Reply to post: Re: Linux has facilitated the cituation he is lamenting about

Linus Torvalds says ARM just doesn't look like beating Intel

SImon Hobson Silver badge

Re: Linux has facilitated the cituation he is lamenting about

> Windows did not allow any such liberties with the PC that is why it is so uniform.

Ah, those who don't remember history.

I can just about remember the early days of "the PC", though I was only involved as a user back then. You caould buy loads of "PC"s from other vendors, that came with PC-Dos from MS, and would run "PC" software. But they really didn't have the uniformity of hardware that people think - there was a lot of variation and MS would provide each manufacturer with a PC-Dos tweaked to suit.

As I recall (rather vaguely through the mists of time), it was some game reviewer in a magazine that coined the "PC Compatible" that people take for granted these days. SHe worked on the basis that if you could take ${random_game} off the shelf, unwrap it, and boot the PC with that disk and be able to play the game - only then was it "PC Compatible".

As so, fairly quickly, all the manufacturers quickly learned that they had to mimic the IBM PC fairly closely (eg putting the serial ports at the same I/O addresses etc) or they'd be labelled as "not compatible" and would lose sales. Thus the "PC Compatible" standard "happened" !

I deliberately say "happened" because it wasn't really designed, it sort of came into being in a very accidental way.

AIUI, the original IBM PC wasn't actually an IBM project. Some small electronics company took a National Semiconductor data sheet/design notes for their 8080 family of processors, and with very little of their own design, made an implementation of a suggested system design. IBM were geared up to "big stuff" (where productivity is measured in how many lines of code you make, not how small you make it !) and as they could see the likes of Commodore and Apple eating their lunch in the small office - bought the company and stuck an IBM badge on it.

Thus the original PC was born, and more or less by accident, the design "choices" made by Nat Semi and some never heard of hardware house became the de-facto industry standard.


But Linus is right about ARM. It's not the processor, it's the way every system manufacturer does their own thing - in the same way that the original desktop PC makers did. The difference is that there is no process these days that would pressure any of them into following any standard - eg each phone is made to run a specific OS provided by the device manufacturers, and thrown away before it needs too many upgrades. So the manufacturers really don't give a sh*t how hard it is for anyone else to put a different OS on it - long gone are the days when the games came with their own OS to boot the system into.

In the server world that may change eventually, but not for anything else.

And the modern user (in general) doesn't give a sh*t either as long as they can get their cat videos on FarceBork.

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