[Beowulf] Win64 Clusters!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mark Hahn hahn at mcmaster.ca
Sat Apr 7 11:16:08 PDT 2007

>> That said, we as an industry do owe Microsoft one significant debt.
>> The standardization of Microcomputer hardware.
> I am not so sure. Microsoft deals (at least dealt) with software, not
> hardware.

msft, with intel and often leading vendors, have driven a long series 
of "standards", such as pc97 or pc99 (why is your ps2 keyboard connector
purple?) .  there's also a defacto standardization caused by whatever drivers
are shipped (before any oemization).

> if it was just a coincidence that the PC the is the "winner". If someone
> must get some credit, that shall be given to IBM and Donald Estridge.
> Donald was responsible for building the PC based on an open architecture

I remember the 80's, and while there were some aspects we'd call open,
"open" was definitely not the dominant meme of the industry.
consider, for instance, the epic battle regarding bios cloning.

it's also true that the PC was predated by other other open standards,
perhaps even more open (heck, how about the S-100?)

> and to use components (software and hardware) from outside of IBM. Open

I would certainly agree that if IBM had been its normal anal-retentive self,
then its products would not have been the starting point of the PC
revolution.  the result may have been better or worse, though.  obviously,
IBM was responsible for wiring the video buffer at 640K, for instance.

> so much during this period, and a good example of how open standards
> promote innovation.

ethernet is a far better example of how open standards contributed 
to innovation.  along with the IETF RFC process.  beowulf would certainly
not exist in any recognizable form without ethernet and IETF, which 
made possible the web-based internet of the 90's.

hardware got cheap and commoditized (so any idiot could buy parts,
snap them together, and have a working computer).

my memory is that the 486 was really the first PC that had enough 
performance to be compelling to people used to sparc, mips, hp-pa and alpha
risc chips.  if you could match a sparcstation for a small fraction of 
the price, it drew attention.  I would still claim that ethernet was a 
critical enabling feature, though (and Don Becker played a huge role in 
bringing it to Linux).  by the time of the P5/60, it was pretty clear
that ia32 owned the world.  attack of the killer micros and all that...

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