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IBM’s code-morphing & NEC recall

Ronald Hanaki
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ZDNet has IBM coming up daisies.

Transmeta — which made its code-morphing software the centerpiece of its low-power chips — has developed one approach to insuring compatibility. IBM Research, with its Dynamically Architected Instruction Set from Yorktown (DAISY) translator, is building another.

Last month, the very long instruction word (VLIW) project at IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center released DAISY into open source, under the IBM (NYSE: IBM) open-source license. The DAISY dynamic compiler work is an offshoot of IBM’S VLIW initiative, which began in 1986.

Hmm…open source. There seem to be some teething problems with Transmeta’s Crusoe processor. C|Net reported yesterday that NEC was going to announce a recall of 284 Transmeta Crusoe-based notebooks.

The recall, expected to be announced later Wednesday, only affects an estimated 284 notebooks, all of which have been shipped in the Japanese market. Transmeta has fixed the problem, so no further chips containing the flaw are being produced. The flaw made it difficult to reinstall operating systems on the notebook.

Customers with NEC notebooks containing a Crusoe chip are being asked to contact the Japanese manufacturer. NEC will then exchange the notebook for a new one.

Apparently, there is some data corruption with the L2 cache. PC Watch is reporting that the affected models are the NEC “LaVie MX / LaVie G” utilizing the Transmeta TM5600 / 600MHz processors. The “LaVie MX LX60T / 51EC” and “LaVie G LG60TT” have been on sale in the Japanese market since October 17 and October 25, respectively.

PC Watch is also reporting that Hitachi’s Crusoe-based notebook “FLORA 220TX” which comes in both TM5400 / 533MHz and TM5600 / 600MHz (just like the NEC LaVie MX) flavors have not exhibited a similar problem. Neither has Fujitsu’s “LOOX S / LOOX T” which run on the TM5400 / 533MHz and TM5600 / 600MHz processors. Sony’s press release states that the “VAIO61” exhibits no problems. However, out of 2,200 “VAIOGT” notebooks that have been shipped, there have been 7 complaints of an OS recovery problem. Whether or not this is due to the same hardware problem as the NEC notebooks remains to be seen. Sony has only recently become aware of this problem and will continue to investigate. Both the “VAIO61” and the “VAIOGT” use the Transmeta Crusoe TM5600 / 600MHz processor.

Update: C|Net and ZDNet (in English) have updates to this developing story. A Sony recall is unlikely at this time.

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