Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 18th Oct 2010 16:00 UTC
In the News An interesting discussion is currently raging through the world of computing, or more accurately, through the world of bloggers and analysts. It basically comes down to this: should the iPad be included in laptop and desktop sales figures? If it is included - Apple becomes the largest PC manufacturer in the United States. But, if the iPad should be included - why not the modern smartphone?
Thread beginning with comment 445547
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE[3]: Special vs General
by WereCatf on Mon 18th Oct 2010 19:00 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Special vs General"
WereCatf
Member since:
2006-02-15

My argument is that PCs are general purpose tools, and to be that they have to run general purpose OSs.

That's what I was saying: by your definition unless it runs an OS capable of all the most common general usage tasks then it's not a PC. And on the other hand, when it does run such an OS it is a PC, by your very argument.

That just places yet another dilemma in front of you: that would mean my Nokia N900 is indeed a PC as it runs Linux, with all the capabilities of any other Linux distro. And for example a PlayStation3 was a PC every time it was running Linux as OtherOS. And there's plenty and plenty of other examples around.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Special vs General
by jgagnon on Mon 18th Oct 2010 19:27 in reply to "RE[3]: Special vs General"
jgagnon Member since:
2008-06-24

Which is why I'm suggesting a much simpler definition: If it has an operating system, runs programs, and is in some way programmable, it is a "personal computer". There are obviously other varieties of computers that do not fit this description, but then I wouldn't preface their name with "personal".

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: Special vs General
by telns on Mon 18th Oct 2010 19:33 in reply to "RE[3]: Special vs General"
telns Member since:
2009-06-18

My Pre runs webOS (ie, Linux), but it is far from a general purpose OS or computer. My friend's N900 is the same. webOS and Maemo have about as little resemblance to RHEL or Ubuntu as WM does to Windows.

Let's compare the Pre to my PC. Hmm, word processing... no, desktop publishing... no, spreadsheets... no, programming... no, database... no, programming... no, photo editing... no, video editing... no, printing... no, games... sort of

I set out a standard that it should be able to do all of those things, "[A]cceptably well for its time period." That wouldn't mean "acceptably well" when compared to other phones. To be a PC that would have to be "acceptably well" versus other PCs. Are you really saying your N900 does all of that as well as a PC?

The Pre, as nice as it is, does nothing at a level that would be considered, "[A]cceptably well for its time period," when compared to other "PCs" as you are pretending I defined them.

It by no means fits the description I gave of a general purpose computer. HP obviously agreed; they didn't buy Palm to get "Linux", broadly writ as you do. They wanted Palm's specially crafted, special purpose Linux.

If a Pre can ever do all those things as well as a normal PC, I'd agree that the line has been blurred so much as to be indistinct, but we are a long way off, not least of which getting me to use a 3.7" screen and a 2.5" keyboard all day long.

I can imagine a day where our phones are our PCs though, with little docking stations. Someday, maybe, but not yet.

On one thing you are right, at least, that I do not think my friend's rackmount Mackie running D8B is a PC, even though it has PC hardware inside.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Special vs General
by WereCatf on Mon 18th Oct 2010 19:43 in reply to "RE[4]: Special vs General"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Let's compare the Pre to my PC. Hmm, word processing... no, desktop publishing... no, spreadsheets... no, programming... no, database... no, programming... no, photo editing... no, video editing... no, printing... no, games... sort of

Let's compare Maemo to your PC. Hmm, word processing... yes, desktop publishing... yes, spreadsheets... yes, programming... yes, database... yes, programming... yes, photo editing... yes, video editing... yes, printing... yes, games... yes

To be a PC that would have to be "acceptably well" versus other PCs. Are you really saying your N900 does all of that as well as a PC?

I indeed do. It's about as powerful as any regular low-end laptop except for graphics hardware. It can be plugged into external display and input devices, too, so even that isn't a limiting factor.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Special vs General
by leech on Tue 19th Oct 2010 03:19 in reply to "RE[4]: Special vs General"
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

My Pre runs webOS (ie, Linux), but it is far from a general purpose OS or computer. My friend's N900 is the same. webOS and Maemo have about as little resemblance to RHEL or Ubuntu as WM does to Windows.


Wow, apparently your friend doesn't know his N900 very well.

I can actually go to packages.debian.org and select almost any armel package and install it on my N900. Granted the screen size makes it annoying to use some applications and some of the larger unoptimized ones may run a bit on the slow side, but it would run any program just as well as a computer that is running with 256MB of ram.

To say that the N900 is a smart phone and not just a mini-PC that can make phone calls is really showing that someone hasn't used one.

By the way, I love my N900. I also love Debian, on which Maemo is based. And yes, even OpenOffice.org runs on it (although slowly).

Reply Parent Score: 2