Fri, 11 Sep 1998 10:28:03 -0400 (EDT)
On Thu, 10 Sep 1998, Mike McDonald wrote:
> >Speaking of things for the remnants of Symbolics to do: they should
> >consider putting OpenGenera (the port to the Alpha) back on the market at
> >a more reasonable price (perhaps one with three digits rather than five).
> >Not the same thing as a free OS, but it would still be something good to
> >have in the world.
> I think the whole future of the OpenGenera product is in trouble
> with DEC going out of business. I think supplies of Alphas running OSF
> are going to become quite scarce. I doubt there'd be many new
> customers signing up for that combo, except maybe a few existing ones
> who are moving up from XLs or 36XXs.
> There doesn't seem to be any attractive alternatives
> either. SGI/MIPS is essentially history. Same for PARISCs. Maybe a
> port to Sun Ultras is the way to go? (I wouldn't mind a Pentium port,
> even if it ended up running slower than the Alpha version.)
How about a port to Alpha/Linux? There are inexpensive Alpha systems out
there, and it should be an easy port - no need to change any of the core
emulation code. Plus it eliminates the need for that expensive Digital
Unix license, not to mention the fact that the low-end Alpha systems don't
run Digital Unix (they lack the right microcode or some such thing).
Longer-term, a port to SPARC might work well - those Ultra 5s are pretty
cheap now. (The base system is down to $2400; fully configured with enough
RAM and a good 21-inch monitor, it should still be under $5K.) A Pentium
port would be tough to get to perform acceptably, because you're emulating
an architecture with larger-than-32-bit pointers. IA-64 would be a
possibility down the road (assuming it ever actually works, and doesn't
turn out to be another iAPX432), but not yet.