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Reinart der Fuchs
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Computer Compatibility Debate

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  • redbeard
    replied
    Originally posted by Jules
    Seeing as we've done Apple to death, anyone running Linux out there?
    If so what distribution are you using, and what apps would you advise the inquisitive to check out?
    I have used Linux on my desktop for years now. I used to run Slackware, and then my own hand built version, but have since started using a Fedora (don't have the time to build my own ver and keep it upto date anymore). Fedora is a nice clean system that comes with most of the packages I need, has a complete development toolchain and is easy to update using yum.

    As for applications to suggest, it depends on what a person want's to do. You can find alternatives to match nearly all popular titles, and there is usually more and better software when it comes to niche things.

    I spend 90% of my time at a bash prompt, the only GUI apps I regularly use are Firefox, The GIMP (or Photoshop under WINE or a W2K image under VMWare), Zend Studio and Open Office. Some days I won't even use XWindows, everything I need to do can be done from bash.

    A while ago a friend of mine who was still using Win2K wanted to upgrade, so as an experiment I installed Fedora on his machine, setup the desktop to make it as 'Windows like' as possible, installed software that catered for all his activities, turned on automatic updates and locked it down so that he couldn't alter any of the core settings. I made an account for him and did not give him the root password. After getting used to the new applications, he has come to like the setup and reckons it is much stabler than his old setup. He does not play games, so this is no trouble and any Windoze programs he 'must' have, I simply install them under Wine and create a shortcut on his desktop (thankfully all his requests so far have operated under Wine).

    All three systems have their merits no doubt (although M$ offers nothing to me except gaming), and I believe that people should use the right tool for the job. At the moment Linux offers the right tools for the tasks that I perform. I've not used OSX (I think the last I used ws v7), so I cannot really comment on it, while Windoze offers the hand holding that the averge (inexperienced) computer user needs.

    I believe that no single OS will eventually reign supreme, I think that in the future virtualization and emulation will utilized to a greater extent, and compatability will be less of a problem than now.
    Last edited by redbeard; 10-17-2006, 12:35 AM.

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  • invalid nickname
    replied
    Originally posted by EverKing
    One thing to remember about the backwards compatability of WinXP, is that in order to utilize this you have to be a member of the Local Administrators or Power Users Groups. The two groups are the only ones that, by default, have permissions to run legacy software. Of course, I'm certain that you can find a tweak to give Users rights to do so by altering Local Computer Policy.
    Another thing to remember about it is that many of your hardware devices will not be available. This seems to be what really ends up obsoleting older business apps - things like POS systems that no longer have printer support tend to go by the wayside.

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  • johneffay
    replied
    Originally posted by Jules
    (On a more amusing note - my wife and I have - for different reasons - been looking at courses through the Open University. It's a distant learning University that has been around for a few decades. Their course requirements now state that you need a Windows PC for course software. So much for 'Open'. In the days before computers it was literally so - books or tapes.
    Yeah, but you still needed a standard TV and/or radio if you wanted to listen to their broadcasts...

    Back in the early 90's the OU ran a Postgraduate Certificate of Education where you got the loan of a Mac which was then donated to the school where you did your teaching practice, so they have done stuff on other platforms.

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  • Jules
    replied
    Linux

    Seeing as we've done Apple to death, anyone running Linux out there?
    If so what distribution are you using, and what apps would you advise the inquisitive to check out?

    (Eclipse isn't really going to rock the world of people who don't code!).

    I think Ubuntu is looking a really promising project (I've actually looked more at Edubuntu) but I'm still finding it missing the applications that would make it a no-brainer for schools to use.


    (On a more amusing note - my wife and I have - for different reasons - been looking at courses through the Open University. It's a distant learning University that has been around for a few decades. Their course requirements now state that you need a Windows PC for course software. So much for 'Open'. In the days before computers it was literally so - books or tapes. I also can't believe in this day and age anyone is developing educational software that isn't mostly web based (whether that is web pages or using Quicktime / Flash plugins).

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  • Jules
    replied
    Reinart
    >>From another point of view, it is a bad thing. It is a bit like the world >>settling on English as the dominant language - there is a gain in
    >> everyone being able to understand each other, but something important >>is also lost.
    >I disagree here, because Apple doesn't have a mononpoly,
    >despite it's trifecta.

    Perhaps I wasn't clear enough, but I was referring specifically to the domination of the Intel (and clone) CPU. The innovation is constrained by what will work with that instruction set. The 'Endian' argument is over!

    You are right about mobiles, games consoles, etc though; there is still room for new chips there, where there is little need for backward compatibility.

    >Neither are going to matter in the future. Google has seen
    >to that. Consider GMAIL.
    You should see our next generation web apps - they look like OS X but runs inside a browser window. The interest has been crazy (developed using Adobe Flex if you're interested, you can get the SDK for free).
    www.gliffy.com is another impressive one.

    What I will say is that these are web applications; they run like applications on mid-80s computers - self-contained. It is an improvement on the 1970s fill in fields / press submit key of earlier web applications, but we are still not even at the level of sophistication of the Commodore Amiga, although things look slicker. Getting them to work together will mean adopting a common framework across lots of applications, which will be interesting to see.

    Of course this is probably good enough for most people. It is probably only a very small percentage of computer users who really work with several applications at once, or use macro scripts to automate tasks. And as we know, 'good enough' is good enough.

    The only other things is that I wonder is anyone can make a business out of them - other than 'Build App. Get big user-base. Sell to Yahoo'.

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  • Reinart der Fuchs
    replied
    Originally posted by Jules
    The XBox 360 looks pretty much like a piece of hardware to me!
    Dell bet on hardware. Apple bet on a platform.

    . . .
    >I know that Windows has a
    >media center now, but it seems like they are playing catch-up.

    Windows Media centre is actually a more functional piece of software than Apple's Front Row by a long way, but it is also a useful demonstration in the philosophical differences between the two firms. The Apple remote control uses the same click-wheel / 5-button interface as the iPod. A typical Media Centre PC remote control has over 20 buttons.

    There is a great quote describing Microsoft's software engineers - 'They've never seen a feature they don't like'.
    In a way Apple bet on all three.

    The new MacBook had me looking at movie trailers with a remote control, 3 minutes after the system was updated after I took it out of the box. Microsoft's relationships with partnert and vendors are so ruthless and convuluted they will never be able to deliver content the way you can with Apple. Case in point, iPod. You've got Apple's future advertising delivery system in your pocket right now. Microsoft's media center is Web TV's grandchild and I predict the inroads they have made into Comcast's set top box has thoroughly killed off Microsoft's ambitions to control content over cable. MSNBC's cable channel is so thoroughly pwned by partners that it's unwatchable. Microsoft's focus wasn't on software and technology, it was on selling bits.

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  • Reinart der Fuchs
    replied
    Originally posted by David Mosley
    Microsoft has never been an innovative company. Who remembers Bill Gates dismissing the Internet as the future of IT about two years before it suddenly took off big time? Likewise, MS-DOS wasn't something that Gates knocked up in his garage - he bought it from someone else (who knocked it up in their garage) when Microsoft were bidding for IBM's OS tender and he needed an OS to demonstrate. That was called QDOS - Quick and Dirty Operating System. What Microsoft appear to have understood better than Apple is marketing.
    BG: "Psst. Grandma, don't sell your stocks."
    GM: "What's this Internets thing?"
    BG: "It's like Prodigy."
    GM: "I feel comforable again."

    Windows is destined to be relegated to emulator-ville.

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  • Reinart der Fuchs
    replied
    Originally posted by Doc
    I love everything it does. I also find it to be far more intuitive than any version of Windows I've used lately. I also understand that familiarity plays a part in this, but I have never had to work hard to figure out any part of my operating system.
    Windows has a major problem: their interface is looking like either:

    a) an aging corporate rat maze
    b) a Teletubbies photo album

    Mac will have similiar problems with their interface in the future, however, if asked to bet which company will have a great interface in the future, I'd put my money on Apple.

    MSN, Hotmail and MSNBC all have the same Prodigy-esque interface problem.

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  • Reinart der Fuchs
    replied
    Originally posted by johneffay
    This is one of those myths that Apple like to see their fanbase spread around

    The truth is that Macs have better quality control than machines that are cheaper than they are. However, buy a similarly specced PC for the same price as a Mac, and you won't find much difference in terms of build quality and reliability.

    I'm not anti-Mac; in fact I have one sitting next to me at the minute, but a lot of the claims made for the company and products are simply hype. My favourite is the one about Steve Jobs somehow being a much nicer guy than Bill Gates...
    I think this is a red herring. Microsoft doesn't have to QA any equipment (well, except the PC based XBOX), and Apple have a very limited base of hardware they must test against.

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  • Reinart der Fuchs
    replied
    Originally posted by Doc
    My comments have little to do with compatability, but are tangentially related to the conversation...

    I'm a Mac guy, too. I use a PowerBook at Work and an iMac at home. One reason for this is that I like OS X better than any operating system I've ever used. However I also think Macs are simply better machines.

    (For what its worth, Berry got me started on looking into this.) Macs have better quality control that most other machines, especially in hardware compatability. Apple makes sure that its components preform well together. According to a few stories the local paper ran (AMD is headquartered here), when Apple was looking into changing its chips, they experimented with both AMD and Intel chips. The AMD chips were generally better, as they ran cooler and a little quicker. Choosing AMD would have sat better with some of the maverick types at Apple who saw Intel as the establishment. However, overall performance was better with Intel chips, so they went with them.

    On the compatibility aspect, most ordinary files have always crossed Windows/Mac platforms pretty easily, especially word processing and spreadsheets.

    I also agree that Microsoft is a lumbering dinosaur, more concerned with market share and loyalty than being anywhere near state of the art.
    The Intel based MacBook runs cooler, battery lasts longer (with more hardware features consuming power no less), runs quieter, is lighter, slicker and is just a joy to use. I've hi-jacked my wife's computer for these posts.

    The Microsaurus is running out of treetops.

    Going with Intel was Apple's only real choice. Microsoft loses it's preferentiality with Intel in the long run. Heh. They'll have to go pay AMD monster money to compete against Apple/Intel while they are plugging the mobile devices leaking artery.

    Am I enjoying this thread or what? It was fix a couple of bugs at the site or rant for a couple of hours.

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  • Reinart der Fuchs
    replied
    Originally posted by Jules
    In layman's terms, prior to 2005, Apple used chips that spoke a different language. They now use the same Intel chips used by Microsoft's Windows software, most versions of Linux, and some other less known operating systems.
    Less known: OSX called Darwin, which is a variant of FreeBSD, and Open Source Unix fork with superior memory handling.

    Originally posted by Jules
    From one point of view this is a good thing - it means owners of Apple machines, at least, can run almost all available software.
    Essentially true, but, if I may say this without insulting you (because I don't mean to), an over-simplificiation. To run Linux and/or Windows, you have to do some low level system configuration that would puzzle Grandma. Grandma is our Worst Case Scenario, okay? There are grandmothers who have no problem with computers, but I hope we can agree that the typical grandma would be baffled by things that are technologically advanced. I speak from the perspective of a professional who has seen many perplexed grandmothers over the last 12 years. Grandma could learn, but refuses to, and frequently says "I can't even program my VCR." You could run Windows and/or Linux sessions using something like Virtual PC, an application that let's you run OS sessions on top of OSX. The financial aspect is that you have to own a Windows license to running a virtualized version of it, so what's the point (not of your question, of running Windows on Mac hardware)?

    Originally posted by Jules
    From another point of view, it is a bad thing. It is a bit like the world settling on English as the dominant language - there is a gain in everyone being able to understand each other, but something important is also lost.
    I disagree here, because Apple doesn't have a mononpoly, despite it's trifecta.

    Originally posted by Jules
    We have already reached the day when there is no meaningful difference in hardware; the day when there is no meaningful difference in software will be a victory for the Lords Of Law.
    Cell phones and other mobile devices kind of refute this, if you ask me. Chaos is rising and is about to devour The Original Insect, but eternal proliferation isn't good either. I think we'll have a balance for a while, but it will tip towards Chaos soon.

    Originally posted by Jules
    (Developments in China may change this. China is very determined to develop it's own high-tech infrastructure that is not tied to US standards).
    They use a lot of Linux. They use a lot of Microsoft. Microsoft have done a lot to get global, but the Chinese and other governments are concerned about Microsoft and other American companies who have master keys into their products. The American government are constantly trying to get American hardware and software companies to provide a skeleton key into their products. World governments should be very wary.

    Originally posted by Jules
    As to whether the difference between Mac and PC is meaningful, this is a hard question to answer. In terms of the hardware, the two platforms are now identical. People have proven that the Mac operating system will run on non-Apple machines.

    However, the difference between Windows, Linux and the Mac (OS X) is meaningful. When I started programming back in the 80s, most software developers would write everything from the ground up, using the 'machine language' of the computer itself. That was the only way to make programs fast enough. About the only part of the built-in software most programs used was to load the tape, and you needed a good understanding of the physical hardware.
    Not just proven, but hacked. This is good. There are a couple of Linux flavors for Mac. http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...=Google+Search But this is really just interesting as opposed to widely useful. If it breaks you have to fix it yourself ala Open Source. The differences are meaningful, because you can still only buy stuff and think one way as it relates to your chosen platform.

    Neither are going to matter in the future. Google has seen to that. Consider GMAIL.

    Originally posted by Jules

    As for how the Mac or Linux machines can run Windows - there are three ways :
    1) Start up the machine and run Windows instead. This is because they now all share the same hardware.
    2) Through 'virtualisation'. Than means I start up my machine, then I open a window, and inside that window is another 'virtual machine' which I can use to run Windows on (and then run a Windows program).
    3) 'Crossover'/WINE. The Windows system is now so old, that people have been able to write a system that understands the language it speaks and behaves the same way. It can translate applications that 'speak Windows' into Linux or OS X. It's only about 90% effective, and when the next version of Windows comes out, it will take several years to catch up.
    I happen to know that recent licensing developments is going to get Wine in big trouble.

    Great post Jules.

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  • Reinart der Fuchs
    replied
    IIRC, Apple computers started with Xerox chips and eventually Motorola chipsets, and now . Apple had a the longest running trifecta, and arguably still does, consisting of applications (the stuff you really use, like Photoshop), operating system (application platform), and computer hardware (OS platform). Compared to Microsoft's bifecta (OS & applications) coupled with a software cartel, the so called WinDellTel triopoly (so called by me ), Apple Computers were minimalized in the marketplace, and thank God for that, they've had to compete and innovate for their new footing. The noise created by Linux (I am a devote user of all technology, so please don't put me into the "religious zealot" bucket) and Apple have fractured Microsoft's strategies. Utterly. The other 800 pound gorilla in the room? Cell phones/mobile devices. The only way Microsoft gets in is through competition and serious concessions. heh. They got the PC wave and made some serious dosh, but they missed the $49 handset/$2000 2 year contract wave and they will suffer for this. Why? Because a larger percentage of consumers can affored our post-Commodore era phones and iPods. They don't have to consume the product from the triopoly. Now we are going to see some serious devices in the future. We should be concerned about the number of handsets going into the land fills. The closest Microsoft can get to Apple's trifecta is the X-Box. The consumption of technology is creating a consumer that, naturally, can consume more technology. Micorsoft becomes marginalized and will have to spend immense amount of dollars to compete as their shareholders become alienated. Chaos Engineers will fly in, out and around The Insect, eventually devouring it. http://www.shadowflux.com/xbox.html http://www.frozentech.com/content/livecd.php

    I just bought a MacBook for my wife, who is loving it. And so am I. The MacBook (Intel chipset) totally rules. Microsoft has serious problems now. At ~$1100, the MacBook provides a system that doesn't have that stale corporate look-and-feel (remember that catch phrase?). What about Mac mobile devices? iPod solved that problem. It won't be long before we have iPhones or some such device. The Motorola ROKR had iTunes on it, but the 100 song limit really killed the popularity of the device. The networking of Mac devices among like products is so ubiquitous when you walk into a room all the devices have married themselves to the newcomer. Windows' Bluetooth stack reeks and you can barely maintain a wireless connection. Microsoft's products must become more like Apple's, but Apple's will have to have a broader set of hardware, which will introduce more expensive problems like those of Microsoft.

    What I'm trying to point out is that introducing Intel was about saving money and promoting interesting in Apple stock. It was also about Intel wriggling out of Govenor Tarkin's (Microsoft's) squeezing fist.

    The idea that hardware is the solution to everything working together sort of misses the mark. Virtualization and emulation make this possible. Hardware based virtualization is what will make operating systems meaningless. Intel's native hardware virtualization is about to squeeze the life out of Microsoft, probably in an alliance with Apple. One day, you'll have a computer that will allow you to run some Linux utilities, Microsoft Word, Apple Photoshop from a hardware based OS that can run such programs without the parent OS, though I'm sure Microsoft will pay dearly to have a Windows emulator running as a session on one of those chips.

    Microsoft executives have begun the inevitible exodus (note the clever reference to exe and dos in the word exodus).

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  • Reinart der Fuchs
    replied
    Commodore 64

    The Commodore brand name has gone back into circulation as USB devices apparently:

    Post-Commodore International, Ltd.

    Following its liquidation, Commodore's former assets went their separate ways, with none of Commodore's successors repeating Commodore's early success.
    Commodore UK was the only subsidiary to survive the bankruptcy and even placed a bid to buy out the rest of the operation, or at least the former parent company. For a time it was considered the front runner in the bid, and numerous reports, all false, surfaced during the 1994-1995 time frame that Commodore UK had made the purchase. Commodore UK stayed in business by selling old inventory and making computer speakers and some other types of computer peripherals. However, Commodore UK lost its financial backing after several larger companies, including Gateway Computers and Dell Inc., became interested, primarily for Commodore's 47 patents relating to the Amiga. Ultimately, the successful bidder was German PC conglomerate Escom, and Commodore UK was absorbed into Escom in mid-1995.
    Escom paid US$14 million for Commodore International, primarily for the Commodore brand name. It separated the Commodore and Amiga operations into separate divisions and quickly started using the brand name on a line of PCs sold in Europe. However, it quickly started losing money, went bankrupt on July 15, 1996, and was liquidated.
    In September 1997, the Commodore brand name was acquired by Dutch computer maker Tulip Computers NV. Tulip's ownership was little more than the answer to a trivia question until July 11, 2003, when Tulip announced it would re-launch the Commodore name, including new Commodore 64-related products, and threatened legal action against commercial Web sites that used the computer's name without a license. On 18 June 2004, Tulip introduced the website CommodoreWorld.com (see external links, below), run by its new daughter company Commodore International BV.
    The Commodore brand name resurfaced in late 2003 on an inexpensive portable MP3 player made in China by Tai Guen Enterprise, sold mostly in Europe. However, the device's connection to Tulip, the legal owners of the name, is unclear.
    In July of 2004, Tulip announced a new series of products using the Commodore name: fPET, a flash memory-based USB Key drive; mPET, a flash-based MP3 Player and digital recorder; eVIC, a 20 GB music player; and the C64 DTV.
    In late 2004 Tulip sold the Commodore name to Yeahronimo Media Ventures for €22 million [1]. The sale was completed in March 2005 after months of negotiations.
    The Commodore Semiconductor Group (formerly MOS Technology, Inc.) was bought by its former management and in 1995, resumed operations under the name GMT Microelectronics, utilizing a troubled facility in Norristown, Pennsylvania that Commodore had closed in 1992. By 1999 it had $21 million in revenues and 183 employees. However, in 2001 the Environmental Protection Agency shut the plant down. GMT ceased operations and was liquidated.
    Ownership of the Amiga line passed through several owners, from Escom of Germany in 1995, and then to U.S. PC clone maker Gateway in 1997, before being licensed to Amiga, Inc., a company founded by former Gateway employees Bill McEwen and Fleecy Moss in 2000.
    Here's the Commodore 64 link:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodore_64

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  • Doc
    replied
    Originally posted by Jules
    The XBox 360 looks pretty much like a piece of hardware to me!
    Dell bet on hardware. Apple bet on a platform.
    Very astute.

    Of course, it's hard to consider today's Apple, Microsoft, or Dell a bad return on a bet from their earlier days. Whining that you picked Apple over Microsoft would be like complaining that your bet came in at 15:1 instead of 50:1. Or that you won the lottery and it was under $100 million.

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  • lemec
    replied
    David,

    Thanks!, and thanks for the link! That rules, free downloads are great.


    I did read the novel adaptations that were based on the game,haha, but I imagine it does not give away spoilers, besides, I forget most of what the characters did in those books. (Betrayal At Krondor) :)

    yeah, sometimes the old games have more to offer. ;)

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