What Took So Long?

One of the questions that many of your probably have is, what took so long? Opteron and later Athlon 64 have been available for quite some time - roughly two years now. AMD has talked of Windows 64 for that long and more, and only now are we finally seeing the fruits of MS' labor.

The conspiracy theorists are undoubtedly going to talk about an alliance between MS and Intel. It's difficult to say for certain whether that played a role, but remember that Xeon with 64-bit capabilities has been available for nearly a year now. Microsoft stands to benefit - in terms of increased sales of its OS and applications - by the release of XP-64, and we would like to think that they have simply been spending the extra time to make sure the release is as smooth as possible.

One of the other key factors in the delays is the drivers. While MS has control over the source code and APIs for Windows, those are not the only critical parts of the OS. Drivers are an integral part of any OS, and proper optimizations as well as porting take a lot of time and effort. While XP-64 is capable of running 32-bit applications, the drivers must be native 64-bit code.

Whatever the cause of the delays, we feel relatively confident in stating that there wasn't any major conspiracy to hurt AMD or any other company. Microsoft has seen quite a lot of groups shift to Linux simply to gain earlier support for x86-64, and that can't be something they're happy about. In the end, getting a new OS release done well is more important than getting it done fast, and hopefully the release of XP-64 will be one of the less painful upgrades for early adopters.

One last item that we want to quickly point out: many people have also assumed that the launch of XP-64 and the embrace of the x86-64 architecture by Intel has somehow signified an end to Itanium and IA64. It was reiterated on several occasions that Itanium is not dead and it's not going anywhere. XP-64 will also have a version for the IA64 platform, and Itanium will continue to compete primarily with high-end servers like those from IBM with the POWER5 processors and Sun with their UltraSPARC processors. The chances of any home user running an Itanium system anytime soon are pretty remote, but the platform lives on.

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  • AtaStrumf - Tuesday, April 26, 2005 - link

    OK fitten, that clears up the grammatical "errors", but what's up with the 16-bit colors? Some sort of a graphical pun?
  • mikecel79 - Tuesday, April 26, 2005 - link

    There's a typo on page 4 in the 6th paragraph. It reads "The next example given was of SQL Server 2003". It should be "The next example given was of SQL Server 2005".

    There is no SQL 2003.
  • ukDave - Tuesday, April 26, 2005 - link

    Typo: Page 7, "Thoughts on the Longhorn Driver Model". Second paragraph, last line.

    'loose' should be 'lose'.

    *cough* bored :P
  • fishbits - Tuesday, April 26, 2005 - link

    #10 I always wondered how many more people would try Linux, but were scared off by the hatred and snobbery of so many of its users.

    Seriously, would you personally be happier if more people moved to Linux, or would you rather they stay where they are so you can feel better hurling abuse at them?
  • Truder - Tuesday, April 26, 2005 - link

    I've seen this news about hybrid harddrives a few places, but I keep wondering about the nand flash on these drives.
    Wont it wear out relatively quick, due to the numerous rewrites, like other solid state media?
  • Googer - Tuesday, April 26, 2005 - link

    I wish MS would keep their nose out of hardware design. If they start messing up hardware like they do software, then I am permanently becoming a MAC user.
  • Beenthere - Tuesday, April 26, 2005 - link

    Why would ANYONE desire to be at WinHell ??? Sombody must be into "PAIN"! From the reviews of Windoze 64 it would appear that MICROSUCKS is the best advertisement in the World for Linux.
  • Viditor - Tuesday, April 26, 2005 - link

    "uh, "readily available" "

    Don't bother me with details...;-)
  • fitten - Tuesday, April 26, 2005 - link

    Just a follow-on:

    From the site: http://webster.commnet.edu/grammar/determiners/det...

    "Merriam-Webster's Dictionary says that we can use an before an h- word that begins with an unstressed syllable. Thus, we might say an hisTORical moment, but we would say a HIStory book. Many writers would call that an affectation and prefer that we say a historical, but apparently, this choice is a matter of personal taste."
  • fitten - Tuesday, April 26, 2005 - link


    "An Historical" is grammatically correct British. American English uses "A Historical". I believe either are OK no matter where you are. Do a Google search on "grammar "an historical"" (must have the "an historical" in quotes or google will throw out the "an").

    The term "Compute Cluster" has been in use for a decade in the HPC field. Compute clusters are clusters dedicated for computationally intensive tasks (rather than a render farm or a cluster for visualization, for example).

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