[oclug] A general thanks to all.
billlinux at rogers.com
Tue Dec 11 15:17:18 EST 2007
I have been up to my ears with Linux and computer minutiae for over a
year now and it was ceasing to make sense to me any more. So I took two
weeks away from computer explorations and just let everything I have
recently learnt percolate. It was worthwhile, especially for arriving
at a holistic view of the CPU.
I now have in my mind a very clear animated picture of how the CPU and
memory operates from the endianness of 32 bit words, the protocol or
organization of IA-32 op code, data paths, and transistors and gates.
The picture is extremely elegant; doublewords floating sideways down a
stream to the CPU. Pipelining like a slinky going down the stairs while
viewed using a strobe light. Electrical current flowing from a flip-flop
to fill a line and end up becoming a gate for a cmos transistor, the
gate allowing (or not) new current to flow through and become the gate
for the next transistor and current flow; each current (and instruction
or data bit) building on the last; all happening to the cadence set by a
The whole picture is quite clear in my mind. I wish I had the talents
of a Disney animator; its like having a special copy of "Fantasia" in my
head. None of the animations I have seen online manage to capture the
the overall beauty or syncopation of the process.
And what is most amazing, it is all done only using a very few of the
properties of electricity. The creators of computers (at least the CPU)
were truly geniuses -- to do so much with so little; just an in-depth
command of the obvious. To me, having a command of the obvious is
always the mark of the genius -- whether in science, literature,
military or politics.
I just thought I would say thanks to all who have helped me so far
before I dive in again. Putting the poetry aside, I have returned to my
quest for how does the equipment that comes with my computer first get
registered in the kernel. I have read lots lately, but some little
niggling logic gaps remain.
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