Last week, OpenBSD founder Theo de Raadt made a few headlines after a post in a mailing list where he called Intel's Core 2 processors "buggy as hell." Pointing to Intel's errata list (PDF), de Raadt claimed the chips were riddled with bugs that could not be worked around by operating systems and were "potentially exploitable."
Well, now another big name in the free software community has given his opinion on the subject: Linus Torvalds. In stark contrast with his counterpart, the Linux founder doesn't seem too worried by the Intel errata. Torvalds posted the following on the Real World Technologies forums:
Pretty much all CPU's have always had errata, and the commodity CPU's usually have much fewer of them than the boutique ones.In a later post, Torvalds adds, "Yeah, x86 errata get more attention. But those things are pretty damn well tested. Better than most." Core 2 owners may not have to trade in their processors after all. (Thanks to DailyTech for the tip.)
So this has nothing to do with billion-transistor MPU's, or about commodity. CPU's always have bugs. And embedded (or vendor-specific) CPU's tend to actually have more of them, since they are often easier to work around by just saying "don't do that, then".
So Intel and AMD actually tend to fix the bugs a lot more aggressively than you'd see for some single-vendor thing, simply because they don't control the stack the way other architectures generally do.
I'd expect other CPU's to generally have more errata than most commodity x86 chips.
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