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Performance Computing: To PC Or Not To PC

Mar 24, 1999, 09:21 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jon 'maddog' Hall)

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Jon 'maddog' Hall introduces the x86 architecture to old Unix types (of RISC architecture experience).

"If you look at the masthead of this magazine, you see a very large "Performance Computing," with a much smaller "UNIX Review." This does not fool me. I know that most of you are like me, old UNIX warhorses who are used to working with real UNIX workstations and servers--you know, SPARCs, Mips, Alphas, and other RISC processors. SCSI is a way of life for you, and you boot the non-Intel UNIX distribution that you get from the hardware manufacturer and everything works (more or less). The vendor of the software is the vendor of the hardware, and they know what they shipped to you and how to install the OS properly (more or less). This is not exactly the case with PC hardware, which grew up under the auspices of a non-UNIX operating system (some unkind people say it grew up under a non-operating system, but that is a matter of opinion). Linux has adapted to the strangeness of the hardware that is there. This is not to say that PC hardware is bad, it is just...different."

"Now let me see, where did I put that backup tape?"

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