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Kode Vicious


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Originally published in Queue vol. 11, no. 8
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Daniel Feenberg | Sun, 27 Oct 2013 00:05:02 UTC

One way to think about this - The possibly wasted 3 megabytes of memory cost each user about 10 cents. If this is a high end device with projected sales of 10,000 units, then the cost of the wasted memory is about $1,000 summed over all the users. Can you program the dynamic allocation of memory for less then that in wages? The quantities would be different if projected sales were 10 million. Then it would be a million dollars in wasted memory. Of course, this calculation assumes a lot, including that your customers will know the difference or that you care about their welfare. They may not catch on to pushing costs onto them in the short run, but I don't think you should assume they won't ever notice.

By the way - if most users use only one port, wouldn't it make sense to offer a one-port device? I speak as someone who was unsuccessful in finding a single port 10GBE card that worked in our systems.

Matt Slaybaugh | Thu, 19 Sep 2013 21:11:44 UTC

Thanks for catching that George, the error is fixed. - ed

George Phillips | Sat, 14 Sep 2013 19:26:08 UTC

Small typo where I'm sure gigabytes rather than megabytes were meant: "single servers with 64 and 128 megabytes of RAM" (given the current year is 2013). Some years hence one might wonder that it could only mean terabytes.

David Collier-Brown | Thu, 05 Sep 2013 13:33:14 UTC

Re waste not, want not:

I've occasionally simplified systems by providing small "stand-in" data structures for unused components, and arranged for lazy allocation of the rest of the structure if and only if the caller chose to use it. This simplifies code in the caller, but makes you think about what operations should cause the full tree of structures to be filled out and what ones can do fine with the tiny ration I've provided them initially.

There is also a mirror image to this: if I no longer wish to use a component, I can tidy it up without leaving a collection of null pointers around for the caller to trip over (:-))


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