What does Debian, one of the most popular and stable Linux operating systems, and myself have in common? We both celebrated a birthday on August 16th! But unlike myself, Debian has proved its maturity at 'only' age 15 and probably doesn't find fart jokes funny anymore. Debian's also been highly influential, as many of the popular GNU/Linux distributions you've read about or played with - including Ubuntu and Knoppix - are based on Debian..
To trace Debian's roots, you'd have to go back to 1993 when Ian Murdock, who is now VP of developer and and community marketing at Sun, first announced the OS. But why call it Debian? Because of a girl, of course! Ian combined the name of his then girlfriend (and now wife), Debora, with his own (Deb+Ian), the union of which gave birth to Debian.
All versions of Debian are named after characters from the film Toy Story
There are always four versions
Least stable version of Debian is named after Sid, the emotionally unstable neighbor kid in Toy Story who enjoyed destroying toys
It won't be long before single-core processors will seem as antiquated as single-speed CD-ROM drives, and the case could be made that we're already there. Dual- and quad-core processors rule the landscape, and while Intel's upcoming Core i7 has enthusiasts frothing at the mouth, the chip maker may have something even more mouth watering in the very near future.
If the latest rumor turns out to be true, expect a replacement architecture for Nehalem in 2010 which will double the number of cores per die to eight. Codenamed Sandy Bridge, alleged leaked slides suggest the new architecture will also support hyperthreading, giving the eight-core chip a generous 16 threads to work with. Also look for 16MB of L3 cache to find its way onto the chip.
But for all the hardware goodness, it's the software that may end up playing the biggest role in performance improvements. Intel will reportedly introduce a new instruction set called Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX) that will eventually supersede SSE. AVX will double the size of instructions to 256 bits and will be capable of performing up to four calculations in a single instruction.
With over a year to go before the supposed new architecture makes a debut, will developers be ready by then to take advantage of the additional cores and new instruction set?
No doubt you’re familiar with the Universal Serial Bus – we ranked it as our top PC innovation of all time. But what do you know about the next version of this ubiquitous interface? USB 2.0 (otherwise known as USB Hi-Speed) boosted the original 12Mbps data rate to 480Mmb/s over eight years ago, and now USB 3.0 (dubbed USB Superspeed) is set to multiply that bandwidth tenfold. The USB Implementers Forum (led by Intel) released the USB 3.0 spec to hardware partners last week after some reported disputes with AMD and Nvidia (who, afraid Intel would have a jump start in incorporating the tech in chipsets, threatened to develop their own USB standard). But how does this affect you? We dug up some new information about USB 3.0, got our hands on the new connectors, and even took a look inside the new cables.
Click through for the five reasons why we’re excited about USB 3.0
Toshiba’s 320GB portable drive is so plain it doesn’t even have a real name. It’s just the Toshiba 320GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive, which doesn’t quite roll off the tongue as well as Western Digital’s My Passport Elite, the Toshiba 320’s primary competition in terms of size, speed, and software (see our review of the Elite here).
The USB-only Toshiba 320 posted the slowest real-world read speeds of any drive we’ve tested. However, these lapses represent only a four percent difference in real-world performance when compared to the fastest non-proprietary drive we’ve tested, Western Digital’s My Passport Elite. Four percent is four percent, but it’s not enough to make a significant difference.
Four years is an eternity in the computer world, but it doesn't take a crystal ball to predict that Linux will continue making headway against Microsoft's close-source Windows OS. Between Vista needing gimmicks to convert the skeptics (Mojave), to increasingly user-friendly versions of Ubuntu, Microsoft may find itself in a grudge match with the open-source community by 2012. But what can we expect out of a Linux distro in 48 months? InformationWeek attempts to answer that question with a mix of bold predictions and some much needed feature enhancements. Let's take a look at some of the highlights.
Three Basic Usage Modes
Linux has traditionally been free for most users, but in-store boxed copies complete with a price tag have started popping up, and IW says this trend will "at least gain nominal momentum." Free to use variants won't be disappearing anytime soon, and IW sees free distributions that contain no components with patent encumbrances or other issues picking up steam.
While Linux hardware is already present in a plethora of devices, look for it to become a brand name four years down the road, pushed in large part by the continued popularity of the Netbook market.
Bye-Bye Command Line!
One of the biggest roadblocks preventing Linux from marching into the mainstream market is ease-of-use. The days of typing in commands died with DOS, but on a Linux distro, even some basic configurations might require the user to fire up the Terminal. Of course, there are legions of Linux-ites that prefer it this way, the same ones who not so affectionately refer to Ubuntu as Noobuntu.
Catch all the predictions here, then tell us your Linux predictions below!
Indilinx has completed the development of their Barefoot (IDX22) high-performing solid state drive controller with 90nm process technology which shows an impressive fastest read speed of 230MB/s and supports a capacity of up to 512GB with multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash. Indilinx claims “phenomenal performance at a competitive price”.
Barefoot supports native SATA 2.0 interface and provides maximum read and write speed of 230MB/s, 170MB/s with SLC NAND flash, and 200MB/s, 160MB/s with MLC NAND, respectively. It uses Indilinx’s unique architecture and technology, including independently operating 4 channels and external DRAM buffer and it enhances stability and reliability by using two types of hardware error-correcting code (ECC).
Those improvements are coming by leaps and bounds in SSDs. It's not clear if this will be competing with Intel’s controller directly. No mention if this is targeted at portable or stationary (or both) PC market.
Talk about a generational leap forward. The SSD revolution has barely begun, but while others are busy focusing on incremental capacity bumps nowhere near the size of the largest HDD, BitMicro says it can now make SSDs with a ginormous 6.5TB capacity.
According to TG Daily, the company made the claim at the Siggraph trade show held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The rep went on to say that the custom drives can have up to 55,000 input/output instructions per second (IOPS) with sustained (not burst) transfers of up to 230 MB/s. In other words, not only would this wonder drive thoroughly trounce today's SSDs in terms of capacity, but it would be faster too.
The drives would also be physically bigger, with the loose-lipped rep saying the custom SSDs would be about two to three times higher than a regular drive.
Anyone think we'll see 1TB SSDs before long, let alone 6.5TB models?
Electronista says that Intel is planning a super fast 160GB Solid State Drive. They report that Intel's flash memory marketing head Troy Winslow says the Z-P140 was just a prelude to a series of bigger announcements to come before the end of the year. Winslow goes on to say that there will be a series of 1.8- and 2.5-inch drives for ultraportables that will hold between 80GB and 160GB. They should also outperform the 100 megabytes per second reading speed of the Samsung Flash SSD.
Solid State is really making inroads this year and as may predicted, they have invaded laptops first. Perhaps by 2010 they will be the default choice for enthusiast builds in desktops. Their read speeds are faster than traditional hard drives and their capacities have reached a useful level. Winslow points out that Intel’s experience with building quick interconnects between processors and chipsets helps them make improved memory controllers for the SSD drives.
When they hit the same price point and capacity as Western Digital’s Velociraptor drives and they do something about the pokey write speeds, count me in. They aren’t quite ready for mainstream, but they certainly do look like the future.
Since Blu-ray won out on the high-definition format war over Toshiba’s HD DVD, high definition on disc has just languished. Blu-ray’s victory has been a hollow one with few people rushing out to replace their trusty old DVD players and DVD collections. The initial assumption that it was the format war that kept adoption of the new standard slow. It turned out to be customers being perfectly happy with standard DVD quality.
Toshiba has been considering it’s next move and has decided DVD is good enough and is jumping on the "upconverting" DVD player bandwagon. They are releasing the XD-E500 DVD player that they says does more than previous models to improve the look of DVDs on high-definition TVs. At a MSRP of $149.99 it is twice as much as regular "upconverting" players, but it is less than half the price of a Blu-ray player.
An Associated Press report said that the XDE player produced a noticeable sharpening of the image over a standard, $70 up-scaling model on side-by-side LCD HDTVs. Toshiba didn't demonstrate the XDE against a Blu-ray or HD DVD player, however. Toshiba did stress that it's not meant to compete with Blu-ray.
Toshiba is playing up to Blu-ray’s marketing weakness, they can’t seem to convince users that there is enough of a difference in between regular Blu-ray and Standard DVD to warrant the expense of upgrading. The appearance of “upconverting” DVD players is only going to further hinder Blu-ray adoption. It might be an inevitability that someday we will have to upgrade. The big question is who will hold out the longest, Blu-ray’s high prices or consumers not wanting to pay those high prices and holding on to standard DVD? Who do you think will win out? My money is on the consumers.
Another Maximum PC exclusive! We got first hands-on with HP's new Elitebook 2730p notebook, which features a swiveling 12.1-inch screen (1280x800 native resolution) that turns it into a tablet PC. Additional features on this rugged business notebook: 2MP webcam, 95% full-size QWERTY keyboard with HP dura key coating (spill and smudge-resistant, expresscard slot, and HP's business card OCR reader software. In addition to a newly improved slot for the tablet pen (it won't accidentally fall out anymore), the notebook also brings back the highly requested jog dial.