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Re: Why use an Alpha


> I've gotten to the point where I'm thinking of selling my Alpha. Why?

Honestly, who doesn't from time to time ;-)

> * Mozilla doesn't compile (anything after M17)
> * Support for Matrox Dual Head is so far non-existant
> * Kernel 2.4.1 DOES NOT WORK ON UP1000 using the Debian method - the other 
>   method I haven't tried
> * Do I need to keep going.

It really depends, on what you do, as you'll most likely know anyway. If the above
issues are really critical to you, maybe you should ask yourself, why you chose the
Alpha in the first place.

Unless someone has *very specific* reasons to do so, you should chose a PC. It's
cheaper, quite fast, stable ( if you spend on quality ) and far better supported than
Alpha ( and everybody else's arch ).
That's not a secret at all, and honestly, noone will question that. Speaking on my behalf, I
use the Alpha for the following reasons:

- True 64Bit arch, as I do need the process size and the memory size.
- Clean design, which allows debugging at machine-code level without the 
   cruft of the x86 machine-code 
- Performance issues, like FP and memory Bus.
- easy and reliable HW config.

I do, however, use a PC for various reasons. First of all, the PC is my X-Terminal
containing 4 GFX cards in a X 4.0.1 multihead setup. Second, the PC contains
some devices, which I'd rather not see in my main Alpha ( like sound, USB, CD-writer and
the like ), although most of them would work there.

I know, my setup requires some extra $$$ to realize, but it suits me very well, and, since
i need my Alpha for the reasons given above, I found it the best possible way.

The whole point i making, is, that you should ask yourself, why you use the Alpha. Unless,
you need the features this arch provides, you are most certainly better off using a PC.
If you need it, you sure hit some constraints, not found on the average PC arch.
But as an Linux/Alpha user for over four years now, I didn't find any problem, that could
not be solved without my own effort, or with the help of the community. Having source,
allows fixing things, or changing them Your Way (TM). For some things, i use a
PC, since IMHO this arch suits some apps better then Alpha.

> This is not a whine from someone not prepared to help. It is a reflection
> on the situation we Alpha users, specifically Debian Alpha users have to deal
> with. No support apart from each other and no interest from anybody else.

As always, you get what you pay for ;-)
I used to build my Linux installation from scratch, using the sources of the Apps/Tools
needed. I switched to Debian about 1.5 years ago, since i found it very close to the way,
i consider a good Unix system ( which is, what I'm after. Unix. Preferably with source, which
Linux and GNU and others provide ). I praise Compaq for the release of their Compilers to
the Linux community and their apparently active support for this platform. In effect, I see
strong interest in Linux/Alpha from all relevant parties: Manufacturer, Distribution ppl and 
arch-depended software ppl ( Kernel, libs, compiler ).
As for the Debian community support, I have yet to see a question from me going
unanswered on this list. The newsgroups comp.os.linux.alpha and comp.sys.dec provide
additional infos, www.alphalinux.org is of great quality and the IRC channel
#alphalinux on irc.openprojects.net might eventually evolve to a real-time support

> Who here agrees?

I *do* see your point. However, some of your points are really not Alpha-specific ( like
the need of a good browser, which is IMHO a generic problem on any non-MS platform ).
Also, I'm missing your points, that would explain why you chose Alpha anyway.

> And yeah, I've tried fixing everybuddy, but so far no success.

Well, that's at least the right attitude ;-) Just keep going.

> Rob


Thomas Weyergraf                                                kirk@colinet.de
My Favorite IA64 Opcode-guess ( see arch/ia64/lib/memset.S )
"br.ret.spnt.few" - got back from getting beer, did not spend a lot.

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