Altos 5000

John Macdonald jmm at eci386.uucp
Sat Sep 1 02:42:26 AEST 1990

In article <1990Aug30.181157.16638 at> rcd at (Dick Dunn) writes:
|shwake at raysnec.UUCP (Ray Shwake) writes:
|> 	What we DON'T need here is a spitting contest between the vendors
|> of Intel UNIX...
|I don't think that a software engineer at Altos has any real qualitative
|advantage over one working at SCO, ISC, Esix, etc.  Nor do I think that
|the hardware folks at WD, Adaptec, etc., would care to be told they're not
|able to build boards with the same sort of performance that Altos can get.
|The differences are quantitative.  Sometimes its an advantage to have the
|hardware folks in-house; sometimes you're better dealing with an outside
|vendor who has a larger market and can do some things better based on
|sheer quantity.  Sometimes you have leverage in-house by saying "here's
|what we need, and we're your only customer"; sometimes you have leverage
|outside by saying "if you can't build it, we'll get X to build it."  I've
|done my time on both sides of this.  That's why I took some offense at the
|suggestion that we can't spare the development effort for optimizations...
|it just ain't so.

While I generally agree with Dick's comments, I think that Ti's original
comments did have some basis too.  If the developers are working in a
limited environment where there is a small number of supported boards
(whether they are made internally or by an outside party) they can
spend more time after getting it working to get it working really well.
If they must support every piece of hardware that any customer might
happen to add on, then it is quite possible that they never reach the
stage where all the combinations are working and they have time to
work on the optimization.  Often, if you have to work with a large
number of differrent types of hardware, you may decide to skip any
optimizations that require a change to each hardware-specific device

There *is* a qualitive difference between doing a large number of
things well and doing a smaller number of things better.  Depending
upon the number and quality of people that each manufacturer has,
it is not however impossible to do either a large number of things
better or a small number of things worse, however...

Glad to see the discussion moving away from marketing and bickering
towards technical facts (contrary to normal usenet practice :-) ...
Algol 60 was an improvment on most           | John Macdonald
of its successors - C.A.R. Hoare             |   jmm at eci386

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