Articles

Mark Pilgrim on The Setup

In Uncategorized on 2010-02-02 by Kyle Maxwell Tagged: , , , , , , ,

I’ve had my current desktop for a little over two years. I want to continue using it for another 20. I mean that literally: this computer, this keyboard, this mouse, these three monitors. 20 years. There’s no technical reason the hardware can’t last that long, so it’s a matter of whether there will be useful software to run on it. First, there’s the operating system. People throw away computers every day because they’re “too slow” to run the latest version of their preferred operating system. Linux (and open source in general) is not immune to this, but I think it’s more immune than proprietary operating systems. Debian only recently dropped official support for Motorola 68K machines; that’s stuff like the Mac IIci that I bought off the clearance rack at Microcenter in 1992. The latest version of Debian still runs on my old PowerPC “G4” Apple laptop, even though the latest version of Apple’s operating system doesn’t. Commercial vendors have a vested interest in upgrading you to the latest and greatest; supporting the old stuff is unglamorous and expensive. Commercial open source vendors aren’t really much better than commercial proprietary vendors in this regard, but community-led Linux distributions can afford to have different priorities.

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