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    Consider two recent events: Microsoft killing Windows 7, and the Python community killing Python 2. The story is essentially the same in both cases: the creator of a piece of infrastructure software ends support for an old but still widely used version, forcing its users to move on to a later but not fully backwards compatible version

    This is just silly. When MS killed windows 7 there was nothing you could do about it. No one killed python 2. You can still get it, some distros still ship it, and if you really wanted to you could decide to keep maintaining it or hire people to do so. Some people you don’t pay and who owe you nothing stopped deciding to work on it themselves, but that’s not the same kind of killing as an MS EOL.

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      Case in point, https://github.com/naftaliharris/tauthon appears to be still maintained.

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      Nit: MIPS may be a shadow of its former self, but it’s not gone. PowerPC (at least in terms of Power ISA) is definitely not gone; POWER10 such as it is just came out. However, I do agree that hardware innovation, at least in terms of CPU design, is not progressing anywhere near like it used to. For all the ballyhoo of RISC-V, it has not magically translated into amazing microarchitectures because the people capable of amazing microarchitectures are working for Intel, AMD, Apple and ARM licensees.

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        According to several recent news reports a good number of those people have recently moved to startups making high performance RISC-V CPUs. It will of course take two or three years before the resulting designs arrive.

        Speculation this week in the Apple press is that loss of CPU designers is already the cause of the unusually small improvements in the CPUs in the new iPhones.

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          And those reports are?

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        There’s plenty of hardware innovation, it’s just incompatible with Linux so it’s being papered over to save on software costs. It’s all hidden behind network interfaces, binary blobs, NDAs and gatekeepers that won’t talk to you unless you want 10m units.