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The Transmeta Conspiracy Part V 236

Floydian Slip sent us a link to Time Digital which has an amusing 20 Questions with Transmeta. It doesn't say much, but it seems to debunk a few theories. I'm hearing 'RSN' rumors now, but nothing concrete yet. I need moles in Transmeta dammit. I know you're reading, why won't you squeal?!
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The Transmeta Conspiracy Part V

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  • "The company's web site displays no images, no logo-just a plain gray screen with this sentence..."

    The Transmeta web page is a plain _avocado_ screen, on my computer. I'd be willing to bet it's a plain black screen on my WYSE term.

    Someone should tell Time Digital that they can configure settings for their desktop _and_ their browser.
  • by FascDot Killed My Pr ( 24021 ) on Wednesday September 15, 1999 @05:30AM (#1680096)
    Which is greater?
    • Transmeta
    • The hype about Transmeta
    • The hype about the hype about Transmeta

    Put Hemos through English 101!
    "An armed society is a polite society" -- Robert Heinlein
  • by Pascal Q. Porcupine ( 4467 ) on Wednesday September 15, 1999 @05:31AM (#1680097) Homepage
    Technically, when the hypishness is being generated by the background and not by the company itself, it's considered to be "buzz," not hype. That is, Transmeta == buzz, Merced == hype. Dolphin == buzz, PSX2 == hype. Then, of course, you get the artificial buzz, like Blair Witch Project and DIVX, which entails hype disguised as buzz.

    Just to clear things up. That is, that there isn't a single piece of Transmeta hype out there right now, though admittedly the buzz is being generated specifically due to a lack of hype.
    "'Is not a quine' is not a quine" is a quine.

  • actually, in one of the recent interviews with young (or was it some other higher up guy at RH?) he was saying that other linux distributions aren't RH's competition - and that Microsoft was their competition.
  • Transmeta are building a rifle - but not any old rifle.

    This one is super accurate - say, accurate enough to fire it from California, and hit someone in the head in, say, Redmond Seattle.

    The barrel is 4 yards long, calibre .303 inches. It has taken 4 years to build so far because the barrel and rifling need to be 100% perfect for this level of accuracy. This requires 4 years of hand finished rifling grooves.

    Once a round has been fired, the barrel then has to be discarded, as the wear from a single bullet will be enough to alter the accuracy.

    The first (and only) round is due to be fired at midnight on New Years Eve, and all being well, will successfully blow billy's brains out.

    The Cops in Seattle will be able to determine the direction that the shot came from, but no-one will be able to guess just how _far_ the bullet travelled.

    SteveOC [iweb.net.au]

  • by Andreas Bombe ( 7266 ) on Wednesday September 15, 1999 @08:20AM (#1680104)
    > I don't buy it. There are so many hurdles to overcome for clockless logic... I doubt there will be anything usable in that area for several years, if not decades.

    There are already asynchronous chips. University of Manchester developed the Amulet2e, a ARM7 derivate, from 1993 to 1995. It is compatible to ARM-v4G instruction set.

    Comparison data (I wish I could use tables):

    CPU: ARM 710 -- Amulet2e fab process: 600nm -- 500nm transistor count: 570,000 -- 454,000 cache size: 8kB -- 4kB speed: 23 MIPS -- 38 MIPS

    Even though the cache is only half as big it's faster.

    Another one is the TITAC-2 developed in Japan. It is based on the MIPS R2000 but is not binary compatible.

    Comparison for that:

    CPU: TITAC-2 -- MIPS R2000 transistor count: 496,000 -- 100,000 core voltage: 3.3V -- 5V power consumption / w/o cache: 2.11W / 1.02W -- - / 2W performance / w/o cache: 54.1 MIPS / 26.5 MIPS -- - / 12 MIPS

    The TITAC-2 worked with 1.5V to 6V in environment temperatures of -196C to 100C (-320F to 212F, if I calculated correctly).

    Clocked chips have to be clocked slow enough for the worst case (a set of commands that take a really long time before the chip enters a stable state), that's why overclocked / overheated CPUs work fine most of the time but only sometimes crash. These async CPUs get faster when they get cooler. They always run as fast as is possible given the temparature and commands to execute.

    Rumors tell that German company Hagenuk will employ the Amulet3 [man.ac.uk] in commercial products this year.

    If you want to know more about micro pipelines, null convention logic and dual rail encoding, look it up in c't 17/99 (if you have that issue or want to reorder it and can read German of course ;-)

  • How's about A MARS TENT, or A SMART NET? the possibilities are endless . . . [wordsmith.org]
  • In that case it would be a sequel to Java - 'Palava', perhaps ;-)

    Wouldn't it be funny if they spent so long underground developing this amazing product to change the world, and then when they finally come up to release it, they find someone's already done it?

    Summary: they're loving this hype!
  • Also, it would not be prone to allow alien intelligences to patch its kernel just like that, nor would it crash as often, nor would it be easy for Quark to achieve higher security status.

    Let's all be happy for that.
  • if ( !(strcmp(temp_string,"TransmetaNow"))) { sprintf(vendor,"%s","Transmeta "); /* Hehe this is a joke. No I have no clue what *\ \* Transmeta does. ;) */ }
  • To display html comments (or any other tags, or things in angle brackets)(we'll see if this works):

    <!-- html comment -->

    all i did was use &lt; for the < and use &gt; for the > (id assume thats Less Than and Greater Than)
    also, i posted using plain old text

    (also, i will assume that despite my preview (which worked properly) that this post still will not work)
  • http://members.hyperlink.net.au/~chart/download/ve ndors.txt

    1279 Transmeta Corp

  • You can't possibly buy publicity this good, any attempt by transmeta to clarify what they are working on will effectively end the mystery and all the publicity that goes with it.

    The only way you can clarify your position without killing the pr at this point is to exceed all expectations. Since transmeta hasn't annonced anything I suspect that they don't have anything that'll really wow the geek population yet and they're waiting until they do.

    What would happen if within the next hour transmeta reeals that all this time it had been working on a 3 mips processor? There would be people that would just walk away disapointed, and people that are so wrapped up in this they'd refuse to believe it excusing it as a cover story to draw attention away from their real product.
    - MbM
  • Hi John, this is Mr. Ditzel.

    We'd love to have you, no interview required. Just fly on over tomorrow. I'll be waiting at the airport. Oh, and as a signing bonus, you'll be recieving some beachfront property in Arizona. We can't wait to have you on board.

  • >Or they must be at least
    >writing a compiler for it...

    Steve Johnson (who wrote yacc and pcc) works
    there, so they probably have that one in hand.

    Note: back at Bell Labs, Steve was Dave Ditzel's
    boss for a while when Ditzel and Rae Maclellan
    were designing the Crisp microprocessor, whose
    branch-folding scheme smacks of the sort of
    code-rewriting that the most interesting
    Transmeta rumors feature.

    Another former Labbie at Transmeta is Pat
  • Quick, bust out Hiroaki!
  • by Signal 11 ( 7608 ) on Wednesday September 15, 1999 @05:32AM (#1680118)
    They already distributed a press release. It was a page of paper that said "This press release is not yet here."

  • Anyone know how much investment there has been in Transmeta? The article only mentioned $20 mil, which has got to be just a small amount of what has been invested. Software startups eat that much in a year or so. God knows how much more overhead there is with a hardware startup, especially one that is 4 years old and located in the high-rent Silicon Valley.

    I guess with the #3 $$$ guy on your side, funding is less of an issue. If they had to turn to investment bankers more, they would definitly have to give some details of what they are doing, and that increases the risk of something slipping out somehow.

    Even so, after 4 years, it's probably getting towards the put-up-or-shutup (or shutdown) stage there.
  • Cool. But I don't know anybody at Transmeta who's bald.. so who's gonna pilot the Enterprise? ;^)

    I can see it now... "To boldly code where no man has debugged before..."


  • Don't know if this is a leak...

    Oh, but then why did he (attempted to) cancel that article? :) BTW, another "sign" for something may be that another Transmeta employee just contributed support for the picojava architecture to the Cygnus binutils stuff (assembler, linker, you know).

    The "can emulate a few processors and more" theory stands on strong base, IMHO :)

  • by Industrial Disease ( 16177 ) on Wednesday September 15, 1999 @05:37AM (#1680123) Homepage
    Two possibilities why there are no decent rumors about what Transmeta is doing:
    1. The technical press is so used to just regurgitating company press releases that they have never even considered the possibility of investigative reporting.
    2. The company has some special way of preventing its employees from talking. We know Paul Allen has a huge cable/communications empire; does he have any major investments in radio astronomy?
  • You get your cadre of engineers, programmers, or whatever kind of personnel you need to work on your project, don't say anything about what you're doing, and hire a really famous person or two (a la Linus Torvalds), and the media will create all the hype in the world for you.

    Why is that, you may wonder? Because a) every other company in Silicon Valley and wherever else is/has/will make some sort of marketing campaign, more likely than not (so what makes these guys so special that they won't?) and b) there are few things people love more than rumor mills, conspiracy theories, and random speculation. If you don't say anything about your product, it makes it all the easier for the media to make up stuff (and let's face it, the media is well-known for "creating" stories out of virtually nothing when there's nothing better to report on.

    I mean, think about it.. Transmeta is a perfect candidate for this kind of "media hype".

  • by ChrisRijk ( 1818 ) on Wednesday September 15, 1999 @05:39AM (#1680125)
    They could have mentioned that an ex Sun guy also provided funding for the company. (ex-Microsoft guy, ex-Sun guy, and Linus... getting along together? We could learn something from these guys...)

    Anyway, with regards to the speculated ability to execute binaries for x86, PowerPC etc, that's sort of similar to some of the things Sun's MAJC chip will do, which has also been in development for a long time. The MAJC chip doesn't literally execute Java byte-code but it's easier to translate to than other architectures - you still need a JVM. You can just run C/C++ binaries normally too - so yes, you can port Linux to it. However, what this means is that you don't have to support old versions and you can optimise best for each generation.

    Here is a transcript of a live chat with the MAJC architecture lead designer, and they discuss some interesting things. (yes, someone does ask how easy it would be to do a Linux port ^-^)

  • by HenryFlower ( 27286 ) on Wednesday September 15, 1999 @05:40AM (#1680126)
    If you translate the name Transmeta, what does it mean?

    Like the company, the phrase is entirely vague: "Above the beyond."

    Wrong. (Doesn't anyone study Latin and Greek anymore?)

    trans is Latin, and means across, beyond. meta is Greek, and means with, among, beyond, after, next. (Don't ask me how it got to mean both with/among and beyond/after.) I assume the name is supposed to mean "Beyond the next"

    Hypertrans or Supermeta would mean "Above the beyond", to the extent it would mean anything.

  • Cut 'em a little slack. If they were using Internet Explorer the page would have been white.

  • But then it could be just another Tera MTA [tera.com]...

  • There actually was another Darkman, and another after that! They both sucked, but the original Darkman was pretty good. Hey, you have to love Sam Raimi's movies!

    In a weird twist of fate, Tansmeta may very well be the Darkman of processors, but for an entirely differnt reason! Like Darkman, Transmeta works in complete secrecy, and like Darkman, Transmeta can appear to be any processor, just like Darkman can appear to be any man.

    Darkman indeed.
  • The POT submitter does not bowdlerise HTML, it just keeps line breaks: s/\\n/<BR>/ I guess
  • The chip referred to in 2 was a software programmable array, and when you say "environment sensitive" what actually happened was the circuit design only worked on one particular chip (not one part number, one physical chip).

    When the virtual digital circuit design was examined, it made no sense at all.

    The guy had worked it up by using genetic algorithms to "breed" the bit strings representing the virtual circuit. He was only using Darwinian selection as a success criterion, and what happened was he bred a design which happened to cause the right analogue effects on that particular chip to make it resonate at the target frequency (I thought it was higher than 100Hz) and thus generate a result which was spurious at a digital level, but nevertheless correct.

    There was a big piece about it in either SA or Nature about a year ago.

  • >I doubt there will be anything usable in that area for several years, if not decades

    I think you're too pessimistic. IIRC, there was an asynchronous implementation of the ARM ISA called Amulet, which was just a hair away from going commercial. If they could get that close a few years ago, it's no stretch to think someone else might go all the way this year or next.
  • Wait, wait, wait. Now I'm starting to see the whole pattern! Rob announces the most complex addition to Slashdot to date--our so-called "meta" moderation. And what's beyond "meta"? Why, "trans-meta", of course. That's what they're up to--they've been working all this time on the next step in Slashdot moderation. It's no wonder that it will require specialized hardware--I hear that Rob has a 600mHz quad-Alpha cluster dedicated to meta-moderation, and it's badly bogged down already.

    I predict that the next revelation will be that Andover.net is a fully-owned subsidiary of Transmeta. It's all so clear now.

    Now where'd I put my copy of X-Files Revealed?

  • How do you know he tried to cancel it?

    From what I see he actually cancelled *another* (cancel not ) msg.


  • "Most evidence suggests Transmeta is inventing a new kind of microprocessor so fast that it'll make a Pentium III feel like an abacus soaked in Jell-O. "

    Umm...what exactly does an abacus soaked in Jell-O feel like?

  • And here I thought everybody who reads slashdot is a geek.

    My assumption has always been that the name gives an obvious clue. Anyone who has ever used the UML has noted the possible value in creating an object-oriented system that implements metaobjects to a greater or lesser degree.

    Any number of people are working on this, hoping it will be the next big breakthrough in computing. (I admit I am.) Damian Conway suggested at the Perl Conference that he sees it as a way to win the Larry Wall Award again next year.

    "Transmeta" suggests to me they are trying to do metaobjects, probably at greater-degree level mentioned above.

  • Actually Intel has been doing this all along. That's why the PII and PIII were introduced at such low prices compared to for example the 486 or first Pentiums.

    AMD is in a position with the Athlon to compete against the Xeon's as well. Their capable of a larger cache then the Xeon's as well as using a much better bus for multiprocessing. While Intel still uses the same 100 MHZ bus in dual and quad systems for all processor communication the EV6 bus allows for more. In the EV6 bus each of the processors have their own bus to memory and I/O. In addition each bus can be clocked at up to 400 MHZ according to current specs. It is more difficult to implement for more then 2 processors but it can easily support up to at least 32 processors while Intel has to play games with their bus to get up to just 8.

    Until Intel changes their system bus significantly AMD will be able to blow them away when the proper motherboards are released. Also this bus will allow AMD to go toe to toe with Sun, IBM, SGI, and Alpha on multiprocessing should they choose to do so.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If you haven't tried it, you haven't lived.

    Maybe some narrow types don't approve of that, but I like to think that on /. we welcome people with all kinds of abacus orientations.
  • >Theseus Logic and Cogency are two that come to mind

    Good links, and thank you. Cogency looked very real and very interesting to me, and I encourage others to check it out. Theseus, though...well, that's different. I couldn't decide whether it was a buzzword-filled scam a la Starbridge, or a deliberate parody. Treated as humor, I particularly liked the "Critical Review of the Notion of the Algorithm in Computer Science".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 15, 1999 @04:55AM (#1680141)
    Linus has been bought off by gov't spooks to ensure the insecurity of Freedom's last OS, Linux.

    Com'n guys! Untill you tell us something, wild rumors about what Transmeta really does will persist.

    What's that noise? (/me looks out window) Uh oh. Black helicopters. Gotta get to the f$0n>3nq[x

    Connection closed by foreign host.

  • Ceçi n'est pas une pipe.
  • It's derived from:

    a) "Transmute", the ability to change one element into another. Product is a chip that can change its internal instruction set.

    b) trans, meaning "beyond", and metus, meaning "fear". product is irrelevent, just a cool name.

    c) a 50+ word score in scrabble

    (And yes, I've studied Latin, see sig)

  • Dvorak and Cringely consistently produce great columns with insight about the state of computing. Dvorak himself has done so for many years before his comments on the new Mac iBooks (or whatever they're called) ruffled the feathers of the MacFanatics (as opposed to "reasonable Mac users") Can you elaborate why he wouldn't be respected?

  • I really hope they DO deliver and it's not just all vapourware.

    I know we all love conspiricy(?) theories/secret stuff etc. but if they can deliver it could well end up being a major step forward.


    P.S Wouldn't you just love to have a job there :)
  • Dolphin is hype, not buzz. Nintendo has a very annoying habit of having information leak out whenever a competitor announces a product that could compete (for instance, rumors of the next gen gameboy being integrated into a cell phone)

  • And one for "Bill Gates" is "Steal GLib"
    Hmmm...WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH LINUS TORVALDS? ...er, Ivan Suds Troll...er...

  • Umm...what exactly does an abacus soaked in Jell-O feel like?

    Squishy, chunky, and much less likely to burn your fingers.

    That doesn't exactly fly with the ultra-low-power-consumption rumors, but the writer gets points for style.

    QDMerge [rmci.net] 0.21!

  • Is Transmeta taunting us?

    The company's web site displays no images,
    no logo-just a plain gray screen with this sentence: "This web page is not here yet!" In the source code for the page (which everyone has looked at in hopes of finding buried treasure), another sentence reads, "There are no secret messages in the source code to this web page."

    I haven't used a web-browser that defaults the page background to that lovely gunmetal grey, in about 3 years! :) Does such an animal still exist?
  • "So what could Transmeta be making to excite such unparalleled interest and talent? We read all we could find on the subject (not much) and talked to everyone we could pin down (not many), including Torvalds; David Ditzel, Transmeta's CEO; and Linley Gwennap, publisher and editorial director of Microprocessor Report. The more we pushed and probed, the more it felt as if we were playing some kind of elaborate Silicon Valley parlor game. Rather than a list of all the tortured permutations, what follows are the best answers we could muster."

    "Why would Torvalds, the inventor of the world's best-known free operating system, go to work there?"

    Of course, all debate about Richard Stallman, GNU, and Linux aside (just for the record, I don't really care /what/ you call the damn thing, so there's disclaimer #1), I could probably tell these people another reason why their research ran into a little "difficulty". :)

    (well, unless you consider "OS" to be synonymous with "kernel" [or even "not just the kernel" as in "the kernel and a little more than the kernel" or whatever], in which case this joke doesn't apply to you.. and there's disclaimer #2)

  • pff.

    I guess you're just waiting for them to IPO, too.
  • by Alphix ( 33559 ) on Wednesday September 15, 1999 @05:05AM (#1680156) Homepage
    What do competitors say?
    When the Federal Trade Commission investigated Intel on antitrust charges last year, whom do you think the giant chipmaker cited to prove that it has serious competition in the microprocessor market? Transmeta.

    Is it only me or does it feel like the fact that Intel when under antitrust charges has to prove it's got competition uses a company that hasn't produced anything yet (not bashing transmeta, stating a fact). This is an even worse example of competition than the one Microsoft used in court that mentioned Redhat. Even though you could argue about if RH is a threat to MS they at least have a product out on the market. Seems like Intel had a hard time finding their competition ;)
  • by paRcat ( 50146 ) on Wednesday September 15, 1999 @05:44AM (#1680157)
    Try reading the article next time.
    *Intel* cited them as a competitor.

    But flames aside, I thought the same thing. (About Intel that is) Why would they cite Transmeta as a competitor if the only thing they're producing is rumor? And how could the DOJ accept that as a valid argument?

    It seems like there may be more knowledge outside Transmeta than we all think...

  • Why doesn't transmeta have a decent webpage?
    Why don't they have any products?
    Howcome only a couple of patents?
    Why no press releases?

    Trust me on this, they're just too darn busy playing q3a..
  • I wish Transmeta the best, and of course I would love a chip that can emulate x86 faster than an Athlon, but face it, this is pure speculation, and if history is any indicator, the speculation that is created to fill information voids about tech startups usually exceeds whatever is eventually marketed.

    We saw this last week as details emerged about the Handspring Visor. For months I heard that the original Palm developers were coming out with a unit that (check all that apply): was twice as fast, had a larger, high-resolution color display, longer battery life, more memory and a smaller, ultra-futuristic case that belongs on the set of the next Star Trek movie. While the new Visor is impressive, and a significant progression over the current Palm line in price, performance and expandibility, it doesn't approach the hype.

    A company that employs a godfather of Linux and which reveals nothing about itself is reported to be inventing a chip that is astonishingly faster than anything else out there, capable of emulating any of the other major platform, and cheaper than all other high-end processors. Unlikely.
  • by joabj ( 91819 ) on Wednesday September 15, 1999 @05:46AM (#1680160) Homepage
    My wild guess at what Transmeta is up to some form of asynchronous logic design. A lot of the fabless chip companies have been making similar promises with that area of research. Theseus Logic [theseus.com] and Cogency [cogency.com] are two that come to mind. Clocked logic has its limits and the Intels and Motorolas of the world are going to hit those limits sooner or later. And barring any sudden developments in, say, quantum comptuing, asynchronous logic is the next, ahem, logical step. It's much quicker, much more flexible (didn't surprise me about the emulation speeds transmeta boasted of)and should consume less power, if done right. Transmeta, or their followers, is touting all three benefits. Asynchronous logic design actually has been around for awhile, though its always required a complexity of design that makes it more expensive to pull off. But as clocked logic is getting so complex, it might soon be the time where they'll be equivalent, cost-wise. Then again, Transmeta could be up to something *completely* different. joab
  • one of the biggest names in the open source community works for a company so closed that they won't even discuss what their product is? Or does?

    And is funded by an ex-microsoft founder? Thats money from MS Windows licenses that you're buying your groceries with Linus!

    My predicition is they go the same way as MicroUnity and the MediaProcessor, remember that?
  • Sorry, I patented the Nacho process years ago. The cheese is actuallly a polymer that prevents the chips from oxidizing. It comes with a nice petroleum sauce for dipping!

  • Hmm. Now, I'm going by memory here, since I don't have the magazine handy. But last month's Scientific American (or the month before's) had a big whack of articles on the Oxygen computing environment being developed at MIT. One of the keys was a self-modifying chip that would reconfigure itself when you downloaded software onto it to get a massive speed advantage - you're limited in that you can only have your PDA act as one thing at a time (web browser, MP3 player, whatever) but because it remakes the hardware when you load the code you get incredible optimization.

    The little dribbles we're hearing about Transmeta's product sounds like it could be the same type of technology but on a larger scale. If it's so great at emulating the i386, perhaps that's because it'll have an "i386" template and rewire itself to use that when it runs 386 code? Pure speculation, of course.

    Hey, wait a minute - sure I have the magazine handy! It's right here: http://www.sciam.com/1999/0899issue/0899agarwal.ht ml

  • A number of industry analysts have mentioned the cautionary tale of MicroUnity, another Silicon Valley chipmaker that shrouded itself in secrecy while rumors of its revolutionary chip swirled. MicroUnity burned through $200 million of venture capital and never shipped a product. "One of the bigger craters, as we say," notes Gwennap dryly.

    Yes. Or to be more blunt, product talks, bullshit walks. Even if they don't state specifically what products they're working on, they could give enough points at what markets they're after.

    Here's a question for you conspiracy specialists: Why would Linus Torvalds, Super Geek, essentially work for Paul Allen, midwife to the Great Satan Microsoft? Could it be the fact that Allen is the third richest man in the world? And how do strong Linux supporters really feel about Linus that close to Allen? Wouldn't that be considered a serious conflict of interest? Or is Gates, through Allen, hedging his bets by essentially financing Linux kernel development and direction in case Windows really does fail?
  • "Computer, stop breaking!"

    "*breep* Error, cannot comply, please rephrase your command in the form of a question"

    If the Enterprise ran Win2k, they would have to fill every wall of the ship with Ram, and the holodeck would go at quarter speed :)

  • but not proximity :)
  • Hi all,

    couldn't we figure out what they are up to by looking who is working there ? I mean by looking at the capabilites of these people what do we know ? Do we have an idea of the company structure, ie who many (and which) people are working in which department.

    Just a guess

  • Of course, when MS does that kind of thing, it's generally better if its vaporware than a real announcement.. Mainly because it would be more likely to simply be more unstable than the alternatives (and be "designed" to do it all and more, but never actually live up to those design specs). I hope Transmeta lives up to the hype.

  • Typically an asynchronous circuit will require twice the number of connections, one for each bit of data, and a second to indicate if the data is valid or invalid. You can add additional lines in order to control the propogation of a calculation through an ALU (or whatever). This can be visualised as a wave front moving through the chip. Theoretically, it will be 50% faster than an equivalent clocked chip because for an ADD, the carry bit will only be carried halfway.

    No matter what it looks like, there isn't a .sig here.
  • I assumed "meta" was Greek, but it could be Latin. meta, -ae is a turning post for a race, so Transmeta could be "Beyond the mark", though if you go beyond the mark, you have generally lost the race. All Greek: tranes-metis: Clear council.
  • I'm pretty sure I read a while back that they selected the name from a computer-generated list. Apparently it's very popular now to take a bunch of vague prefixes and suffixes, and run them thru some script that generates thousands of possible combinations. They do this because 1. there are so many names that are already trademarked and 2. they clearly can't come up w/anything themselves. trans ante supra meta meta trans trans meta what evah
  • Theoretically you might be able to get a two-fold increase in speed. In practise however, the complexity of only doing stuff when the input is valid together with the added number of wires (You need to convey "0" "1" and "not there yet" -> at least two wires) leads to slower circuits.

    They tried this at philips back in about '90. Didn't work.

  • I think you are totally right on... That was my first thought as well...

    As to SA, I think the first article I read about FPGA's was in SA about 2 years ago... I'm diggin' out my paranoid bone here, but I find it odd that it made such a small splash when it came out... my first thought was "this will rock the UNIVERESE!!!" hhheeemmmm...

    I'm also wondering if Transmeta has bought a little talked-about NIC card company that was listed in the Linux Journal a few months back(forgive, I don't remeber which month).



  • The third line is not true, because there appears to be a typo. (humour, I guess)

    The fifth line is not strictly true, because it is the Transmeta home page.

    The seventh line is not true as the page is certainly there.

    Is the second line the only true line?
  • I have proven that it is mathmatically impossible to turn empty soda cans into gold (using only household ingredients) but this Slashdot comment box is too small for me to type the proof here.

    Have a Sloppy day!
  • And for all you Linux guru's out there they appear to be running Linux....though which flavor I can't tell.

  • The company has some special way of preventing its employees from talking. We know Paul Allen has a huge cable/communications empire; does he have any major investments in radio astronomy?

    Blast! I had to go and spend my last moderator point before I read this...feh. Well, just pretend it's Score: 2 (Funny), cause it should be. At the very least.


  • ...and I'm not telling. I think you all will thank me when they finally announce what they're up to. It's tremendously cool, and could be spoiled if anyone told.

    That being said, I do think "I know what transmeta does" would be a great title for a sci-fi/horror flick. It just lends so much to the imagination.

    And no, I will NOT answer any emails regarding the subject.
  • IMHO the guys at TransMeta (read: Transport Metastuff) got smart and analysed the technology they've been using the last couple of years. This is not so difficult IF (you accept that all technology has an end) AND (you are smart, like Linus (probably, I haven't met him :))) AND (willing to let go of the concept of hardware vs. software). Mi2e-2
  • "ex-Microsoft guy, ex-Sun guy and Linus... getting along together..." of course. the first two are EX-MS and EX-Sun. (read: back from the brainwashed)
  • by jabber ( 13196 ) on Wednesday September 15, 1999 @05:56AM (#1680191) Homepage
    This was burried, but valuable. Thanks Chexum.

    Subject: Re: OpenGL mini drivers?
    Date: 1999/03/31
    Author: Dave Taylor

    I think that Sean Baggaley pitched in with Russ Williams' pet anti-OpenGL sentiments because they're both British. It's obvious. I mean, come on. Evil empire. Elitist snobs. Still bitter about the "colonials" on the other side of the "puddle." Duh. :)

    I love the D3D vs OpenGL struggle. I love the consistently inconsistent visuals you get from playing 3D games on today's PC's. I wish Microsoft and SGI would reduce each other to charred cinders with patent infringement lawsuits.

    John uses OpenGL because he can afford to. He can lose hundreds of thousands of sell-throughs and be perfectly happy. Christ, he could throw every copy of Quake 3 in a wood chipper and sell the chaff to the government for use in hideous anti-personel weapons against the Serbs, and he would still make a killing on the royalty advances. This has always been John's modus operandi, whether he was turning a monster dime or a modest dime, and we should be thankful. Others follow suit because John's products become the IHV's benchmarks, so the IHV's improve their drivers and hardware to work with John's games, and so other game developers can eventually switch over. I think this is a better system than following Microsoft's lead just because one of their over-worked engineers or megalomaniac managers decided to arbitrate a new standard.

    There's an alternative. You don't see anyone hotly debating whether to use DirectDraw. You don't see video glitches on games that use software renderers. They just work. They just deliver exactly what you specified and never crash. Sure, you have to come up with innovative gameplay and/or excellent artwork, but the technique has been a solid technique for hit-making from Myst to Heroes 3.

    I am quite happy for the 3D cards and API's to beat each other black and blue while the real engineers either deal with what's available or quietly work on the solution to this whole mess.

    Here's a fun multiple-choice quiz. What do you suppose that long-term solution is?

    - A. Waiting for Nvidia to come out with the TNT N (as N gets large).
    - B. Waiting for 3DFX to come out with the Voodoo N (as N gets large).
    - C. Waiting for Matrox to come out with the GN00 (as N gets large).
    - D. Waiting for ATI to come out with the Rage * (as * gets goofy).
    - E. Waiting for OpenGL to get caps bits.
    - F. Waiting for D3D code to be easier to read.
    - G. Waiting for someone really brave to come out with a general-purpose processor w/ an open architecture that is suitable for high-performance parallel processing so that we have complete control over every pixel and get a consistent, high-quality, fast, innovative graphic experience.

    I leave it to you, noble reader. (but if you pick anything but G., then you have gooey fluff where your brains should be, nyah)
  • no...What they are actually doing, is setting up some baite, so you keep checking back to see what this big suprise is. Does anyone really think that if transmeta starts to make major dough that paul allen is gonna block his buddy bill from the action? Linus may as well rewrite the linux kernel with win32 and get to the point.
  • When my friends and I sit around and speculate what we would do with all that money (if we ever became even a tenth as rich as Paul Allen), someone always comes up with the idea of hiring the smartest technical people that we could find, putting them in a building together, letting them do whatever they wanted and seeing what they came up with. Call it giving back to the community.

    Transmeta has been around for years and has not officially produced anything. They buzz/hype builds up and then dies down on a cyclical basis. Transmeta is clearly enjoying it - they could kill this type of hype easily if they wanted - but they don't. I think this is directly attributable to their sense of humor.

    Maybe this is Paul Allen's way of giving back to the community. If this is the case, then the joke is - there will never be a product.
  • Perhaps Intel was hoping that the DOJ would force Transmeta into revealing what is going on in there.
  • Paul Allen hasn't had much to do with MS (other than owning stock) for years. Besides, even if that article you linked to made the statement, "Microsoft invested in Transmeta"(which it didn't), that's not proof. That's some journalist making a statement.
  • Well, this reply is a little late since I haven't been able to access /. all day.

    Basically, 'well respected' carries the connotation of at least grudging respect across the whole audience in question. I would submit that 'controversial' is a more apt description since Dvorak elicits such varying responses from people. As for me personally, I've found some columns of his fairly insightful, while others were downright moronic (and this dates well before the iBook flap) -- in my book (no pun intended) 'well respected' would indicate a consistent level of quality which I think he lacks.

    Within the Linux community, Linus is 'well respected' while RMS might be described as 'controversial'. Among those familiar with Apple, Woz might be described as 'well respected' while Jobs would be 'controversial'.

    I don't necessarily mean controversial in a perjorative sense -- it may well turn out that the 'controversial' person is right in the long run and the 'well respected' person just didn't make waves. It just didn't strike me that 'well respected' was accurate in describing Dvorak's perception in just about any community, because he does tend to polarize people.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    No, it means their mail server gets its power from a cold fusion machine (which uses a palladium coil) which was invented over a bottle of Jack Daniels.

  • Transmeta's website code (letter-for-letter).

    Pay careful attention to line 3.

    0. <HTML>
    2. <!-- There are no secret messages in the source code to this web page. -->
    3. <!-- There are no tyops in this web page. -->
    5. <TITLE>Not yet the Transmeta home page</TITLE>
    6. <BODY>
    7. This web page is not here yet!
    8. </BODY>
    9. </HTML>

    Not necessarily very insightful or anything, just a tad amusing...
    - Sean
  • by juuri ( 7678 )
    Or maybe Paul is finally tired of playing second fiddle to a bumbling fool and sees trasnmeta as his way to overtake Bill.

    Unlike Bill, Paul has some pretty amazingly diverse investments and interests. Even if the mighty Microsoft were to fail he is covered in so many ways he wouldn't have to worry about falling out of the top ten richest people in the world.

    Openstep/NeXTSTEP/Solaris/FreeBSD/Linux/ultrix/OSF /...
  • by TerryMathews ( 57165 ) on Wednesday September 15, 1999 @06:02AM (#1680212)
    I believe so. Look in the program linux_logo (Ships with Linux-Mandrake 6). Using vi, I found the lines where it has the processor name and the cute little tag-line. Intel-GenuineIntel, Cyrix-CyrixInstead, etc. Funny, there is a Transmeta line. Transmeta-TransmetaNow!
  • Transmeta has managed to keep the lid on quite tight.

    And good for them.

    I'm betting that the reason the lid is on tight is simple. Money.

    There is a Bonus-payout on announcement date clause that the payout goes downhill the more information that is leaked.

    If tounges don't wag, big money, big prizes.
    If the tounges DO wag, a sliding scale to zero.
    With a bouns on EACH check as a reminder that the phrase "Silence is Golden" has meaning)

    Now play a new game....how much would you have to pay someone to talk :-)
    (Perhaps auto-magik /. moderation to level 5 would get them talk,,,,,)
  • Ok, lemme give you some background to this firstly... About 6 months ago i had a very interesting chat to a fellow i know that is one of the most paranoid people i have ever meet, during the chat he came out and told me that intel had developed a trully AI cpu, so i figured that this is possible, but not probible.. so i just went on with my averages days rat race...

    Now, with all this talk about what transmeta is doing, although i do like the idea about Paul Allen paying them to play in a building and see what they come up with, i dont think so. So what the hell, lets thing about this now, you want a processor that can do X86 and all the other types of processers, what is one kind that could trully manage that.. A living one, one that could identify and implement instuctions relivant to each diffent type, if/when it is asked to.

    Im not saying this is what there doing, im not saying that intel have a trully AI Chip, but wouldnt it be bloody neat if they did.. Bring on Judgement Day! (For all those Terminator 2 Fans out there)

    I wonder who will notice the transmeta page is up first when it does come up, and if it will last long when the slashdot effect hits it :)
  • by Ted V ( 67691 ) on Wednesday September 15, 1999 @06:13AM (#1680238) Homepage
    Methinks such folk should scale back their expectations a bit. After all its only ones and zeros. Tiny little switches on a hunk of silicon. It will be cool, but not immediately world-changing.

    I'm sure we all know that ideas are some of the most valuable commodities in the world-- why else would the slashdot community care so much about privacy? But ideas don't do anything on their own until you have some hardware to prove the idea. Do you really want someone else to take your idea before you prove it empyrically?

    The only project that compares in secrecy is the Manhattan Project, and that definatly changed the world. But more importantly, it changed the way we thought.

    The Manhattan Project's idea was, "Atoms can be split and produce a lot of energy." What if Transmetta has another very simple yet profound idea? "It's only ones and zeros"? Maybe it's NOT ones and zeros any more. And therein lies the reason for secrecy.

    There are two reasons for extreme secrecy. Either you really do have something important to hide (think Manhattan Project) or you want to drum up interest (think GeForce 256). But if you're just drumming up interest, you need to let a few crumbs slip. Transmetta's air-tight secrecy is not worth its cost of implementation if they're not actually hiding anything worthwhile.

    In short, I think they're really onto something. It will probably change the way we think about Silicon, ones and zeros, and so on.

  • ... and if you held it up to a light bulb, you could read the watermark that read:

    "There are no secret messages in the watermark of this press release."
  • Actually, they used to all be bald. That was their original product, the perfect toupee. They only moved on to Warp Drive when the Department of Defense confiscated all of their production models for the "Shatner Turbo 2000" as part of their secret, Super Soldier progam due to debut on Octob
    @#!$%$%@#$%@#!$%$%@#$%@#!$%$%@#$%@#!$%$%@#$%@#!$ %$%@#$%@#!$%$%@#$%

  • by zipwow ( 1695 ) <zipwow.gmail@com> on Wednesday September 15, 1999 @07:06AM (#1680254) Homepage Journal
    Nothing! And doesn't plan to!

    See, you 'allegedly' pour a bunch of money, 'hire' a bunch of famous programmers, and nobody does anything. Tell nobody anything, bake at 375 degrees of buzz, and sell it to someone else for a huge, huge number.

    Now, take THAT even LARGER amount of cash, all the developers (who haven't been working anyway) and start ANOTHER company that does what you want to do in the first place, but couldn't afford and didn't want to share with the venture capitol folks, while laughing at the morons who bought the original worthless company on hype.

    I only hope that I will not be assassinated for revealing the secret!


    (this would be sarcasm)
  • by Darksky ( 58431 ) on Wednesday September 15, 1999 @05:06AM (#1680255)
    As a designer who worked for Transmeta until last week, I am risking my very life to bring this information to the /. readers.... I can safely say that the primary product shipped will be Warp Coil Drives that will allow man to travel faster than light. Transmeta's secondary product (the one I was involved with) will be Nachos that never go stale...
  • by rrogers ( 48345 ) on Wednesday September 15, 1999 @05:08AM (#1680258)
    But it's not vaporware. It may be very hyped, but there's a big difference. They haven't created any hype, haven't said much, haven't even said exactly what it does.

    Rumors from the media do not create vaporware. Saying you're going to release a product in 6 months and taking 2 years does. To take a quote right frim the article...

    What's with all the tiresome secrecy?

    Ditzel shrugs it off as nothing more than common sense. "We don't like the notion of vaporware. We're just trying to say, Wait and see what we have to say."
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Funded by one of the richest men in the world. Only rich people can afford to fund high risk projects. This is probably so high risk it isn't producing anything. Motivation for the top programmers who work there to succeed - None. As Linus once said 'Do you think I would have trouble finding a job?' (or somthing like that). They'll just burn up the VC and move on. I wouldn't mind living that kind of life...
  • by eyeball ( 17206 ) on Wednesday September 15, 1999 @06:42AM (#1680279) Journal
    If you rearrange the letters in "Transmeta, Inc", you get "Intranet Scam." Sounds like a good investment.

    Other possible letter rearrangements
    Martian Scent
    Instant Cream
    Semantic Rant (sounds like a good name for a band)
    Manic Rat Nest
    Transient Mac
    Men In Scat Art (ugh)

  • >Linus has been bought off by gov't spooks to ensure the insecurity of Freedom's last OS, Linux.

    Actually, my spies tell me that Linus has been "borked" by the sinister "Man in the White Gloves" and his mutant cro-magnon henchman, "Three-finger Mickey"...

    Pass it on...
  • by Che Guevarra ( 85906 ) on Wednesday September 15, 1999 @07:42AM (#1680293)
    Dr Mr Ditzel

    I would like to work for you on the basis that there is absolutely no evidence your company is currently developing anything.

    Because I am very smart, I have deduced that the average daily work load per employee must be nill.

    Assuming this low-stress slow-paced work environment would give me unlimited time to post to slashdot, I would be willing to spend a period of one year at your company before moving on to a future life of playing video games and eating corn nuts while living in the basement of my mothers house.


    Che G.

    P.S. I apologise to all posters of slashdot as I know they may not want to read this but I find getting jobs using my resume and a telephone very frustrating. I hope posting application letters to message boards will eventually land me "the Big One".

  • by Jeff_Uphoff ( 4498 ) on Wednesday September 15, 1999 @05:12AM (#1680296) Homepage
    These alien corpses take *way* longer to microwave than anyone expected....
  • by Jack William Bell ( 84469 ) on Wednesday September 15, 1999 @05:12AM (#1680297) Homepage Journal

    Ghod, but it seems like I have been following this story for a long time. With all this hype it seems certain whatever Transmeta comes up with will be something of an anticlimax. But I also expect there will be lots of meat, just perhaps different meat than many hope for.

    Still this long buildup of suspense seems almost calculated to create more buzz. Of course Transmeta says differently -- the article quotes Ditzel as saying "It's not a ploy! We're sort of enjoying all the speculation, but we try to ignore things and hope it goes away."

    Right. I believe that. Uh huhh.

    Still it is beginning to seem like there is a hard core of the faithfull who wait with bated breath, hoping for a silicon messiah to come out of Transmeta and lead us to the promised land where Wintel fades away and Open Source reigns forever. Methinks such folk should scale back their expectations a bit. After all its only ones and zeros. Tiny little switches on a hunk of silicon. I will be cool, but not immediately world-changing.

    But, with any luck, My prediction is one hundred percent wrong...


  • by Chexum ( 1498 ) on Wednesday September 15, 1999 @05:16AM (#1680300) Homepage
    Funny, the wintel software part refers to Linux as competitor, the hardware part to transmeta.. Please don't tell me it's not a coincidence :)

    BTW, I think few people saw this: http://www.deja.com/getdoc.xp?AN=4614616 79 [deja.com]

  • I work in sales right now (until I'm done with school and get REAL job) but Transmeta was one of my accounts for a while...and even though I suck at my job, I can get most people to chat about what they do-but NEVER there....They would give me only information about their operating enviroment, but just enough to get a solution in place....
  • Don't know if this is a leak...

    Dave's been preaching this one for years now- I know, it was one of the things he was talking about at the first CDGC mini-conference in Austin. It's the thing he kept thinking about and going on about in his log files (not that I blame him- the consistency between accel cards is pathetic; how could any game designer really like this sort of BS?)

    Of course, that could be why he's working at Transmeta... :-) We'll just have to wait and see, now won't we? :->

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire