Linked by kloty on Tue 6th Apr 2010 21:22 UTC
Editorial A few years ago I wrote on OSNews several articles (1,2) about workstations. After three years I had to stop, because there were no workstations left on the market, they became legacy and were not sold any more. Now with the rise of mobile devices with touchscreen and wireless network connectivity virtually everywhere, the question becomes valid, what will happen with the desktop computers, are they still needed, or will they follow the workstations on their way to computer museums?
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Compiling on a netbook isn't so bad
by earksiinni on Wed 7th Apr 2010 01:30 UTC
earksiinni
Member since:
2009-03-27

I have an unusual netbook, one of those Gateway LT3110's that briefly made a splash before Ion came out for having ATI graphics. It has a weird little processor called an Athlon 64 L110, which I've read is something close to a Semperon, so definitely low end. I use it for everything, even compiling. I'm in the midst of creating a custom Linux distro from scratch (not LFS, lol), and to give you an idea, GTK+ takes about 20 minutes, hardly anything to complain about. Moreover, with ccache, recompilations are practically instant. Last time I had a desktop it was an Athlon XP, and you wouldn't believe how insanely long it took to bootstrap Gentoo from stage 0, definitely around two days. I feel like it wouldn't take nearly that long even with my puny netbook.

That said, would I ever "turn back"? I definitely would, mostly because I've learned the hard way that mobile components fail far more often and mobility in general only appears necessary. More often than not, being able to carry my work into the living room gets in the way of my personal relationships and decreases my quality of life. We cook in a kitchen and we shower in a bathroom, so why not keep our desktops (that is, the software paradigm) on our desks? My main concern with desktops (the hardware) used to be power consumption, but low power offerings are available. In terms of pure joy of use, however, my favorite has always been my Nokia N800 Internet tablet, and I'd be satisfied using that for my daily usage while keeping a beefy workstation for my coding needs.

On an interesting side note, OpenOffice.org is actually not cross compiled. I found this out when I was trying to make a custom port to ARM and the devs informed me that distro maintainers just compile it natively because of its awful build system. Goes to show you that iPads and the like not only do a fraction of what desktops do and do it poorly, as one commenter wrote, but also that they *have* to do it ;-)

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