Subject: Re: some observations on the peripheral market
To: Erik E. Fair <>
From: John Nemeth <>
List: current-users
Date: 01/10/1999 16:49:52
On Jan 10, 12:49am, "Erik E. Fair" wrote:
} SCSI is dying; none of Apple's desktop systems have SCSI built-in any more.

     This represents one of my beefs with the way Apple is currently
doing things.  They seem to be telling people to throw away their old
peripherals and media (no floppy drive on iMac), and buy all new
stuff, use new procedures, etc.  This is marketing at its worse.
There is a lot of SCSI peripherals out there that people are going to
want to use.  Personally, I think the consumers should be slapping
Apple upside the head for these idiotic marketing moves.  Oh well, not
my problem, I don't buy Apple stuff anyways.  It was very nice of them
to give SCSI a big boost on the low end, even though most of their
SCSI implementations didn't meet the specifications.

} As the last really mass-market vendor selling systems SCSI built-in removes
} support for it, SCSI disks will likely retreat to the high end - Ultra-Wide

     Although, I don't like it, since SCSI is still way better then
the competition, this appears to be the way things are going.  Even
Sun has IDE/USB on their entry level workstations (UGH!!!).  However,
for the most part, higher end machines and power users still use SCSI

} 80 MB/s RAID applications, and will probably remain more expensive on a
} cost per megabyte basis, justified by better performance than
} IDE/EIDE/UltraDMA solutions. Somehow, the RAID box vendors have

     Personally, I think IDE et al is crap.  Too little, too late.
Although, they have managed to match SCSI for raw transfer speed, they
miss everything else that helps throughput (disconnect, command
queueing, busmastering, etc.).  This brings me to one of my pet peeves
in PC terminology.  There is nothing direct about DMA.  It is infact
third party (a chip on the motherboard accesses the device and
transfers the data to/from memory {that requires at least two
cycles}).  To me, DMA and busmaster should be synonymous.  Busmaster
is the only thing that can truely be described as direct memory access
on a PC.

} conveniently forgotten that the "I" in "RAID" stands for "inexpensive."

     I've never seen inexpensive RAID solutions that are worth using.
I don't consider software RAID to be worth using.  RAID definitely has
its place, but its not inexpensive.

} LocalTalk, Apple's 237 Kb/s RS-422 network wire, is dying - neither the
} iMac or the G3 box have conventional serial ports that support it any more.
} Ethernet supplants this (in fact, both boxes have 10/100 Ethernet
} built-in). Bloody well about time, I say.

     Although ethernet is definitely the way to go, there are still a
lot of old Macs out there running on localtalk that people would like
to have access to their new machines.  Not to mention all the
localtalk only printers.

} Apple Desktop Bus (ADB), Apple's keyboard/mouse/input device bus, is dying;
} the iMac doesn't have it, and the new G3 "pro" system has one such port,
} but it's clear that will probably disappear in the next model. USB
} supplants this. This is actually a good thing for everyone since USB seems
} to be a better/faster standard for this kind of use, but it also means that
} if you need spare parts, now is the time to buy.

     Yep.  Yet, another example of "let's make money selling them all
new peripherals; the suckers will think they're getting a bargain with
the lower system prices; fools."

} With Apple's endorsement and Windows 98 supporting it, looks like USB is
} really taking off. I saw scanners, disks, cameras, SCSI interfaces (!),
} memory-disk modules, keyboards, mice, sketch-pads, lots of hubs, and so on,
} all for USB. NetBSD is in the right place at the right time with support

     I agree with this.  Considering that NetBSD has support for all
three platforms that use USB, it's in a very good place.  I wonder how
long it will take the L camp to get USB going considering how
important it is becoming.

} for this interface, but I bet we're going to have fat quirk tables, and
} lots of drivers to write for specific devices.

     Ugh!  Why can't manufacturers follow specs?

} FireWire (IEEE 1394, 400Mb/s) is built-in to the new G3 box; expect the
} peripheral market for this to heat up as these systems start shipping in
} volume.

     Oh boy, another bus to support.  I guess the big question is when
will other companies start adopting it.  And, how soon is it going to
become really popular.  USB was pretty much forced on the consumer
market in the last year in a big way.  But, at this point, I don't see
anything that would force people to adopt FireWire.

}-- End of excerpt from "Erik E. Fair"