[rescue] OT: Linux and USB on Intel

Dave McGuire mcguire at neurotica.com
Sun Apr 20 15:13:22 CDT 2003

On Sunday, April 20, 2003, at 02:57 PM, David Passmore wrote:
>>    Hmm...I understand your point, and I agree that it's a good point,
>> but I'm not sure that I agree with it entirely.  Windows, in my
>> opinion, has damaged the computer industry (and the science) possibly
>> irreparably by teaching people that computer failures are "normal" and
>> that computers "just do that" and that it's "ok" to need to reboot
>> constantly.  This, and its associated cost in terms of support, lost
>> work, and lost time, I believe is a much larger problem.
> Linux has taught the computer industry that hardware failures are 
> normal,
> that cheap power supplies "just fry", that hardware is cheap, obselete
> quickly, and that it's "ok" to need to replace machines constantly.

   Sadly, I have to agree with this.  But you must admit that this 
mentality is far, far worse in the Windows side of the world.

   This whole "obsolete after four months" thing is a PC world thing, 
not a Windows or Linux world thing.  Linux people tend to be at least 
somewhat clueful (compared to Windows people) and can see through that 
"buy me!" bullshit in the PC industry...but the Windows people see a 
glossy ad in BusinessWeek and take it as if it were the word of God.

   An example of this is Mike, the guy who was crashing in my spare room 
for a while.  Nice guy (unless he's drinking), very smart, talented 
programmer...Completely clueless (I mean *completely*) about computer 
architecture and hardware though, and a recent refugee from the 
"duhhhh" Windows world.  One day he was yelling at his Windows box, 
complaining about needing a new computer because this one was so slow.  
Watching the screen and noticing the abysmal performance, I figured it 
was something like a Pentium 166 or something.  I asked him about the 
config.  It was a 1GHz P-III!  "My GOD!" I said...a processor clocked 
at 1GHz performing like that?  I couldn't believe it.  Then he told me 
it had 128MB of RAM.  I put my ear up to the case, and sure enough, the 
disk was thrashing like crazy every time he moved from window to 
window.  It was swapping itself senseless.

   But Mike, bless his Windows-infected soul, had been "taught" that 
when a computer is slow, you "need more megahurts!"  I scored him a 
256MB SIMM on eBay, and he was amazed at the difference.

> It's also bringing up a generation of computer users who think that 
> getting
> software is a free ride, that there should be no intellectual 
> property, and

   ...and a generation of computer users that think Perl is a good 
programming language.  But Windows, on the other hand, is bringing up a 
generation of computer users that think writing HTML or dragging VB 
objects around on a screen is "programming".

   Like I said, I agree wholeheartedly with your reasoning as you stated 
in your original message.  I just believe that Linux is, by huge leaps 
and bounds, the lesser of two evils.  I'd rather trust my paycheck a 
serious, mature, stable operating system like Solaris, VMS, or HP-UX 
over Linux any day...but given the choice between Linux and Windows, 
well...it's all relative.

> that OS concepts that were old twenty years ago are okay in a modern 
> OS.

   Well this I'm not too sure about.  Too much real, useful knowledge in 
the computer industry has been brushed aside simply because it has 
existed for a while.  In the dawn of this industry, people a hell of a 
lot smarter than you or I were working on this stuff...Indeed, the 
*smartest people in world* were working on it.  Simply having been 
invented a long time ago doesn't make something bad.  (Unless you work 
in the PC industry, of course. ;))

   I collect computer architecture books from the 1940s-1960s for 
exactly this reason.  Many things that were "invented" relatively 
recently (many RISC and post-RISC concepts as a general example) 
existed as a matter of course in some of the very first scientific 
computers ever built, more than a decade before you and I were born.

   Though the point I'm making pertains MUCH more to hardware than to 
software, I have to admit.

   Anyway.  I'm not trying to shoot down your point, in fact I agree 
with it.  I'm just trying to explain my point of view more clearly.


Dave McGuire           "She's a cheek pincher.  I have scars."
St. Petersburg, FL                          -Gary Nichols

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