Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

"Good Enough" Computers Are the Future

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the adequate-for-light-word-processing-and-small-sums dept.

Linux Business 515

An anonymous reader writes "Over on the PC World blog, Keir Thomas engages in some speculative thinking. Pretending to be writing from the year 2025, he describes a world of 'Good Enough computing,' wherein ultra-cheap PCs and notebooks (created to help end-users weather the 'Great Recession' of the early 21st century) are coupled to open source operating systems. This is possible because even the cheapest chips have all the power most people need nowadays. In what is effectively the present situation with netbooks writ large, he sees a future where Microsoft is priced out of the entire desktop operating system market and can't compete. It's a fun read that raises some interesting points."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Smart enough... (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678579)

...and doggone, people like them!

Re:Smart enough... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27678699)

Linux just isn't ready for the desktop yet. It may be ready for the web servers that you nerds use to distribute your TRON fanzines and personal Dungeons and Dragons web-sights across the world wide web, but the average computer user isn't going to spend months learning how to use a CLI and then hours compiling packages so that they can get a workable graphic interface to check their mail with, especially not when they already have a Windows machine that does its job perfectly well and is backed by a major corporation, as opposed to Linux which is only supported by a few unemployed nerds living in their mother's basement somewhere. The last thing I want is a level 5 dwarf (haha) providing me my OS.

Re:Smart enough... (5, Funny)

thousandinone (918319) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678861)

I'm level 6 you insensitive clod!

Re:Smart enough... (5, Insightful)

suso (153703) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678905)

Its funny because the same feeling people get about using Linux (will it run what I need to), I now get when I boot into Windows. I sit there in front of windows and wonder, what can I do with this? I'm not sure its going to run the applications I need it to. The tables have turned.

Re:Smart enough... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27678985)

It may be off-topic, but it's clearly true. You're being censored by the elite Marxist team of Slashdot police whose goals include the destruction of capitalism and the total annihilation of American values.

Re:Smart enough... (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678991)

It's "websites/web sites", not "web-sights".

Re:Smart enough... (1)

Burkin (1534829) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679117)

No shit... It's almost as if that troll post specifically misspells that word on purpose...

Re:Smart enough... (5, Insightful)

Jezza (39441) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679065)

Have you actually seen Linux? Honestly - you CAN learn the CLI (and a powerful skill it is) but you really don't NEED to (no more than you need to use the CLI in Windows).

Take a look at Ubuntu (which is one of the easiest Linux's out there). It's simple to install. Adding applications is easy. Updating is easy. Seriously, what's not to like (apart from the brown colour scheme)?

You can get plenty of paid support, from proper firms (Oracle, Novell, IBM - to name a few). I'm not sure where the engineers live, but they've got jobs (even if they don't have windows).

Re:Smart enough... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27679209)

I think the post must have been a joke. It seemed vaguely reminiscent - try googling:

"The last thing I want is a level 5 dwarf"

Re:Smart enough... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27679073)

I'm fairly certain parent is a joke comment, but it irks me in a way that if Loretta irked me in that way, I'd say "Oh no, I've just expelled vomit on your new carpet."

I honestly hope the blindly ignorant who are unwilling to learn do not receive the world after World War III. If they do, I hope that I am not in it.

Re:Smart enough... (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679201)

"I honestly hope the blindly ignorant who are unwilling to learn do not receive the world after World War III"

They're the ones most likely to cause WWIII, and most likely to take control afterward because ignorance breeds violence (my assertion) and unwarranted self-assuredness [damninteresting.com] .

Re:Smart enough... (1)

AnalPerfume (1356177) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679141)

Mod +1 Funny.

Re:Smart enough... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679157)

You might have been something other than a retard or a troll if the only distros out there were Slackware and Gentoo. But, as it is, 1997 called and wants their operating system rant back.

meh (5, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678587)

Being saying since the Pentium II days. This "always-be-upgrading-the-latest-spec" is fine for hardcore users, but for everybody else, "good enough" happened quite a few hardware generations ago. The sad part is that we're only now having this conversation.

Re:meh (5, Interesting)

Feminist-Mom (816033) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678669)

There will always be higher res movies to view and process, and more data from the world to be saved. I remember one colleague telling me in 1995 that if I got a 2 gig drive it would never be full.

Re:meh (2, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678755)

You're missing the point. As I said above, there's a difference between hardcore users and genpop. My mom's a great example. A simple, lightweight email/web/skype tablet, and she's all set. And ~500Mhz of processing power is all you really need for that.

Re:meh (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678995)

For viewing an Atom/ION system will work very well. Processing? One does wonder if an Atom/ION system would do that as well for you average home users if the editing software took advantage of the GPU.

Re:meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27679099)

And for scientific research, video games, video conversion, music transcoding, and lots of other jobs, you really need lots of power

Re:meh (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679077)

mp3 has been around for how long? There's a peak to the curve of diminishing returns. I have a 61" TV, and anything higher than 1920x1080 would be almost useless from far enough away to see the whole screen. Why would video have to get any higher res? There are human physical limits to vision and hearing. We got to the audio limits quite a while ago with mp3. Video is just now getting there. The only thing left is 3D or some other killer app, but for right now, all the media most people care to consume is handled by almost every current machine. And even HD is overkill if you ask many older people... they can barely tell the difference.

Re:meh (1)

Jezza (39441) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679121)

Sure, but most people can be an iteration (or two) behind. Very few people need (or could even benefit from) the latest hardware hotness, Will you need to upgrade? Sure. Do you need the fastest machine you can get your grubby mitts on? Probably not.

Re:meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27678719)

"Good Enough" ... for what? ... that is the key. Its diminishing returns, *for some tasks*, other tasks, we are not even close. (With a world moving towards ever more data mining, there's going to be vast amounts of data in the future to process, in ever more ways).

Re:meh (5, Insightful)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678781)

Yeah I expect "The Year of Good Enough Hardware" will coincide with the 10th anniversary of the "Year of Linux on the Desktop".

We didn't need fast computers for everyday computing and then we started indexing the entire hard drive.
We didn't need fast computers for everyday use and then we started watching YouTube h264.
We didn't need fast computers for everyday use and then we wanted to be able to preview documents without opening them.
We didn't need fast computers for everyday use and then we wanted to be able to...

The list goes on and on.

Re:meh (1)

InvisibleClergy (1430277) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678999)

> then we wanted to be able to preview documents without opening them.

Then we disabled this feature because it's stupid as hell. I don't want anyone looking over my shoulder at something just because I accidentally clicked on it with my touchpad.

Re:meh (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679183)

I really don't know who you are talking about with respect to the "we". I think your examples are pretty overrated, there has to be better examples, because those are features that the tech enthusiasts want, not necessarily everyone else. I expect there will always be those that want certain features, but most other people don't necessarily need them. We needed another computer so we fired up an old dual 500MHz computer (about 11 years old now) and it works pretty well what is expected of it. It even does internet video pretty well. OpenOffice takes a while to open, but once it's opened, it stays in memory.

phhhhf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27678839)

Sounds just like a man whose never played Crysis on the 'Superduper Extreme Fantastic' Graphic setting.

On an unrelated note, can I borrow some money?

Re:meh (3, Interesting)

grocer (718489) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678883)

Good enough has changed because Linux keeps up with the Windows upgrade cycle...I attempted to dust off a Pentium II 300 with 448mb RAM, 40 gig hard drive, CD-ROM, DVD/CD-RW, ESS Mastro II PCI sound card, and an Nvidia TNT2 (32 mb). To a get a mostly usable system (partially attributable to broken ACPI), I went from Ubuntu 8.04 to 8.10 to XUbuntu 8.10 before ultimately making a reasonable net appliance with FreeBSD-7.1 & XFce4...that lasted about two weeks until I got a DFI AK76-SN with an Athlon XP 1800+, 512mb RAM, and an Nvidia Ti4200 (128mb) from my brother because I was bitching about not being able to get a stable system from ancient hardware...granted I moved from circa '97-'98 hardware to probably about '00-'01 but what a difference 3 years makes when the current kernel has been basically synced to the MS upgrade cycle because that's what's been driving hardware development...I now have Ubuntu 8.04 running on a completely usable system, no difference from the XP Pro box upstairs in terms of functionality.

Re:meh (4, Insightful)

Moebius Loop (135536) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679095)

...but what a difference 3 years makes when the current kernel has been basically synced to the MS upgrade cycle...

I don't think it's fair to claim the kernel is synced to the MS upgrade cycle -- the kernel is not the problem, it's the desktop environments and the distros that feature them that are chasing the OSX/MS "bells and whistles".

Re:meh (1)

AlHunt (982887) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679185)

I hate to "me too", but basically the same thing here. I grabbed a collection of cast off, broken PCs from Freecycle and cobbled 3 usable machines together. One, a 1.5gig Athlon, 512 megs of RAM, 40gig/7200 rpm HD and 128Meg video card w/ s-video out. It lives behind my tv, dedicated to streaming video.

Now that I think about it, I'm typing this on a similar cast-off P4 (I won't bore you with specs).

Good Enough is, in fact, good enough.

Re:meh (1)

rockNme2349 (1414329) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678917)

Im posting this from my desktop running on a Z80

Re:meh (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679011)

Your desktop is a classic GameBoy?

Re:meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27679045)

Ah, running SymbOS [symbos.de] are you? MSX, CPC or PCW version?

Re:meh (5, Insightful)

Eil (82413) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678923)

Agreed completely. There was a time when I absolutely had to have the latest and greatest just to get things done. Now, my ome and work PCs are years old and are running CPUs that were low-budget even when brand new.

Unless you're building some kind of specialized business or research system, the only reasons to shell out thousands of dollars on hardware is if you're doing virtualization or are a hardcore gamer with no social life. :P

Re:meh (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679089)

i'll go with the already here also :)

The fastest computer in the office is a P4-3GHZ. As long as it has HT it will do for office work here. If i bought anti-virus for the sonicwall and deleted if off the desktops we could be using 2GHz or less machines still.

Our main app uses a terminal emulator. Using Windows XP with antivirus running takes at least a P4 2.5GHz HT CPU to successfully emulate a DUMB terminal without lag from the local computer.

Most horsepower now seems to go to run the system itself :(

Re:meh (4, Insightful)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678937)

Being saying since the Pentium II days. This "always-be-upgrading-the-latest-spec" is fine for hardcore users, but for everybody else, "good enough" happened quite a few hardware generations ago. The sad part is that we're only now having this conversation.

Eh, it seems different now - companies don't just have a range of products ranging from slow to fast, they actually champion some of their slower products (netbooks). Even power users are buying a netbook for on the go use, because they are mostly good enough. Sure, we have big fast desktops, but this is the first time even power users are buying low powered machines.
-Taylor

Re:meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27679227)

exactly, fast desktop, slow but mobile laptop.

Re:meh (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679067)

The sad part is that "good enough to run badly written hardware" is what everybody wants and that there is no limit to what it can consume.

Compare/Contrast with Apple (1, Insightful)

rsborg (111459) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678595)

Apple prides itself on some very quality products (both hardware and software) and makes quite a penny. Not to mention BMW, Dyson, etc... the list goes on about companies that spend a lot on design and reap the rewards.

Re:Compare/Contrast with Apple (4, Funny)

ijakings (982830) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678939)

Im sorry, you seem to have failed to make any form of point.

Please re-insert your thought process and try again.

Re:Compare/Contrast with Apple (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679111)

And when people have reduced budgets because the economy tanks, "design over function" companies like BMW, Dyson and Apple will go by the wayside.

And yes, it is design over function. Consumer Reports puts Dyson as worse performing than many other vacuums, and it gets near the bottom of the price/performance ratio. Same with BMW. The premium of the price is not nearly worth the miniscule actual improvement of the product.

Fear Not (1)

drrck (959788) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678601)

The future operating systems will ensure that the average joe needs the latest and greatest so that the Geek Squad will support their PC.

What is 'good enough'? (4, Interesting)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678603)

This kinda of reminds of the '640KB should be enough for everyone' theory. If everyone is just content surfing the web and writing e-mails, then sure the 'good enough' solution sounds fair, but if 'good enough' also means dealing with a Windows ME experience then no thanks. At the same time what is considered 'good enough' will evolve over time and new solutions are created and user expectations evolve.

Will my 'good enough' computer handle my photo library, my 32MP entry level camera, recognise the faces in my photo collection. This sound like far fetched stuff today, but as these technologies peculate down from high end systems and people get used to the computer doing more of their mind-numbing repetitive tasks, user expectation will adapt and want them in their 'good enough' computers.

In many ways plenty of people are already using 'good enough' computers. Whether they are satisfied with them is a whole other question.

Re:What is 'good enough'? (2, Insightful)

lewiscr (3314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678799)

Will my 'good enough' computer handle my photo library, my 32MP entry level camera, recognise the faces in my photo collection. This sound like far fetched stuff today, but as these technologies peculate down from high end systems and people get used to the computer doing more of their mind-numbing repetitive tasks, user expectation will adapt and want them in their 'good enough' computers.

Today's "Good Enough" computer won't. Tomorrow's "Good Enough" computer will.

And from the FA, a "Good Enough" computer won't last forever. It just has to last long enough that Microsoft destroys itself because people don't buy a new OS every 2 years.

Re:What is 'good enough'? (4, Informative)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678835)

iLife '09 already tries (and does a decent job, if the demos are to be believed) of categorizing your photos by setting and subject. It uses face recognition and any embedded GPS data in the image file from your camera to do so.

BTW, I'm not an Apple fanboy, and I'm pissed that's what was covered in their presentation Sunday that was supposed to be about how environmentally friendly their systems and manufacturing processes are.

Re:What is 'good enough'? (1)

rockNme2349 (1414329) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678873)

How good is this computer?

Good Enough.

That's not good enough!

Re:What is 'good enough'? (3, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679125)

I have no idea why, but this is how it sounded when I read it:

(Futurama)

Pr. Farnsworth: How good is this computer?

Fry: Good Enough.

Pr. Farnsworth: That's not good enough!

Re:What is 'good enough'? (2, Funny)

rockNme2349 (1414329) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679215)

That's what I was going for, except the actual quote goes like this:

Fry: How soon will we get there?

Glurmo: Soon enough.

Fry: That's not soon enough!

"Good enough" is what people actually DO (5, Insightful)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678921)

The reality is that computers today "live longer" than they used to. Having a 9-10 year old computer was once unthinkable; it's now almost normal for just about any old Pentium 4 to still be in use today, and the Pentium 4 was apparently released in late 2000. [raptureready.com]

I put a new (but cheap!) AGP video card into an older P4 desktop computer (hint: PC-133 RAM!) that my son now uses to play Spore - one of the newer, hotter games around - it plays just great.

It's a trend - computers are "doing" for longer than they used to. They are in use for longer, and people hang on to them longer. They are less willing to buy the top-end because there's no reason to.

Re:What is 'good enough'? (4, Insightful)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678929)

This kinda of reminds of the '640KB should be enough for everyone' theory. If everyone is just content surfing the web and writing e-mails, then sure the 'good enough' solution sounds fair, but if 'good enough' also means dealing with a Windows ME experience then no thanks. At the same time what is considered 'good enough' will evolve over time and new solutions are created and user expectations evolve.

That last sentence is the key to the whole debate. There's been wicked kewl shite just over the horizon ever since I've been in computers and for quite a few years beforehand. But we've reached a point where the innovations in software don't really require more horsepower on the user's machine.

If we strictly consider the office work environment, we pretty much had everything we needed with win2k and office2k. There's been no new killer app introduced since then. Probably the only argument to be made is that there's more in excel 2007 than in 2k but those extra goodies came at the price of a lot of crap.

Also bear in mind that the customer base has fragmented tremendously. Computer users used to be a unified market of geeks and business types but now it's as fragmented as the user base for home entertainment. Some people are happy with a small broadcast TV, some people need a thousand cable channels and a 72" screen with all the doodads. Both people are in the same general market but their segments are widely divergent.

Will my 'good enough' computer handle my photo library, my 32MP entry level camera, recognise the faces in my photo collection. This sound like far fetched stuff today, but as these technologies peculate down from high end systems and people get used to the computer doing more of their mind-numbing repetitive tasks, user expectation will adapt and want them in their 'good enough' computers.

Call that ten years from now. I don't have an interest in photography now, probably won't by then, but since you do you'll be happy to upgrade for those features. I know I'll have a different machine by then and will be doing different things. Your mother might still be happy running on your trade-down, it does everything she needs.

In many ways plenty of people are already using 'good enough' computers. Whether they are satisfied with them is a whole other question.

Fifteen years ago most people didn't have a need for web and email so developing that need was pretty big in the first place. Some may never progress beyond that point.

depends on where the apps are run (1)

xzvf (924443) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678963)

If you are still running everything locally then 'good enough' is a moving target. I've found that my desktop requirements are dropping as I move my storage to a NAS appliance, my applications to server class hardware, etc. In business it is very much the same. Doesn't have to be the cloud.

Re:What is 'good enough'? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679097)

"Will my 'good enough' computer handle my photo library, my 32MP entry level camera, recognize the faces in my photo collection. "
I hope they don't come out with 32MP entry level cameras.
First of all even a 10 MP is good enough for some very large prints and is more than big enough for most monitors.
Second 32MP with crappy optics will still give you crappy pictures. Optics are not driven by Moore's law.
What hopefully will happen is that senors speed, color, and low light performance will increase. Probably will not happen since way too many people are too dumb to see past the MP rating.

Also yes good enough will always creep up. The thing is right now most PCs are a lot more than good enough. Also a lot of PCs are not used in homes at all. Office PCs are a huge market and most of them run Office and a few light apps that of a form and database nature.

Get what you pay for (3, Interesting)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678607)

I'm all for cutting costs using an open source OS, but the problem with increasingly cheaper hardware is staying power. Yeah it might be all you need, but how long is it going to be around for. Of course the trade off is, is it cheaper to get short term cheap computers, or long term expensive computers. And, to top it all off, if we do switch to a disposable computing model will we having recycling programs in place to make sure we reuse the rare and valuable parts, and keep the really toxic parts out of landfills?

Re:Get what you pay for (1)

fisticuffs (1537381) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678825)

short term cheap computers, or long term expensive computers.

False dichotomy. As long as there isn't a non-free OS monopoly which essentially forces upgrades which require better hardware each iteration, then almost all hardware stays relevant in the long term. There will always be exceptions for hardcore gaming, visualization, media development, etc.

As Captain Splendid said above, it's actually been that way for awhile - though Microsoft and other monopolists wouldn't want Joe User to realize that.

Re:Get what you pay for (1)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678907)

Oh no, I'm not implying that we constantly need better more powerful hardware, I'm saying that the cheaper hardware wears out and breaks down much quicker.

Re:Get what you pay for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27679003)

And would would a hypothetical free OS monopoly be inherently better about churn?

Firefox is arguably one of the largest and most successful open source projects in existence, and yet it only supports ~8 years of old operating systems which are (compared to hardware) easy to replicate and test on. Firefox is at least an order of magnitude to maintain than an operating system. On what basis would open source operating systems or projects be excluded from resource limits that non-free operating system developments face?

You know... (1, Funny)

Zarim (1167823) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678611)

640K is more memory than anyone will ever need.

Re:You know... (1)

grocer (718489) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679085)

You say that yet FreeBSD boots and reports 639K/xxxxxxMB free and I think to myself, damn, I'd kill to have 639K on the old Tandy XT...

"Good Enough" is now and always has been (5, Interesting)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678615)

There is nothing particularly insightful about the article. Obviously the largest portion of the computer using population would never need cutting edge power, so effectively "good enough" has always been the paradigm. How many of us have super computers? This is just a piece with some wishful thinking hoping that people eventually see through Microsoft's coerced perpetual upgrade cycle.

Re:"Good Enough" is now and always has been (5, Funny)

lewiscr (3314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678819)

How many of us have super computers?

I own a PS3, you insensitive clod!

People will upgrade to Windows 7 (4, Insightful)

levell (538346) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678643)

The article argues that people won't upgrade from XP - it expects that as MS tries to force them, people will migrate to Linux instead. I think as Microsoft discontinues support for XP, people will move to Windows 7 - sales of Windows based netbooks seem to be much higher than for Linux.

Whether the same will hold true when the time comes for MS to try to get people to upgrade from Windows 7 to whatever comes next, it's too early to tell. Hopefully by then Linux will have managed to gain enough market share that most people have heard of it and/or know someone running it and the barrier to a non-MS OS will be much lower

Re:People will upgrade to Windows 7 (4, Interesting)

tchuladdiass (174342) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678743)

But Windows won't run on the next generation of netbook computers (the ARM-based ones, such as what Freescale/Pegatron is comming out with). Unless you count WinCE. But Linux will run the same apps as always, since everything can be (and has been) ported.

Of course, this hinges on the assumption that ARM-based netbooks will take off, and I think they will. For one thing, they get much better battery life than you can get out of an x86 (even though Atom is low powered, you still have the thirsty chipset). And the prices are better than most of the x86 netbooks ($100 to $200).

Re:People will upgrade to Windows 7 (4, Interesting)

levell (538346) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678899)

Not all Linux software is OSS. If Flash (for example) wasn't available to ARM, I think it would make them less attractive - my wife spends a lot of time watching the BBC iPlayer on our Asus EEE.

This article [engadget.com] claims the ARM version of Flash will be out in May. I hope it is. I like our EEE but an 8hour battery life for the price they are talking about would be enough to make me buy one.

Re:People will upgrade to Windows 7 (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678763)

The article argues that people won't upgrade from XP - it expects that as MS tries to force them, people will migrate to Linux instead. I think as Microsoft discontinues support for XP, people will move to Windows 7 - sales of Windows based netbooks seem to be much higher than for Linux.

I have no issue upgrading to a 'new and better' operating system, on the condition that I see some worth in what's new and better. The issue I have with Windows Vista and Windows 7, is that other than higher hardware requirements, I am not sure what it is offering me that I don't already have? Is it making my life easier? Is going through the hoops of learning a new UI going to provide me a better usage experience? and where are those options hidden now?

Re:People will upgrade to Windows 7 (2, Insightful)

levell (538346) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678977)

I have no issue upgrading to a 'new and better' operating system, on the condition that I see some worth in what's new and better.

Once XP isn't supported and security flaws continue to be discovered, staying on XP will be unappealing.

Re:People will upgrade to Windows 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27679081)

>[...] sales of Windows based netbooks seem to be much higher than for Linux.

Well, they *are* much higher. The reason for that is simple: There are no Linux versions of the better models available. In Germany the best Eee with Linux you can buy is the 900A. So, if you want a better one you gotta pick the Windows version - even if you intend to run Linux or if you could get a Windows license for free.

Re:People will upgrade to Windows 7 (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679155)

I do agree, however it appears that Microsoft is making $15 per copy of XP installed on netbooks in order to compete with the Linux offering. Is it really going to want to offer Windows 7 Starter Crippled Edition for that fee? $50 however is going to be a significant difference to a purchaser who may look at that XP CD sitting on the shelf, if they get to that stage - once netbook Linux is good enough.

With people buying netbooks instead of their next laptop, that's less income for Microsoft. But still enough for them to thrive. Of course 10, 15 years out is a long time. 10 years ago KDE1 ruled Linux desktops. KDE4.3 will arguably be an awesome desktop. XP in a VM could be enough for backwards compatibility going forward.

the future is the past (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678649)

about 10 years ago it because apparent that the good enough PC was the future. Hot swappable parts, up to entire CPUS and redundant data storage meant the for many applications running 20 computer, with five down at any time, became an effective solution.

I don't know how less good enough computers are going to become over the next ten years. It might be a an issue of power, but I think what happened is that we realized that computers became over powered for the average user. This is not an issue of good enough, but of not expending resources on things that pretty much have no value.

Mrs. Clinton (0, Flamebait)

us7892 (655683) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678661)

The corporation narrowly fought off an antitrust judgment under the (first) Clinton and Bush administrations

I thought Obama was going to serve 5 terms as president, after the constitution was amended of course. Mrs. Clinton never gets her shot as President! Obama, will after all, turn the world into a utopia, and "good enough" will apply to all aspects of society, and we'll all smile and nod our heads in peaceful bliss.

Re:Mrs. Clinton (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27678895)

Better yet, to keep all things fair, maximum computing standards will be issued to address the "computation gap". This will augment our government mandated maximum automobile spec and our government mandated maximum health care spec and our government mandated maximum income....

Now there's no more oak oppression, for they've passed a noble law --and the trees are all kept equal, by hatchet, axe and saw....

Re:Mrs. Clinton (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27679079)

epic fail at humor.

The future? (3, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678663)

Hell, that was 10 years ago.

If we hadn't let the programmers run amok and force them to write efficient code, what we had back then was 'good enough' for most people. ( not all, but most )

And to prove my point, i'm still running a 10 year old desktop with a 900mhz PIII running Freebsd on a daily basis.

So you're running XP? (1)

TravisO (979545) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679135)

Ok it's only been 8yrs not 10, but yes, XP is pretty old now and most people still view it as "good enough".

Re:The future? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27679219)

A curse and a blessing.

Good software runs blazing fast on newer machines.
Newer machines are able to do what older machines can't do in reasonable time.

OTOH J. Average Programmer won't necessarily try to wring the processor's neck for all it's worth because his solution is fast enough on his fast machine.

Despite that, I prefer having the advancements and more processing power than I'll ever need. Just like with my motorcycle, which can go twice as than I'll ever want to drive. Ahh.

silicon is cheaper than good coders (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27679221)

The market wants cheap Java coders mass produced from India and Nehalems, not expensive Linux programmers and P3s.

Welcome to my world (2, Informative)

jsiren (886858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678689)

Not willing to spend a lot of money on something that will lose its value faster than... well... anything, really, I have adopted the "good enough computing" doctrine years ago: I find computers that are sufficiently powerful for my use as cheaply as possible - nowadays they're usually free. I have gotten several perfectly good computers by saying "I can take that off your hands if you want.

So far all my software needs have been covered with Linux and other open source software.

I do have two Macs, but they follow the same philosophy: the combination of hardware+software is good enough for the purpose, and keeps its value better than a PC. [source: local sales of secondhand computers]

Umm. Yeah? (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678695)

Is predicting the rise of "good enough" really all that bold? Although we don't think of it this way, the rise of "good enough" has already happened at least once.

Remember all those $10,000+ Real Serious Workstations, running Real Serious OSes that real computer users did real work on, back when the kiddies were twiddling bits on the Z80 box they built in their garage? All of them are dead. Almost all computers now in use are the direct descendants of the low end crap of the past.

Further, even within the category of boring x86s, almost all of us are already running something much closer to "good enough" than to "good". Some enormous proportion of PCs are in the sub-$1000 category, which still entails a bunch of tradeoffs(not nearly as many as it used to; but still).

It will, indeed, be interesting if Microsoft hits the chopping block during the next round of "good enough"ing(or, more realistically, gets shoved to rather more cost insensitive business sectors that like backwards compatibility, the same way IBM was); but "good enough" is already all around us.

Never going to Happen. (2, Insightful)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678701)

Especially since the advent of "Slop-Ware" and Windows versions that need exponentially more power and capacity than the last version.

Netbooks (1)

Haoie (1277294) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678703)

Even now, the low end, cheaper netbooks [often with no CD drive or even hard drive] are very popular.

A lot of people like to use them as a smaller, less costly replacement or addition to a full blown laptop.

big dangers (1)

sofar (317980) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678711)

we have to remain careful of competition - being cheaper doesn't help if someone is selling hardware or software under market price in order to maintain market share.

nobody can deny that Microsoft is basically giving Windows XP away for free on netbooks. While they are totally able to do this, Linux can't make up for this loss by stashing vast amounts of money from other overpriced software.

what we need to do is beat microsoft on usability on every aspect, not just price. Including marketability, liability and everything you can imagine.

Re:big dangers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27678919)

Can someone explain why the massive aim is to beat microsoft, and linux have a massive majority market share? I used to think this way myself, but lately I've changed my mind. The only advantage I can see if recognition from manufacturers for drivers and software makers doing ports. If those are the aim, it seems like there might be better ways to do it than just aiming for the biggest market share possible. Why are people not content to just make the "best" software they can that the userbase it has will prefer, rather than trying to appeal to everybody and convert friends/family.

Is this better or worse than... (1)

jimbudncl (1263912) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678757)

an OK Computer [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Is this better or worse than... (1)

rbrausse (1319883) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678865)

worse.

something like "Fitter Happier" needs an amount of cynicism a good enough computer can _never_ handle

2025! (4, Funny)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678777)

The year of the Linux desktop!

Microsoft knew this a long time ago (3, Interesting)

orev (71566) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678783)

Microsoft knew this a long time ago. That's why they are where they are today... everywhere. You don't need something that's perfect and awesome, you just need something good enough so people can get by. The cost savings you get by not putting tons of effort into perfection can be passed on to consumers, who almost always buy on price alone.

Windows is Adware now (1)

bbn (172659) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678787)

By selling Windows XP you can bundle in a lot of trial versions of programs like Microsoft Office, virus scan etc. New computers are stuffed up with adware these days.

This means the effective price of Windows XP is actually negative. Something Linux can not compete with. Who wants to pay to bundle a trial of an office package with Linux that comes with Open Office preinstalled?

Cars (2, Insightful)

Cillian (1003268) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678813)

To continue the usual car analogy, this isn't what has happened with technology such as cars. Cars were "Good enough" long ago, but these days most cars still have an excess of performance and are far from "Good enough". Ok, I'm not entirely serious - I think we'll reach a point with computers where the performance gain becomes negligible (Either that or the current trend of bloat and crap increasing and everything being just as slow will continue). As there has been a recent surge in more environmental/efficient cars, similar things seem to be happening to computers - there are a decent number of advances in saving power and things these days in technology.

Maybe (1)

darpo (5213) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678869)

Keep in mind that we cannot predict the future. There may come along some amazing, got-to-have killer app that netbooks and five year old Dell desktops can't run. Maybe high-def Twitter video feeds. Who knows? But let's not get complacent and assume that just because hardware is good enough for now, that it will always be.

Doesn't Microsoft subsidize its OS? (1)

InvisibleClergy (1430277) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678887)

> To keep costs down, the manufacturers shied away from pre-installing expensive Microsoft products and instead distributed Linux (and later various renditions of BSD and OpenSolaris too).

I believe that Microsoft pays manufacturers to put Windows on their machines. I don't think most of their profit has ever been from their OS, but rather from their add-ons like MS Word and such. Things people don't think they can live without.

I could be wrong, but I believe there was an article about that with regard to netbooks a while back.

Small/Medium Businesses (5, Insightful)

notarockstar1979 (1521239) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678903)

I've been in the small/medium sized business support for a while and I'm here to tell you that "Good Enough Computers" are the standard. You'll have a few engineers and designers (along with a boss or two that is a wannabe nerd) that have the latest and greatest but the vast majority of users in those businesses have had good enough computers for a long time. Sally Dataentryspecialist has a computer that she can type up Word documents on. Jimmy Executive has a laptop that's just good enough to browse porn and play DVDs. This includes home computers. They never ask about some brand new state of the art system (see exceptions above), it's always about the eMachine or Gateway that their dear grandmother left them when she died, and the only use it saw before they had it was traveling to church websites on Sunday.

This is especially true in small town America.

I'm surprised no one's mentioned this (2, Insightful)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678925)

But "good enough" computing won't suffice for gamers. They're usually the ones who drive the cycle of upgrading usually anyways. Most gamers' systems are ridiculously overpowered (mine included), and will continue to be so, well after games have reached the point to be indistiguishable from reality. They're always going to want to push that just one FPS more, that extra level of AA, etc. PC gaming enthusiasts won't go away, and as more generations grow up with computers, they'll become more adept at using them, meaning they're going to be doing more, pushing systems harder. Frankly, most PCs from the past might very well have been good enough - if they'd had the RAM available to run a Web Client, Email Client, IM client, video player, casual game, and random other widgets and programs in the background without slowing to a crawl. Think that's excessive? I've seen it, multiple times. So imagine kids wanting to do even more than that all at once. Ignore the Windows vs. Linux argument. The core of it is, even if people got to the point where they all flipped over to Linux, the "good enough" computers of today just wouldn't be acceptable for the kids of tomorrow. However, it will also be like the seniors of today using their large cabinet TVs that are 20+ years old. Once someone today finds a computer that will let them do all their stuff that they need, they'll stick with it, or something similar for as long as they can. TFA is just an author-wank.

JAVA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27678983)

J2EE Java Enterprise Edition
WSDL Web Services Description Language
EJB Enterprise Java Beans
JSP Java Server Pages
JSTL JavaServer Pages Standard Tag Library
JMS Java Message Service
JTA Java Transaction API
JAF Java Activation Framework
JAXP Java API for XML Processing
JAX-RPC Java API for XML-based RPC
SAAJ SOAP with Attachments API for Java
JAXR Java API for XML Registries
DOM Document Object Model
SAX Simple API for XML
JNDI Java Naming and Directory Interface
JAAS Authentication and Authorization Service

Please, help expand

Good enough is what it is... (0)

creimer (824291) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679031)

This is the reason why I felt compelled to upgrade from dual-core to quad-core for the processor, or go from 4GB to 8GB for the system RAM. None of the software that I use will benefit from the increases. Now if the price was right, then I might upgrade because I'm a cheap bastard. I'm still waiting to get a quad-core processor for $50 USD or less.

Parkinson's Law applies (4, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679047)

Parkinson's law is "Work expands to fill all available time". It applies to processing power too. What's "good enough" today won't be "good enough" tommorrow, because someone will invent some CPU-sucking memory-hogging disk-flogging killer app that everybody will want to have.

I don't know what it will be. But then again, who predicted grandmothers would be editing home movies of their grandkids on their computers? Try that on a machine which is just "good enough" for email and the web.

Give me a terminal to the cloud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27679057)

I spoke to a colleague earlier this month who takes mounds of corporate data with her on the road.

Her office doesn't allow remote access yet.

When it does, all she'll need is a terminal-appliance notebook that has wireless access and a printer. She'll be able to trade her full-featured notebook for a cheaper, less fragile, more theft-resistant, full-featured desktop.

Ego Sum Magis Cynical (1)

wdhowellsr (530924) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679059)

We will, within ten to twenty years, find ourselves in a world where, in theory, everyone has access to the same technology. The fact is Microsoft, Oracle, IBM and all of the others will realize that the Internet is like Aerosmith, the poor man's Rolling Stones. All data will be centralized and coordinated by governments and the wealthy to be parlayed into election results and financial gain.

Those unlikely enough to be on the outside of this new class-based proprietary world will be lulled into believing that they are happy. The end result will be a pseudo-matrix that allows the haves to control the have nots without anyone being the wiser.

Or perhaps not.

William David Howell Sr.

The curse of PC world (1)

mevets (322601) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679063)

The obvious going mainstream seems to be the stimulus for it ceasing to be true. Extrapolating from the popularity of sensor equipped devices, like the wii & iphone, it seems likely that computers that monitor and respond to your gestures, voice and attention will be arriving soon.

Bull hit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27679069)

IF people where to migrate to OSS, it would have happened already: see Windows ME and Windows Vista.

Microsoft survived the release of Windows Vista and will survive the release of Windows 7.

And of course, I've been reading wishful histories for the last 10 years about how OSS would rise and destroy Microsoft. And still, OSS didn't get any close to that...

Good enough computing is Retrocomputing (1)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679107)

For most people software written a decade or more ago was "Good Enough" and they don't need modern technology.

It is called Retocomputing when you use old computers and old software. You can buy them cheap at Auctions and Garage Sales and eBay.

Fallacy (3, Insightful)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679145)

This is an oft-repeated fallacy, that most people don't need powerful CPUs or OSs. A post above claims to have been saying this since the Pentium II days. This is essentially the same short-sightedness as the apocryphal "128K ought to be enough for anybody" remark from way back when.

It is patently and obviously ridiculous. A Pentium II PC, especially on a Pentium II-compatible motherboard with its memory and other characteristics, would not be an acceptable platform for the average user. It would be very slow and would immediately have memory issues. Current graphics hardware would probably not be compatible, and even if it was the 3D software like OpenGL or the MS equivalent would have unacceptably bad performance. Contemporary games would be dreary experiences indeed.

Lots of multimedia authoring software can use as many cores and as much RAM as you can afford. 3D gaming environments with ever more active objects, each with some amount of basic AI and moving parts, will also keep pushing the envelope even further. "Tab creep" in your web browser, where you end up accumulating open tabs, each with graphics, javascript, and maybe audio or video give memory footprints well into the hundreds of MB.

Maybe deaf and blind little old ladies with severe arthritis can get by with a Pentium II, but not too many others. In 2025 the things that will pass for personal computer desktops (something like them will still exist in spite of the cyclical "The PC is Dead" hype), will have a dozen or more CPU cores or perhaps hundreds of smaller cores of various kinds to distribute different types of processing. Cache memory will be much larger than today as will be system RAM and storage. Software will be similar to today's except for far greater detail and granularity of content, and multiple new ways to interact with the data. That will demand a lot of compute power.

No doubt people will continue to say things like "an exaflop and a zettabyte ought to be enough for anyone," and people like me will continue to deride and mock them.

Thinking Ahead... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27679165)

Will the concept of "good enough" really apply to future technologies is the real question. What about surface computing? Augmented reality? 3D gaming? Incredibly fast processing (be it encoding, copying, etc.) of high-definition content (the future holds far better than 1080p quality video). What about all the data that needs to be indexed, and indexed quickly. Computers will eventually hit a point, long in the future, where there is so much daily data being processed and indexed that some huge leaps in CPU, GPU, Memory, Storage, etc. will not only be demanded, but required. The entire computing process is going to change and evolve heavily in the next decade, much as it has throughout it's current existence. I can see no reason why that might stop, especially in the long run.

You know, short of nuclear fallout or global warming......

Depends on the task (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679175)

In 1995, listening to an MP3 file required most if not all of your CPU power.

In 2005, listening to an MP3 file required 1% of your CPU power, if even that.

What is "good enough" depends on the tasks to be done. Opera has proven that good code allows the Nintendo DSi to make a "good enough" browser on a very limited platform (and to those who have tried Opera on the DS/DS Lite - there's a world of difference between Opera DS and Opera DSi).

In the end, your hardware is only as "good enough" as your software can make it.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?