Here’s a legitimate question, and one you should consider: If your CPU is 20 times faster than hardware from a decade ago, why does it take the same amount of time — sometimes longer — to go from a cold start to online and reading e-mail?
In light of desktop advances over the past few months, and ones that are due over the next few more, it becomes more and more curious.
Unity, KDE 4.6, Gnome 3 … are they all improvements, if they’re requiring the same amount of time, but more powerful hardware?
If I rephrase the question, it becomes easily blurred: If you have thirty to forty times the memory your computer had ten years ago, why does it require a proportionate — or perhaps even greater portion — amount of resources to manage day-to-day tasks?
At this point, conventional wisdom says, “Well, it’s easy and cheap to bolster the amount of resources available to a computer, so the question is moot.”
Quite to the contrary. Jamming a PC to the brim with the fastest processor and biggest hard drive and most memory does not erase the fact that the software it runs is becoming less efficient.
Which is a point asserted by the original question.
Which, by the way, was not mine. It’s from a Linux Journal article.
From nearly ten years ago.
It’s sad to think that, over the course of nearly a decade, the issue is still lurking. And oddly enough (or perhaps not), Marco Fioretti’s rationale for the RULE project is still lurking too.
But I’m just an end-user. I don’t code — I haven’t the time or the skills at this point in my life to make a meaningful and considerable contribution.
So perhaps pointing out the incongruity — the perversity, almost — of relying on stronger hardware to run heavier software to do the same tasks as a decade ago … well, maybe that’s rude.
But I am just an end-user, and that means I have the option of throwing my meager weight behind projects that don’t follow that trend.
It does not serve my interests to use or endorse software that needs additional hardware, not because of the financial implications, or ecological self-righteousness, or because of underprivileged communities elsewhere on the planet.
It’s because logically, at its core, the situation and popular prescription make no sense.
So no, I won’t be buying additional hardware to meet the demands of Unity or KDE 4.6 or Gnome 3, nor would I with Windows 7 or Mac OS … whatever Mac is up to these days.
When software and desktops follow a curve that suggests speed and efficiency over glitz and gluttony, I will be on board.
But until then, I am doing fine with a 15-year-old Pentium and a few razor-sharp console programs. To each his own.