No, I recall regular commercial offerings of self-contained PCs in keyboards, diskless, for network boot, in the second half of the 1980s. Nothing to do with Atari or game stuff.
At least 25 years if you are talking about a diskless PC built into a keyboard and booting from a network.
I have a server-grade Dell Precision 690 with two monitors. I had been using XP Pro for years and didn't have any really serious complaints with it until I tried to run multiple Eve Online instances. It became obvious that I needed to move up to a 64-bit OS, and for Eve, it would have to be Windows. I didn't consider Vista due to all the bad press it was getting. I bought WinXP Pro 64-bit.
I knew the Dell Precision would require some Dell drivers. The SATA disk driver was needed at the beginning of the install (F6?) and the NIC and audio drivers were needed for everything to work. The NVIDIA 64-bit driver was needed for the 8800 GT 512 MB vid card.
One install, no glitches, and everything worked. Even better, 64-bit XP is cleaner and better behaved than the 32-bit, and lets me use the 8 GB I have on the Dell. I can now run all nine Eve accounts on the 4-core, 3.0 GHz Dell. Joy, joy.
Oddly, every single app I have installed that I was accustomed to using on the old XP works, whether 32-bit or not. Except one, and the irony is that the one is my company's product with a crappy installer.
This system is extremely stable, has BSoD'd just once since installing 64-bit XP Pro, and I only reboot it to reduce the application footprints of all the crap that clogs memory, and only do that when I want to run those nine Eve instances. The system just works, and all my apps work.
I should point out that I have never liked MS and have never liked, have even hated, Windows, but it's certainly true that I have installed XP 32 many times without any difficulty and have only had to install XP 64 once because it went perfectly and there has been no need to reinstall it.
Meanwhile, over on the job side, we make a software product that runs only in Linux. We never even considered making our product work with Windows. After trying Mandrake we finally settled on SUSE, and eventually SLES to satisfy customers who wanted to run enterprise backup products.
Working with SUSE and SLES has been a total horror. Fortunately our app uses Linux as an appliance and no other apps are allowed to run on our customers' boxes. Any update of Linux is likely to break something, and our app is mission critical, often running entire enterprises. Nothing can be allowed to break it. Novell displays total lack of comprehension of what they claim is their enterprise Linux distribution. Even in service packs they change stuff we are using, breaking it. From major version to major version they are likely to change components in ways that not only would break our customers' systems but would require us to do major work to accommodate what they have changed.
This is SO bad that we have to consider rolling our own Linux distribution just to get away from Novell breaking stuff with each and every new version. Not to mention that even SLES is bloated with tons of stuff we don't want or need.
In principle I favor open source and Linux. As a practical matter I have been appalled at how much of open source software is broken, how bad the documentation is (if and where it even exists) and how little the folks distributing the stuff understand about "mission critical." Aside from tons of little stuff that doesn't work, perhaps the worst thing about Linux is the dependency hell that arises almost anytime we have tried to install something that didn't come packaged in the distribution. An example is trying to get WINE working in SLES. WINE is packaged in SUSE, but not in SLES. Eventually we gave up. We've run into that a number of times with various packages.
I was a happy user of IBM's AIX on RS/6000 from late 1999 onward. As AIX versions progressed and eventually stopped supporting the affordable 43P machines I used, I developed a severe dislike of IBM and proprietary OS software. I will never use AIX again, nor recommend it. But while AIX supported my favored RS/6000 models I never ran into any of the difficulties I've seen in Linux or Linux apps. I've installed AIX on bunches of 43P machines with never a hitch. I only turned my back on it when IBM turned its back on me and helped me make up my mind about proprietary OSs in general.
So I'm stuck... in principle I like open source and Linux and detest closed source OS software, but WinXP 64 works perfectly for my personal PC (with no other MS software -- I use Firefox and Thunderbird) and SUSE and SLES, while they work for our business product when used as appliances, have shown serious problems of QA and distro sanity. We actually have to prohibit our customers from doing any Linux updates.
It's very clear that the Linux / desktop discussion is crippled by the Linux fanbois not understanding what makes the consumer tick. Until and unless Linux can be used, even installed by Grandma and Joe Sixpack, it's not going to win the desktop. No, children, Grandma is NOT going to be compiling her Linux kernel. No, kids, Joe is not going to be hunting down drivers and dependencies and scouring the Internet for solutions to hair-pulling install problems. It's not going to happen.
Linux has certainly come a long way since the early days when one had to know all the details of all the chipsets in the PC to have a chance of a successful install, but it's not ready for consumer prime time. Not even close. It has its uses, but those uses are inherently limited.
I work in the Wang VS world, a type of system originally patterned after the IBM 360/370 but with an OS designed from the ground up to be interactive. We have multiple file types at the OS file system level... consecutive, indexed, object, print, relative, etc. Indexed files not only store data retrievable by a key, but by up to 17 keys. Unlike some juvenile "database" products that stored data in a
We also have file compression at the OS file system level. Most file types except object can be tagged to be compressed and some are compressed by default. The OS file system uses machine instructions to compress before writing and expand after reading. It's completely transparent to the app code.
We also have PACE, a native 4GL / RDBMS that was developed by Wang in the mid-1980s and had referential integrity rules in the data dictionary and distributed database with two-phase commit, all from the beginning.
I used Oracle 5.1 from 1989 through 1992 and was shocked to learn that Oracle had no referential integrity at the time. What Oracle did was fake it by generating SQL*Forms triggers in their CASE tool. Heaven help anyone trying to build apps without the CASE tool or anyone touching any of the generated triggers.
I also recall reading of the struggles of the mainstream db vendors with distributed database technology and the eventual development and adoption of two-phase commit, many years after Wang had it as a standard feature in their clustered environments.
In 2004 I co-founded a company to virtualize the aging Wang VS. We have been very successful and are now the official source for all Wang VS systems and software. Our virtual Wang VS ranges up to 220% of the performance of the legacy high-end VS18950 released in 1999 and runs in Linux mostly on Dell PowerEdges. The high end supports 500-1000 users, not quite in the IBM mainframe arena but far, far easier to program, operate and use.
The original Wang VS80, released in 1977, supported up to 32 users and scores of devices in no more than 512KB of memory. Right... KiloBytes. Half a MegaByte. Later models grew to be much more capacious but try to imagine supporting 32 connected users running real apps and manipulating real data in half a MB of memory.
All of this reminds me of the horrible disconnect that occurred with the introduction of microcomputers. The folks who worked in the microcomputer field either didn't know about or ignored all the existing OS technologies and reinvented everything. PC users had to wait 10-15 years before MS discovered "pre-emptive multitasking," which was the rule in large systems, even in minicomputers, from the 1960s forward.
Microcomputers, while very enabling of individuals, actually took us backward in OS technology and caused us to have to live through a 10-15 year hiatus while the microcomputer engineers and OS developers rediscovered things that had been standard stuff in the mini and mainframe worlds.
BSG was a total bust and the end was unbelievably bad. For the effort invested in it, BSG might even be the most epic fail in the history of TV.
BSG wasn't sci-fi... it was a soap opera against a little-used space background. Anytime I tuned in it was just like a daytime soap.
I think they got way too full of themselves and lost all perspective. I saw a documentary about the show and couldn't believe the extent to which they patted themselves on their backs while an objective look at the production revealed it to be a mess of a dreary soap opera -- all talk and little action.
And any series that has to resort to promos like "All will be revealed" or "All will be explained" has clearly overcomplicated itself to the point where it can't be understood.
The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent. -- Sagan