Blog of Mass Distraction

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Changing Architecture

So the big news is that the G8 have decided to give total debt relief to 18 heavily indebted nations.1 This includes removing all IMF and World Bank debts and loans that are owed by the countries (which include South Africa). The relief, however, hinges upon the country meeting certain democratic standards and removing corruption. Also, it does not include money for development and aid. But since these countries likely spend most of their revenue on debt servicing it will release more funds for spending on social programs (or for purchasing of G8 exports... whatever).

Following in that vein, Thabo Mbeki has sacked his deputy leader Jacob Zuma amid a corruption scandal. One of Zuma's close associates was implicated in some misdealings and though Mbeki said he has confidence in his friend and deputy leader he must, as President, remove him from office. This throws a bit of uncertainty into South Africa since it was thought that Zuma would be Mbeki's successor to the ANC leadership upon his departure.

Steve Jobs has shocked many mac users by announcing that Apple will be switching to Intel chips in the coming year.2 They will leave behind their PowerPC partnership with IBM (which produced their G5 chips) to go with Intel chips. There are several reasons for the switch including disagreements with IBM. Big Blue apparently wanted more money from Apple to fund research on improving the PPC chips which IBM couldn't or wouldn't increase greatly in speed in the short term. Moreover, Apple isn't really a huge portion of IBM's business so I don't think they mind the loss all that much. Intel, however, is very happy to pick up the new customer. But if Apple moves to x86 based architecture, it will not only mean major code changes to their core applications, but the necessity of protecting their hardware from being used for devious means such as installation of Microsoft operatings systems (Aaaaagh! The horror!) As a person that uses Windows, Mac and Linux regularly, I don't think it's such a huge thing for users (yet), but I do wonder or worry how switching CISC chips will affect performance and stability of OS X and its concomitent applications.


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