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Re: Lucent Technologies & Sun Microsystems

I just started subscribing so I might as well jump in ... 

gep2@computek.net writes: 

>  Well, it's not inconceivable that an NC system (at least running native)
> *could* have acceptable performance.  The problem is that they won't, since
> they're going to be running (it would appear) Java, and Java comes with a
> very heavy performance penalty.  What's more, it's ludicrous to have to
> download every program you want to run.  The fact is that PCs are **very**
> cost-effective, and a lot of that is due to the huge production volumes in
> that architecture.  I simply don't think that the NC is going to be
> significantly cheaper!  Heck, the PC motherboards only cost $100-200, with a
> CPU (unless you really go high end) and just about everything else is going
> to be (and cost!) the same on an NC as on a PC!  So even if the NC
> eliminated the PC motherboard and CPU *entirely* it would only bring down
> the cost by $100-200.  Which isn't nearly enough to compensate for the
> hugely reduced functionality and expandability/upgradeability compared to a
> PC.

Lets look at your arguments:

    "Why download every program you have to run?"

Why not download it?  On many (most?) PeeCee networks, the major apps are kept
on a fileserver and downloaded right now.  Besides, on a modern 100Mbps
ethernet, network transfers are nearly as fast as disk transfers.  NCs are
being targeted at the corporate market so the network infrastructure is
already in place.

    "PCs are cheaper"

Yes, but not cheap to maintain.  The sysadmin/computer (or sysadmin/user)
ratio tends to be higher in the PeeCee world than in the Unix workstation
world because a Unix system is easy to maintain remotely.  Of course you
can always run Unix on a PeeCee and have the best of both worlds :-)

    "PCs are more expandable/upgradable"

Straw man argument.  Many motherboards have onboard SCSI/Ethernet/Video
already ... what's left to expand except RAM, and you can certainly
add RAM to an NC.

    "Java is slow"

It doesn't have to be.  With JIT compilation or Java ASICs there is no
reason you can't get good performance.  But remember, the type of apps
that a typical office user needs do not necessarily require a high
performance machine (unless you use Microsoft bloatware as your
example :-)

IMHO, the NC is a good idea simply because it allows better use of

Mike Kenney			 
Software Engineer
UW Applied Physics Lab
mikek@apl.washington.edu         (206) 543-1300 / (206) 543-6785 FAX