[rescue] ECC [was: Re: WOT: Ebay changes to IBM from Sun E10Kservers?]

Jonathan C. Patschke jp at celestrion.net
Thu Jul 10 14:03:22 CDT 2003

On Thu, 10 Jul 2003, Joshua D. Boyd wrote:

> No, I think most home users who do work other than games (say, email,
> writing reports, databases to manage workflow, etc) still don't care
> that much.

Tell that to Ellen Feiss.

> "These people" also aren't given the tools to evaluate how reliable what
> they are getting is.

I defer to the car analogy.  I have a Pontiac that I am increasingly
beginning to believe is a piece of shit, electrically.  But, that aside,
let's use my previous car (a 1981 Oldsmobile) as a baseline.  Over the
course of my family driving it since we got it used in 1986, never once
has the engine given any trouble.  Nor the transmission.  Nor the fuel
system.  Nor the brakes.  Nor the electrical system.  It occasionally
had problems with the oxygen sensor, but those went away after GM fixed
the design.  That car gave my family 300,000 miles of trouble-free
service and was only replaced because it was finally starting to rust

PCs crash.  They crash running Linux, they crash running Windows.  They
don't -all- crash, but the overwhelming majority of bargain-basement
white box shit crashes like a drunk driver on ice.  I wouldn't put up
with a car whose "check engine" light came on daily or who stalled
weekly or just occasionally decided not to shift or to turn on the ABS
while I was going 60 on the freeway.  Especially not if it were NEW.

Now, just to show that I'm not biased, if you pay out the ass for a good
PC, it's going to probably be stable, barring shitty software.  The
OpenBSD system I have at work has been up for three months without a
complaint.  My PC at home, which I built on the cheap, crashes every two
or three hours; this would be why my Mac and my Octane get used for
actual work, and my PC gets used to play MP3s, render MIDI, and play

> They walk into a local computer store because they feel more
> comfterable doing so,

Which is why I bought my car from a local dealer.

> and if they even ask, they get told that ECC is something they don't
> need.  They aren't given any metric other than Mhz to evaluate
> performance (which is agrevating to us, but ultimately performance
> doesn't really matter to them since anything that can be bought new
> is fast enough), and they most especially aren't given metrics to
> evaluate any needs other than what peripherals they might want,
> especially not for evaluating stability.

This is only part of the problem.  The bigger part of the problem is
that PC users are conditioned to think that computers are unreliable.
Computers are "supposed" to crash.  That's "just something they do".
Computers "get slower" as they age.

The industry is scum, and the only people screaming about it loudly
enough are Steve Jobs, whose computers aren't in Joe Sixpack's budget,
and Linus Torvalds[0], whose software isn't typically a good fit for
someone who just wants to play games and watch porn, anyway.

The industry is trying to market what should be two separate devices (a
toy, and a tool) as one, and the people who need a tool are getting the

[0] He has a terrific rant on the perceived unreliability of computers
    somewhere.  I should see if I can dig up a URL.
Jonathan Patschke   )  "Leave your lawsuits at home.  I have guns."
Elgin, TX          (                      --"Kountry" Mike Lundgren

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