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China Develops Their Own CPU: The "Dragon Chip" 908

Posted by michael
from the dragon-and-phoenix-with-fried-rice dept.
vaxzilla writes "China's People's Daily Online is reporting in this article that the Computer Institution of the Chinese Academy of Science have developed a new CPU, which they're calling the Dragon Chip. The report isn't clear on the technical details of the chip, though it does state, somewhat confusingly, that it, `is based on the RISC structure, a totally another standard. Therefore, it will not fall into the intellectual property right trap.' They're running Linux on the chip and have built a server around it, Soaring Dragon. It looks like China is starting to tell both Microsoft and Intel to take a hike. Interesting times are ahead."
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China Develops Their Own CPU: The "Dragon Chip"

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  • Very cool (Score:2, Interesting)

    by slifox (605302)
    This could be the birth of a chip that isn't in x86's trap of being an extended, old arch. I hope this works ok, because I would definately buy one of these.
    • Infowar (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Gumber (17306)
      Yes yes, it will be so cool to run my computer off a chip produced by a totalitarian country which has a long standing resentment of "The West" and a declared interest in information warfare.
  • by jon787 (512497) on Saturday September 28, 2002 @11:25PM (#4352138) Homepage Journal
    maybe because they don't like palladium either?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      No; but they do like vicious censorship of dissenting political opinions. If this appears in People's Daily, it is basically straight from the government's mouth, and is most likely meant as an anti-American sleight-of-hand. Remember, these folks are the same ones who thought The Onion [theonion.com] really was America's Finest New Source [slashdot.org].
    • You would think they would want their own version of palladium to help both track users and make sure nobody runs any unauthorized software. Only in this case it would be them, not MS doing the authorizing.
    • by MikeFM (12491) on Sunday September 29, 2002 @12:24AM (#4352345) Homepage Journal
      Seriously I would buy a processor from them if they didn't include that DRM bullshit while AMD, Intel, and other American companies are including it. Even if they aren't quite as fast for the buck or aren't x86 compatible (is fine as long as they can run Linux). I'd even switch to their CPU as my default development platform.

      Wouldn't it be ironic for Americans to have to use Chinese products to remain free?
  • I didn't realize chinese people actually made a lot of references towards dragons.. i thought it was like a western misconception or something.. either way, this sounds like an exciting chip.
  • Great... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mythr (260723)
    Now they can run their firewall cheaper and more efficiently, without worrying about getting help from outside sources. They should have a really easy time oppressing their people from here on out.
  • by A nonymous Coward (7548) on Saturday September 28, 2002 @11:29PM (#4352150)
    Are the Chinese going to release their mods to the GPLd code when they distribute their version of Linux? Is there anything anybody over here can do about it if they don't? In particular, will the US government, usually real quick to condemn IP violations and theft when there's money involved, lean on the Chinese government to obey the GPL?

    It would be interesting to figure out the CPU details from the code they release...
    • I doubt it.

      They can barely contain all the piracy of commercial software (ie. Microsoft), I highly doubt they're going to care about some "communist" license.

      Microsoft has the money to politic the government to pressure China, but Joe Blow GPL developer is probably screwed.

      • Containing piracy? They really don't want to. Piracy is just an acceptable part of computing life in Asia and Russia. You can walk down the street in Thailand and buy OfficeXP or whatever for about $3. It comes printed and everything, they go to great lengths to make it look somewhat professional, rather than just some guy scribbling on the cd's with a permanent marker.

        Piracy or not, that's not really their concern anymore (at least from a gov. standpoint). The Chinese gov adopted Linux as their OS of choice awhile back. Seems to me like they know what they're doing and doing it well.
    • Of course not. China has 'best country' trade status with us. IP theft from Microsoft etc, human rights issues, communisim are quickly ignored.
    • China doesn't respect any intellectual property rights, particularly because all of their "inventions" are based on stolen technology. Clearly some Taiwanese sympathizers in the semi-conductor industry have been engaging in industrial espionage.

      I work with a lot of Taiwanese engineers. They don't consider forwarding stolen information to China to be stealing. They all believe that helping the Motherland is their duty.

      It's funny that the U.S. is so vociferous about protecting Taiwan when the Taiwanese are already helping China out. Once Taiwan is folded back in to China, all those fancy weapons and huge investments in Taiwanese industry will benefit their biggest enemy.

      Gotta love US foreign policy. It's so forward thinking.

      • It's funny that the U.S. is so vociferous about protecting Taiwan when the Taiwanese are already helping China out. Once Taiwan is folded back in to China, all those fancy weapons and huge investments in Taiwanese industry will benefit their biggest enemy.

        Actually, I think we're getting rather good at ranking China with "powerful countries that were but aren't now our enemies."

        Besides, there's probably some secret government plan to bomb the shit out of Taiwan if it becomes Chineese and China becomes hostile.
      • here's an interesting scenario. An eastern technology giant lifts restrictions regarding intellectual property concerns, and allows its constituants to build and innovate freely, without the threat of lawsuits or red tape...

        It's easy to imagine the intellectual property concerns in the west reaching such a fevered pitch that the worlds intellectual resources actually flee to a situation that dosen't bother as much with the red tape of copyrights and beurauchracy. A "brain-drain", if you will. Perhaps this disregard for intellectual property concerns -does- stem from a basis on stolen technology, but if the end result is a focus more on creative output than on "who gets paid", the people -really- interested in creating will simply go where they can do what they want to do.

        Having become accustomed to a certain way of life, those of us insistant upon our rights to download mp3s and try out the latest games before we buy them may find ourselves developing a strong interest in learning chinese.
    • I'm thinking that their coming lack of dependance on Microsoft will take precedence over all, and that Micos^H^H^H^H^Hthe US government will "forgive" the human rights violations if they support our country by purchasing more WinXP licenses...
    • by ProfessorPuke (318074) on Saturday September 28, 2002 @11:55PM (#4352247)
      It's quite likely that most Chinese-government changes to GPL code will make it out, somehow. Firstly, they might want to appear to obey the WIPO regulations they've agreed to. (Not likely to be a big factor in their behavior, though).

      Even if they don't feel bound to the license, they still might desire code release- either to take some worldwide market-share from Microsoft (and hurt a leading symbol of US capitalism), or more likely, to benefit from improvements made by generous hackers in Japan, Europe, and America.

      And then, if the government STILL doesn't want to release the code, it might filter out anyhow. Its a big country, and even the most draconian restrictions would have trouble intercepting 2 megabytes of nondescript patches. Sure, they might restrict source code access to a small group of closely monitored developers, but then they'd lose much of benefits of Open Source development. (Like the ability to require each of 1 million native computer science students to create a useful kernel improvement to graduate...)

      • by Jason Earl (1894) on Sunday September 29, 2002 @12:13AM (#4352311) Homepage Journal

        More importantly the Chinese who don't share will find themselves increasingly maintaining patched versions of software that are incompatible with the main branch (and therefore much more expensive to maintain).

        Heck, I made some modifications to a GPLed project at one point, and I thought it was too much of a hassle to share. Next thing I knew the software package in question had changed enough that my patches no longer applied cleanly, one of the libraries that my software relied on adopted a new API. To make matters even worse the old version of the library was very tricky to compile by hand.

        In short, the next thing I knew it was almost impossible to upgrade the boxes that this software was installed on. If I had shared my work might very well have become part of the mainstream distribution. New installations would have been as easy as installing the RPMs off of the CD.

        The Chinese might have enough people working on Linux that they don't need to collaborate with the rest of the world, but my guess is that they would be far better off collaborating with the rest of us than trying to do everything themselves.

        • by cpeterso (19082) on Sunday September 29, 2002 @02:20AM (#4352643) Homepage

          This is how the BSD licensed projects try to subtly encourage people to share their code changes. People or companies that use BSD code without sharing have a lot more maintenance to do themselves. So instead of using paranoid legal force like the GPL, the BSD projects politely encourage code sharing.
          • ...instead of using paranoid legal force like the GPL, the BSD projects politely encourage code sharing.

            This is all fine and good until some big fat corp takes that code, decides they own it or key modifications and blocks you out. China is just another big fat corp, except they get to make their own laws.

            We shall see if China's lip service to information freedom is real. It's hard to imagine a country that openly practices censorship as commited to any kind of freedom. Chineese companies are infamous for patent infrigement, so all this railing against the "intelectual property trap" looks like a practical measure based on fear of trade reprisals. Looks and sounds like "Yankee inginuity" of a century ago, when the US ignored European patents. The US kept it up until it had enough "intelectual property" of its own.

            The original question was if the US would lean on China for GPL violations. The answer, given the history above, is NO. Nor will they bother to enforce BSD. The US will only bother to limit imports if sufficient loss of royalty income is seen. Software that comes "for free" with a widget? Forget about it. That's going to include computers like the Dragon Whatnot.


      • Even if they don't feel bound to the license, they still might desire code release- either to take some worldwide market-share from Microsoft (and hurt a leading symbol of US capitalism),

        Ironically, MSFT's condemnation of the GPL as being 'communist' might have gotten the Chinese thinking about it. For them, this condemnation must have sounded as a recommendation.

        If China proves it can do without Wintel, it will be a huge example for other parts of the world. In a way, MSFT's 'condemnation' of the GPL might have been the beginning of their end.
    • Are the Chinese going to release their mods to the GPLd code when they distribute their version of Linux?

      I can't see why not. After all, if we in the Western world can run Linux on these chips, we might want to import some.

    • Maybe if we get a little picture of Tux infront of a tank then the world will know of, and demand, the code be free!

    • by Anonymous Bullard (62082) on Sunday September 29, 2002 @04:12AM (#4352848) Homepage
      Are the Chinese going to release their mods to the GPLd code when they distribute their version of Linux?

      Even if the Chinese authorities decide that it is in their best interests to comply with the GPL, they could still create a de-facto fork of Linux simply by reverting from english to simplified chinese characters. NIH syndrome is a significant factor in the chinese psyche and even a slightly divergent codebase would allow the Chinese authorities to better control the evolution of their official homegrown version of Linux with chinese charasteristics.

      The Dragon Chip is the last missing piece in their road to total national self-sufficiency in IT. Some may find it ironic that the Chinese CPU mission may have gained a sense of urgency and impetus due to the ultra-capitalistic, cronyistic and Big Brotheresque developments in the USA.
    • No, if the Chinese government chooses to violate the GPL there is nothing anybody can do about it, nor should there be. It's an independant country that makes laws it feels are best for it's own people. [At least in theory - in practice many counties, even the most "democratic", are full of corruption like "The Senator from Disney" in the U.S. - that's a side issue and has nothing to do with this.] If they choose to do this then it's not theft - they make the laws and they can make it legal.

      So the question, then, is whey would they possibly want to do this? Is there some advantage to forking the code and keeping your changes private? I can't think of any.

      The underlying assumption in the question seems to be that the Chinese are rabidly and irrationally anti-social and would keep the code just out of spite. What a sad, lonely, world-view.

  • Blammo! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    China's First Server 'Dragon Chip' Made its Debut
    The semi-conductor market in China's mainland will see an annual growth rate of 35 percent and a requirement of 17 billion chips before 2005. By the year of 2010, China is going to be the second large semi-conductor market of the world.

    The semi-conductor market in China's mainland will see an annual growth rate of 35 percent and a requirement of 17 billion chips before 2005. By the year of 2010, China is going to be the second large semi-conductor market of the world.

    Sept. 26, Shuguang Tianyan Information Technology Ltd. announced that China's first Server "Soaring Dragon" of its own intellectual property rights came into the world. The Sever was brought out by using the universally-applied CPU "Dragon Chip" just developed and turned out by the Computer Institution of the Chinese Academy of Science.

    Aside from that, used in the manufacture of the "Soaring Dragon" Sever is a kind of specific mainboard with the "Dragon Chip" CPU jointly developed by Shuguang Co. and the Computer Institution of the CAS and the Shuguang LINUX operational system developed by Shuguang Co. alone. According to the analysis of persons from the business circle, the debut of the "Soaring Dragon" Sever marks that China has set out on the marketization of its "Dragon Chip".

    The "Dragon Chip", as a product of China's own intellectual property rights, has attracted the attention of the people in China ever since it came into the world. Undergoing many a strict examination and test by the Computer Institution of the CAS and other authoritative organizations in China, the Dragon Chip is proved to be very sound in performance, steady and reliable in operation and utterly sufficient to meet the working requirement of the server and website.

    The Shuguang Co. says, the brought-out of the "Soaring Dragon" Sever has not only turned over a leaf in Chinese history that there was "no chip" in China's server trade but also strengthened greatly the national defence, national security and actual strength in many sectors of crucial importance. It has made China's computer industry to follow its own and independent track of development.

    The person also made a further explanation, saying that China used the US chip in the past. Information security constitutes the first and foremost line in national defence. However, the line was built on the foreign technology and completed with materials from a foreign country, and so we cannot but be worried about it.

    The birth of "Dragon Chip" is considered a landmark on the road for the development of national sci-tech industry. Nevertheless, people are worried about it, thinking that though the "Dragon Chip" is designed on our own it will fall into the trap of foreign intellectual property rights provided it is compatible with that of the others. Dr Sun of the VIA Tech., the only chip-maker in the world able to match with the Intel was ever worried, since the old-brand manufacturers of the Intel CPU entered early into the market, applied and acquired many patent rights it was very difficult for the newcomers to make a detour away from these patents. Moreover, the Intel's monopoly of the market has made it to turn out an actual standard-maker in the market.

    But according to the analyses of the experts present at the meeting, the VIA is different from the "Dragon Chip" of China for the competition between the Intel and the VIA is mainly focused in the PC market while the "Dragon Chip" is basically used on severs in the service of businesses and trades, such as banking business and information industry. What's more important is that the CPU of the PC market is based on the Intel's framework of X86 and so it's quite easy to fall into the intellectual property right trap the Intel laid out, whereas the Shuguang "Soaring Dragon" Sever is based on the RISC structure, a totally another standard. Therefore, it will not fall into the intellectual property right trap.

    According to the estimation of the Ministry of Information Industry the semi-conductor market in China's mainland will witness an annual growth rate of 35 percent before 2005 to reach a scale of 40 billion US dollars with the chips needed to amount to 17 billion pieces. By the year of 2010 China is going to turn out the second large semi-conductor market in the world.

    In correspondence to this, 2001 saw the semi-conductor market in China's mainland reach 13 billion US dollars but that produced by it fell short of 10 percent. Experts come to conclusion that China has to develop chips of its own intellectual property rights so long as it wants to stand out a giant in the world of semi-conductor industry.

    By People's Daily Online
  • Cyberpunk, here we come.
  • If they look like big gobs of random, evolved circuits, we'd better go looking for fake spaceships in the Taklamakan desert.
  • by spineboy (22918) on Saturday September 28, 2002 @11:35PM (#4352174) Journal
    Will they be called Double Dragons?
  • ...or their internal codename, Soaring Middle Finger to the West.
  • by philam3nt (267961) on Saturday September 28, 2002 @11:37PM (#4352181) Homepage
    PeopleDaily mirrors their own site in English:

    This server is not slashdotted...yet.
  • by StandardDeviant (122674) on Saturday September 28, 2002 @11:37PM (#4352184) Homepage Journal
    The new chip is rumored to use the rarely seen iterative data fetch instruction (ANDTHN) to retrieve data from ram (really annoyed memory). In keeping with the RISC philosophy, this is the only instruction the cpu supports when interacting with other entities in the system.


    (if you haven't seen "dude, where's my car" this will make no sense. so go watch the movie ;))
  • with the Dragonball chip [motorola.com]
  • Built a sparc, maybe? If it's running Linux, you'd have to assume that they've cloned a chip linux runs on.
    • Re:Sparc? (Score:3, Informative)

      by nedron (5294)
      I thought the same thing. The SPARC architecture is a published open standard [sparc.org] and the royalty free license can be purchased by anyone for (US)$99. The tech specs are available for free from their website, and the SPARC instruction set is published as IEEE Standard 1754-1994.

      If someone wanted to manufacture their own CPU, this makes it pretty easy. SPARC V9 is the 64-bit version.

  • They say the chip won't conflict with IP because it's RISC. Obviously that makes no sense, as CISC instruction sets can't be copywriten either (obviously)

    There are a few open source chip designs though, I think sun may have done that with one of their SPARC designs (or perhaps community sourced it). And there may be some free MIPS cores out there.
    • by elmegil (12001)
      The SPARC standard is an open standard, and we allow and encourage clones (Fujitsu has made them in the past, for one example). The license is not anything like open source or community licenses in the linux sense though. It's been around a lot longer than most of those licenses except GPL itself (SPARC was designed to be open from the get go in the late 80's).
  • China, as far as I know, doesn't have suitable factories to fab highly integrated chips of this kind. On the other hand, Taiwan does, and a lot of them at that. So many, in fact, that Taiwan is eager to find companies that want to outsource their production. For the Chinese companies it would make good sense in many aspects, because of the proximity, the culture and language they have in common with the Chinese from Taiwan.
    However, this seems to be a project very dear to the Chinese govt., and I don't suppose they would want to outsource it to Taiwan with whom they could be at war any moment.

    What other options would China have? Honk Kong? Russia? Perhaps Malaysia (they have some big fabs, too, although not as advanced as the Taiwanese).
    • China actually just enters the big fab building exercise in the last year or so. A few 1 [peopledaily.com.cn] [peopledaily.com.cn]
      2 8-inch/0.18um production lines will be completed in the near future. It may be part of the reason why they want to fast track their first MCU design.

      AFAIK, Russia still lacks behind in consumer electronics. Hong Kong... All my friends in HK motorola, which is the only major HK semiconductor, got sacked. They (the semi dept) just do chip testing in recent years while most of the chips are from a Motorola fab in mainland China.
    • <i>However, this seems to be a project very dear to the Chinese govt., and I don't suppose they would want to outsource it to Taiwan with whom they could be at war any moment.</i>

      UMC and TSMC have started investment heavily in China. There are severeal 12" wafer fab contstructed jointly by Japanese and Chinese companies. There will be no lack of fab capable of producing this chip when it become commercially available.

      Taiwan's government is having trouble stopping the Taiwanese semiconductors to move to China.
  • by Timmeh (555676) on Saturday September 28, 2002 @11:45PM (#4352213)
    The person also made a further explanation, saying that China used the US chip in the past. Information security constitutes the first and foremost line in national defence. However, the line was built on the foreign technology and completed with materials from a foreign country, and so we cannot but be worried about it.
    You can't tell me that I was the only person who did a double-take when I read that. That must be why the P4 requires so much power, IT'S GOT A SECRET GOVERNMENT TRANSMITTER INSIDE OF IT. Good thing I wrap my case in the same thick tin foil I used for my hats. And to think that my neighbors call me crazy! At least my data isn't being uploaded to a secret government satellite!
    • by Shuh (13578)
      That must be why the P4 requires so much power, IT'S GOT A SECRET GOVERNMENT TRANSMITTER INSIDE OF IT.
      You don't think they're doing 2.8 Ghz of work in a P4, do you? Dude, that's the frequency of the transmitter's carrier wave!!!

    • by Malcontent (40834) on Sunday September 29, 2002 @04:39AM (#4352893)
      I think you read that wrong. Notice the phrase "the line was built on the foreign technology and completed with materials from a foreign country".

      So you see by buying chips from intel they are helping the US economy. By building their own chips they are helping their own economy.

      The same goes for windows. Everytime a chinese (or any other nationality for that matter) buys a copy of windows money flows out of their country and into the US where we can use it to build bombs so we can bomb the shit out of them when the tehir turn comes around.

      The chinese are apparently wise to this scheme. They want to develop their own chips and use linux on it thereby keeping the money inside china helping the chinese companies and people as opposed to sending their money to the US.

      It makes perfect sense I am surprised that other countries don't get it. I suspect the reason for that is the influence companies like MS and Intel have in democracies where they can buy politicians to act against the interests of their own countrymen. In a dictatorial communist regime that tactic is not very effective.

      I have always wondered why very lucrative industries like operating systems and micro chips are not being actively pursued by other countries. It's not like they are not smart enough considering the some of the best and brightest engineers in this country are chinese, hindu, arab or whatever. Every dollar spent on windows or intel is one less dollar in their country and one more dollar in ours.

      "And to think that my neighbors call me crazy! At least my data isn't being uploaded to a secret government satellite!"

      I remember during the gulf war of Bush Sr. reading that the US had modified the chips of printers and computers going to Iraq to carry viruses and trojans. Why don't you do a search on google about it. The chinese are not stupid enough to presume that the computers going to china will have the exact same pentiums that you have.

      I have no doubt half the computers in iraq, iran saudi arabia, china etc have rigged chips nor do I have any doubt half the software sent to those countries have trojans. It's an easy way to spy.
  • by zephc (225327) on Saturday September 28, 2002 @11:45PM (#4352214)
    "the Dragon Chip is proved to be very sound in performance, steady and reliable in operation and utterly sufficient to meet the working requirement of the server and website"

    'utterly sufficient'? is that like 'majestically plain'?
  • by AtomicBomb (173897) on Saturday September 28, 2002 @11:51PM (#4352232) Homepage
    I read an interview with one of the Dragon Chip
    project leader (Dr Hu) a few months ago in a magazine. It gives a lot more details if I can
    still recall correctly.

    The reporter interviewed him after their team booted into Linux successfully with their prototype chip (or I should say FPGA implementation). Follow the common practice, they have written a C simulator for the chip, followed by hardware logic verification with FPGAs. I think the latest news is refering to
    the completion of the initial silicon design.

    The team focuses on the hardware design. The proposed chip is compatible with the MIPS instruction, IIRC. For the floating point
    arithmatic, it follows the IEEE 754 standard. That's why they can boot to Linux to verify their
    design quite early on without too much tweaking.

    The targeted performance is close to PII. Not too bad for an embedded microprocessor at this moment... But, maybe a bit old when they commerically release it. But, as long as they can find applications into consumer electronics, the chip may get a good life like our good old Z80, HC11... Nevertheless, it is a good achievement consider the fact that the bulk of the team has no previous MCU design experience.

    • by vaxzilla (94614) on Sunday September 29, 2002 @01:57AM (#4352592)
      The targeted performance is close to PII. Not too bad for an embedded microprocessor at this moment... But, maybe a bit old when they commerically release it. But, as long as they can find applications into consumer electronics, the chip may get a good life like our good old Z80, HC11... Nevertheless, it is a good achievement consider the fact that the bulk of the team has no previous MCU design experience

      Not too bad for an embedded processor? I guess the chip makers do spend so much money on marketing, conditioning people to believe that we need ridiculously fast processes to do useful computing, I shouldn't be surprised by this attitude. For 90% of useful computer work-- including things like web browsing, word processing, spreadsheets, programming, e-mail--a processor equivalent to a PII is overkill. In the mid-1990s, the Western world's technology sector was doing just fine with 486s and Pentiums in their desktops. So I'd say that if China's initial attempt at a processor is close to a PII in performance, that's something very noteworthy. They may be starting on the road to their own technological revolution quite a few years behind everyone else, but they're starting it on a lot better footing than we did.

      And if China, as I'd imagine they're intending to do, shuts out the likes of Microsoft and Intel from their consumer PC market, that's both a huge blow to those companies and an amazing boon to the Chinese. China has a vast and untapped market, if China chooses to keep that market for itself, their own technology companies will end up very well off--maybe even rivaling in size the Intels and Microsofts of the West.
      []

      My VAX 6420 will crush all of your PCs--literally.
  • by Dan Crash (22904) on Sunday September 29, 2002 @12:01AM (#4352270) Journal
    The article doesn't make any mention of DRM-enabling technologies like Palladium embedded on the Dragon chip. So if you value freedom, support China, I guess.

    I dread the day when Chinese citizens talk amongst themselves about the funny things Americans can't do with their computers.

    • So the Chinese build a prototype chip that runs the beloved Linux, and suddenly we like them? The Great Firewall of China is all of a sudden passe'?

      Western style DRM and Palladium are not the only restricting concepts which can be handled through silicon.

      When China supports freedom, I will support China.
  • by JDizzy (85499) on Sunday September 29, 2002 @12:08AM (#4352297) Homepage Journal
    Since when has IP ever been an issue in The peoples Republic of China? They don't obey international laws. They have jet fighter pilots who like to fly too close and crash into USA spy planes. They have a thing for stealling software like we could only imagine in the USA. They have the comfort of not having to worry aout IP-cops in China. They distribute pirate copies of MS code like you could not belive. To read this article and see it talk about being worried about Intel's IP on processor technologies, and then be so naive to claim that since they are based on a RISC arch that they are immune. Ha! The fact is that even RISC's are entangled in IP. The only reason they can get away with certain architecture designes is because China doesn't have to obey forign IP rights. Another issue mentioned inthe article is the idea taht China has defence issues to worry about, and the reliance on forgine tech is bad for them. This I belive more than anything else. We, the USA, asked Sony to stop fabricating the Emotion chip in China fabs because it is actually capable of being used in guidance systems for rockets, and capable of being installed in parrallel to form supper computers. So China needs its own processor technologies, and they need to coem true with the notion that they dont' actualyl care about the USA laws, or existing tech in the field of proc fab.
  • by gotr00t (563828) on Sunday September 29, 2002 @12:10AM (#4352303) Journal
    If you been to China and seen the prices for the computers, they are outrageous by Chinese standards. In the US, we enjoy the luxery of earning an average of 2,500 dollars a month, and a modest computer only costs about 800-1200 dollars. That's very afforadable, since US dollars can buy a lot of things.

    The Chinese RMB, on the other hand, is worth a lot less. It's worth 1/8 of a dollar, and average people earn only about 1,000 RMB a month, if they even have a job. A halfway decent, probably barely usable computer costs well over 8,000 RMB, making it out of reach for most workers because they spend most of that money on food and housing anyway.

    One reason for the high prices is because of the fact that much of the parts are imported, and only assembled in China under the brands Legend, iBuddie, etc... If this archetecture of chip gets popular in China, more of it will be produced within the nation, making it less expensive, then soon after will come cheaper motherboards, the cases are already made in China anyway... This would mean lower prices, making personal computers within the reach of a lot more Chinese. So, this chip, I say, is a Good Thing(TM), and a step in the right direction.

  • by coene (554338)
    At least one government is pushing forward technology in their country instead of limiting the shit out of it (ala DMCA, DRM, etc).

    Oops, I've said too much. Pretty soon they are gonna start rounding up supposed communists again.
  • The real question is how fast you can make it and cheap you can retail it.

    Speed is made up of roughly 2 components - clock speed and IPC (instructions per cycle).

    Clock speed comes from 2 factors - technology and pipelining. Technology implies high level, extremely expensive fabs. Pipelining is a well that has run dry (today's processors do very little in a pipe stage, and it's simply not worth it to make them do less).

    IPC you get from a complex core (you usually add more microarchitectural features to the processor to allow it to retire more instructions per cycle). Complexity however implies longer design and (even more important) longer testing. It's no wonder there are so few players left in the microprocessor area (the costs are huge).

    A small retail price, obviously, comes from mass production. China is indeed a huge market, but more in terms of population size, not income. China's GNIPC (gross national income per capita) in 2000, as reported by worldbank, is ~ 750$ per annum.

    Allow me to be skeptical
    (as always :))

    The Raven.

    • A small retail price, obviously, comes from mass production. China is indeed a huge market, but more in terms of population size, not income.
      China is indeed a huge market, but not in terms of income, or population size. Their export oriented consumer electronics industry needs to import more than 80% of the high end components, IIRC. That's the market drive for fab investiment.

  • not a big deal (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by Doppler00 (534739)
    There are over a dozen companies in the U.S. that develop their own CPU's all the time (in the form of Microcontrollers). For example, TI, Motorola, Microchip, MIPS and many others. It's not just Intel, AMD, and VIA that know how to make CPU's.

    There is no way that this chip is completly original anyway. All the know-how on developing it probably came from the U.S. or Europe. All you would need is a few textbooks, datasheets, and a few good engineers for development. With enough time/money any company or government could develop their own CPU.
    • Re:not a big deal (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mizhi (186984) on Sunday September 29, 2002 @12:44AM (#4352414) Homepage
      There is no way that this chip is completly original anyway. All the know-how on developing it probably came from the U.S. or Europe. All you would need is a few textbooks, datasheets, and a few good engineers for development. With enough time/money any company or government could develop their own CPU.

      Because, you know the Chinese or any of those other Asian countries have no originality. Only Westerners are creative.

      • by kfg (145172) on Sunday September 29, 2002 @01:35AM (#4352550)
        came up with are gunpowder, clocks, noodles, nearly all of our domesticated livestock, nearly all of our decorative flowers and plants, civil government by competitive examination, cotton, silk, Lacquer, the compass, paper, printing, paper money, kites, riding horeses, the horse collar, the plow, the princple of the helicopter, the wheelbarrow, matches, medicine, . . . etc., etc., etc..

        Just who is standing on who's shoulders? Why on earth do you think people bothered the risk of the "Silk Road?"

        Not to mention the fact that in modern times Chinese researchers have walked off with genuine Nobel Prizes.

        Don't mistake China with China's government of the mere last 50 years or so.

        KFG
      • Re:not a big deal (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Doppler00 (534739)
        Asian countries have no originality? I didn't say that, in fact a lot of amazing advances in computer technologies originated from Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, etc. We wouldn't have nearly as many computers with the technology at the prices we have now if it wasn't for companies in these countries.

        It's just that this Dragon CPU doesn't sound like it is being designed as something competative to be placed on the global market but to be only internally used in China. I would be interested in seeing a datasheet on it when it's available (any links to that?).
  • by erroneus (253617) on Sunday September 29, 2002 @12:29AM (#4352368) Homepage
    If it weren't for the software being made available in source form, this level of adapability would not be possible. If they were forced to use Microsoft, they'd have to create some level of virtual machine in order to run NT or the like.

    So let's ponder that open source not only makes the software more available, but also the hardware choice. The source was in front of them. They have all the labor they could want and I'm guessing they pay just as much for the programming expertise as they do for rice field workers (next to nothing). Now we can run anything we like and still get the Linux that the world is just beginning to become comfortable with.

    Hardware independance. Software vendor independance. If I didn't know any better, I'd say those were a bunch of damned capitalist pigs taking advantage of the free labor of others to their own advantage. (Did they release the source code of their changes?)

    Congratulations to the Chinese -- they aren't the enemy that the Soviets were and the women are hotter too.
  • Of course with the translation issue and all, the entire article was rather "interesting" (I was imagining a talking head with the English coming out, but with the lips mouthing the original Chinese). But anyway anyone else find this line very curious?

    The Dragon Chip is proved to be very sound in performance, steady and reliable in operation and utterly sufficient to meet the working requirement of the server and website.

    "Sound", "steady and reliable", "utterly sufficient". Huh? Sounds like Sparc market speak for "yeah our performance sucks, but it runs lots of software and you don't need that much performance anyway. Oh and just in case you do, you can get the 512 processor version when we ship it next quarter, or maybe the quarter after that ...". Man, talk about double talk.
  • CPU stats (Score:3, Funny)

    by carpe_noctem (457178) on Sunday September 29, 2002 @12:51AM (#4352433) Homepage Journal
    Some of the unique things that this CPU will feature are:
    * Automatically reallocates all system devices to have equal priority, bringing your system to a slow crawl.
    * Chip will spend all of its spare cycles figuring out how to stop you from using productive applications and networking with other computers.
    * Keystroke logging functionality integrated with automatic emailing capabilities to the state police.
    * If running linux with sendmail, makes sure that the service runs as an open-relay for spammers
  • my concerns (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Artifex (18308) on Sunday September 29, 2002 @06:27AM (#4353047) Journal
    I'm not worried about any IP rights violations in the beginning, because Intel, AMD, Motorola, TI, or whoever is making similar chips could get Chinese imports blocked from our economy until they get that matter resolved.

    Nor am I worried that the Chinese will develop a private version of Linux and not release it under GPL, because as many other posters have pointed out, a private tree would be hard for them to maintain, and would reduce their general compatibility.

    What worries me about this is that China isn't exactly known for its pioneering efforts on behalf of minimizing the impact of the technology industry on the environment. I am worried that, in their efforts to introduce this into a world marketplace, they won't follow the minimum environmental requirements that the rest of the industry deals with. I think we should be prepared to ask any company that announces they're looking at using this chip whether they've ensured that those standards will be met, and that we are prepared to hold them accountable for the actions of their suppliers.

    I'm all for more chips in the marketplace. I might even buy these if I get in the market and there is an English-language Linux distro (or, better yet, maybe OSX? Wouldn't that be Steve Jobs' best coup, porting that BSD-based OS to it? (Can I say coup when talking about Communist China without being shot?)). But the environmental standards must be followed.

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