This PowerPoint presentation does a good job explaining Spectre and Meltdown

Red Hat via Jon Masters. Click for original (PDF). (Image credit: Red Hat via Jon Masters)

Have you tried wrapping your head around Spectre and Meltdown only to come away feeling confused? Don't worry, you're not alone. For that very reason, Red Hat's chief ARM architect Jon Masters gave a keynote on the recently disclosed vulnerabilities at FOSDEM, a free event for open source software developers, with a detailed PowerPoint presentation that breaks things down.

That presentation is now available to view (PDF), and if you don't feel like wading through white papers like we did, you should check it out. It's not a quick read—there are 90 slides, which he presented during a 45-minute keynote—but it covers the technical details in mostly plain English language, at least as much as can be expected when discussing a technical topic in detail.

Even if you're not interested in Spectre and Meltdown specifically, you still might want to check it out. The PowerPoint presentation explains how common concepts in modern microarchitectures work, including the difference between userspace and kernelspace, how virtual memory and cache come into play, and the how branch prediction and speculative prediction work.

It definitely helps to have some level of technical savvy when wading through the 90 slides, but overall, this is one of the easier-to-digest explainers out there.

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).