On Wed, 2004-03-17 at 21:09, Liam Bedford wrote:
> ah.. I said compile, but didn't mention the kernel. I was actually
> referring to the
> lump of code I work on in the office, and compile time is helpful.
> Saving a few mins speeds
> up test cycles.
I'd have to agree on that point. However, to bring the discussion back
to the topic, with the 2.6 pre-emptive kernel I'm free to switch to
another terminal or virtual desktop and work in a comfortable fashion
while I'm compiling. If I've to sacrifice 10 or 20 seconds of my compile
for the privilege then I don't mind. Although I doubt this will much
extend the life span of my PC as my main desktop, it'll certainly make
it's last few months of usage more comfortable. Now to go off topic and
> I suppose I am probably one of the few (or maybe there's a lot of them
> on this list) who
> value compile times.
I value them for a during the day working as a developer. But in the
evening as a "power user" on my home PC I have been happy enough to
stick with my PII 450. Of course the events of the last two years have
kind of put the dampeners on getting a new powerful setup anyway (new
house/baby etc.). But now I'm finding that the lack of raw processing
power is really holding me back with the things I want to do with my
computer, that whole digital lifestyle I keep hearing about. I don't
want to have to wait 24 hours to transcode one of my DVD's to a DivX
movie that I can store on my PC. Or to encode some DV/VHS of my son into
a SVCD at a lower quality 'cause my I/O can't keep up for the level of
quality I want. As time goes one we are getting the opportunity to
utilize our computers in more areas of our lives than ever before. This
will lead to the justification of upgrades for a lot of people in a
similar position to myself.
General desktop tasks have generally been immune to the advancements in
the CPU/GPU. Up to recently, as long as my desktop was responsive so
that I could do the tasks I want and not be stalled waiting for the PC
to switch apps or redraw cause a compile is taking all the resources,
then I was happy. But now I want to do more than just browse the web,
code and send emails. So that extra power from an upgrade is now
starting to appeal to me in a way that I can justify it. If it was just
upgrading for gaming then I couldn't cover it. Being a father and
husband these days I've less time to game. And we all know that you
can't just play for an hour, your gone for the night if you head up to
play any games. Last year I bought an Xbox to satisfy my gaming needs.
And I barely get the time to play that as it is.
Of course this balance is all starting to change in the UI space with
developers now looking to take advantage this "excess" in performance.
Pioneered by Mac OS X which initially was using the extra power of the
GPU for sexy animations on regular operations (minimizing windows et
cetera) it's leading to innovative use of that power (Expose, user
switching). We'll see general computing tasks requiring larger and more
powerful resources as the industry tries to revitalize itself and
justify the upgrade cycle that has helped it get this far.
I mean lets be honest, for average desktop tasks, the current crop of PC
hardware is far in excess of what is required of the majority of users.
I think we all agree on that. When I last worked in large corporate
environments the majority of users where on NT4 workstations running
Office 97. Their job consisted of using internal applications for CRM
etc, responding to emails and writing letters. The IT teams couldn't
really justify the jump to W2k Workstation and Office 2k. In fact they
probably spent most of their effort trying to get the new PC's that
inevitably arrived in working with NT4 and Office 97. That situation
hasn't really changed at all, despite pressure from the IT industry to
get these people to spend on the upgrade cycle. This, as we all know, is
why Linux is now being seen as an alternative to that merry go round. I
seriously doubt the needs of those office workers have changed over the
last 5 1/2 years. Or that they get any more work done because they've
now got a 2.4GHz Dell Optiplex with Win/Office XP as opposed to their
previous workstation of 600Mhz and running NT4/Office97
> As far as the generic user goes, something between
> 300 and 700 MHz
> (real, not crusoe) is more than fine, as long as they don't want XP and
> all the bells and whistles.
That's kind of what I was getting at above. However I wonder how much
longer this situation will last. With Longhorn on the horizon and the
industry on it's way out of a long slump for precisely the above reason,
they need a way to revamp their sales and justify Moore's law. I think
that's exactly what MS are aiming for with Longhorn. The impression I'm
getting is that they are trying desperately to come up with a compelling
new iteration of Windows what will require a larger set of resource
availability and enough feature changes to effect an industry wide
upgrade like we haven't since Windows3.1->95/NT4. Now maybe they are
aiming this at Longhorn or they are using Longhorn as a way to raise the
bar for the follow on OS of long fame, Blackcombe. There's been so many
feature changes and swaps that I don't really know what's due for
Blackcombe now though.
The point of all this boils down to me wondering if I'll get another 5
1/2 years out of my next upgrade :)
Glen Gray <glen at lincor.com> 17 Dame Court
Senior Software Engineer Dublin 2, Ireland
Lincor Solutions Ltd. Ph: +353 (0) 1 6746413
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