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French President-Elect Macron Urges Action On Climate Change
Posted by News Fetcher on May 13 '17 at 01:01 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's vive-la-difference department:
After Sunday's election in France, Macron's victory "is likely to be a boon for the French digital economy and its startup scene," writes a foreign policy think tank blog, "but the country's frosty relationship with U.S. tech companies is likely to remain over the next five years." Yet even before he was elected as France's new president, Emmanuel Macron was already warning the U.S. that withdrawing from the international Paris Climate change agreement could cost America its brightest innovators. Thelasko writes:
French President elect Emmanuel Macron has a message to U.S. scientists and engineers working on climate change. "Please, come to France. You are welcome. It's your nation. We like innovation. We want innovative people. We want people working on climate change, energy renewables and new technologies. France is your nation."
Newsweek reports this week that without America's involvement, the Paris Climate agreement "will have no way of meeting its goals of reducing global net carbon emissions" -- but that Macron could persuade the U.S. to honor its agreement. ("It reportedly took just one phone call conversation between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the president for Trump to reconsider withdrawing entirely for NAFTA, another international agreement signed into law prior to his tenure in the Oval Office.") And in the meantime, Macron has also promised not to cut France's energy-research budget, and will even reinforce it "to accelerate our initiative."

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Microsoft Finally Bans SHA-1 Certificates In Its Browsers
Posted by News Fetcher on May 13 '17 at 01:01 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's living-on-the-Edge department:
An anonymous reader quotes ZDNet:
With this week's monthly Patch Tuesday, Microsoft has also rolled out a new policy for Edge and Internet Explorer that prevents sites that use a SHA-1-signed HTTPS certificate from loading. The move brings Microsoft's browsers in line with Chrome, which dropped support for the SHA-1 cryptographic hash function in January's stable release of Chrome 56, and Firefox's February cut-off... Apple dropped support for SHA-1 in March with macOS Sierra 10.12.4 and iOS 10.3... Once Tuesday's updates are installed, Microsoft's browsers will no longer load sites with SHA-1 signed certificates and will display an error warning highlighting a security problem with the site's certificate.

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Google's 'Project Treble' Could Lead To Faster Android Updates
Posted by News Fetcher on May 13 '17 at 11:41 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's vendor-interface department:
Thelasko quotes a report from Ars Technica: Ahead of Google I/O, Google has just dropped a bombshell of a blog post that promises, for real this time, that it is finally doing something about Android's update problems. "Project Treble" is a plan to modularize the Android OS, separating the OS framework code from "vendor specific" hardware code. In theory, this change would allow for a new Android update to be flashed on a device without any involvement from the silicon vendor. Google calls it "the biggest change to the low-level system architecture of Android to date," and it's already live on the Google Pixel's Android O Developer Preview. This is not a magic bullet that will solve all of Android's update problems, however. After an update is released, Google lists three steps to creating an Android update:

1. Silicon manufacturers (Qualcomm, Samsung Exynos, etc) "modify the new release for their specific hardware" and do things like make sure drivers and power management will still work.
2. OEMs (Samsung, LG, HTC) step in and "modify the new release again as needed for their devices." This means making sure all the hardware works, rebranding Android with a custom skin, adding OEM apps, and modifying core parts of the Android OS to add special features like (before 7.0) multi-window support.
3. Carriers add more apps, more branding, and "test and certify the new release."

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As World Reacts To WanaDecrypt0r, Microsoft Issues Patch For Old Windows Systems
Posted by News Fetcher on May 13 '17 at 10:21 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Windows-Update department:
An anonymous reader quotes the AP:
Teams of technicians worked "round the clock" Saturday to restore hospital computer systems in Britain and check bank or transport services in other nations after a global cyberattack hit dozens of countries and crippled the U.K.'s health system. The worldwide attack was so unprecedented that Microsoft quickly changed its policy and announced that it will make security fixes available for free for older Windows systems, which are still used by millions of individuals and smaller businesses. [Windows XP, Windows 8, and Windows Server 2003]

An anonymous reader writes:
The patches are available for download from here. Microsoft also advises companies and users to disable the Windows Server Message Block version 1 protocol, as it's an old and outdated protocol, already superseded by newer versions, such as SMBv2 and SMBv3...
Microsoft had released a fix for that exploit a month before, in March, in security bulletin MS17-010 [which] included fixes for Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2016.

Below the fold are more stories about the WanaDecrypt0r ransomware.

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HBO's 'Silicon Valley' Joins The Push For A Decentralized Web
Posted by News Fetcher on May 13 '17 at 09:01 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's helped-by-Hooli department:
Tekla Perry writes:
HBO's fictional Silicon Valley character Richard Hendricks sets out to reinvent the Internet into something decentralized. ["What if we used all those phones to build a massive network...we could build a completely decentralized version of our current Internet with no firewalls, no tolls, no government regulation, no spying. Information would be totally free in every sense of the word."] That sound a lot like what Brewster Kahle, Tim Berners-Lee, and Vint Cerf have been calling the decentralized web. Kahle tells IEEE Spectrum about how closely HBO's vision matches his own, and why he's happy to have this light shined on the movement.

In 2015 Kahle pointed out the current web isn't private. "People, corporations, countries can spy on what you are reading. And they do." But in a decentralized web, "the bits will be distributed -- across the net -- so no one can track the readers of a site from a single point or connection."
He tells IEEE Spectrum that though the idea is hard to execute, a lot of people are already working on it. "I recently talked to a couple of engineers working for Mozilla, and brought up the idea of decentralizing the web. They said, 'Oh, we have a group working on that, are you thinking about that as well?'"

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Google Found Over 1,000 Bugs In 47 Open Source Projects
Posted by News Fetcher on May 13 '17 at 07:41 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's fuzzy-logic department:
Orome1 writes:
In the last five months, Google's OSS-Fuzz program has unearthed over 1,000 bugs in 47 open source software projects... So far, OSS-Fuzz has found a total of 264 potential security vulnerabilities: 7 in Wireshark, 33 in LibreOffice, 8 in SQLite 3, 17 in FFmpeg -- and the list goes on...

Google launched the program in December and wants more open source projects to participate, so they're offering cash rewards for including "fuzz" targets for testing in their software. "Eligible projects will receive $1,000 for initial integration, and up to $20,000 for ideal integration" -- or twice that amount, if the proceeds are donated to a charity.

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The Woman Who Saved Manhattan From a Freeway Running Through It
Posted by News Fetcher on May 13 '17 at 07:41 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's hustle-and-bustle department:
dryriver quotes a report from BBC: A massive freeway project dreamed up by city planner Robert Moses would have destroyed Greenwich Village and altered much of Lower Manhattan if not for one woman's efforts -- those of Jane Jacobs. As vast tracts of this U.S. journalist's adopted New York were razed to make way for theoretically fast-flowing urban freeways potted about with soulless high-rise housing projects for the urban poor, Jane Jacobs, skeptical of grand plans and nobody's victim, took on the City of New York through her urgent writing and by galvanizing protest groups who took to the streets of Manhattan to save the city from being dismembered, disinfected and depopulated. Robert Moses wanted to clean up New York while investing heavily in its infrastructure: its public parks, swimming pools, bridges, playgrounds, parkways, Shea Stadium, Lincoln Center and the United Nations headquarters. For many years, New York's intellectual elite supported such developments, including the destruction of working-class neighborhoods Moses saw as "cancerous growths" in need of surgical removal. He accrued ever more power and pushed through and proposed ever more radical schemes -- notably expressways that sliced through quarters of the city like blunt knives. This powerful and disdainful planner made enemies, and none more so than Jane Jacobs.

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FSF Supports Today's Boston March Against DRM In HTML5
Posted by News Fetcher on May 13 '17 at 06:20 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's defective-by-design department:
Atticus Rex writes:
A small artist-led group called Ethics in Tech is joining the long-simmering struggle between streaming video giants and Internet freedom activists over whether the Web should include Digital Rights Management in its technical standards. This Saturday, Ethics in Tech will lead a march on the W3C, the body -- led by Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee -- that decides on Web standards.

The Free Software Foundation is promoting the march, and their "Defective By Design" site is sharing this quote from the march's organizers. Dear W3C: we demand you comply with UNESCO and international civil and political rights. Halt EME -- ensure the protection of a secure, accessible, and open web. Make ethical standards or stand on the wrong side of history.

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NASA Won't Fly Astronauts On First Orion-SLS Test Flight Around the Moon
Posted by News Fetcher on May 13 '17 at 02:21 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's safety-first department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Space.com: The first flight of NASA's next-generation heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), is now scheduled for 2019 and will not include a human crew, agency officials said today (May 12). As of 2016, NASA had planned for the SLS' first flight to take place in 2018, without a crew on board. But the transition team that the Trump administration sent to the agency earlier this year asked for an internal evaluation of the possibility of launching a crew atop the SLS inside the agency's Orion space capsule. Robert Lightfoot, NASA's acting administrator, said during a news conference today that, based on the results of this internal evaluation, a crewed flight would be "technically feasible," but the agency will proceed with its initial plan to make the rocket's first flight uncrewed. The internal evaluation "really reaffirmed that the baseline plan we had in place was the best way for us to go," Lightfoot said. "We have a good handle on how that uncrewed mission will actually help [the first crewed mission of SLS] be a safer mission when we put crew on there." SLS' first flight will be called Exploration Mission 1, or EM-1, and will send an uncrewed Orion capsule (which has already made one uncrewed test flight, aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket) on a roughly three-week trip around the moon. The first crewed flight, EM-2, was originally scheduled to follow in 2021.

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'Accidental Hero' Finds Kill Switch To Stop Wana Decrypt0r Ransomware
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '17 at 11:40 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's exploiting-an-exploit department:
"An 'accidental hero' has halted the global spread of the WannaCry ransomware that has wreaked havoc on organizations..." writes The Guardian. An anonymous reader quotes their report:

A cybersecurity researcher tweeting as @malwaretechblog, with the help of Darien Huss from security firm Proofpoint, found and implemented a "kill switch" in the malicious software that was based on a cyber-weapon stolen from the NSA. The kill switch was hardcoded into the malware in case the creator wanted to stop it from spreading. This involved a very long nonsensical domain name that the malware makes a request to -- just as if it was looking up any website -- and if the request comes back and shows that the domain is live, the kill switch takes effect and the malware stops spreading. Of course, this relies on the creator of the malware registering the specific domain. In this case, the creator failed to do this. And @malwaretechblog did early Friday morning (Pacific Time), stopping the rapid proliferation of the ransomware.

They also tweeted a map from the New York Times showing that registering that domain provided more time for U.S. sites to patch their systems. Friday night they added "IP addresses from our [DNS] sinkhole have been sent to FBI and ShadowServer so affected organizations should get a notification soon. Patch ASAP."

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China Is On Track To Fully Phase Out Cash
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '17 at 07:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's change-of-times department:
An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from a report via Motherboard: Experts believe it won't be long before China, the first country to introduce paper money, becomes the first to go totally cashless. In a poky sex toy shop in Sanlitun shopping district in central Beijing, a placard with a QR code is strategically placed next to a pink, vein-knobbled dildo called the Super Emperor, and a clitoral pump. Just scan your phone, and walk out with your purchase. The cigarette vendor across the street accepts smartphone payments too. A fast-moving queue of customers purchase smokes by scanning their phones over a tatty cardboard QR code. All the bars in Sanlitun, equal parts seedy and swish, still take cash, but have likewise implemented cashless pay, largely through the ubiquitous WeChat and Alipay app, as primary payment platforms. Beijing taxi drivers accept smartphone payments too. No one in the area uses physical money, for sex toys or otherwise. Largely due to China's vibrant fintech landscape, the recent rise of phone payments in the country has shunted cash onto the endangered list, perhaps somewhere alongside the pangolin. Many experts believe it won't be long before China, the first country to introduce paper money, also becomes the first to phase it out to become fully cashless. But when will this moment come?

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Human Sense of Smell Rivals That of Dogs, Says Study
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '17 at 06:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's not-to-be-sniffed-at department:
One scientific analysis is arguing that the human sense of smell has not only been underestimated over the years, but that it may rival that of dogs and rodents. John McGann, a neuroscientist at Rutgers University in New Jersey and the paper's author, said: "For so long people failed to stop and question this claim, even people who study the sense of smell for a living. The fact is the sense of smell is just as good in humans as in other mammals, like rodents and dogs." McGann has reached this unexpected conclusion after spending 14 years studying the olfactory system. The Guardian reports: McGann identifies a 19th century brain surgeon, Paul Broca, as the primary culprit for introducing the notion of inferior human olfaction into the scientific literature. Broca noted that the olfactory bulb -- the brain region that processes odor detection -- is smaller, relative to total brain volume, in people compared with dogs or rats. The discovery inspired Freud's belief that human sexual repression may be linked to our "usually atrophied" sense of smell. In the latest paper, published in Science, McGann points out that in absolute terms the human olfactory bulb is bigger than in many mammals and a literature search revealed that the absolute number olfactory neurons is remarkably consistent across mammals. McGann goes on to deconstruct other metrics that have been used to support the idea that human smelling abilities are limited. Humans have approximately 1,000 odor receptor genes, for instance, compared to 1,100 in mice, which some had taken as confirmation of mouse superiority. However, other work suggests there is not a tight relationship between the number of olfactory genes and smelling ability. One study found that cows have 2,000 such genes - far more than dogs.

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Cable Lobby Survey Backfires; Most Americans Support Net Neutrality
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '17 at 05:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's whoops-a-daisy department:
New submitter Rick Schumann writes from a report via Consumerist: The NCTA hired polling firm Morning Consult to survey people about their attitudes toward net neutrality. In the results and a blog post about the survey, the organization crows that clearly, everyone thinks regulation is bad. Here's the "TL;DR" version: The NCTA claims Americans want "light touch" regulation of the "internet," but did not ask about regulation of internet service providers. The survey claims most voters believe regulation will harm innovation and investment, but their own numbers show that just as many people believe it won't. Most people don't believe the internet should be regulated like a "public utility," which is good because that's not what net neutrality does. When people were asked their feelings about what neutrality actually does, they overwhelmingly support it.

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Google Maps Now Uses Street View To Show You Exactly Where To Make Turns
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '17 at 05:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's smart-changes department:
Google Maps has received a small design update that will show Street View images of every road you're supposed to turn onto. "If you tap the image, Street View will open up to that location, showing an arrow in the direction you're meant to turn," reports The Verge. From the report: It's a small change, but it could make a difference at confusing intersections or for people (like me) who are very bad with street names. The change was spotted by Android Police. Unfortunately, the images display as tiny thumbnails until you tap to open them up, so while the addition is definitely helpful, it's not quite glanceable information -- you'll definitely have to tap to open every turn that you want to see in detail. The feature only appears to be on Android for now. But Google's iOS app usually has the same look and features, so it may just be a matter of time before it gets updated. Android Police also points out that Google changed the bottom navigation bar when getting directions. It takes up a bit more of the screen now, but it's also a bit more explicit about what tapping certain things will do. Altogether, seems like a smart change.

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Gorilla Glass Maker Corning Gets $200 Million From Apple's US Manufacturing Investment Fund
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '17 at 03:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's local-level department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Apple made news and scored some positive PR earlier this month when the company announced a $1 billion fund aimed at investing in U.S.-based manufacturing. Now it's ready to announce the first big investment from its Advanced Manufacturing Fund. New York-based Corning Incorporated will be receiving $200 million from the tech giant's coffers, money that will go toward its Harrodsburg, Kentucky R&D facility. Corning is a logical first choice for Apple. The two companies have worked closely for roughly a decade, when Apple first pushed Corning to create a chemically strengthened glass for the iPhone. The resulting product, Gorilla Glass, has since become the standard for nearly every smartphone maker out there. As Apple helpfully adds in a news release touting the funding, the relationship thus far "has created and sustained nearly 1,000 U.S. jobs across Corning's R&D, manufacturing and commercial functions, including over 400 in Harrodsburg." And indeed, aside from a brief dalliance with synthetic sapphire crystal a couple of years back, it's been a pretty fruitful partnership.

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Wana Decryptor Ransomware Using NSA Exploit Leaked By Shadow Brokers To Spread Ransomware Worldwide
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '17 at 03:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's never-before-seen department:
msm1267 quotes a report from Threatpost: A ransomware attack running rampant through Europe today is spreading via an exploit leaked in the most recent Shadow Brokers dump. Researchers said the attackers behind today's outbreak of WannaCry ransomware are using EternalBlue, an exploit made public by the mysterious group in possession of offensive hacking tools allegedly developed by the NSA. Most of the attacks are concentrated in Russia, but machines in 74 countries have been infected; researchers at Kaspersky Lab said they've recorded more than 45,000 infections so far on their sensors, and expect that number to climb. Sixteen National Health Service (NHS) organizations in the U.K., several large telecommunications companies and utilities in Spain, and other business throughout Europe have been infected. Critical services are being interrupted at hospitals across England, and in other locations, businesses are shutting down IT systems.

An anonymous Slashdot reader adds: Ransomware scum are using an SMB exploit leaked by the Shadow Brokers last month to fuel a massive ransomware outbreak that exploded online today, making victims all over the world in huge numbers. The ransomware's name is Wana Decrypt0r, but is also referenced online under various names, such as WannaCry, WannaCrypt0r, WannaCrypt, or WCry. The ransomware is using the ETERNALBLUE exploit, which uses a vulnerability in the SMBv1 protocol to infect vulnerable computers left exposed online. Microsoft issued a patch for this vulnerability last March, but there are already 36,000 Wana Decrypt0r victims all over the globe, due to the fact they failed to install it. Until now, the ransomware has laid waste to many Spanish companies, healthcare organizations in the UK, Chinese universities, and Russian government agencies. According to security researchers, the scale of this ransomware outbreak is massive and never-before-seen.

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Elon Musk Posts New Video of 'Boring' Equipment and Company's First Tunnel
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '17 at 02:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's out-of-control department:
Elon Musk has posted a new video and several pictures of equipment that will be used to start digging tunnels beneath Los Angeles. There's a picture of boring machine segments that are being lowered into the start tunnel at SpaceX, a front view of the tunnel, an inside view of the tunnel, and a picture of the front of the boring machine that will cut through underground rock. Additionally, the video shows a version of the "skate" that will cary cars through the tunnel at a speed of 125 mph. CNBC reports: The project is one of Musk's latest ventures, which was inspired by a desire to alleviate "out of control" traffic in Los Angeles. He aims to first dig a tunnel from SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, to the nearby Los Angeles airport. Musk frequently flies from Los Angeles to the San Francisco area, where he runs Tesla. Eventually, he envisions a deep, multilayered network of underground tunnels spanning the city.

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Fiat Chrysler Recalls 1.3 Million Ram Pickups For Fatal Software Problem
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '17 at 02:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's better-safe-than-sorry department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNNMoney: Fiat Chrysler is recalling 1.3 million pickup trucks because of a software problem that may be tied to at least one death and two injuries. The problem could disable side airbags from deploying and seat belts from tightening in a rollover accident. If there is a significant impact on the truck's underbody, Fiat Chrysler says the truck's safety system could incorrectly conclude that a sensor underneath the truck has failed. If a sensor does fail, the truck's safety system is designed to suppress the airbags from deploying and seat belts from tightening when they are not supposed to. That's why there is a risk if there is a subsequent rollover. The good news is the driver should be alerted to this problem by a instrument cluster warning light. If the light comes on, drivers should then turn the truck off, and then turn the key back into the on/run position to verify that the light is no longer on. They should also follow instructions on their recall notice. The report notes that the affected vehicles include the 2013-16 Ram 1500 and 2500 pickups, and 2014-2016 Ram 3500 pickups.

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Going After Netflix, Cannes Bans Streaming-Only Movies From Competition Slots
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '17 at 01:01 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's growing-tension department:
An anonymous reader writes: The Cannes Film Festival is taking a stand against Netflix. Responding to a rumor that the streaming service's Okja, directed by Bong Joon Ho, and The Meyerowitz Stories, directed by Noah Baumbach, would be excluded from awards consideration after being included in the Competition lineup, the festival released a statement clarifying and adjusting its positioning going forward. The short version: From now on, if you want to compete at Cannes, your movie had better be released in French movie theaters -- not just online. There has long been a point of tension between Cannes and Netflix, to the extent where the inclusion of Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories came as a bit of a surprise. Netflix films had previously been snubbed and festival officials had advocated for "discouraging" the streaming service's online-first approach to release. The two movies included in Cannes' lineup this year are slated for theatrical bows stateside, but according to the festival's official statement, "no agreement has been reached" to get the moves into French cinemas and the effort to reach one was made "in vain." However, the statement does clarify that this rule goes into effect next year, so Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories will remain in competition and eligible for the Palme d'Or.

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Intel's Itanium CPUs, Once a Play For 64-bit Servers And Desktops, Are Dead
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '17 at 01:01 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's moving-on department:
Reader WheezyJoe writes: Four new 9700-series Itanium CPUs will be the last and final Itaniums Intel will ship. For those who might have forgotten, Itanium and its IA-64 architecture was intended to be Intel's successor to 32-bit i386 architecture back in the early 2000's. Developed in conjunction with HP, IA-64 used a new architecture developed at HP that, while capable as a server platform, was not backward-compatible with i386 and required emulation to run i386-compiled software. With the release of AMD's Opteron in 2003 featuring their alternative, fully backward-compatible X86-64 architecture, interest in Itanium fell, and Intel eventually adopted AMD's technology for its own chips and X86-64 is now dominant today. In spite of this, Itanium continued to be made and sold for the server market, supported in part by an agreement with HP. With that deal expiring this year, these new Itaniums will be Intel's last.

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