Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Reading Helps

James Robertson slams the proposal by the EU free market institute to unbundle the OS from PCs sold in the EU.
I've seen a lot of stupid ideas float past, but this one from the EU's Globalization Institute makes it into the top 5 - only the existence of the RIAA and the MPAA prevent a complete victory for these morons:
[..] The think tank recommended to the EU that all computers be sold without an operating system and sees no reason "why computer operating systems could not follow the same model as computer hard drives and processors."
Yes, installing an OS from scratch is exactly what most buyers long to do - it's such a productive use of their time.
Hmmm, what could they mean with the "same model as computer hard drives and processors"?

Well, of course! We all buy processors and hard drives separately, mount the CPU on our separately purchased motherboard, hook up hard-drive and power-supply and stick it all in a chassis. That *must* be what they meant with that phrase.

Or maybe, they meant that you can configure your computer with different CPUs and hard drives, and have the vendor ship you a machine configured to your specifications, whereas you cannot actually get a computer and not pay the Microsoft tax? Nah, that's just *crazy*:

IT professionals are being forced to adopt Microsoft's operating systems — even if they tell their PC supplier they want a system free of Microsoft software, ZDNet UK's research has revealed.

Monday, October 1, 2007

'Thousands' or transistor²

The Alan Kay quote in my previous post made me think of Montecito, the new Itanic version with 1.72 billion transistors. Compare that to the ARM6, which had a measly 35K transistors, including its 4K cache.

Dividing the two numbers gets you almost 50K. That's how many ARM6 CPUs you could get on the same chip with the same transistor budget as the Montecito. A processor for every object. Or viewed another way, more ARM6-equivalents than the ARM6 has transistors. Which begs the question: is the Montecito proportionally as much an improvement in computational capacity as an ARM6 is over a single transistor?