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posted by martyb on Tuesday February 19 2019, @12:19PM   Printer-friendly
from the Good-Fast-Cheap...pick-two dept.

Let's say you've got something that needs to be computerised at a slightly higher level than an Arduino, with the computing part costing less than about $100-150, and ideally less than $50 (think Beaglebone, Odroid, PCEngine, Pi and clones, Pine, etc). It looks like the only choice is between ARM at the low end and x86 at the high end. Everything else has fallen by the wayside: The last MIPS-based product was the Ci20/Ci40 from 2015 and neither the hardware nor software have been updated since, PowerPC is out there but only as high-priced SBCs and good luck finding a distro that supports it, Sparc is left with Fujitsu working on it for mainframes, and RISC-V is still a glint in everyone's eye - the few SBCs based on it cost more than a low-end server, and despite various enthusiastic press releases I can't see any timeline where I can get a $50 RISC-V device that performs the same as a $50 ARM-based one. And then there's the software support, once you leave the x86 world you've got, outside of various specialised RTOSes, Linux. A very few systems have one or two of the BSDs, often in a hit-and-miss manner, but that's it.

Has Linux + ARM/x86 killed everything else?


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  • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday February 19 2019, @09:14PM (1 child)

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 19 2019, @09:14PM (#803675) Journal

    If x86 doesn't go away, it could just shrink in number and get more expensive because it isn't efficient or cost effective. It merely is part of what supports the legacy Windows jobs you speak of. That seems to be a self reinforcing death spiral.

    It's like saying the horse and buggy won't go away because it is so entrenched compared to the automobile.

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday February 19 2019, @10:50PM

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday February 19 2019, @10:50PM (#803725)

    There is definitely a self reinforcing death spiral (and it's not limited to computer OSs...) Unfortunately, the difference in efficiency between ARM and x86 isn't even an order of magnitude, whereas horses and buggies were several orders of magnitude less efficient/capable than automobiles.

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