[rescue] Sun Hardware needs good home

Jonathan Patschke jp at celestrion.net
Sat Nov 30 22:05:04 CST 2019

On Sat, 30 Nov 2019, Dave McGuire wrote:

> We've been building out some Sun hardware in the museum recently.  I
> never realized just how much I miss SunOS4.  A machine with a 50Mhz
> processor and 64MB of RAM (SS10) and everything is INSTANT.  Now my
> fire-breathing 3.6GHz six-core 24GB RAM monster can barely keep up with
> what I ask it to do.

It's a real shame.  Computers are faster and consume less power, but I
wonder what an actual plot of units of work per watts of power looks like
from 1996 to today.  How much needless *crap[0]* is there that mostly gets
in the way?

How many gigawatt-hours of energy are consumed yearly solely because
common practices let it be perfectly okay to implement some massive system
in JavaScript instead of a reasonable systems-programming language?

On my Linux machine at work, I run i3wm, and do most of my work in a
classical text editor in an xterm.  The machine is effectively no faster
than the fastest machine I could lay hands on 20 years ago--until I use a
web browser or spin up a build.  I can't type into a LaTeX document any
faster than I could in college.  At some level, without lazy software
developers, I'd rarely need a faster machine.

But, ssh is painful on a sun4m, as I recall, and those compilation
coffee breaks might need to stretch a bit, as even a current Intel thing
takes 8 minutes to build $dayjob's codebase.

[0] A recent example that really surprised me is in the current version of
     Microsoft Excel (an excellent tool which peaked about 15 years ago).
     I switched *to* LibreOffice when my last Mac finally went unusable,
     but my wife's new laptop came with a family subscription to Office, so
     I thought I'd give the "new hotness" a try.

     By default, the active-cell cursor now has animated motion.  So,
     rather than blinking instantly to a cell on <tab> or <return>, it
     *glides* over about 250ms--just enough to stutter the appearance of
     what I was typing in.  WTF?  This is a tool for calculations and
     budgets, not some flash cartoon!
Jonathan Patschke   |   "The more you mess with it, the more you're
Austin, TX          |    going to *have* to mess with it."
USA                 |                            --Gearhead Proverb

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