[Soekris] PPC... GEODE... MIPS...

Henry Spencer henry at spsystems.net
Thu Jul 31 14:53:45 UTC 2003


On Wed, 30 Jul 2003, Shawn Mitchell wrote:
> Actually Iridium was/is based on low orbit sat's.

However, there's low and lower.  The Iridiums are up at 700km, while the
spysats typically are down at 300-400km, just high enough to avoid major
air drag.  (I'm a satellite geek as well as a Unix geek.)

> But x86 was VERY useful... it got home pc's into peoples homes and out of
> the lab's and offices only.  Like CP/M, it was a needed step, but it's time
> to take the next step... we've been on this step for 20 years now..

There were at least two x86 steps, however -- we left one or two of the
worst problems of the early ones behind when the 386 appeared.  Alas,
others remained. 

The dark side of getting PCs into homes and labs and offices was that it
got specifically x86 PCs, running specifically x86 software, into all
those places.  Moving that enormous installed base to a non-x86
alternative will not be easy; just getting a toehold in that market won't
be easy.  (Apple had a chance, and blew it, by refusing to allow hardware
competition.)

The best chance for that sort of change is when there's a transition
needed anyway.  Intel's real crime was not the 8086 or the 286, but the
386 -- they had a chance to do a much more drastic architectural cleanup,
and they didn't.  The 64-bit transition is the next opportunity.

And to drag this back to Soekris-related stuff at least a little bit...
doing improvements at the 64-bit change would mean, unfortunately, that
they'll take a long time to reach peripherals-included embedded processors
that boxes like the Soekris ones use.

                                                          Henry Spencer
                                                       henry at spsystems.net




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