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Kevin Brown

Randy Burns

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From: (-Pete French.) Subject: Re: LINUX is obsolete Date: 31 Jan 92 09:49:37 GMT Organization: Electronics Department, University of York, UK   in article <>, (David Megginson) says: > > In article <1992Jan30.185728.26477feustel@netcom.COM> feustel@netcom.COM (David > Feustel) writes: >> >>That's ok. Einstein got lousy grades in math and physics. > > And Dan Quayle got low grades in political science. I think that there > are more Dan Quayles than Einsteins out there... ;-)   What a horrible thought !   But on the points about microkernel v monolithic, isnt this partly an artifact of the language being used ? MINIX may well be designed as a microkernel system, but in the end you still end up with a large monolithic chunk of binary data that gets loaded in as "the OS". Isnt it written as separate programs simply because C does not support the idea of multiple processes within a single piece of monolithic code. Is there any real difference between a microkernel written as several pieces of C and a monolithic kernel written in something like OCCAM ? I would have thought that in this case the monolithic design would be a better one than the micorkernel style since with the advantage of inbuilt language concurrency the kernel could be made even more modular than the MINIX one is.   Anyone for MINOX :-)   -bat.

From: (Kevin Brown) Subject: Re: LINUX is obsolete Date: 4 Feb 92 08:08:42 GMT Organization: University of Houston   In article <47607@hydra.gatech.EDU> kt4@prism.gatech.EDU (Ken Thompson) writes: >viewpoint may be largely unrelated to its usefulness. Many if not >most of the software we use is probably obsolete according to the >latest design criteria. Most users could probably care less if the >internals of the operating system they use is obsolete. They are >rightly more interested in its performance and capabilities at the >user level. > >I would generally agree that microkernels are probably the wave of >the future. However, it is in my opinion easier to implement a >monolithic kernel. It is also easier for it to turn into a mess in >a hurry as it is modified.   How difficult is it to structure the source tree of a monolithic kernel such that most modifications don't have a large negative impact on the source? What sorts of pitfalls do you run into in this sort of endeavor, and what suggestions do you have for dealing with them?   I guess what I'm asking is: how difficult is it to organize the source such that most changes to the kernel remain localized in scope, even though the kernel itself is monolithic?   I figure you've got years of experience with monolithic kernels :-), so I'd think you'd have the best shot at answering questions like these.   Kevin Brown

From: rburns@finess.Corp.Sun.COM (Randy Burns) Subject: Re: LINUX is obsolete Date: 30 Jan 92 20:33:07 GMT Organization: Sun Microsystems, Mt. View, Ca.   In article <> (Andy Tanenbaum) writes: >In article <1992Jan29.231426.20469@klaava.Helsinki.FI> torvalds@klaava.Helsinki. >FI (Linus Benedict Torvalds) writes:   >Of course 5 years from now that will be different, but 5 years from now >everyone will be running free GNU on their 200 MIPS, 64M SPARCstation-5. Well, I for one would _love_ to see this happen.   >>The fact is that linux is more portable than minix. What? I hear you >>say. It's true - but not in the sense that ast means: I made linux as >>conformant to standards as I knew how (without having any POSIX standard >>in front of me). Porting things to linux is generally /much/ easier >>than porting them to minix. ......... >My point is that writing a new operating system that is closely tied to any >particular piece of hardware, especially a weird one like the Intel line, >is basically wrong. First off, the parts of Linux tuned most finely to the 80x86 are the Kernel and the devices. My own sense is that even if Linux is simply a stopgap measure to let us all run GNU software, it is still worthwhile to have a a finely tuned kernel for the most numerous architecture presently in existance.   > An OS itself should be easily portable to new hardware >platforms. Well, the only part of Linux that isn't portable is the kernel and drivers. Compare to the compilers, utilities, windowing system etc. this is really a small part of the effort. Since Linux has a large degree of call compatibility with portable OS's I wouldn't complain. I'm personally very grateful to have an OS that makes it more likely that some of us will be able to take advantage of the software that has come out of Berkeley, FSF, CMU etc. It may well be that in 2-3 years when ultra cheap BSD variants and Hurd proliferate, that Linux will be obsolete. Still, right now Linux greatly reduces the cost of using tools like gcc, bison, bash which are useful in the development of such an OS.

Best regards,

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