The Caffeinated Penguin

musings of a crackpot hacker


Posted By on June 10, 2004

There's a really good article with Glenn Henry, founder of VIA subsidiary Centaur. They make the CPU that is in the board we used for the vw beetle project.

Anyway, he says:

Our next processor — I haven’t ever told anyone, so I won’t say what it is — but our next processor has even more things in it that I think will be just as quickly adopted by the open source software world, and provide even more value. It’s always bothered me that hardware can do so many things relatively easily and fast that aren’t done today because there’s no software to support it. We just decided to try to break the mold. We were going to do hardware that, literally, had no software support at the start. And now the software is there, in several variations, and people are starting to use it. I actually think that’s only going to happen in the open source world.

And that's really true. Look at modern computing – Apple has made 64bit mainstream. I could trivially do a 64bit box running Linux too (and plan to, sometime). I don't mean 64bit running 32bit software, either. I mean the real deal. And where is Microsoft? Oh, Longhorn will be out in 2005. Oh, wait 2006. Well, that's only the beta, the real product will be out…

The problem is that, with me, undercutting it all is this fear of being left behind, professionally, I mean. Driver stuff is career suicide, which is why the management thing is good for me, but like it or not, I'm doing Windows 100% of the time at work. Several folks have floated the idea of OSX and Linux drivers (and there is some commonality here – about half to three quarters of the code would be portable between the two platforms), but we always get shot down, because we can't put together ROI numbers that anyone believes. The problem is that Microsoft's market dominance numbers are overly inflated, and that no one believes that Linux is going to take off. Yesterday, the statement was made that “when I start seeing business ads about Linux on the desktop, then I'll be worried”.

Guess what – when you see those, it will be too late. It will take a year to write these, and if our competition is keeping a Linux/OSX driver in their back pocket, then we're screwed.

I really need to get into a company doing Linux stuff within the next two years. Otherwise, I'm going to be out of the game. I'm going to be one of the Windows wankers that, right now, I laugh at.


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