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Software Upgrades Hardware Linux

Gaining RAM For Free, Through Software 68

wakaramon writes with a piece from IEEE Spectrum about an experimental approach to squeezing more usable storage out of a device's existing RAM; the researchers were using a Linux-based PDA as their testbed, and claim that their software "effectively gives an embedded system more than twice the memory it had originally — essentially for free." "Although the price of RAM has plummeted fast, the need for memory has expanded faster still. But if you could use data-compression software to control the way embedded systems store information in RAM, and do it in a way that didn't sap performance appreciably, the payoff would be enormous."
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Gaining RAM For Free, Through Software

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  • by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Wednesday August 27, 2008 @09:43AM (#24764355)
    The amazing thing is that timothy was well aware of this (from the but-ram-doubler-is-old-news dept), yet he posted it anyways.
  • SoftRAM (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JPLemme ( 106723 ) on Wednesday August 27, 2008 @09:53AM (#24764509)

    SoftRAM claimed to do this, but the product didn't do anything except report to the user that it was doing something.

    I didn't realize there were similar products that actually worked; I thought the whole concept was snake oil.

  • Not free (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pvt_Ryan ( 1102363 ) on Wednesday August 27, 2008 @09:59AM (#24764593)
    Since they patented it and are licensing it, it's not really free is it?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 27, 2008 @12:11PM (#24766773)

    It appears that the key phrase here is "embedded systems".
    FTA, they appear to be making use of the regularity of certain patterns of data found commonly in embedded systems, and tailoring their compression algorithm to it.

    I'm not sure that it is really a great feat to engineer a special-purpose compression algorithm that out-performs general-purpose algorithms.

  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Wednesday August 27, 2008 @01:49PM (#24768209) Journal

    Notice 99% of the posts ignore that crucial word.

    In the larger context around this issue, "embedded" means "mass produced" means "tremendous pressure to reduce per-unit costs" means "cheaper parts, plzzz!" means "32k chip is much better than 64k chip".

    So that's what's going on here. It's not about the $3000 car super-radio. It's about the millions of $14-at-cost standard basic installed AM/FM radios. Or processing units in a handheld computer, watch, or game, etc. Or whatever.

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