Chuckle. No One Wants Small Expensive Computers.

I had to laugh when I read today that OEMs are planning to produce more Wintel tablets this fall than WARM (Windows on ARM)…

Digitimes“The number of Windows 8-based tablet PC models that feature Intel’s platform is expected to reach 32 by the end of 2012 with number of models that feature ARM platform to only reach eight, mainly because few players such as Asustek Computer, Acer and Lenovo are also manufacturing ARM-based models to avoid missing the market, according to sources from notebook makers.”

HOOO! HA! ROFL! It’s going to be another train-wreck, in slow motion too. The world has dozens of tablets running iOS and Android/Linux. Will consumers even find one running “8” in the clutter on retail shelves?

The excuse?
“while Windows on ARM (WoA) platforms, due to Qualcomm, Texas Instruments (TI) and Nvidia all suffering from R&D personnel shortages, and ARM’s compatibility issues with Windows software, may not be launched until the first quarter of 2013. “

HAHAHA! Imagine another year with Android/Linux racing ahead brilliantly. M$ will be behind several laps by the time it starts. Android/Linux can bring products to market almost instantly in comparison because Linux works on ARM and has for ages. Writers for drivers in Linux are almost a commodity. Chuckle. If the hardware problems are not a big enough obstacle for M$, what about many millions in installed base and thousands of “apps”? HOO! HEE! Expect a lot of bad quarters from now on.

One more thing, price: “The sources also believe that Wintel-based tablet PCs will have a great chance to enter the enterprise PC industry, but price will be the biggest weakness of the devices as Wintel tablet PCs are likely to be priced above US$599 and may even reach US$799.” They are not even trying to compete on price/performance and they are supposedly “entering” the most competitive market in all of IT… The mind boggles at the scope of the pending disaster. How will Steve B keep his job with so much mud on his face? 2012 will blow away records for tablets shipped in 2011 and M$ will be a no-show.

The fallout from all this will be that Android/Linux tablets will become the norm in 2012 and ARMed devices will be abundant to take Android/Linux. Intel tablets will need huge batteries to last more than a few hours, also raising the costs. GNU/Linux will be available to offset their higher hardware costs… Love it. Wintel is feeding the fire of */Linux. Using the opponent’s weight to the opponent’s disadvantage is a winning strategy. The cloud will slurp up a huge market from Wintel this year and next.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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24 Responses to Chuckle. No One Wants Small Expensive Computers.

  1. Dann says:

    You don’t think that Intel realizes this and is just so pissed off at Microsoft that they’re delaying them as much as possible so Android/Linux et all hits them the hardest?

    That’s what I’d like to think, anyhow.

    I heard that Microsoft just copies their API from older versions, changes them, and leaves in the old API’s. (For backwards compatilibity I would think)

    So yes, they probably have hundreds of apis floating around in their source code (Virtual XP mode would be a good place to look) making it much of a clusterf***.
    Windows 7 also installs multiple versions of the same .dll files to ensure backwards compatibility. Hence why Win7 installs take up so much space, the 64bit installs moreso since they have all of the 32bit libs as well. On the other hand, Ubuntu 12.04 is complete 64-bit with no compat libs installed.

  2. oldman says:

    “Nonsense. M$ has several levels of APIs and hundreds of APIs in all. That’s part of the lock-in.”

    Proof please with examples from current shipping code.

  3. aardvark wrote, “if you are a developer on That Other, you only get to see A; you do not see B”

    Nonsense. M$ has several levels of APIs and hundreds of APIs in all. That’s part of the lock-in. “Want a better deal? Use this secret API…”. That makes software developed for that other OS very difficult to port because the APIs from M$ are not portable. When the EU ordered M$ to document its networking API, M$ actually claimed they had no documentation. That gives new meaning to the term, “undocumented”.

  4. aardvark says:

    One small additional thought on layered APIs, btw.

    I once worked on a project that almost shut CompuServe down, potentially forever. (I wasn’t responsible for the design or the code or the testing; I was just one of two drones on site when the thing was switched on.)

    The details don’t matter (although you will be interested to know that the system was neither M$ nor any variety of *nix). The salient point is that there were two APIs, call them A and B, and A was layered on top of B. They both happened to be internal APIs for message passing. One coder wrote code against A, and the other wrote code against B.

    The results, as I say, were predictably catastrophic.

    Now, if you are a developer on That Other, you only get to see A; you do not see B. Consequently, this scenario never happens.

    If, on the other hand, you are working with FLOSS, you get to see both A and B. In fact, you probably get to see aleph-null. This freedom is built into the core beliefs of FLOSS.

    It is not, necessarily, a Good Thing.

  5. aardvark says:

    Mr Pogson:

    “GNU/Linux is more secure than that other OS by design. It’s not a question of easy to use but stupidity that makes M$ use so many APIs, each of which may be a vulnerability the bad guys can exploit.”

    “Counting APIs… That’s futile when comparing that other OS v GNU/Linux.”

    Two entirely opposite opinions inside six hours. It’s one or the other, isn’t t? The number of APIs is either important (I would agree that it is, to an extent) or not.

    “For example, in general, for third party software [Wintel] will have a different API from their own. That makes double APIs everywhere.”

    In general? Never, to my knowledge. And if you’re talking about layered APIs, then it’s difficult to see how Linux (open/close/read/write below fopen/fclose/fread/fwrite) is any different. In fact it’s impossible to imagine an OS platform that doesn’t work this way.

    “They backport APIs” … backward compatibility being a dreadful thing, of course. And I’m sure they don’t bother testing them.

    “… and support gazillions of programming languages all in a vain attempt to make that other OS universal.”

    My emphasis. We’re drifting away from APIs here, aren’t we? No matter how many programming languages you have, you’re still using the same number of the same APIs.

    Looking at the Gnu tree, courtesy of Cygwin (I could go to the FSF, but for current purposes Cygwin orders them helpfully for me), we have:

    – Chicken
    – Clisp
    – C
    – C++
    – Java
    – Pascal
    – Objective-C
    – Fortran
    – Ocaml
    – Python
    – Ruby
    – Perl
    – Tcl
    – Lua
    – R
    – Prolog

    … and probably one or two hiding in corners somewhere.

    Vain attempts to make your OS universal seem to be quite popular, don’t they?

  6. oldman says:

    “I bet I could slacken it quite a bit safely now.”

    Perhaps, but based on my experience with all types of systems I would suggest that unless you are going to keep individual firewalls up and/or keep your patches up to date, you should leave your NAT firewall as is.

    Remember Pog, NO internet attached system is truly safe by design.

  7. A few years ago when most homes just had one firewall and no router, that was a frequent occurrence as default installations often did not turn on a firewall. I have done it myself with no evil consequences. It has been shown that other OS can be infected in minutes that way. Our present firewall was configured to be insanely complex and rigid in the days when the little woman ran XP. I bet I could slacken it quite a bit safely now.

  8. oldman says:

    “Few would dare run that other OS without anti-malware software protecting it while GNU/Linux is often run that way and thrives”

    Ok Pog, the above being the case you should be more than willing to Shut down your firewall, stop patching your system and put it on the open internet.

    I would be an interesting experiment eh?

  9. Clarence Moon wrote, “There is nothing inherent in Linux or Unix that makes it more secure than Windows.”

    That’s clearly false. We have seen millions of malwares that work on that other OS and a few thousand that work on GNU/Linux. It clearly is less secure to create software that is bloated and full of complex interactions. Simpler and modular is the right way to do IT. That other OS shipped with no security at all for decades. They had to seriously upgrade XP to keep it working even briefly. “7” which is so much better than earlier attempts still had silly vulnerabilities introduced in the bad old days, kept in for “backwards compatibility”. Few would dare run that other OS without anti-malware software protecting it while GNU/Linux is often run that way and thrives.

    Distrowatch does not even track anti-virus software for distros. It’s not a default installation on any distro I have used because it is not really necessary.

  10. Clarence Moon says:

    There is nothing inherent in Linux or Unix that makes it more secure than Windows. Linux itself has had few notable successful attacks of malware since it lacks any sort of critical mass needed to bring it to the attention of hackers and to become the focus of their efforts. Android phones have been easily hacked using the same sorts of techniques as work with Windows and that would work with any popular product that had to provide simplified access security for the users who are more interested in ease of use and responsiveness.

    The Linux crowd has been harping on security issues for way more than a decade and the result is that no one cares. The do not change their song, since it is the only tune they know, but it has not been received with any enthusiasm. Now that Android has shown the whole myth to be just that, it will get less play, most likely.

  11. Counting APIs… That’s futile when comparing that other OS v GNU/Linux. Wintel has an API for every marketing scheme they have ever developed, many per year.

    For example, in general, for third party software they will have a different API from their own. That makes double APIs everywhere. They backport APIs and support gazillions of programming languages all in a vain attempt to make that other OS universal.

    See How Microsoft Lost the API War

    From my point of view, any of M$’s APIs is just another door for malware. M$ created new APIs solely for the purpose of selling that other OS:
    “That is, if you have two.people providing equivalent software, the value is zero.” They kept making their stuff different simply to prevent others from providing equivalent software. That created huge lock-in for everyone in the Wintel ecosystem and ever-increasing complexity for no value to anyone but M$.

  12. aardvark says:

    Mr Pogson:

    This question of the number of APIs. There’s a kernel of truth there, because security experts certainly do consider the “attack vector surface” (or something; I forget the term).

    However, to make it stick, you would have to offer a comparison between the number of APIs in a Windows system and the number of APIs in a Linux system. Given the fairly unitary nature of the former, and the massively fragmented nature of the latter (the presence of KDE and Gnome alone roughly doubles the number of APIs to the desktop component), I doubt that the argument holds up.

  13. GNU/Linux is more secure than that other OS by design. It’s not a question of easy to use but stupidity that makes M$ use so many APIs, each of which may be a vulnerability the bad guys can exploit.

    see http://www.justice.gov/atr/cases/exhibits/933.pdf
    “MS & IAL differ over API evangelization. MS view is that API’s are part of the platform, and should be broadly evangelized, but are a basis for competition. Platform competitors will not settle on a single API. IAL view is that for security, there should be a single API. They want an open API with reference code available to all platform vendors.”

    There’s the rub. A company run by salesmen makes messing with competition more important than messing with the bad guys and the end-users suffer.

  14. ch says:

    > It’s a house with windows and doors compared to a blockhouse with just a machine-gun slit.

    Mr Pogson, you got that one right, but have you thought about the implications? Not? Thought so.

    Do YOU actually live in a blockhouse with just a machine-gun slit? Of course not, and neither do I. There is a reason for that, and it is pretty obvious.

    Well, in the land of IT the equivalent to the blockhouse is neither Windows nor Linux – or any other OS any of us have actually used or at least heard about. No, the blockhouse OS is something designed from the keel to be secure, it’s probably used by the military (they love blockhouses and machine guns), and you wouldn’t want to use it on your PC (if it were running on PCs in the first place, which is not very likely). Hint: “Security” is typically the opposite of “easy to use, with lots of functions”.

  15. aikiwolfie says:

    Gloating is never healthy. Android is not the ideal Linux platform. It’s not as though I can use it the same way I use Ubuntu. However it is better than using Windows.

    The malware problem on Android is an issue with social engineering. Malware developers are targeting users out to grab free apps. Which is an attack vector Windows also suffers from amongst others. It’s also an attack vector that can cripple even the most secure OS’s. So it’s not something I’m overly concerned about.

    I’m also not inclined to listen to the “experts” in this particular case. They have a vested interest in keeping the Windows ecosystem alive because their business and consumer product rely on the Windows ecosystem to turn a profit. There is a clear conflict of interest in the advice they hand out.

    When I can choose an ARMed or Intel/x86/64 device is can install any version of Linux on then we’ll be free to celebrate.

  16. Certainly hand-held thingies do break often but a good device with some rubber padding or in a sleeve should not have too much trouble. As well many people use the devices indoors over carpet or in car with carpet so dropping is not necessarily lethal. There is no doubt ATX boxes are easier to recycle but at least there is less mass to the new gadgets. I think eventually the gadgets will ride in a pocket, have a heads-up display and listen to its master’s voice. That’s getting close.

  17. notzed says:

    How is a lack of developers for the hardware guys a reason for a delay in microsoft platforms? That doesn’t make any sense.

    Lack of developers really just means lack of money: they don’t want to spend the money and are just making up excuses.

    I just read this post on the rhombus tech mailing list:
    http://lists.phcomp.co.uk/pipermail/arm-netbook/2012-March/002881.html

    In short: the US companies are (more) screwed. Whilst they’re worrying about documentation and engineering samples and getting buyers for their highly engineered products, the chinese factories (with govt backing) flood the market with completely finished product based on cheap commodity parts (and because of the scale; anything they decide to make has become a commodity by the time it leaves the door).

    With a lifetime of under a year it’s not worth going to too much trouble to get the leading edge, but it ends up pushing the edge forward quickly anyway. It’s not even worth their time worrying about polish either, the market moves so quickly they would be left in the dust if they did. But is also means no old products with long tails to recoup r&d, nor high-end ‘enthusiast’ parts, no servicing industry (just throw it away, even if you could get the parts it wouldn’t be worth it).

    Although it means exciting times for technology users, it’s also depressing in a lot of ways. Mass market throw-away junk has taken over everything else, and for computers it can be taken to the extreme. Unlike say tools which may have a useful service life of 1-2 physical lifetimes, even the best engineered computer is out of date before it leaves the factory (actually more-so, since it takes longer to do the engineering). This is also very much in the appliance model: e.g. no long-term software maintenance either and to upgrade the os you also just get another machine.

    (not to mention the environmental factors; i.e. landfills full of junk).

  18. aardvark says:

    An interesting question, Mr Pogson.

    Why isn’t malware taking over traffic lights? I’m fairly sure that there’s a huge amount of traffic lights out there.

    Comparing a desktop with a potentially naive user (it actually doesn’t matter what the OS is) with a generally headless server that runs a more-or-less locked down stack is a fruitless (as in, both apples and oranges are absent) mission. I could certainly point you at various PHP exploits, but what would be the point? It’s a silly little game, but apparently it keeps you happy.

    Now, should you wish to compare LAMP stacks to what little Windows Server competition there is, this might be a useful topic. Alternatively you could compare the vulnerability of Windows Servers (non-LAMP-like in intent) with the higher end of Linux servers.

    I genuinely don’t know, in either case. You might surprise me. But you’re unlikely to win over much more than your vociferous little choir by making comparisons between things that are not comparable.

  19. That GNU/Linux has less malware is reason enough to use it even if the situation were temporary. The evolution of that other OS shows increasing complexity over time which means it will always have more malware. It’s a house with windows and doors compared to a blockhouse with just a machine-gun slit.

    Oh, and that argument tires pretty quickly when you realize how many web servers run GNU/Linux. Why isn’t malware taking them over if they are more plentiful than that other OS?

  20. Ray says:

    If it’s a gaming tablet, I’m in. :D

  21. aardvark says:

    I don’t think anybody wants small, cheap, broken computers either.

    Isn’t the marketplace a wonderful thing?

    Mr Dougman, what you choose to sell to your customers is your own concern: I wish you profit. And Mr McRae: what a fascinating concept. I had no idea whatsoever that ARM was immune from Moore’s Law. And I had no idea whatsoever that Microsoft, yet alone Intel, were quite so dependent upon something that has actually hit the buffers.

    Gee, you’d think that Microsoft would resurrect XP, wouldn’t you? It’s an excellent blatant rip-off of Gnome 2.x (sadly now demised) and KDE 3.x (also a mere memory).

    And it ran on a 900MHz processor with 256MB of RAM. Would you credit it?

  22. dougman says:

    You can get a decent computer for $300 now.

    I just carpeted an office with new desktops. I tried getting them to go the thin client route, but they were skeptical but still interested.

    Re: these Win slates, what happens when they get infected with malware? Do you just toss them in the trash can? That option will get expensive fast!

    I rather sell Android tablets to my customers as they already have Android phones.

  23. Kozmcrae says:

    Moore’s Law was feeding Microsoft a seemingly endless supply of rope to satisfy their bloat engine. Then ARM and nifty little devices came along and SNAP! Microsoft’s bread winner became a boat anchor.

    It’s fun to see Microsoft squirm.

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