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SubjectRe: Ken Thompson interview in IEEE Computer magazine (fwd)
On Thu, May 06, 1999 at 12:49:54PM +0200, Pavel Machek wrote:

> > Banks put your bank accounts on IBM mainframes, on HP boxes, on Solaris
> > boxes, maybe (but unlikely) on DEC Alpha boxes. In roughly that order.
> > Ditto for airline reservations, power grids, etc.

> We have quite a few solaris boxes in school, and they are not too
> stable. Our ss1000 server was so bad that we changed to _experimental
> version of sparc64linux_, and yes it improved a bit. So if you'd trust
> solaris for your bank account, you could as well go linux.

Well, banks not only use stable machines, the stability of every OS is still
highly dependant on what you run on it. If you stress the hardware too much,
it'll die regardless of how good the OS is designed. Also, there is this
commonly accepted 'law of computers' that most people believe in, namely
that you can never get rid of all bugs in software. So banks (or at least
the rather large bank/insurance firm my girlfriend works for as a sysadmin)
have extensive change management, at least one machine as a 'test' machine
which they use to test changes like new software versions, and as much
hot-swappable and self-managing parts as they can get their hands on.

It's not so much 'stability' they need, it's more an issue of
predictability. That, the rapid development of Linux, and the lack of
support for expensive hardware such as RAID devices and hot-pluggable parts
is what keeps Linux off the expensive-server market. IMvHO anyway.

Thomas Wouters <>

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