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Re: The State of Alpha Linux

Oliver Falk wrote:
Matt Turner wrote:
The State of Alpha Linux

We're all subscribed to this list because we use a dying platform.

You think it's dying? :-P

Way back, on the day that I heard that Compaq had bought DEC, I knew in my heart that the beginning of the end had arrived for Alpha. Yep, the Alpha is definitely a dying platform.

I have been running an Alpha XP1000 at home for the last three or four years (ever since it was discarded by my workplace) and it has served me well and has done all that I asked of it (a multimedia machine with a PVR card for recording analague television and playback of recorded MPEG files and DVDs). I am impressed by all that this nine year old computer has managed to do.

But last year I finally splashed out on digital TV and bought a DVB-T card. The problem is that digital TV in New Zealand is using MPEG4 (i.e. h.264 and AAC codecs) and the Alpha cannot decode that in real time (not even if I were to implement hand coded assembly using MVI instructions in libavcodec -- h.264 is simply too computationally intensive to decode). Buying a recent graphics card (I actually found one with a pci bus!) that has hardware video decoding doesn't solve the problem. I was hoping the graphics drivers for Xorg might be soon be close to providing realtime hardware decoding of video, but I have realised they are nowhere near it, and, in any case, I can't run the new graphics card on the Alpha, apparently due to the lack of Linux kernel facilities on Alpha that has been mentioned earlier in this thread. I admit I am losing hope that these problems will be fixed. No doubt I should be more grateful for whatever crumbs fall the way of the Alpha, but the paucity of digestable particular matter has left me somewhat hungry lately.

Thus I am considering giving up on my Alpha, and may have to eat my hat as I consider purchasing an Intel based computer for the first time in my 25 years of using computers. This is despite my seriously negative (admittedly bigoted) opinion of Intel processors.

Sorry to be negative, but sometimes one has to be pragmatic, and if I am finally going to receive and watch digital TV, it seems it cannot be with my Alpha.


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