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Date:      Mon, 22 Nov 1999 16:30:59 -0800
From:      "David Schwartz" <davids@webmaster.com>
To:        "Terry Lambert" <tlambert@primenet.com>
Cc:        <chat@FreeBSD.ORG>
Subject:   RE: Judge: "Gates Was Main Culprit"
Message-ID:  <000101bf354a$038b0e00$021d85d1@youwant.to>
In-Reply-To: <199911230019.RAA01731@usr02.primenet.com>

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> > > > We aren't still stuck using 8 bit computers, are we?
> > >
> > > No, we are stuck using 8MHz 16 bit I/O busses, incapable of
> > > identifying all of the devices you plug into them, and incapable
> > > of doing bys mastering into your full memory address space.
> >
> > We aren't stuck with them. We still have them, but we don't use
> > them. This is a 'best of both worlds' situation. We still have
> > compatability, but we don't have to suffer all the disadvantages.
> > This is one way that lock in can be broken -- by maintaining
> > compatability.
>
> I don't understand how I am no longer locked into supporting ISA
> device probes, so long as there is an ISA bus in the machines on
> which my OS runs.  I either support the hardware (all of it), or
> I don't support the hardware.

	Huh? If you don't think the ISA bus gives you advantages that outweight the
costs of supporting it, don't. You aren't locked in!

> How do I avoid suffering the disadvantages of carrying around this
> legacy code and paying the penalty at boot time?

	You don't do it.

> The answer is that, so long as there is an ISA bus in my machine,
> I will be paying for it.

	Bullshit. This is a clear case of why we don't get locked in. Eventually,
we migrate to the superior technologies, first trying to get all the
benefits of the new, and later shedding all the disadvantages of the old.

	It may not be done as quickly or as perfectly as you might like, but that's
unavoidable. The only way to avoid that would be to not have promoted ISA in
the first place.

> > > You might have an argument against inferior technologies after
> > > the last ISA card is dead and buried, but don't bet on it: I
> > > can't run arbitrary speeds between different PCI slots yet,
> > > either.
> >
> > What's your point here? We have the options of both superior and
> > inferior technologies. No one is locked into anything. This is a
> > case of engineering ingenuity and market forces breaking lock in.
>
> No.  It is a case of being locked into supplying ISA slots.

	Huh? Who is locked in? Motherboard manufacturers? No, they aren't locked
in, the choose to add these slots because they believe the value of the
compatability outweighs the cost of compatability. As soon as those balances
change, they'll drop ISA slots.

> As a matter of fact, one thing that Microsoft could do with
> its monopoly that would be a real benefit is to stop supporting
> ISA in its OS.

	I still use ISA. Though mostly on my UNIX boxes. I still keep a lot of
'obsolete' hardware useful that way.

	Many of my Linux servers still have ISA video cards. One of my machines has
a motherboard with serial ports that don't work -- it has an ISA serial port
card in it. One of my FreeBSD servers doesn't even have any PCI slots.

	Of course, I may wind up suffering for trying to stay in the trailing edge.

	DS



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