[clug] Linux Resources

George at Clug Clug at goproject.info
Sat Aug 3 13:58:06 UTC 2019

On Saturday, 03-08-2019 at 23:12 Brenton Ross via linux wrote:
> On Sat, 2019-08-03 at 18:59 +1000, George at Clug via linux wrote:
> > 
> > 
> >  Today, as I do from time to time, I have just been "thinking" about
> > the "Desktop Personal Computer", where it has been, and wondering when
> > and how it will be phased out and replaced as a concept?
> > 
> > 
> > How many more years do you think the "Desktop Personal Computer" will
> > exist for?  Anyone willing to guess?  Maybe 10, less that 20?
> > 
> The first thing in a discussion like this is to define what is meant by
> "Personal Computer". I would suggest that it must be able to fulfil
> three criteria:
> 1. Be able to run application programs on the device without external
> support.
> 2. Be able to store the data for those applications on the device.
> 3. Be able to be programmed by the users of the device.

Definitely a good description for  "Personal Computer", and for "Desktop" I like "big sized box with large powerful components inside that can be replaced when required, like upgrading CPU, RAM, and DISK".

For point three, I would have been happy with just "Be able the only one to manage/control the device"

> I find it interesting that "open source" came into being because it was
> considered that not having the source code for the applications allowed
> the vendors to effectively control access to our data.

Yes, "Personal" means I get to control who has access to my data, and that control means ONLY I have access to my data, not other third party and their "friends", and "friends of friends", whether for marketing or any other purpose.

> We are now in the process of moving the applications and even the data
> to servers run by those same vendors. Does this sound like a good idea
> to anyone ??

Sounds like a dreadful idea to me, total lost of privacy and security.

> Sadly, the convenience of internet based applications seems to appeal
> to the vast majority of users.

My experience is that "the vast majority of users" don't care what happens to their data (until they find out).

> The result is that for most users a computer has become a machine for
> running a web browser. It is certainly not necessary for it to be a PC.
> The result is the emergence of Chromebooks and the decline in the sales
> of PCs. I suppose if we are honest a smartphone and perhaps a
> Chromebook are all the computing most people really need.
> These sort of trends tend to become self-reinforcing. As the sales of
> low cost PC give way to Chromebooks, they will be dropped from the
> market which will encourage an even larger movement away from PCs. As
> the sales volume drops the prices will inevitably rise, which further
> reinforces the trend.

This is how I see things going. Web Browser devices like iPads, Chromebooks and smart phones.

> Eventually there will only be a few, very expensive, PCs available to
> satisfy the small market of professionals that need the computing power
> locally. [This is of no consequence to the computer manufacturing
> industry as they will be building machines for server farms.]

It is likely that even professional power computers will be in the cloud too, accessed via the Web Browser Devices (WBD)
> However, all is not lost. It is now possible to acquire a proper PC at
> low cost in the form of an ARM based machine, such as the RaspberryPi.
> I expect that we will always have some form of entry level machine, at
> least for as long as it is thought that teaching computing is a good
> idea.

I am amazed how powerful devices like RaspberryPies are (play HD YouTube videos), but I was more thinking about AMD Ryzen 3900X as minimum specifications for a CPU.

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