[rescue] Sun Kit Needed for EE Student Here

der Mouse mouse at Rodents.Montreal.QC.CA
Wed May 3 13:13:06 CDT 2006

> IMHO, the biggest *problem* with the PC route is that he'll quickly
> be envious of his friends with *4* GHz machines, etc.

Never mind envious; he'll find that after a year or two, he can't get
new bits any longer.

I was depressed when I went to buy a new disk for a peecee that was
about two or three years old and they told me, oh, I'm not sure it'll
work, that's considered obsolete now.  With my 20-year-old Suns, I can
get a disk fresh from the factory and plug it in and it Just Works.
(I'll need an adapter from 50-pin to 68-pin, or for slightly more
recent machines perhaps a wide-SCSI card instead, but that's it.)

This goes with the reliability issue.  I've got everything from a
Sun-3/60 to just before the UltraSPARCs, in live use today.  Peecees
die long before that kind of lifespan - or at least the $200 kind do;
there *is* reliable peecee hardware made, but it's relatively hard to
find and it's *not* cheap.

> *I* wouldn't recommend any of my neighbors, friends, etc. to go the
> "non-PC" route.  [...]  Business is less eager to hire them (they
> want someone that can *work*, not that needs to be trained on their
> tools).  "Gee, it's great that you know 213 different emacs modes...
> but we don't run emacs, here..."

So, there are fewer jobs, but the ones there are still need someone.
When you *do* run emacs here, the hordes who know just Word are of no
use to you whatever.  I'm a Unix geek.  I've worked as a Windows
admin for all of one month (an experience which convinced me I never
want to be a Windows admin ever again - now I know what I'm talking
about when I say that).  Most of the computer jobs out there have no
interest in me.  But the handful that do need a Unix geek find that
good people are pretty thin on the ground.

> If he wants to explore other hardware/OS's, great!  See what sort of
> hardware you can get FOR FREE and let him play with it.

I've gotten Suns up through U2s for free (generally cost of shipping,
which in many cases is just a half-hour on my bike).  I probably could
have gotten more recent ones except that I'm not interested in the
non-SBus machines.

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