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Re: Apple vs IBM

Em Wed, 16 Jul 2003 12:15:59 +0800, debia escreveu:

>> In that case, you simply missed the point. This is a workstation, and 
>> a mainframe multiprocessor configuration with up to eight such 
>> processors is not a myth: a quick search reveals a 1998 model with 8 
> I know they exist, they still do, but that's back then my Pentium II was
> current, and by my reckoning the P II is a much more powerful CPU than
> the 604e.

	You are again focusing on the CPU, ignoring the real history of these
systems: mirroring a production environment for development and bug
fixing, and bandwith, reliability, support.

> I think the strong point on that machine is the memory bandwidth. Note
> that it's a server, not a workstation, though with eight CPUs it would
> have been quite good at CPU-intensive work in its day.
> However, its day (for that) was eight years ago.

	Now suppose you have assembly code -- some IBM shops do.  You need to add
a machine to a farm.  Do you spend in testing it for a new CPU, or you
just get the better machine your money can buy but yet on the same

	I don't 

>> The RS/6000 43P Model 150 is also available as an entry level server 
>> <http://www-
>> 132.ibm.com/content/home/store_IBMPublicUSA/en_US/eServer/pSe 
>> ries/entry/43P150.html>, by the way.  
> I missed the server, I was looking for the machine nearest the Mac.

	You looked the wrong place... no blame, I also did the same mistake! 
Wanted a competitive offer for a CHF 5K x86 server, got a CHF 50K IBM

> I used to be a system programmer and an applications, working with IBM
> mainframes. Our terminals were 3270-family screens, 80 characters wide
> and varying depths. When I had a PC on my desk, I used software to
> emulate 3270 terminals.

	I had what were called RIMA cards, they plugged into 3270 controllers!
The only way to communicate with the host PC was screen scraping...

> We logged onto MVS or VM (I never used VSE, but it has comparable
> tools), and all source code editing, program compilation and execution
> was done on the mainframe.

	Then the floor energy went off... when power returned, I had lost only
two or three characters I've been typing!

> The iSeries (formerly AS/400) computers are described by IBM as
> "mid-range" and evolved from IBM's minicomputers, System/3,
> System/3{3,6,8} etc. These machines ordinarily run OS/400.

	Today they run POWER too...

> I think the pSeries evolved from what IBM termed its scientific
> computers: certainly from computers called "RS/6000" and which
> originally conformed to IBM's Microchannel Architecture - the same bus
> IBM used for its PS/2 personal computers.

	Yes, in fact RS/6000 are still available.

	I wonder why IBM renamed everything.  I can't make any sense out of
[ipze]Series, I always have to translate them either to their former names
or to some descriptive appelation.

> With the pSeries I have no experience, but the PPC 604E doesn't seem a
> good choice for compiling programs. Tried compiling a Linux kernel or
> XFree on once recently?

	Typically programs compiled in-house are much more lightweight than Linux
or XFree... and even in compiling, bus bandwidth and memory speed do
count, so it is not such a feeble system as you seem to presume by looking
at CPU only.

> A Power4 CPU may well be useful for that role. I prefer a
> better-performing system because I don't see sense in users waiting for
> its reponses.

	That's why I'd rather have a X hostfarm-and-terminals configuration!

	But anyway, these machines are multitasking, not your usual MS W32
stuff... it is perfectly possible to compile a program while revising
another, debugging or even doing office stuff -- they won't run MS Office
unless we're talking MS WTS, but they will do email and such.

> tools, maybe some commercial source-code tools and on it goes. Sharing a
> high-end system, using Xterminals makes a lot of sense.

	Yes!  Yes!  :-)

> BTW, someone said AIX doesn't run on an Apple. Someone once told me he'd
> tried it to see whether it would. His report, it did.


>> A workstation with a relatively ancient CPU such as the 604e can now 
>> only be sold (for that much money) because it is essential to the 
>> process of deploying applications to mainframes using the same 604e 
>> processors, which have been in use now for many years (since 1995?), 
>> and as mainframes go, may be in use for another ten to twenty years. 
>> Not for their performance, but for their availability and 
>> irreplaceability.
> I don't find the argument convincing. Can I not build on a high-end
> pSeries, targetting one with a 604e?

	Yes, but are the same versions of the same libraries available for these
quite different processors?  Remember, they have instructions in common,
but not all, one being a POWER4 and the other a PowerPC.  And these
mainframe environments have sometime hand-crafted assembly code created to
do exactly what is needed consuming as few resources as possible.

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