[Oberon] Commercial system

eas lab lab.eas at gmail.com
Sat Feb 8 16:24:11 CET 2014

> After reading the posts concerning the FPGA and Dr Wirth's recent work I
> would think that some enterprising you company would take up the torch
> and build a very inexpensive hardware/ software system.  Someone like
> Steve Jobs (Apple).
Compared to the 'Appel days', FPGA is irrelevant re. cost savings.

> I mention Apple because I had the privilege of discussing with George
> Pake, in 1975/6, who was director of PARC (Palo Alto Research Center)
> why Xerox had not yet brought forth the Alto as a commercial product.
> The short of his comments were "That's not our charter".
> It seems that for ETHZ, it also is not their charter.

Correct; and the FPGA leading into the software system IS a great
fit for their TEACHING charter.

> Surely there is someone reading this list who would be able to garner
> the resources and personal support necessary to confront the 'big guys',
> or at leased offer a nice alternative.

I've been watching that for decades:
=Indian Simputer failed for 'cultural reasons' - they can't collaborate/share.
=MIT's OneLapTopPerChild suffered from the US infinite-frontier/beBIG attitude.
 People like Wirth, with hardware background would have realised that 3rd-world
 users haven't got electricity to run current X86 CPUs.
 OTOH many aspects of OLPC were brilliant.
 Apparently many in the teaching profession hate the idea of OLPC. Luddites?
How much of education is "GOING to school"?
OLPC experimenters claim that dumping boxes of OLPC in remote/rural Ethiopia
proved that kids could learn how to use them without any human tutors.
I wonder how long the electric-accos lasted, with out charging faciliies?

= rPi seems to have succeeded !! It's smaller and less power consuming than
WinTel CPU's "air conditioner".
I was astounded: having sweated-blood trying to install festival [text to
speech] on my PC:Linux:Slakware and failed to compile the source, {C++ users
admit that it's a moving target} whereas rPi downloaded and installed it easily.

OTOH, that gives the kiddies the illusion that they "know what they are doing";
which mean rPi is failing as a teaching item. I claim it's absurd to need
a decrypted-ethernet-connection to access your rPi-files NEXT-TO your PC.

The rPi-kiddies who take the attitude "the facilities are there, and we know
what keys to press", will be un-employable compared to students who learned
how transistors & FPGA lead to a final system.

== Chris Glur.

PS. I wish I could get LEO [or any ETHO] to access gmail pop [no-http]
so that I could replace the problems with the 90's superior system.

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