A new essay about optimising code for speed has been published:
We’ve all seen the fact that while computers got faster, software has often become slower to run unless the hardware is upgraded. The so-called “Gates’ Law” claims that commercial programs decrease in speed by half every 18 months, due to various reasons. It is well known that the various versions of the DOS operating system ran adequately on a PC XT’s and 286’s and that a Intel 386 was a “lean and mean DOS machine” as a certain journalist claimed back then. On the other hand, Microsoft Windows 3.0 and Microsoft Windows 3.1 already required a fast 486 computer to be ran comfortably, while Windows 95 was barely usable there and needed a Pentium computer. Windows XP already ran slowly on a Pentium machine and required a high end Pentium III or Pentium 4 computer. Windows Vista requires even more hardware resources than Windows XP, up to the point that many computers in use today cannot run it comfortably.
Now, while software simulations that run directly against the CPU and memory (and possibly hard-disk) are still running much faster than before, the responsiveness of the system itself does not seem to improve much.
The Mini-Intro “Welcome to Linux” lecture was now integrated into the rest of the site. There are two versions of its slides available: one with a point-by-point display (useful for presenting interactively), and the other with all the text displayed at once (useful for browsing from the web).
New Fortune Cookies have been added to the fortune cookie collection:
R is similar to other programming languages, like C, Java and Perl, in that it helps people perform a wide variety of computing tasks by giving them access to various commands.