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From: Tom Ivar Helbekkmo via COFF <>
To: Dan Cross <>
Cc: ron minnich <>,
Subject: [COFF] Re: the wheel of reincarnation goes sideways
Date: Wed, 08 Mar 2023 21:18:42 +0100	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <> (Dan Cross's message of "Wed, 8 Mar 2023 14:52:43 -0500")

Dan Cross <> writes:

> About a year ago, I ran across an email written a decade or more prior
> on some mainframe mailing list where someone wrote something like,
> "wow! It just occurred to me that my Athlon machine is faster than the
> ES/3090-600J I used in 1989!" Some guy responded angrily, rising to
> the wounded honor of IBM, raving about how preposterous this was
> because the mainframe could handle a thousand users logged in at one
> time and there's no way this Linux box could ever do that.
> I was struck by the absurdity of that; it's such a ridiculous
> non-comparison.

I did one of those.  Back in the early nineties, I had a 286 box running
MINIX 1.5 as my home workstation, and a similar one running DOS at work.
My job, however, was as one of a team of sysadmins caring for a VAX-780
running VMS.

I used C-TeX to format documents on the DOS PC, and spent a couple of
days porting it to the VMS C compiler.  Performance was utterly dismal
at first, but once I realized that the stdio stuff in the standard
libary was the problem, I modified C-TeX to do output to binary files of
fixed size 512 byte blocks in RMS, the VMS file system.  In the small
hours of the night, I discovered that the big and expensive VAX-780 was
able to pretty much exactly match my 286-box when formatting documents.

The very next day, I found that the same machine did the TeX formatting
just as fast, while a hundred or so other people were actively using it
for their own work.

Most people who graduate with CS degrees don't understand the significance
of Lisp.  Lisp is the most important idea in computer science.  --Alan Kay

  reply	other threads:[~2023-03-08 20:18 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 8+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
     [not found] <>
2023-03-08 19:52 ` [COFF] Re: [TUHS] " Dan Cross
2023-03-08 20:18   ` Tom Ivar Helbekkmo via COFF [this message]
2023-03-09  1:22   ` [COFF] Re: [TUHS] " John Cowan
2023-03-09 19:55     ` Dan Cross
2023-03-09 20:09       ` Larry McVoy
2023-03-11 20:32         ` Dan Cross
2023-03-11 23:28       ` Bakul Shah
     [not found]   ` <>
2023-03-13 22:34     ` Dan Cross

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