Re: Alpha & Sparc news of interest

Harvey Newstrom (
Wed, 28 Jan 1998 09:11:59 -0500

Charlie Stross wrote:
> Why do I feel as if I'm being whipsawed by Intel? Their CPUs are
> supposeduly instruction-set compatible all the way back to the 4004,
> but in real terms they want the users on a continual upgrade treadmill
> just as badly as Microsoft do.

Yes, backward compatibility is a sham. x86 chips are not compatible
with Pentium are not compatible with MMX, etc. Macs have the same
problem. The 86xxx motorola chips are not compatible with the PowerPC
chips. MacOS won't be compatible with Rhapsody. Windows is not
compatible with Windows 95 or Windows NT. Backwards compatibility never
really works, in my experience

If something is "99.999%" compatible and executes thousands of
instructions per second, how long will it run before you hit that "rare"
incompatibility issue?

Harvey Newstrom <>
"F746 7A20 EB7D 27BA 80A5 4473 D8E1 6A54 1EB0