Re: What didn't I know and when didn't I know it?
"can only be solved by software"
The "only" is a garnish there, that is not stated. Any more than it can "only" be solved by hardware, for a lawsuit.
"all qualified computer scientists, of which the chipsters must employ hundreds if not thousands."
So a lawsuit needs to show that Intel does not hire qualified people, or that those scientists raised the issue and were ignored and this was a promised product feature.
"the solutions to Spectre and Meltdown are now known to be partially or entirely hardware"
Not quite. The HW "accelerated" versions are, yes in HW. If there was no sw solution, yes it can get into faulty HW territory depending on what was promised. This is not the case.
Was there wilful negligence.. i.e. it was common knowledge for OoO CPU design or Intel was informed and ignored it. This was what the original source cited implied - it implies this was known for *HW OoO CPU design* since 1971.
If common knowledge, it should have been only Intel, but that is not so.
If Intel was informed and still neglected subsequent design.. ok but no evidence yet. So innocent for now.
If Intel specifically claimed guaranteed security, but knew of the weakness. Again no evidence.
If Intel show in their design flow that they have taken reasonable steps to review designs etc, and that their design process is typical for the industry (or better), and that the problem was not recognisable, then it isn't a legal problem. It is a PR problem.
It just becomes a lesson learnt in CPU design and engineering. As with all human created endeavours CPUs are imperfect too.
The lawsuit seeks to assign guilt, but the verdict seems to be already here if you read the comments and articles. "Intel guilty" - I find this irrational.
It is a fact that every product has bugs and so this line of thinking which is equating a bug to guilt would mean every manufacturer is guilty of selling faulty products. This is not a tenable stance.
There needs to be more evidence than just finding a bug.