On Sat, 2 Apr 2022 at 00:34, Bill Gunshannon via
<cctalk at classiccmp.org> wrote:
And, as you say, an Arduino or a Pi that fits in my pocket is orders
of magnitude more powerful and costs pocket money.
The comparisons of size, power, storage, cost, power usage, heat
output and so on are often made.
What is less often observed are the facts that a machine that takes
multiple trailers can be repaired with spare parts. Anything made from
ICs basically can't, except by replacing the ICs.
What if you can't make ICs any more? Or rather, what level of IC
fabrication would it be possible to construct from scratch?
And if the war were long (sticking to the military context) or the
conditions extreme (say, radical rapid global warming and a retreat to
polar regions) and so all the factories and infrastructure were lost
or had to be abandoned...
I'm thinking of the current global chip shortages, and the floods in
Thailand that screwed up supplies of hard disks a decade ago.
What could be constructed from scratch, given copious amounts of scrap
and waste for source materials?
And aside from the hardware:
Yes, modern computers have vast amounts of storage and power, but we
use them all on OSes and apps that need millions of lines of code in
dozens of languages, and gigabytes of storage.
As a result, although they are vastly quicker, latency is arguably _worse_ now:
What if... we had to reconstruct entire OSes and software stacks from
scratch? Maybe because the authors were dead. Maybe because the
computers they needed didn't work any more and couldn't be repaired.
Maybe because we had to make new computers and they were smaller and
How much could be rebuilt? What could be learned from the mistakes of old?
I recently wrote these pieces, which were fun to research:
There are so many UNIX-like kernels in C on Github I couldn't count
them all. In the many dozens, maybe hundreds.
This is doable. But there are fewer in C++. Fewer still in Rust or Go.
Very few in anything Wirthian or with garbage-collection.
Of course, sometimes I still miss the old days
and old ways. :-)
But then, isn't that why we are all here?
is relevant to this.
But is an 8-bit the biggest we could realistically construct if all
the IC fabs were destroyed?
Computers need memory, not ALU's. 4K static and 16k dynamic
were the last chips that seem to developed by hand. The late 1970's
would be a realistic
goal to rebuild a civilization to. Looking around even 1985 err 1955
is a good time frame if you want to include time travel,flying cars and
PS: Hurry up and drop them nukes, get rid of the X86 forever. :)
PPS: Did any computer implement
multilevel/trinary bolean logic ( true false unknown )