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Intel Places Itself in Harm's Way...Pentium 3 Arrogance
The boycott won't stop the Big Brother Pentium 3
Maybe this will.
The death knell for a cpu is rumors of software incompatability.
In the old days the phrase "100% IBM compatible... runs all software"
was the mantra for clone computer manufacturers. A few clones were not 100%
compatible and they swiftly fell by the wayside.
The Pentium 3 is certainly 100% compatible with all existing 8086-P3 software.
there is no way to alter that. So logic leads you to the only possible
way to introduce the much dreaded software incompatibility..."If you can't
make the cpu incompatible with the software then make the software incompatible
with the cpu". You get a few (or if your lucky many) software developers,
shareware authors, freeware utility programmers..etc to specifically target
the P3 and alter their programs so that they WILL NOT RUN on the P3. Perhaps
all the user of a P3 might get when attempting to run a program would be a pop up
window saying something like....
WARNING! THIS COMPUTER IS USING A PROCESSOR
THAT CONTAINS A SERIOUS SECURITY FLAW!
WE ARE SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCE BUT WE
WILL NOT AID IN THE MARKETING OF THE PENTIUM 3
CPU. IT HAS A FLAW THAT PLACES USERS PRIVACY
AT RISK. FOR YOUR SECURITY WE RECOMMEND YOU
CONSIDER SWITCHING TO A DIFFERENT CPU.
If even a scant few independent software developers were to make their
code P3 avoidant and add a warning along the lines of the text above the
result would be devastating to Intel. You can just imagine the amount of
press coverage (especially in hi tech forums like Wired and ZDTV) that
would result. The 300+ million dollar ad campaign Intel is waging to propel
the overhyped P3 cpu would be in real jeopardy.
You might question the power that a mostly share/freeware software author
boycott of Intel could really be expected to have. Well remember that it is the
public's perception of the facts and nothing else that is important in this
case. The average guy upon hearing the following on the news or reading it
in an email or online news forum would very likely never consider purchasing
a P3 unless he later learned the serial number "bug" had been removed.
-> "Intel's newest CPU the Pentium 3 will be unable to run programs written
by a growing number of software authors who are joining together in a
boycott of the Pentium 3 . Concerns about the new chips embedded serial
number and it's effect on users privacy are cited as the reason for the
What a marketing disaster this could create for Intel! Remember when the old
Pentium math bug was discovered? Intel in it's arrogance said that it was a minor
problem and that a software workaround would correct the problem..they were
correct.. the problem was a minor one and the patch would have solved the problem
but the publicity the flaw created forced Intel to recall and crush the cpu's.
That's just the way it works in the computer business... even the weakest rumor
of error or incompatibility will wipe you out in a flash! The cpu game is one
that will brook no nonsense..no matter how caused or how small. This is the reason
that even a small number of software authors altering their code so it will
not run on the P3 would be so devastating.
Software authors that did not want to totally P3 disable their wares might be inclined
to take less drastic ..but nonetheless effective anti P3 actions....perhaps
something along the lines of the following...
- Let the program run but force the user to view a warning concerning the P3 flaw.
- Let the program run but force it to run S_L_O_W_L_Y :)
- Let the program run but ONLY if the serial number function is ON and force only P3
users to register it online.
- Make an otherwise freeware program require a very small payment if run on the P3
(a very small amount... maybe a dollar...but REQUIRE that it be paid and make sure
the program won't run on the P3 unless it IS paid...Use the P3 serial number function
to force such payment :)
I'm sure that you can come up with other and better schemes for software authors to
use.... the point of all this is NOT meant to punish hapless folks that buy the P3
it is so the press will report on such irritations...thus ensuring raised eyebrows
among the cpu purchasing public :)
Do not discount the idea of a software author boycott of the P3! This CAN work...
software is the life blood of the computer industry..and rumors of incompatibility
with even a few programs is BIG NEWS! The only thing the buying public needs to
hear is "some programs won't run" and they will shy away from this cpu! And don't
make the mistake of thinking that programmers can't be talked into this...they can!
For one thing the first few to announce will get big media attention in the hi-tech
press! Publicity means a lot to a relatively unknown software author.
I write security related freeware and will be making my programs P3 avoidant!
The idea of writing security software and then having people run it on a P3 seems
silly anyway :)
-> DO YOUR PART!! If you have been yearning to do something about the P3 serial number
scheme this is your chance! get this info to every news outlet you can think of..
send it to every software author whose email address you can find... we have only
ONE chance of foiling this tattletale CPU ... and time is very short! Make Intel
recall and crush these privacy invading chips...........
p.s. The ideas above are not entirely my own.... I have been hearing rumors
from persons in the know concerning the targeting of cpu's that include the
serial number instructions of the Pentium 3 by virus creators in an effort to
sully the image of the P3 in the public's mind.
This seems rather extreme to me. I feel that the ideas above are a more reasoned
approach to battling the P3 security threat and urge that any planned virii release be
reconsidered....lawlessness and the proliferation of new virii strains is not cool!
Miscreants that plan on releasing P3 targeted virii should keep in mind that
Intel is a very tough customer! Virus coders have never had a real adversary
and should expect that Intel would move Heaven and Earth to track them down!
You will most likely wind up sharing a small cell with 2 guys with names like
Sweaty Al and Thumper who love to play 'spin the computer nerd' late at night...
You may still have some involvement with Trojans...but you won't be programming them :(