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Darwin on Olde Worlde hardware: a HOWTO

Google (and an enterprising CS student) to the rescue

Inverse Exp

With my recent fixes, core-8-4-branch of Tcl/Tk Aqua builds once again on 10.1, I don’t have time to provide a binary distro of this however.

Someone has already gotten Tcl/TK patched for Darwin 1.4.1/OS X 10.1.x. I’ll see if this makes my fink struggle unnecessary.

<UPDATE> Here are step-by-step instructions.

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Darwin on Olde Worlde hardware: a HOWTO

is the physical database obsolete?

ongoing -· Do Databases Suck?

The Moral of the Story Databases suck. Except when they don’t

Databases don’t have to suck, but in many cases they do. Depends on how often you end up using the slowest components. Since Tim’s piece mentions bulk-loading as taking a long time, that suggests a lot of disk activity — writing records, updating indices — and that’s a performance killer.

Contrast that with this view:
“I just got a new Mac with two 2-gigahertz processors, 8 gigabytes of memory, and a half a terabyte of internal disk,” [Bill Joy] said, describing his Power Mac G5. “… So you have the ability to hold a huge simulation all in memory — a database becomes a data structure. Add 64-bit computing and I can do breathtaking visualization.”

Not that I want to plug OS X — there are other ways of doing this, of course — but this is reminiscent of the information retrieval startup I was working at 3 years ago (this is memory lane week, apparently. The salient lesson from that experience seems to be that any technology can be misused . . . . ).

RAM is always faster than disk, but more expensive, so in the context of your overall design, you end up with the age-old question: cheap, fast, or good, choose any two.

Going to an in-memory database or some way of scaling up from the limitations of a single box was the way to go. There was a recent article where Google may be hitting the 32 bit limit on article identifiers. I would guess they’re doing some really cool stuff in memory, like sharing cached results and the like.

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Darwin on Olde Worlde hardware: a HOWTO

Darwin progress report

Well, after a couple of attempts at installing tcltk (so I can install and run darwinports) the dependencies have been whittled down from 31 to 12.

The following 12 additional packages will be installed:
anacron daemonic findutils libxml2 libxml2-bin libxml2-shlibs man python-nox
tcltk-dev tcltk-shlibs xfree86-base zlib

I’m going to divide and conquer here and see what happens: I’ll see if I can get xfree86-base to build and if it fails (my suspicion is that it’s gumming up the works), I’ll install a binary version and work around it.

The other alternative is to punt on fink altogether and see if there’s a way to install tcltk from source: I tried that first but it failed and I went with fink, thinking it might be easier. That may not have been the right way to go after all. I don’t want to install a myriad of unnecessary dependencies. I should know how this all works out by the end of today.

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Darwin on Olde Worlde hardware: a HOWTO

unk unks

Plain English Campaign: Annual Awards

Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.

US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld at press briefing in 2003. This quote was selected as the 2003 “Foot in Mouth” award winner.

This kind of obfuscated gibberish is more common than we realize. At the startup I worked at 2000, the VP of engineering referred to “unk unks” or unknown unknowns. That was my first exposure to that, but I’m guessing it’s not uncommon in the defense/aerospace establishment (that fellow was a Boeing alumnus).