Monday Jun 09, 2008

What's a Desktop PC anyway?


Well, with this diagram I try to gain an understanding what a Desktop PC actually is. The chart is rough. It's maybe wrong. But it is an attempt to provide a historical perspective on PCs related to other computing hardware. I should explain the dimensions a bit. The past is left and starts in the mid 1960s. As time goes by we have the Minis and Micros of the 1970s (and of course the research and development at Xerox Parc), then the PCs of the 1980s – does anyone remember what happened in the 1990s? Today we talk about cloud computing and virtualization.

The colors I chose have the following meaning: Blue stands for computers shared by several users. Orange and green is personal computing, with green indicating portability of the device.

I also added some visionary clouds. The idea of Personal Computing and Alan Kay's Dynabook concept from 1972 have definitely a profound impact in setting the agenda for the following decades towards modern PCs. Im am not that sure regarding grid- and cloud computing. But it is in any case a good use for CPU power that is available in data centers.

So that's the historical context from my point of view. Would you agree?

PS_ I suppose "Desktop" became prefix for "PC" just to distinguish the computer from Laptop PCs. It should not be confused with "desktop" as in "desktop metaphor".

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