"geekability" of IA64 (was: Alpha dead ..... etc.)
It has already slightly appeared in the discussions about Alpha's "dead" is
- the ideologic aspect.
Alpha, especially combined with Linux or *BSD, is for many a symbol of
freedom and individuality. (not only for youths in puberty struggling to
escape "the establishment" ;-)
There are many alternatives to mainstream (intel - PC), like Sun, PPC, but
Alpha seems most common to me. It has a high geek-capability (nice
expression, isn't it), because there's much used equipment available.
Relatively little money for a multia takes you to "the Alpha-experience" and
for a little more you get a "big" LX-class machine or a miata. Since the
ports of Linux and the free BSDs to Alpha, a large (geek-)community has grown,
which uses Alpha because of its technological superiority, but I'm sure,
also for ideological reasons.
Such a community in the "low-end" gives strong support to a platform. It
provides a large user-base and, concerning Open Source, a huge development
potential. AlphaLinux has greatly improved in recent years (p.e.
OpenGL-acceleration in XFree 4.0) by contributions from Compaq (ccc) or
API, but mainly because enthusiastic users tested these improvements and,
last but in no way least, improved AlphaLinux by themselves.
Compaq won't have to create an enthusiastic license for the
Itanium-versions of Tru64 and VMS in near future, because no "enthusiastic"
will be able to afford such a computer. Of course Intel can slap Itaniums
in the faces of strategically important persons (Linus Torvalds, Alan Cox
...), how they already did in the past - an Alpha was slammed into Linus
Torvald's -- garage.
And even if you could afford one, which freedom-aware "geek" (and
OpenSource-businessmen) can justify to his conscience to purchase an
Itanium after the recent happenings ??
Of course, Intel can pay engineers to improve the IA-64 port of Linux, but
the real spirit of free software only lives through a broad user community.
I hope I was able to (linguistically) express my thoughts,
living a RISCy life
Well, there's still SPARC and PPC .. :-(