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7. Notes

(1) Basic objective of Sophists: win all arguments by any means available. Truth, logical coherence and argument transparency did not matter to Sophists. They were fought (on intellectual grounds, of course) by Socrates and Plato and later by Aristotle. A quick search on Yahoo/Altavista with keywords Sophism or Gorgias will turn up some information on the subject.

(2) StrongARM: this is an architecture developed at Digital, based on the Advanced Risc Machines design. It provides roughly the same CPU processing performance as a 133 MHz Pentium at a fraction of the cost and with a ridiculously low power consumption (< 0.5W). Intel's purchase of Digital's microelectronics operation includes the design rights to the StrongARM, so the future of this architecture is unknown (as of December 97). Note that Linux has been ported to some implementations of the ARM architecture. The Corel Java NC is based on Linux/ARM and uses the latest version of the StrongARM SA-110 CPU.

The following is strictly rumour: Digital didn't quite know what to do with the StrongARM design, since as a product it didn't fit Digital's corporate culture of high-margin minis and workstations. On the other hand, it was just a nice bargain for Intel, who was looking for exactly that sort of CPU to address the future "appliance PC" market, ideally complementing the Pentium family. Since the details of the Digital/Intel deal have been kept secret, one can only guess how much Intel paid for the StrongARM design, but rumour has it that Digital's negociators were not even aware of how strategically important this CPU was to Intel.

(3) To get a clearer idea of what free means in the GNU/Linux world, you are referred to the various Richard Stallman (founder of the Free Software Foundation interviews and articles, to the GNU manifest, and also of course to the text of the General Public License (GPL). In a speech in 1986, RMS said:

"I want to establish that the practice of owning software is both materially wasteful, spiritually harmful and evil. All these three things being interrelated."

(4) Intel did not license its APIC SMP specifications/technology to either Cyrix or AMD. Even though Cyrix and AMD agreed on a different, open specification called OpenPIC for multiprocessing, no motherboard was ever released to that standard (and no OS has ever implemented it, obviously). An excellent description of OpenPIC and x86 multiprocessing issues can be found in IBM's Application Note 40208, available in pdf format from IBM's Microelectronics Web site

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