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Re: "Digital Dark Age"
- To: BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU
- Subject: Re: "Digital Dark Age"
- From: "Gray, Lyle" <Lyle@QUODATA.COM>
- Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 08:56:51 -0500
- Message-Id: <199902151355.FAA21374@palimpsest.Stanford.EDU>
- Sender: "Book_Arts-L: READ THE FAQ at http://www.dreamscape.com/pdverhey" <BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU>
dt fletcher wrote:
>There are certain to be new fancy computers with proprietary archictures
>as the MAC, but the business world is different. The business world will
>accept any computer now or in the future that will not run their current
>software. Therefore, Infinite backwards compatibility is absolutely assured
>the world of business computers.
This point of your argument cannot stand.
I will repeat my comment that Intel is reportedly looking into abandoning
the x86 architecture (the keyword is "Merced", I believe).
I've been working in the computer industry for 18 years now, and I can tell
you that the business world _does_ accept computers now, and has in the
past, that will not run their current software. Backwards compatibility in
many cases has been foregone in order to gain more flexibility and power.
The relevant word is "upgrade", and once upgraded, there is no going back.
One of the operating systems that I work with, while still having the same
name, will _not_ run executable images from previous OS versions; the source
code needs to be available and the applications recompiled. This operating
system has been in use in various versions for at least 20 years (I started
when version 3 was in use, and it's now at version 7).
If infinite backwards compatibility were guaranteed, there would be no
companies running Unix-based computers (witness the rise of Linux), no
computers running Windows NT 4.0 (which is not 100% compatible with Windows
95), no computers running OpenVMS, no computers running MacOS. There would
be only one version of each type of application, one hardware architecture,
one sound card, one video display driver. Since that is _not_ the case (and
hasn't been since the very very early days of computers), your point must be
Lyle H. Gray
lyle @ quodata . com inceptum perage