesn't matter if Intel or AMD are on the NSA's payroll or not, the concept of trust has been lost by mere rumor.

Bingo.
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Re: Russia ditching AMD, and Intel!

Postposted on Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:46 am

ronch wrote:BTW, just wondering, why does Russia and China opt to go with ARM and MIPS, respectively? Why don't they go with SPARC? I reckon SPARC is open for the taking.


Because they are mature ISAs, and it's easier to pick an existing ISA then build a new one.

ARM has a lot of momentum right now, and Russia is probably hoping this initiative will lead to Russian firms being players in the ARM ecosystem. The players are US companies, South Korean companies, and a Chinese company, in that order. Going with MIPS would have meant the Chinese would be leading, and Russia's ego wouldn't allow that. ARM also keeps Russia tied to Europe since it's British IP. It's symbolic, but going with MIPS would have meant they are essentially getting demoted to Asia and the Middle East.

MIPS actually had scaled to desktop and server workloads thanks to SGI, and MIPS is pretty simple which makes it easy to extend and learn from what I've read. China is an authoritarian state which likes to control everything, and they aren't concerned about a large software pool since they will provide the software. This is pure speculation, but they probably had some experience with MIPS since it's widely used in cheap electronics.

SPARC is a horribly antiquated design, and it needs to be put down. The register window was a novel idea at the time, but it keeps clockspeeds low.

Sun did open source the design of SPARC processors, and OpenSPARC (http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/syste ... index.html) is the project they are housed under.
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Re: Russia ditching AMD, and Intel!

Postposted on Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:53 am

Flatland_Spider wrote:This is pure speculation, but they probably had some experience with MIPS since it's widely used in cheap electronics.

...and I think MIPS' penetration of that market will only continue to increase, now that Microchip's PIC product line is shifting to it. PICs are used quite extensively in automotive and control applications. Until just a few years ago, PICs used a Microchip proprietary Harvard architecture; but the current generation of PICs are based on MIPS cores, with Microchip's SOC stuff bolted on.
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Re: Russia ditching AMD, and Intel!

Postposted on Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:54 am

windwalker wrote:
kamikaziechameleon wrote:If it was easy to duplicate quality AMD and intel would be on a more level playing field with other competitors.

Considering Intel's breakneck pace of 3-5% performance improvement per year, Russia is not in huge danger of losing out on much.
Software incompatibility is what makes this is such a crazy idea.


If everyone could do it, AMD would. If everyone could do it ARM would have already caught up.

Not saying software issues aren't going to matter, they will. But I think that essentially working with a 1/10 the horse power will limit computers in russia to open source word processing. There is 20 years of infastructure in the development of current gen CPU's and their software support. Russia thinks they can do better. Its like when mac was still holding onto the G5 processor.
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Re: Russia ditching AMD, and Intel!

Postposted on Tue Jun 24, 2014 11:02 am

ronch wrote:Well, this is interesting news, but I just can't help but snort at the idea. They can probably pull it off if they really tried, but I can't see it being anywhere as successful as the Wintel platform in terms of performance/watt (who'll fab their chips?), performance/cost (Intel and AMD do have tried-and-true economies of scale), as well as compatibility, at least not in the next 10 years or so. I can just imagine Russians complaining about how their newfangled word processor isn't working well with their documents written in something like MS Office (or heck, even the compatibility problem-riddled OpenOffice and LibreOffice). Don't tell me they'll figure it out all of a sudden.

Reminds me of their laughable ReactOS project that isn't really going anywhere.


If you run the numbers this is not going to actually save Russia a dime. It will likely cost them insanely more money. If it was cheaper corporate entities would more commonly adopt this practice. No, this is a move to stimulate the Russian economy, they don't want the government sending money out of the country but investing in companies domestically. The main issue with the entire concept is that Russia is so bankrupt that the only way they can maintain something like this is to literally continue invading former USSR states and absorbing them and their assets like Germany in WW2. Not only are we talking about one of the largest nations in the world shifting their entire government infrastructure but they also have to now DEVELOP the technology for the new infrastructure to hold. Its like tearing down a building then creating the foundries and corries to mind the raw minerals to make the concrete and steel to build the new building. Its simply insane. China was in a completely different financial situation when they tried this.
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Re: Russia ditching AMD, and Intel!

Postposted on Tue Jun 24, 2014 11:46 am

JohnC wrote:
just brew it! wrote:I'll bet they're worried about spyware planted by the NSA in the OS and/or applications

Nah, that's not about this at all.



Here's the Russian News Report that started all the talk.
(I added a few 'quotemarks' & 'commas' to make the Russian/English translation more readable).
Just Brew It, seems to be right in saying NSA spying has scared Russia into taking action to protect Govt computers......


MOSCOW, June 19. /ITAR-TASS/.
Russia’s Industry & Trade Ministry plans to replace US microchips (Intel & AMD, used in Russian govt computers)---with domestically-produced micro processor "Baikal" ...... the business daily Kommersant reported Thursday.

The 'Baikal' micro processor will be designed by a unit of T-Platforms, a producer of Supercomputers, next year, with support from state defense conglomerate Rostec, & co-financing by state-run technological giant, Rosnano.

The first products will be Baikal M and Baikal M/S chips----designed on the basis of 64-bit nucleus Cortex A-57 made by UK company ARM----with frequency of 2 gigahertz for personal computers and micro servers.

The Baikal chips will be installed on computers of Government bodies & State-run firms (which purchase some 700,000 PC's annually worth $500M & 300,000 Servers worth $800M). The total volume of the market amounts to 5 million devices worth $3.5B.
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Re: Russia ditching AMD, and Intel!

Postposted on Tue Jun 24, 2014 11:49 am

jihadjoe wrote:
Airmantharp wrote:I think that it's prudent for locked-down systems that are public-network facing; security through obscurity and all, especially if you make each component a controlled item (this is already standard practice elsewhere).

But it doesn't make much sense for private, isolated networks unless they can really get the performance and efficiency where they need it, which would be within striking distance of Intel. AMD can't even manage that.


Stuxnet.


Which required regular interaction between a technically closed network and mobile storage devices- something that is rather clearly illegal in the US, and has been for the better part of a decade. Wonder if we knew what was up? :wink:
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Re: Russia ditching AMD, and Intel!

Postposted on Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:07 pm

kamikaziechameleon wrote:
ronch wrote:Well, this is interesting news, but I just can't help but snort at the idea. They can probably pull it off if they really tried, but I can't see it being anywhere as successful as the Wintel platform in terms of performance/watt (who'll fab their chips?), performance/cost (Intel and AMD do have tried-and-true economies of scale), as well as compatibility, at least not in the next 10 years or so. I can just imagine Russians complaining about how their newfangled word processor isn't working well with their documents written in something like MS Office (or heck, even the compatibility problem-riddled OpenOffice and LibreOffice). Don't tell me they'll figure it out all of a sudden.

Reminds me of their laughable ReactOS project that isn't really going anywhere.


If you run the numbers this is not going to actually save Russia a dime. It will likely cost them insanely more money. If it was cheaper corporate entities would more commonly adopt this practice. No, this is a move to stimulate the Russian economy, they don't want the government sending money out of the country but investing in companies domestically. The main issue with the entire concept is that Russia is so bankrupt that the only way they can maintain something like this is to literally continue invading former USSR states and absorbing them and their assets like Germany in WW2. Not only are we talking about one of the largest nations in the world shifting their entire government infrastructure but they also have to now DEVELOP the technology for the new infrastructure to hold. Its like tearing down a building then creating the foundries and corries to mind the raw minerals to make the concrete and steel to build the new building. Its simply insane. China was in a completely different financial situation when they tried this.


Their economy grew by 1.8% last year. Which makes their goal even more ambitious given the fact that they have limited funding.

I think part of the reason why Putin is playing a game with Ukraine is to distract Russian citizens from the poor economy.

Bread and circuses...
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Re: Russia ditching AMD, and Intel!

Postposted on Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:11 pm

just brew it! wrote:
Flatland_Spider wrote:This is pure speculation, but they probably had some experience with MIPS since it's widely used in cheap electronics.

...and I think MIPS' penetration of that market will only continue to increase, now that Microchip's PIC product line is shifting to it. PICs are used quite extensively in automotive and control applications. Until just a few years ago, PICs used a Microchip proprietary Harvard architecture; but the current generation of PICs are based on MIPS cores, with Microchip's SOC stuff bolted on.


That's cool. :) PIC programming is interesting, and it's something I would like to get into.

I didn't know anyone actually produced chips with a Harvard architecture.
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