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  • smokenjoe - Wednesday, July 25, 2007 - link

    I just thought I would post some end user experience as these are not all that common. We had an intel based thin client. When they were fist implemented last year they were OK slower than the dated computers they replaced but usable. Unfortunatly as time went oth they started having more and more issues to the point that it was common to have only one working thin client out of 6. We had to boot the clerks off their old PIII computers from the dark ages because they were the only ones that worked. People literally jumped for joy when we got the PC's back.

    Without being part of the IT department it is hard to say where the fault was but at the bare minimum make sure you have people that have the training and security privileges to fix problems any time they are needed. I had multiple reports of "I cant fix that I dont have the security privileges we will have someone fix it on Monday."

    Thank god they did not think the clerks important enough to upgrade or we would have been lost.



    Reply
  • yanman - Monday, July 23, 2007 - link

    Another alternative which is available through a mix of technologies is removing only the local storage of your corporate desktop fleet and replacing this with a PXE-boot solution. There are vendors that can allow iSCSI boot of XP installs via a proprietary solution using PXE.

    i.e. Dell Optiplex with onboard GbE, boots from PXE, loads iSCSI stack, mounts guest LUN on the SAN for it's XP image, boots. Possibly you could leave the local hard disk in and use it only for swap space.

    Advantages
    - Less forced change on the users
    - Better workstation performance
    - Retains the thin-client advantages of ensuring all data is on the SAN

    Disadvantages
    - Can significantly increase SAN and network utilisation
    - Slightly exotic setup that may not be fully supported by the hardware vendor.
    Reply
  • Ajax9000 - Thursday, July 19, 2007 - link

    Could you please spell out VDI on page 9. I knew pretty much what was being talked about, but I still had to Google to be sure.

    The workstation blades are an interesting development. Would it be possible to do VDI over workstation blades?

    I ask because where I work (a government department) went Citrix in about 2001. At that time performance was reasonable in Head Office, but flaky in the handful of regional offices. We had thin clients, skinny clients (PCs stripped down to act as thin clients -- to save on TCA of course), and fat clients for specialised uses. It worked quite well -- I'd run 20MB+ spreadsheets under Citrix and use a fat client for publishing & graphics apps that wouldn't run under Citrix.
    The only problem was making sure IT didn't downgrade you from fat client. :-)

    But the government then amalgamated us with some other agencies (with standard PC setups) and we went from ~800 staff to over 2500 staff with many regional offices with poor network connections. And there was much more specialised uses such as greatly expanded GIS/mapping, web mapping, publishing, etc. Trying to get a sensible IT setup took three years ... and then there was another round of amalgamations with another round of IT integration issues that still haven't been resolved (and again involving lots more GIS/mapping, web mapping, etc).

    So, would it be possible to do VDI over workstation blades as a way of distributing ARCinfo "floating" licences, Adobe apps, etc, across multiple sites rather than having dedicated workstations in "fixed" sites?
    Reply
  • RandyDGroves - Thursday, July 19, 2007 - link

    This was a nice detailed review of CCI, but completely missed the fact that IBM is using PC-over-IP technology from Teradici (www.teradici.com) instead of a Thin Client. Unlike software solutions such as ICA, RDP, and RGS; Teradici's PC-over-IP processors use hardware to bridge the video, audio, and USB traffic between the desktop device (called a Portal) and the blade workstation. This enables a perception-free experience in which the end user cannot detect that their PC has been remoted. Furthermore, since the Portal only has a hardware decoder chip, it is lower power than a Thin Client.

    For full disclosure, I am the CTO for Teradici and obviously biased. But, here are some links to recent articles in other publications that may be of interest:

    Wall Street Journal - http://webreprints.djreprints.com/1722520524296.ht...">http://webreprints.djreprints.com/1722520524296.ht...
    EETimes - http://www.eetimes.com/news/latest/showArticle.jht...">http://www.eetimes.com/news/latest/showArticle.jht...
    The Register - http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/06/06/teradici_b...">http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/06/06/teradici_b...
    Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Thursday, July 19, 2007 - link

    The briefing we got in IBM's blade HQ in Raleigh about the IBM HC10 was a lot more about the concept. The actual hardware and software was not discussed in detail. That is why I focused mostly on CCI, as I had been shown the exact specifications. Reply
  • florrv - Thursday, July 19, 2007 - link

    As a network security manager for an F100, we've found a very useful niche for VDI technology: 3rd party developers.

    Rather than have a 3rd party connect directly into your dev environment, you set up a VDI environment and give them a controlled sandbox. This way, you can lock down what data goes back and forth to the 3rd party.
    Reply
  • senseamp - Thursday, July 19, 2007 - link

    As mentioned, this has been out for 8 years as SunRays.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Ray">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Ray
    You can take your badge out, go to any place in the company with a Sunray (like drop in office), put your badge in, and it will pop up the desktop where you left off. Unix (such as Solaris) is designed from ground up for this kind of work (multiple users running on same OS with remote display), so it works very well, if the network is behaving well. With star/open office and firefox/thunderbird, that's good enough for most office work, and if you need a lot of performance, you can dispatch jobs to bigger machines or compute farms in the company.
    Reply
  • szaijan - Thursday, July 19, 2007 - link

    Sun has been pushing the thin client architecture for years, yet there's no mention in the article. Having worked on multiple Sunray clusters, and many PC netwroks, I have the say the thin client setup is much better for day-to-day office and e-mail work, simply based on the lack of overhead in installation, bug resolution, boot times, et. al. Cost is much lower overall. The downside is that network problems make work impossible, while you can still utilize a PC when the network is down or overloaded. A decent netwrok infrastructure makes this a minor issue.

    All that said, CAD, Photoshop, 3D Modeling, et. al., while not impossible, are badly hampered by the mouse latency, and the precision needed for such endeavors just isn't there. Of course you can just add a work station to the network for employees who require that level of client power.
    Reply
  • Adul - Thursday, July 19, 2007 - link

    We've been on a mission to getting rid of our thin clients as they been a source of pain since they keep getting infected with viruses, we can't patch them with normal updates, etc. Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Thursday, July 19, 2007 - link

    Very interesting. As you might have noticed, there are a lot "should" and "might" in the article :-). Could you tell me what kind of thin clients you are using? Running XP Embbedded? Why can't you patch them? Reply
  • Pale Rider - Thursday, July 19, 2007 - link

    I work for a fortune 500 company as a sys admin. We have 10,000 nodes (PCs and servers).

    Half of those are desktop business PCs and we use PCs on purpose - they fullfill the business need the best.

    The facst are, most applictions do not run correctly in a terminal server or think client enviroment. Until the software developers change this and the cost of this clients come down consideranly we have no plans to move to think clients - this is true for the majority of IT departments as well.
    Reply
  • rowcroft - Thursday, July 19, 2007 - link

    It's been out there for years, but I have deployed Sun's SunRay systems and they worked great. Granted, the environment had limited Windows requirements (ran Mozilla for web and e-mail, used custom apps for business use) but those were satisfied with a Citrix deployment.

    If you're looking for a stable, cost effective environment (both from a productivity and hard cost savings PoV) then you should consider something like that as well.
    Reply
  • yacoub - Thursday, July 19, 2007 - link

    I'd feel horrible for anyone working in that type of locked-down environment... no freedom, no ability to use software beyond what is installed by the default image (obviously I'm talking about winamp, AIM, and other useful items, not trojans or malware), all of your programs and processing power are at the mercy of whoever dictates how much your share of the server's horsepower you're allowed to consume and what software you have access to. Ugh. What a death sentence of a work environment.

    And for the IT department, what a dream come true! ;)
    Reply
  • rowcroft - Thursday, July 19, 2007 - link

    Problem is, who gets to determine what's OK and what isn't? Try managing that in an enterprise environment. This isn't meant for a shop with 200 computers and one admin. Reply
  • yacoub - Thursday, July 19, 2007 - link

    Why the preview lure text for articles that is posted on the homepage below the article title always cuts off and yet the exact sentence never seems to be found in the actual article:

    quote:

    t's 2007, and a serious attempt on the life of the PC is in the works. Shockingly, the murder is planned by nobody less...


    nobody less than who? Please finish the sentence of the preview text on the homepage, instead of burying parts of it amongst several sentences later in the article.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, July 19, 2007 - link

    If you go to the "IT Computing" tab at the top of the page (or whatever section the article is in) you get the whole intro blurb. they just display a portion on the homepage. Reply
  • punko - Thursday, July 19, 2007 - link

    As a heavy guy, I resent the term "fat client".

    The biggest improvement in cost of ownership lately has been the change to LCD monitors. The effect is real in power savings.

    The biggest headache is the licensing model change by Microsoft, AutoDesk and Adobe. This may lead to a massive shift in software to open source alternatives.

    In our firm, most have PC's with a large number of laptops. Thin clients can't replace laptops, and most of us with PC's tend to push them hard, so there isn't any advantage over PC's.
    Reply
  • Chunga29 - Thursday, July 19, 2007 - link

    Give me a break - take the PC (political correctness) somewhere else, please! If you're so offended, get off your duff and get some exercise, drop the fast food, don't drink sodas or juice or alcohol, and you'll be amazed at what that can do for your obesity.

    And yes, you probably are clinically obese, as are 65% (and rising) Americans. I was one of them until a year ago, when I kicked my ass into shape doing the above. Dropped from 240 pounds and 31% body fat down to 190 pounds and 16% body fat, where I have been happily resting for the past six months.

    Or, you can be like so many others and blame the problem on genetics, your job, etc. because weight issues certainly can't be caused by personal behavior!
    Reply
  • NT78stonewobble - Saturday, September 15, 2007 - link

    I read it as a joke.

    Still I WOULD blame my doctor on gaining around 30 % body weight in one year when I was twelve by giving me hormones.

    Hormones that in the end wouldn't have had any effect on me. Hormones would help eg. 60 % of cases and in the rest surgery was necessary. However the initial exam of everyone with this particular problem was cut due to costs and thus everyone was given one or even two halfyear treatsments of hormones instead.

    So unless you really know the guy dont ditch him.

    P.S. Yes I've lost the weight since then. I am however still suffering from depressions going on the 10 th year and have an allmost anorectic relationship to food.
    Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Thursday, July 19, 2007 - link

    Thin portables do exist, and could be a reality once Wimax and/or 3G are ubiquitous.

    But I do agree that the licensing models of the bige Software guys add a lot to TCO. Is it just me or is IDC always trying minimize those by grossly overestimating administration costs? :-)
    Reply
  • Pirks - Thursday, July 19, 2007 - link

    well, I know the guy who claims he lowered TCO drastically by switching his business desktop PCs to MacBooks. he says the number of support calls for Macs is zero, while Windows PCs give him trouble after trouble. is this zealotry? I have no idea, maybe he is a zealot but I'd rather wait before judging him

    anyway, if you guys have any technical questions for him - shoot

    I'll ask him, if he sees any real interesting questions - he might even appear here in person

    just wanted to let you know that anandtech knows not everything about lowering TCO - there are some interesting surprises out there only a few people know about
    Reply
  • bob661 - Thursday, July 19, 2007 - link

    I don't have trouble with Windows PC's. The only patches I install are Service Packs. That's it. I don't get viruses or spyware. I do run a anti-virus app and a firewall but that's it. This shit is easy! Block ALL questionable websites at your companies firewall. No pr0n and no downloading. Block all that shit. If you need to download, put in a request stating why you need it. Set up a separate computer with user accounts and passwords that's not attached to the network and let them download from there. Monitor those computers and if someone messes up, remove their access. Reply
  • Pirks - Thursday, July 19, 2007 - link

    excuse me, but "I have antivirus", "I block everything with firewall", "I don't let my users do anything on the Net without special request" - this does not sound quite like "I have no trouble", it's more like "I avoid trouble by not letting my users do anything"

    this is very different from Macs where it's safe to go outside and there's no need to cut everything off. this was this Mac guy's original point - put Macs instead of Windows PCs and there's suddenly no need to babysit your users anymore, he never even bothered to cut their internet access - no need for this with Macs, he says
    Reply
  • retrospooty - Friday, July 20, 2007 - link

    "put Macs instead of Windows PCs and there's suddenly no need to babysit your users anymore"

    Thats a great arguement except for the fact that Macs are...
    1. largely incompatible with the business world and apps used. Yes some things work fine, but everyone in any office knows that dealing with the few Mac users is a pain in the ass because their shit doesn't work.
    2. Expensive as hell
    3. If the above 2 problems were overcome (and that IS possible) Macs would be a decent contender and hackers and Viruses would be targeted toward Macs. Right now, Macs are 3-4% global market share, and aren't enough of a contender to bother with.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Friday, July 20, 2007 - link

    Lets not forget about . . .

    4) Limited hardware support.

    I am not a Mac fan at_all, in fact I nearly hate anything 'Apple', but if Windows were to vanish into thin air right now, and given the other options availible, I would have to say that Mac OSes are probably the next best polished. It is just too bad that OSX's limited BIOS support makes it nearly impossible to run on 100% of the PCs out there . . . as I personally would not be adverse to running OSX as an alternative to Windows. This goes back to what you said about Macs 'just not working right', this is the feeling I get from anything *NIX; ie: there is always SOMETHING that does not work.

    As for your Virus comments, I could not agree more, and while *NIX based OSes may be built to be more secure from the get go, I actually hear more about Linux/BSD machines being compromised than XP/2k machines in a server capacity. My feelings here are that those people who run servers actually KNOW how to setup a Windows machine properly, and do not become complacent. They also do not frequent questionable websites, while 'clickity clickity'n' on 'yes' buttons on every website they land on. They also know the true value of keeping an OS up to date. I actually run XP Pro SP2 withuto any form of a virus scanner, but I will occationally fire up the occational LiveCD (BartPE) and scan with the root disk un-mounted; I have yet to find a virus in the past several years(on my own personal computers), and yet, people I know, who run virus software 24/7 are being constantly infected. GO figure !

    Now if it werent for the fact that I get paid very well to remove viruses as a professional, I might actually 'hate' viruses ;)
    Reply
  • hubajube - Thursday, July 19, 2007 - link

    My mistake. I use antivirus and firewalls at home. At work, I'm not in charge of infrastructure but I know what it takes to make it work. And you can surf legitimately and freely without the need to download and also without the need to go to questionable websites. IF IF IF you NEED to download (IT staff, software developers, etc.) setup a separate computer NOT attached to the companies LAN like I said previously and monitor the hell out it. If YOU are not grown enough to download pr0n or pirate software at home then I don't want to YOU as an employee. The "secret" to Macs is that hardly anyone writes viruses or spyware for them. It's a niche market. Using them in place of the PC at work is smart (IMO) but only serves to NOT hold your employees responsible for their actions. Like I said, I don't those types of people working for me. Reply
  • bpt8056 - Thursday, July 19, 2007 - link

    It's the opposite at the institute where I work. While the IT guy has dealt with both IBM and Apple for support, he said that IBM was far superior. He went on to say that there were 12 PC (IBM) and 12 MAC laptops that were sent to the manufacturer for repair. The difference between the two was that all of the PC laptops worked when they were returned and only half of the MAC laptops worked after repair. At the equipment request meeting, he has encourage everyone to consider getting a PC laptop because the level of support between the two were worlds apart and the ~$1300 savings in purchasing each laptop after discounts were considered.

    I'm glad the switch to Mac worked out well for your guy, but not everyone has the same experience.
    Reply
  • TA152H - Thursday, July 19, 2007 - link

    Compaq was the mother of the PC? They were one of the two most important companies? What????????????????????

    They had NOTHING to do with the creation of the PC, NOTHING. Last time I checked, mother's had a lot to do with the creation of their kids.

    Compaq was a clone maker. IBM designed the PC, and pushed all the standards for the first decade. Ever hear of PS/2 ports? AT (often incorrectly called ISA) bus? VGA? XGA? Hell, even Winchester drives (Hard disks) were invented by IBM. RISC? IBM! These are things still in use, or at least the terms are. Even Windows 2K/XP were born by IBM, as they were originally known as OS/2 NT (or 3.0), not Windows NT, and perversely IBM funded a lot of the development because it was started before IBM and Microsoft broke up.

    Calling Intel a father I could live with, after all they had the microprocessor that was used and eventually took over a lot of the important hardware design from IBM. Easily a more important company than Compaq. Compaq? One of the driving forces behind that great success EISA? Wow, yes, they deserve a lot of credit for that and being a clone maker.

    I can't even read the rest of the article after reading that. It's one thing to try to make some seque into the rest of the article, but it's another thing when it's based on absolute nonsense that just makes people scratch their heads. Compaq, the mother of the PC. Unreal.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Friday, July 20, 2007 - link

    quote:

    ever hear of PS/2 ports? AT (often incorrectly called ISA) bus?


    Uh . . . there was such a thing as an ISA bus . . . PS/2 ports are the din9 plug keyboards still to this day plug into(unless you're using USB of course) . . . Never have I ever heard anyone confuse a keyboard interface, with an expansion slot, but I guess you're living in that wierd part of the world . . . this is not like some PC newbie calling the computer case the 'CPU"; people who knew about an ISA slot, knew what it was, and what it did.

    Also, before you get too comfortable calling IBM 'the creator of all', lets not forget that IBM was also the cause of PC hardware stagnation (proprietary hardware at a high cost), and that it was not until OEM vendors got tired of IBM's tactics, that IBM lost nearly all of its PC market share. Sure, IBM pioneered a lot of stuff, and they were responcable for a lot of the technology 'back in the day', but I for one am glad they are no longer 'setting the standard' now days. Now, since when was RISC considered a PC technology ? Never ? Sun ring a bell ? SGI ?

    Since OS/2 Warp bore IBMs name, they are responcable for NT/Win2k/XP ?! Now whose taking the leap from reality . . . you sure seem to have an unique outlook on the computer industries past, I'll grant you that.
    Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Thursday, July 19, 2007 - link

    I am glad the Anandtech Comment box allows you to blow off some steam ... I think your colleagues should thank me now ;-).

    Anyway, of course, Compaq as the mother of Thé pc is an exageration. However, as we are talking about the business desktop, I do think that Compaq has played a very important role. See stmok's comment, and also, Compaq was one of the most important companies that started very early with selling business desktops, not just plain pcs. More expensive, but easier to maintain and a bit more robust.

    You agree that IBM is one of the parents. I am not an historian, but a server researcher/journalist... So feel free to seriously question my history knowledge. Who was the other parent of the business desktop according to you? The main point that IBM and HP/Compaq were both two very important companies when it comes to the history of the business pc.
    Reply
  • TA152H - Thursday, July 19, 2007 - link

    Actually, I had no steam until I read the Compaq stuff, so don't patronize me.

    I worked at IBM, and man did we hate Compaq. When I read stuff like that, I guess I still have some true blue blood in me, and it makes me mad.

    They didn't do anything. Compaq was certainly not the only company to reverse engineer IBM's BIOS, or really ROM as it was called then. It was done by many companies. Ever hear of Phoenix?

    They were not an important company in any way, there were plenty of clone makers out, although Compaq did make a reliable clone, but it was expensive as Hell too. They did use the 8086 instead of the 8088, and were the first to use the external cache on the 386, but then, Intel created the cache chip (82385)and setup so I'm still not sure what credit they deserve. What did Compaq do that would not have been without them? Nothing! They invented nothing. They just sold an expensive clone, that was ugly. IBM, by contrast, did a lot. Apple too, really.

    I don't know how to make the analogy for the parent, but Compaq was a meaningless company that in no way shaped the industry. I would call IBM the mother, and maybe Intel the father. Or maybe even Apple, because if you look at the IBM PC, it did seem to borrow a few things from the Apple II. Maybe it was a half grandfather or something. Tandy was an extremely important player too, not only because of the PC compatibles, but before. They brought the PC home, and did a lot of minor innovations too, like putting the OS in ROM, and adding their own low-end GUI (Deskmate). They also released the PC that Bill Gates said was what he used to develop Windows (The Tandy 2000, an odd bird based on the 80186, and MS-DOS compatible but not truly PC Compatible since the ROM calls were different).

    The reality is, the PC was really just an IBM product. No other company deserves too much credit, and frankly, IBM didn't even make anything too revolutionary, when you consider things. They made probably the biggest mistake in business history in fact, using a microprocessor from Intel, and an operating system from Microsoft. They thus lost control of the computer industry, slowly at first, but inevitably as microprocessors became too powerful for IBM's liking. They also made huge mistakes by degrading their PCs so as not to compete with their other lines. Not only in performance (why did the PC/AT have a wait state???), but also in price. Would anyone have bought that junk from Compaq if IBM didn't artificially inflate prices on their PS/2s? Would there have been clones if IBM had used proprietary technology, instead of using an inferior microprocessor, and off the shelf parts?

    Really, IBM only should get credit because of their name. It created a standard, and that it was a standard was more important than the actual company that created it. There was nothing special about the machines, although the PS/2s were incredible machines when released in 1987, and the RT PC was a technical masterpiece (although, in real world performance, was a failure). OS/2 was a great operating system too. But, by then their mistakes were carved in stone, and the rest of the world is now suffering from them. Sub-optimal microprocessors from AMD and Intel because of horrible instruction set, and a miserable OS from Microsoft that is bloated, buggy, and slow. Compaq, by virtue of it's irrelevance, bears no responsibility for that. IBM does, with arguably the worst choices ever made by a company, when considering the consequences of them.
    Reply
  • Chunga29 - Thursday, July 19, 2007 - link

    Dude, you've got SERIOUS issues. I won't argue about whether or not Compaq was the mother of the business PC or not, but they were at least a player and basically you're having a fit about a short sentence that serves as the intro to the article. HP is now the biggest business PC maker I believe (barely ahead of Dell), so at least they're somewhat relevant. Anyway, get past the intro and read the article rather then going off on a little comment that was basically there to try and get people interested (or in your case perhaps, riled up). Reply
  • TA152H - Thursday, July 19, 2007 - link

    Yes, my issue is I dislike misinformation and revisionism. Yours is you do not. Which do you think is worse?

    I never said anything bad about HP. Compaq being the mother of the PC though, it just wrong. If no one points it out, then it tacitly is accepted as true, and it was not. If you think truth is irrelevant, then we have a fundamental difference of opinion.
    Reply
  • Chunga29 - Thursday, July 19, 2007 - link

    This isn't even revisionism, I don't think. I mean come on, Johan is over in the Netherlands testing this stuff, and it was just an intro. The main gist (I believe) is that HP/Compaq and IBM are trying to push PCs out of the business sector. The conclusion is that at present they're still pushing proprietary, expensive technology that really doesn't benefit *most* companies. There are instances where it could be useful, but for most large companies a cheaper PC is still easy enough to support.

    I work at a fortune 500 company with thousands of PCs and laptops throughout the corporation. I haven't heard much about anyone pushing blades for us (though I'm sure IBM has tried). We have about 200 PCs and 20 laptops at my location, and about 10 spares. The spares are imaged and ready to roll in the computer room. If a PC has issues, we go out, swap PCs, take the old PC back and start troubleshooting. Takes about 15 minutes, 10 of which involves us carting the PC from the data center to the desk of whoever needs it.

    FWIW, Compaq did create the "luggable brick" PC, didn't they? I have fond memories of playing Rogue on a small 4-6" screen with a fold-down keyboard. Hahaha... those weighed about 40 pounds, I think! You still have major isses, though (as you indicate above). I mean, seriously, who gives a rip about whether or not Compaq was one of the major founders of the PC world? They were, along with many others, but it's pretty irrelevent.

    I'd say Intel is the father (hardware), Microsoft is the mother (software), and IBM is basically the preist that married the two and then everyone more or less ignored. That you're one of the people who think PS/2 was a great system speaks volumes in my book. It was expensive, not truly much faster, filled with proprietary parts, and in the PC world it was doomed to failure. It was basically IBM trying to put the wine back in the bottle after pouring, and the market rejected the idea.

    I remember doing some work on a guy's PS/2, and I was shocked at how much he paid for so little. $4000 or something crazy, and my little old $2000 clone 386 could run circles around it. Sure, it had SCSI (I think?), but a faster HDD subsystem with less RAM, a slower CPU, and all the other junk was meaningless. I think the biggest contribution the PS/2 made to the computer world is the PS/2 keyboard and mouse adapters!
    Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Thursday, July 19, 2007 - link

    Than I am sorry I overemphasized the role of compaq, but I think we can agree that this article was not about giving credit to those who layed the foundation for the personal computer.

    The purpose was to show that both HP and IBM/Lenovo, IMHO the most important players in the pc industry (from business desktop to pc server) were thinking out alternatives to the pc.

    Thanks for the historical insight.



    Reply
  • TA152H - Thursday, July 19, 2007 - link

    I still have a fundamental problem with giving Compaq any credit for the foundation of the personal computer, because they were one of many clones, but they did sell to businesses, so I guess that counts for something (what I'm not sure of).

    HP was a much more important company than Compaq, not so much for their PCs, which were essentially clones and not particularly original, but they did a lot of work on CISC based workstations (68030) and operating systems for them, as well as their own stuff. I have nothing at all against HP, they were and are a very important company and have pioneereed a lot of interesting technology, currently the Itanium. Also, their impact on printers can not be ignored, as they became at one point a de facto standard.

    Compaq, invented?

    With regards to the article, it was nice to see the Eden processors mentioned. I wish they received more attention than they do, although I do have an 800 MHz processor and it's a complete failure on every level. It uses as much power as a K6-III+ at 600 MHz, and underperforms it at everything. For that reason I stuck with my K6-III+s, which are capable of changing multiplier without even rebooting the machine.

    However, now they have some 3.5 watt 1 GHz model which completely changes things. Their 1.5 GHz 7 watt model is also very impressive, and, I think, deserves a lot more press than it gets. These are certainly not speed kings, but for a lot of functions are perfectly adequate while having extraordinary power use.

    One thing about HP and IBM is, they are both technology companies, and I think have an interest in kicking out the commodity market as much as possible. Dell, being little more than a distributor, has an interest in commoditizing as much as possible. So, it's not altogether surprising that companies with the technical ability to create new products would attempt to do so, in an attempt to usurp the usefulness of commodity products. It's almost surprising it hasn't taken off more than it has, because most of the time PCs on a business LAN are so restricted that it almost is irrelevant if they have a hard disk, except for the fact they whine and use power. I'm not even sure the term business PC makes any sense, it's something of an oxymoron.

    As they say, the more things change, the more things remain the same. This is not so different from mainframes with 3270s attached to them. The processing can still be done on the client though, so in that respect it is. Certainly, however, things are a lot more centralized than they were 15 years ago. Good grief, I wonder if PL/1 will make a comeback. Oh, the humanity!
    Reply
  • stmok - Thursday, July 19, 2007 - link

    Compaq made the PC clone possible by reverse engineering IBM's BIOS. (clean room approach).

    So they did have some influence as to what has become today's PC. (or PC Clone).

    Then again, the only use for the BIOS nowadays is for bootstrapping until the OS's drivers take over. (except for ACPI, you still need BIOS for that).
    Reply
  • fic2 - Thursday, July 19, 2007 - link

    So, Compaq were more like the long lost uncle that comes into town after a few years to take pictures of the niece/nephew. Nothing to do with the conception or raising the kid, just bragging that if he wanted to he could have done the same. Reply
  • bob661 - Thursday, July 19, 2007 - link

    I'm still back on people being able to do CAD apps from 2000 miles away. LOL! The hardware may be there and the bandwidth may be there but there's NO WAY any company can guarantee that you'll get less than 20 ms of latency on an internet connection. Especially the more remote your users are. Are you willing to bet your engineering departments productivity on a promise from your ISP? I'm not. I'll pay the horrendous costs (LOL again!) for a dedicated desktop PC that's NOT at the mercy of an external company.

    BTW, if you want to eliminate viruses and such from the companies network, there's a free solution for this: IT'S CALLED ENFORCING COMPANY POLICY! This involves (gasp) training and if that fails, taking disciplinary action. If they STILL don't get it, fire them! It's FAR cheaper to fire an employee that's not productive (and inducing viruses on a the company's network reduces productivity) than it is to come up with some multi-million dollar scheme (thin clients and their respective high dollar IT admins) to outsmart them and put everyone's productivity at risk.
    Reply

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