Re: [sl4] Personal identity (was Re: A teleporter)

From: Charles Hixson (
Date: Tue Feb 10 2009 - 21:00:06 MST

Robin Lee Powell wrote:
> On Mon, Feb 09, 2009 at 06:07:05PM -0600, Bryan Bishop wrote:
>> On Mon, Feb 9, 2009 at 3:28 PM, John K Clark
>> <> wrote:
>>>> If my hardware is changed, then these things will also be
>>>> changed.
>>> Why? Apple or Windows, it's all Microsoft Word to me.
>> This shows a fundamental misunderstanding of hardware, the
>> difference between software and hardware, and so on.
> Not on his part.
> (I've been a sysadmin for 15 years; don't even start. Look up
> "turing complete" if you'd like to actually learn something.
> Software is a totally different layer from hardware, which was
> John's entire point.)
> -Robin
Still, I've yet to see equivalent ports between systems, except for
EXTREMELY simple programs. Even "Hello, World!" changes.

It's true that, in theory, equivalent programs could be long
as the I/O systems were sufficiently adaptable... but in practice that
doesn't happen. Programs ported between systems are frequently
"essentially the same", but frequently they depend on, e.g., fonts that
aren't portable. So substitutions need to be made. (Yes, in theory
everything could be done via bit flipping. But *nobody* would do it
that way. It would be slow, error prone, memory intensive, and still
likely to need extensive tailoring with each port. So one uses, e.g.,
font libraries. If the libraries change...)

I guess that it's pretty clear that here I'm thinking about standard
office programs. Word Processors, Spreadsheets, etc. But those are
*extremely* simple compared to the programs that we are talking about

In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, things don't
work out that way.

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