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When that happens we’ll also see a big push to add ARM support to all the native nodejs modules that are out there. (And I assume Ruby, Python, Go, etc packages).

Linus’s prediction is based on the premise that everyone will continue to use x86 for development. But that’s probably not going to be the case for long. Multiple sources have leaked the rumour that Apple will release an arm MacBook next year. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft has an arm surface book in the wings too.

[1] https://www.macrumors.com/2019/02/21/apple-custom-arm-based-...




Developers don't develop on Surface books, and Macbooks are in low percentages.

The majority of people in the world writing code are using x86 PCs and Microsoft and Apple aren't about to change that with any *Book.

Linus' premise that everyone will continue to use x86 for development is because they will.

There's no incentive for companies or individuals to go switch out all of that x86 hardware sitting on desks and in racks with ARM alternatives which will offer them lower performance than their already slightly aged hardware at initially higher costs.

I can forsee _some_ interest in ARM cloud, and I don't think it'll be the issue Linus claims at higher-than-systems-level, but I absolutely would bet on x86 going nowhere in the human-software interface space in the foreseeable future.


> Macbooks are in low percentages

For some reason Macbooks seem disproportionately represented amongst web developers. All the agencies I know in Sydney and Melbourne are full of macbooks.

> There's no incentive for companies or individuals to go switch out all of that x86 hardware sitting on desks and in racks with ARM alternatives which will offer them lower performance than their already slightly aged hardware at initially higher costs.

Uh, why are you assuming ARM laptops will have lower performance and a higher cost compared to x86 equivalents? The ARM CPU in the iPad pro already outperforms the high end intel chips in macbook pros in some tests. And how long do you think Apple will continue to sell intel-based macbooks once they have ARM laptops on the market? Maybe they'll keep selling intel laptops for a year or two, but I doubt they'll keep refreshing them when new intel processors come out. When Apple moved from powerpc to intel they didn't keep releasing new powerpc based laptops.

Once web development shops start buying laptops with ARM chips, it will be a huge hassle if random nodejs modules don't build & work on ARM. At this point I expect most compatibility issues will be fixed, and that will in turn make deploying nodejs apps on arm a more reasonable choice.

Obviously we'll see, and this is all speculation for all of us. But I think its a reasonable path for ARM chips to invade the desktop.


I'm not assuming per-se, im guestimating, basing it on my understand of x86 and ARM. I graduated in Electronic Engineering from a university department who's alumni include Sir Robin Saxby, they pushed ARM hard, and I have a fairly good understanding of where it's at architecturally compared to x86.

Apple have 100% control over every part of their hardware and software from the get go, so it's inevitable they perform excellently on that hardware; they can optimise their code to death, and increment the hardware where it can be improved upon.

Web developers make up a fairly small proportion of the developers I've ever worked with, I have worked for software houses where web just isn't a thing for us other than for our own marketing. None of these people run Mac's, they all run PCs, and these PCs don't have the same control in their hardware/software process that will bring about the kind of "excellent" result you see from an iPad. They'll be relying on Microsoft to get Windows optimised, but Microsoft will be working with dozens, even hundreds of partners, Apple works with one, itself.

I suspect, also that they'll be more expensive because of all the new development the manufacturers have to put into releasing these new ARM laptops. Microsoft will have to put extra work into Windows, which will cost money, and finally those of us that run Linux will end up with something that hasn't had the benefit of the decades of x86 development on the desktop has had, thus, worse performance, at least in the beginning.

I could imagine a laptop equivalent of big.LITTLE, where you have x86 cores for the real grunt work, and ARM cores for power saving, bit I don't see pure ARM in the workstation space.

It'll be an interesting time, but based on my own experience, I'm betting on Linus with this one and I don't see myself or my colleagues or my workplace moving to ARM anywhere outside of non-laptop-portables any time soon.


Agreed, at the last 5 software companies I've worked at, the only people without Macs were the sales people.


Yeah, well, I live in one of the ex-USSR countries. And guess what - there are no Macs here whatsoever. I'd suspect that x86 is the prevalent platform in China and India, the dominant players in the outsourcing markets. So, no, most of development is done on Intel machines.


This is true, but a huge part of that is VMs with linux or windows, and for me x86 docker workflows that go to x86 servers. It'll be years for any real transition imho.

It took 4 years of concerted effort to get most node things working right in windows.




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