Linked by Howard Fosdick on Sat 24th Nov 2012 17:52 UTC
Editorial Do you depend on your computer for your living? If so, I'm sure you've thought long and hard about which hardware and software to use. I'd like to explain why I use generic "white boxes" running open source software. These give me a platform I rely on for 100% availability. They also provide a low-cost solution with excellent security and privacy.
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zima
Member since:
2005-07-06

The more of the technology that is hidden from us, the more useful it is. Computers used to be programmed by machine language, then assembler, and then C and others compiled languages, then the scripted languages. Every layer we bury from site means we've reached a new level.

And before that, re-plugging cables or binary swithes manipulation.

I wonder what is the next level...

PS. Maybe distribution of task-specific VMs, all that is needed nicely included and not much else? (versus recent projects like RPi which seem to focus on hardware more - so a bit stuck in the past; of course, RPi is genuinely useful for many things ...but one goal - offering safe way to experiment with OS & programming while isolating potential damage - can be nicely covered by VMs)

Edited 2012-11-28 10:30 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

(versus recent projects like RPi which seem to focus on hardware more - so a bit stuck in the past; of course, RPi is genuinely useful for many things ...but one goal - offering "safe" way to experiment while isolating potential damage - can be nicely covered by VMs)


The whole point of the RPi is to bring back the days when students came into university Computer Science programs primed with deep knowledge of the system.

That means four sub-goals:
1. Convince parents it's safe to let the kid tinker like mad (tricky with a VM)
2. Let the kid explore as deeply as they want (tricky to give the feeling of with a VM)
3. Give the kids something to interact with the real world in fun ways like the GPIO header on old Commodore and BBC Micro computers. (impossible with a VM)
4. Convince schools to have a ready supply of them. (Easier when you satisfy the first three goals and offer it cheaper than the machines to run VMs on)

Not to mention that you always feel happier about something when it's your own personal thing rather than something to share with your parents, brothers, and sisters.

The RPi's price point also gives schools the option to say "Give us $35 and you can take it home to play around with and keep it when the semester is over." (Plus whatever the SD cards cost in bulk, of course)

I remember hearing Eben analogize it to giving the kid a bike rather than letting them muck around with the family car.

Edited 2012-11-28 10:44 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2