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Re: Flight Computers

Phil Karn wrote:

> In fact, I can't think of a *single* innovation in computer science
> that, despite claims to the contrary, Microsoft has actually
> pioneered. On the other hand, I do give them credit for their many
> remarkable innovations in aggressive marketing and abusive business
> tactics. These innovations have also won them significant acclaim and
> recognition from several federal courts.

Actually, there is a difference between the term "innovate" and "invent"
which we often get confused by.  "innovate" means to introduce as new.
"invent" means to discover, find, or produce for the first time.  Clearly
Microsoft is an innovator in the sense that Thomas Edison was an innovator.
Thomas Edison didn't invent the light bulb, but he improved it and made it
commercially viable.  Similarly Java isn't an invention, but it is an
innovation -- it is built upon sound and proven computer science.  One
can say the same for Linux -- Linus didn't invent Multics, X-windows, or
TCP/IP, but he did innovate it.  And so on...

That said, I'd rather be an innovator than an inventor.  But if I really
wanted to make the big bucks, I'd be a lawyer 'cause they make all the
money in the end.

So, can we innovate and create the best, most awesome satellite?  Absolutely,
we are in that process now :-)  But we didn't invent satellites, they were
here many billions of years before us...

One thing I find curious about this thread is that we continue to build
systems which are only partially fault-tolerant.  We are not building a
manned vehicle, but surely we can capitalize on the miniaturization to
produce a more fault-tolerant controller?  For instance, most microprocessor
vendors have dual-core designs in the pipeline (though they are high-end and
high-power :-(.  Perhaps there is something we can innovate there?
  -- richard

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