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SubjectRe: User vs. Kernel (was: To be smug, or not to be smug, that is , the question)
On 22 Jan 1999, Jes Sorensen wrote:

> >>>>> "Jon" == Jon M Taylor <taylorj@ecs.csus.edu> writes:
>
> Jon> Soon, probably within a year or two, a decent, open-source
> Jon> next generation OS like Hurd (Microkernel), FluxOS (polymorphic
> Jon> virtual machines/nested processes), Dolphin (exokernel), The
> Jon> Cache Kernel, or another NGOS will be developed to the point
> Jon> where it can step in and cannibalize the guts out of Linux to
> Jon> produce a fully-functional NGOS which is suitable for mainstream
> Jon> use. With the Univerity of Utah OSKit having been released, this
> Jon> process is well underway and accelerating rapidly. At that
> Jon> point, then, we all can dump 25+ years of accumulated Unix API
> Jon> brokenness and move on to a clean, modern, well-designed OS.
>
> Jon> Linux will then exist only as some sort of NGOS legacy
> Jon> compatibility wrapper, like WINE, and the real Linux can
> Jon> gracefully fade away into history, its "springboard" role having
> Jon> run its course. This is the natural way of things. If you want
> Jon> to "fix" Unix/Linux, do it right and rework everything ground-up
> Jon> from first principles. Just MHO of course.
>
> Hahahaha, this is clearly the funniest posting on this list this
> year. It's so funny I just had to print it and put it up on the wall.
>
> John, just one question: if you belive in that rubbish, why on earth
> do you waste your time on this crap old-fashioned operating system
> called Linux?

Because it is the only game in town currently. Nothing else works
well enough. Yet. Like I said, give it a year or two.

> Forget it, people have been trying to design the perfect operating
> system to replace UNIX the last 10 years

Longer than that.

> and still people keep coming
> crawling back to something that has proved itself to work.

Sure. But the ease with which one can produce a working
prototype of an NGOS has never been anywhere close to as asy as it is
these days with all the open source code floating around, which makes
this a completely new ballgame.

> All the
> cooporate money being put behind Linux now is just not going to be
> switched to some vapor OS of the month at the rate they come out.

Right again. What will happen is that there will continue to be
a shakeout in the NGOS field, and one or two of the designs will absorb
the good features of the others and come out on top. If they proive
clear and present benefits, they will be used as long as porting apps is
not that difficult.

> It's quite amazing actually, UNIX was designed so many years ago and
> still they managed to get so many things right .... quite impressive
> actually.

It certainly is impressive that a 25+ year old design is still
kicking. But all it is is adequate, not outstanding or anything like
that. Unix has a number of serious defects:

* Lack of generalized message passing
* Lack of a decent privilege/capability model
* Blocking I/O
* Interruptible system calls
* Process-based instead of interrupt-based

we can (and will) do much better than Unix in the future.

Jon

---
'Cloning and the reprogramming of DNA is the first serious step in
becoming one with God.'
- Scientist G. Richard Seed

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