snip When I said "experiment", I was referring to "this is what you guys get when...
Well, it (the previous two paragraphs) is an interesting experiment anyway, and IMO not really less clear than DECese for those us without the proper grounding in the DEC world. Partly a :-)?
So as I understand it, you're making a distinction between an installation process that just copies bits from installation media to hardware ("almost cold start") to one that involves on-the-fly computation of the bits to be transmitted to the hardware ("cold start")? What if the installation process decides which bits to copy based on examination of the hardware?
If the distinction between "cold start" and "almost cold start" is important, let's continue; else not. Some of us academics can get carried away with nitpicking about language usage. This makes for, um, interesting meetings sometimes.
Good story :-).
You have a point that spending too much time in an environment where "computer" means "single-user PC" might warp a person's thinking, even a person who knows better, so to speak. Yuck -- I suspect there's going to be a background process running in my head for the next few days or weeks that periodically asks "am I lapsing into PCthink without even knowing it??"
Not really "story time", but some details that might not be of general interest:
It is not an experiment. It was and is reality. This (cold start) is the most important piece of knowledge that is rapidly getting forgotten. No, there isn't...
I would claim that in my current work environment we're at least trying to resist a total collapse into PCthink: The hardware is almost exclusively x86, plus a few Macs. But we do have a central Linux "fileserver" machine where many users keep some of their files, and some users keep all of their files. We also have some "headless" computers intended for remote access only, and we at least pay lip service to the idea that when the machines in the public labs are running Linux they're available for remote access and for background work. (When I say "lip service", I mean that it's an ongoing struggle to remind everyone that you don't just reboot a machine without checking to find out whether anyone's using it remotely.)
-- B. L. Mbuttingill ObDisclaimer: I don't speak for my employers; they return the favor.