Happy 30th Birthday, x86!

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jun 7, 2008.

  1. Computerworld retrospective on the 30th anniversary of the introduction of
    the Intel 8086 processor
    <http://computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9090978&intsrc=hm_list>.

    I think it was the sheer inertia of the volume of closed-source software
    developed for DOS and Windows that allowed x86 to prevail against the RISC
    challenge. Nowadays, the the last two main areas left where it is not
    dominant are supercomputers and the low-power embedded market. It's made
    some inroads in the former, and the new Atom platform represents Intel's
    attempt to break into the latter.

    Frankly, I think the time for x86 to dominate new markets is past.
    Closed-source software is no longer where the innovation is. With the
    ability of open-source software to support a whole range of different
    architectures at once, there is no longer a reason to stick exclusively to
    x86. In fact, we could even see its dominance start to recede in existing
    markets.
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jun 7, 2008
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    RL Guest

    Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
    > Computerworld retrospective on the 30th anniversary of the introduction of
    > the Intel 8086 processor
    > <http://computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9090978&intsrc=hm_list>.
    >
    > Frankly, I think the time for x86 to dominate new markets is past.
    > Closed-source software is no longer where the innovation is. With the
    > ability of open-source software to support a whole range of different
    > architectures at once, there is no longer a reason to stick exclusively to
    > x86. In fact, we could even see its dominance start to recede in existing
    > markets.


    Sorry Lawrence, the dominance of x86 is going to continue for a lot
    longer. Back in the early 90's Windows was available for numerous
    different architectures, and the Alpha port continued right through
    until 1999. Now, it is x86 (including amd64), or IA64.

    Had AMD not hacked the x64 yet again to include 64-bit extensions, we
    may have seen a move towards IA64 on the desktop, using emulation of
    x86, but Intel was primarily positioning these in the server market.

    As it is, we have 64-bit capable x86 processors, which are mostly
    running 32-bit applications. There is no real incentive for software
    producers to write 64-bit applications, because the software does not
    require it, the development environments aren't widely deployed, and
    there is no benefit for users. Even in the server market, there is
    little need for 64-bit systems except at the very high end. The trend
    towards using virtual servers favours 32-bit, for lower resource usage.

    Any move towards 64-bit, which itself is going to take a very long time,
    is going to occur on x86, simply because that is what people are going
    to be using for the foreseeable future.

    You can go out and buy some fancy new type of processor if you like (or
    an old one), and run your precious open source software on if it you
    like, but OSS isn't going to dominate anytime soon, and even if it did,
    the wide availability of cheap x86 hardware will ensure that horrible
    processor remains in our desktops for at least the next decade.

    RL
    RL, Jun 7, 2008
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. In article <g2en5l$rdk$>, RL did write:

    > Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
    >
    >> Frankly, I think the time for x86 to dominate new markets is past.
    >> Closed-source software is no longer where the innovation is. With the
    >> ability of open-source software to support a whole range of different
    >> architectures at once, there is no longer a reason to stick exclusively
    >> to x86. In fact, we could even see its dominance start to recede in
    >> existing markets.

    >
    > Sorry Lawrence, the dominance of x86 is going to continue for a lot
    > longer. Back in the early 90's Windows was available for numerous
    > different architectures...


    Most of which were abandoned.

    > ... and the Alpha port continued right through until 1999.


    Which was only ever 32-bit.

    > Now, it is x86 (including amd64), or IA64.


    Which was the first operating system to boot an IA64 machine? Linux. Today
    it's available for two dozen major processor architectures. It has the best
    hardware suport of any OS in history.

    > As it is, we have 64-bit capable x86 processors, which are mostly
    > running 32-bit applications. There is no real incentive for software
    > producers to write 64-bit applications, because the software does not
    > require it, the development environments aren't widely deployed, and
    > there is no benefit for users.


    That's only true for closed-source systems and software. Open-source has had
    about a decade and a half to get used to 64-bit (going back to the Alpha),
    and nowadays if you want a full 64-bit system with full 64-bit drivers and
    full 64-bit apps, you have to go open-source. Nobody else can compete.

    As to the benefit for users? Graphics cards, in particular, are chewing up a
    larger and larger portion of memory space, leaving less and less for apps.

    > You can go out and buy some fancy new type of processor if you like (or
    > an old one), and run your precious open source software on if it you
    > like, but OSS isn't going to dominate anytime soon ...


    It's already happening. The entire Internet was built on open source. And
    look at these new budget machines coming with Linux preinstalled, and
    selling like hot-cakes.
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jun 8, 2008
    #3
  4. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    RL Guest

    Freesias wrote:
    > On Sun, 08 Jun 2008 07:22:35 +1200, RL wrote:
    >> Had AMD not hacked the x64 yet again to include 64-bit extensions, we
    >> may have seen a move towards IA64 on the desktop, using emulation of
    >> x86, but Intel was primarily positioning these in the server market.

    >
    > I think you've got that around the wrong way.
    >
    > Intel adopted _AMD's_ x86_64 (note this is the correct way to refer to
    > the 64bit chip produced by AMD) 64bit extensions to the x86 architecture.


    No, we agree. Above, 'x64' should be 'x86' (typo). Intel had IA64, which
    was not based on the x86, and not at the time intended for the desktop
    market, then AMD added 64-bit instructions to x86, and as you note,
    Intel followed.

    Had AMD not hacked 64-bit instructions in to x86, and either Intel or
    AMD delivered a new 64-bit solution for the desktop market, that may
    have finally signalled the end of x86 dominance.

    >> As it is, we have 64-bit capable x86 processors, which are mostly
    >> running 32-bit applications.

    >
    > Speaking for your self are you?


    No. The majority do not run 64-bit software.

    > Everything you've mentioned only really applies to Micro$oft Windows
    > boxen - and that is primarily due to the lack of 64bit hardware support
    > in the OS and the lack of a 64bit base of installed M$ Windows systems on
    > the desktop.


    Windows is the most widely deployed OS on x86, so yes, the comments
    relate primarily to Windows.

    Remember, we're discussing the dominance of x86. That won't change even
    if everyone were to switch to 64-bit operating systems and software.

    The only way the dominance of x86 can be broken is to phase it out with
    a new architecture that can, initially at least, provide backwards
    support for x86. Intel failed to do this with the Itanium because the
    software emulation was too slow, and most people are only concerned with
    performance with the software the currently use.

    RL
    RL, Jun 8, 2008
    #4
  5. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    RL Guest

    Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
    > In article <g2en5l$rdk$>, RL did write:
    >
    >> Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
    >>
    >>> Frankly, I think the time for x86 to dominate new markets is past.
    >>> Closed-source software is no longer where the innovation is. With the
    >>> ability of open-source software to support a whole range of different
    >>> architectures at once, there is no longer a reason to stick exclusively
    >>> to x86. In fact, we could even see its dominance start to recede in
    >>> existing markets.

    >> Sorry Lawrence, the dominance of x86 is going to continue for a lot
    >> longer. Back in the early 90's Windows was available for numerous
    >> different architectures...

    >
    > Most of which were abandoned.


    Unless I am mistaken, all versions from the early '90s, other than x86,
    have been abandoned.

    > Which was the first operating system to boot an IA64 machine? Linux. Today
    > it's available for two dozen major processor architectures. It has the best
    > hardware suport of any OS in history.


    None of which are threatening the dominance of x86, because what the
    average person wants to run on their PC is available for x86 only.

    > That's only true for closed-source systems and software. Open-source has had
    > about a decade and a half to get used to 64-bit (going back to the Alpha),
    > and nowadays if you want a full 64-bit system with full 64-bit drivers and
    > full 64-bit apps, you have to go open-source. Nobody else can compete.


    And what will the average user be running these 64-bit applications on?

    x86.

    Yes, other processor options exist, but none of these are a threat to
    x86 at present, nor are they likely to be anytime soon, primarily
    because they can't compete with x86 on price or performance doing what
    the typical user wants to use their PC for.

    There has been a trend _towards_ x86 from other architectures. Sun has
    put more emphasis on Solaris x86, SGI started selling x86 workstations etc.

    RL
    RL, Jun 8, 2008
    #5
  6. In article <g2fc1o$7pt$>, RL did write:

    > Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
    >
    >> Today [Linux is] available for two dozen major processor architectures.
    >> It has the best hardware suport of any OS in history.

    >
    > None of which are threatening the dominance of x86, because what the
    > average person wants to run on their PC is available for x86 only.


    These new budget machines are not only threatening Microsoft, they could end
    up threatening Intel, too. Exhibit A:
    <http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2008/05/23/china_cheap_eee_clone/>, running
    an XBurst chip (appears to be MIPS-based). The spec seems almost laughably
    modest, but it has a price tag to match. This one may very well not
    succeed, but I don't think it'll be the last to try.
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jun 8, 2008
    #6
  7. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    Gordon Guest

    On 2008-06-07, Lawrence D'Oliveiro <_zealand> wrote:
    > Computerworld retrospective on the 30th anniversary of the introduction of
    > the Intel 8086 processor
    ><http://computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9090978&intsrc=hm_list>.
    >
    > I think it was the sheer inertia of the volume of closed-source software
    > developed for DOS and Windows that allowed x86 to prevail against the RISC
    > challenge.


    I would argue that it was IBM's decision to go open architecture on its
    PC machines. This allowed the Twaian etc to clone the machine in huge
    numbers cheaply.


    > Frankly, I think the time for x86 to dominate new markets is past.
    > Closed-source software is no longer where the innovation is. With the
    > ability of open-source software to support a whole range of different
    > architectures at once, there is no longer a reason to stick exclusively to
    > x86.


    So was it ever? Did not OSS Grandparents run on many platforms?

    TC/IP was developed when 30 odd OS were common.

    The point is that with the code, the programme can be compiled to operate on
    many/all platforms. Freedom.

    Also the x86 architecture is now into middle age and her children are doing
    things she would have never have thought possible.

    Then again x86 is decended from the 4004, born 1971, and taken over the
    world. To-day the 20 tonne excavator is powered by micro chips as much as by
    diesel.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_4004

    http://www.xnumber.com/xnumber/intel_4004.htm
    Gordon, Jun 8, 2008
    #7
  8. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    Gordon Guest

    On 2008-06-08, Freesias <> wrote:
    > On Sun, 08 Jun 2008 12:40:36 +1200, Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
    >
    >> It's already happening. The entire Internet was built on open source.
    >> And look at these new budget machines coming with Linux preinstalled,
    >> and selling like hot-cakes.

    >
    > Not to mention Acer now looking to push all their Laptops out the door
    > with Linux pre-installed.
    >

    Ms Penguin here. Look pushing does not work for us, we waddle on land and in
    the water, power on like a boy racer. Those fish are not waddling you know.
    Gordon, Jun 8, 2008
    #8
  9. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    Gordon Guest

    On 2008-06-08, Collector?NZ <> wrote:
    > Rl and Freshit
    >
    > My dick is bigger than both of yours combined. While your pissing
    > contest has some interest, dont let your egos superceed the topic.
    >
    > The adadage "Horses for Courses" comes to mind while reading your
    > pissing contest


    Someone playing the man, rather than the ball, comes to mind while reading
    your response.

    Newsgroups are about moving on, often
    Gordon, Jun 8, 2008
    #9
    1. Advertising

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

It takes just 2 minutes to sign up (and it's free!). Just click the sign up button to choose a username and then you can ask your own questions on the forum.
Similar Threads
  1. unholy

    Say Happy Birthday!!!!

    unholy, Jun 26, 2005, in forum: The Lounge
    Replies:
    20
    Views:
    2,767
    unholy
    Jul 4, 2005
  2. =?Utf-8?B?RWxsaW90IEh1ZGdpbnM=?=

    Why is there an x86 emu if a processor is x86-64?

    =?Utf-8?B?RWxsaW90IEh1ZGdpbnM=?=, Jul 23, 2006, in forum: Windows 64bit
    Replies:
    4
    Views:
    645
  3. Daniel
    Replies:
    11
    Views:
    605
  4. markm75
    Replies:
    7
    Views:
    1,082
    S.SubZero
    Jan 9, 2008
  5. JohnO

    Happy 30th Birthday Pacman!

    JohnO, May 21, 2010, in forum: NZ Computing
    Replies:
    2
    Views:
    285
    Mike Dee
    May 22, 2010
Loading...

Share This Page