Tolerance, Please

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Over the next few months, we’re likely to see the following fights:

The adherents of the three or so DDR chipset makers on the Athlon side will be fighting it out.

The long-quiescent Intel loyalists will start making noise about Willamette and maybe even Tualatin. They’ll even have some reason for it.

In all of this, at least a somewhat reasonable case can be made for any of the contenders. If some can make a reasonable case for any one of them, no one can make a compelling case for every one of us.

Right now, I could probably make four different recommendations to four different people with four different sets of needs.

Do you know what? If I didn’t give it any thought and just tossed them out at random, it probably wouldn’t make much difference in the grand scheme of things. Outside of maybe the PIII DDR boards, there really isn’t a DOA option out there in the Intel/AMD competition.

Different Strokes for Different Folks

Quintillions of electrons will be sacrificed in the upcoming wars, but most could be saved if one simple thought is kept in mind:

“What’s best for you is not best for everybody.”

For example, if you prefer the Athlon offerings over the Willamette offerings, that’s fine. There are good reasons for that.

However, they are not the only good set of reasons out there. If you find a Willamette purchase by someone else as conclusive proof of insanity, somebody’s got a problem, and it’s not the Willamette purchaser.

There is no one right answer here. There can be one right answer for people who share a certain set of values, but in at least this arena, there can be a lot of sets of differing values that are perfectly legitimate for those who hold them.

Kill the Infidel Dog!!

I look at the flame wars that erupt over these things, and I think of the Crusades.

Back then, each side looked upon the other as some spawn of Satan that should be returned to damned sender as soon as possible. Each side cited (or miscited) their holy books to justify the next atrocity. (Actually, a whole lot of the participants just wanted to fight.)

Is this really any different, outside of the body count?

It still boils down to the same, “I must be right; you must be wrong; I must win.” Both sides cite Holy Writ, too; now it’s just a website rather than the Bible or Koran.

If someone doesn’t share your beliefs and values, though, it’s like two ships passing in the night.

Back in the Crusades, all the arguments in the world for Jesus or Allah had no effect on those who didn’t believe in Jesus or Allah as God.

Today, you can holler all you like that an Athlon system costs a few hundred dollars less. However, if that article of faith isn’t important to a prospective Willamette Quake fanatic happy to pay
a few extra hundred dollars for an edge, you’ve wasted your breath.

These are not really arguments over actual pieces of equipment, they’re just symbols. Knowingly or not, people are often trying to beat their set of values into others.

This Isn’t Exactly Fighting Nazis

There are times when it’s a very good idea to beat your values into someone else. If your neighbor is a cannibal or pedophile, you don’t want your child to become lunch or dessert.

However, those values lead to actions likely to hurt you.

If you’re an Athlon fan, do you have to pay for your neighbor’s Willamette? No.

Will you be forced to use it? No.

Will his use of a Willamette hurt your Athlon use in any meaningful way? No.

You might say, “If it weren’t for AMD, we’d be paying (too much) for (too little). You could say the same about Pepsi. Does that mean you go to the supermarket and preach against Coke?

Even if you did, do you think your actions would doom Coke? I’ve seen a few out there who seem to think they’re not the boy with the finger in the dyke, they are the dyke. I think not.

At least the religious parts of the Crusades dealt with issues like eternal life; these Crusades deal with which bunch of processed sand does two percent better in some shaky benchmark.

If You Have To Join Sides, Join Truths’

Truth rarely is all on one side or another. So why join one or the other?

Choosing a side means you don’t have to think. It’s easier. Just always say “yes” to “your” side, and make noises every once in a while.

It’s a lot harder to be in the middle. For one thing, both sides can end up shooting at you. But since they’re shooting with at least one eye shut, and both of yours are open, you can aim better. 🙂

Choosing a side becomes even sillier when there are different “truths” for different situations. If Product A does A better than Product B, and Product B does B better than Product A, why does there have to be “one” answer? To try to claim that is just a refusal to think.

Tough Tradeoffs

We’re moving to a stage where there will be no simple answer, no ideal buy, for everyone. Every alternative has advantages and disadvantages. I wish it were otherwise, but it isn’t, and I’m not going to pretend that it is.

To say or do otherwise is just dumbing down a decision, and sorry, but you lose something in the process. It might be important to you in particular, it might not, but you won’t know unless you look.

The Intel price cuts and speed bump will no doubt lead to Willamette being the right answer to more people than it has been. The DDR competition does not have a clear winner, and may never end up with one, and there’s a pretty good argument for not even getting into that race.

So certainly express your beliefs, and why you believe them, but understand and accept that there’s more than one answer out there. If you just want to fight, fight over something worth fighting about.

Email Ed


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