Re: Poor people's OS?

From: Anne & Lynn Wheeler (lynn_at_garlic.com)
Date: 10/13/03


Date: Mon, 13 Oct 2003 15:17:17 GMT


Richard Pitt <richard@pacdat.net> writes:
> Commodity hardware has come down in price from several thousands of
> dollars for a "reasonable" system to several hundreds of dollars for a
> system about 2 orders of magnitude better - a net change of about 3
> orders of magnitude in favour of the consumer (1000% better for those
> who don't understand magnitudes ;)

minor nit ... "100percent better" is sometimes used to mean double, so
does 110percent mean ten percent better?

one order of magnitude (1 with single zero) is ten times or
1000percent, two orders of magnitude is hundred times (1 with two
zeros) or 10000percent, three orders of magnitude is thousand times (1
with three zeros) or 100000percent.

magnitude times percent
1 10 1000
2 100 10000
3 1000 100000
4 10000 1000000

or percent is "times" with two more zeros.

A question is does it become like the automobile or the telephone;
the old stories about telephones and automobiles ... if they were ever
to catch on ... every person would have to become a telephone operator
or a chauffeur; ... in effect they drastically simplified both,
allowing every person to, in fact, operate telephone and/or automobile
w/o needing a separate, specially trained person.

there also has been the whole issue of automobile aftermarket products
and customized automobiles ... or would most consumers eventually come
treat automobiles like appliances.

slight drift .... some conferences have raised the issue regarding the
prevailing, most common software was fundamentlly designed for
relatively disconnected, desktop environment (say dedicated for
stand-alone games) ... dropping it into a high-speed, all-the-time,
7x24, world-wide interconnected environment stresses it in ways that
it was never designed to handle. For systems to operate with integrity
in a specific paradigm ... it typically needs to have the fundamentals
designed/built into from the origin; layering them on afterwards
almost always results in significant faults.

There is some analogy with patches .... there was a industry study of
a TV ad campaign from the late '70s .... where a particular vendor's
copying machine was extremely prone to paper jams. They took out TV
ads highlighting the fact that clearing paper jams in their product
was much easier than in the competition products. However, the TV ads
backfired ... constantly reminding people that the product had paper
jams much more frequently than all other copiers. The current patch
and virus update operations are somewhat analogous.

misc. discussions to buffer overflows, viruses, explots,
vulnerabilities and fraud:
http://www.garlic.com/~lynn/subpubkey.html#fraud

-- 
Anne & Lynn Wheeler | http://www.garlic.com/~lynn/ 
Internet trivia 20th anv http://www.garlic.com/~lynn/rfcietff.htm


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