Another contribution to the ArchimedesDebate. By Phillip Miller. I have read with extreme interest theletters by M.T.Farnworth and StevenFlintham about the 'Arc vs BBC debate'.I feel that it is about time to addsome sanity into the forum. I am theowner of many computers including anArc A3000, two BBC B's, both variouslyconfigured, one with a 32016co-processor; and a PC 386SL portable(which I use for most of my work at themoment). I have been programming computers sinceabout the age of 7 when I started on ahumble ZX81, which wasn't too badconsidering that it only had 1K ofmemory, upgradeable to 16K whichenabled you to fully addressEVERYTHING. So, there were nomultitasking WIMP, WYSIWYG things inthose days, but for the software thatcould be written on the machine, it wasadequate. In 1983 I was the proudowner of a BBC B, which was fantasticcompared to the ZX81, with 32K ofmemory, most of it accessible and withCOLOUR!!! In 1990 I got the Arc, about which Iwas enraptured - a 800K floppydisk-drive and 4096 colours to playaround with, 32 bit addressing. Ah! slight problem. It was too bloodydifficult to use half of the stuff. Basic was fine, but compared to 6502,ARM was a minefield of rubbish. However, the SYS commands and easyaccess to the WIMP via Basic V made thecomputer useful. Notwithstanding, thebenefits of the Arc were 1Mb RAM (whichhad to be upgraded to 2MB to be of anyuse whatsoever), multitasking operatingsystem - yes, let's run paint, edit anddraw together. Very useful...HMM, NOT!OK., I've got two hands, but only onemouse. Joking aside, however, the multitaskingis only a con anyway, there is ONEprocessor, ONE keyboard, ONE VIDC,etc., all it is is timesharing ofresources, and allocating of memorybetween them. The consequence of thisis that when you run something thatneeds multitasking, like a ray-tracingprogram (like QRT which incidentallywas written for the PC originally),then whatever you are using in theforeground moves along at a snail'space. So what did Acorn do, they bring out anARM 3 with a 1K cache on the chip, (Bigwow! Most PCs have 128K caches, whichdo much more effectively the job ofallocating resources) and then thesoftware writers take hold, masses ofComputer Concepts programs whichdecrease your memory to about 16K forputting your pictures in. So you buyan A5000 with 4Mb RAM and an 80Mb harddrive and then you're in business. Ah,sorry, not many businesses use thesecomputers do they? Which would you buy if you were a smallcompany needing about 6 computers - 6A5000s, setting you back about `1,700apiece, or the top of the range PC33Mhz 486DX with 105Mb hard drive, SVGAmonitor for `1200? I know that thecompanies that I work for (while I'mnot studying law) don't buy Arcs. Andthat is not for want of trying: Iencourage people to buy Arcs if I can,but then they say BUT ****ing hell,that's another six grand it'll cost meif I do that. After that, they want toknow what software they can run. Microsoft Windows, Lotus 123, all thesesort of programs. Whack that underyour Archimedes PC emulator and youmight as well buy an Amstrad 1512 for`250 including EGA monitor for thespeed advantage the latter will giveyou. So, what am I driving at? That the PCis better than the Arc. Well, notnecessarily, it depends what you wantit for, how much money you have tospend, how much time you want to spendprogramming your computer, what yourcompatibility needs are. Industrystandard databases, such as Superbaseand DBase for the PC are far superiorto anything I've seen on the Arc. Excel as a Spreadsheet is about 30times easier to use than the Arc basedones. Microsoft Word for Windows hasto be the best wordprocessor on themarket for any computer. It's idiotproof! Even my 81 year-old grandmothercan use it. If she gets stuck, shepresses F1 and the computer displays onthe screen how to do what she wastrying to do. My recommendations: If you want to program a nice computer,use an Arc with Basic. If you like machine code, andimpressing your friends with your HelloWorld program running so fast that youcan't see it, use ARM. If you like practical programming inmachine code, use a beeb. If you wantto be brilliant, take your Arc and hidefor a year and learn assembly that way.Alternatively use a compiler and takethe sweat out of it. If you want to write WIMP programs, useVisual Basic on the PC, you don't haveto write hardly any code to get it todo brilliant stuff. If you want money for your programs,write for PCs. If you want to tell your friends thetruth about purchasing computers, don'tget them to buy an Arc because Acornhave lost something when they went fromBeebs to Arcs, you can make a beebbrilliant, you can only make an Arc alittle better.