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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • ...though for different reasons than Nat :-)

    The reason I'm skeptical for may be obsolete by now, and I'd be happy to be corrected on this. The reason microkernels didn't use to fly despite being a very nice design, was simple: performance, or the lack thereof. All those layers of abstraction and encapsulation simply took too much time to go through. In other words: the performance of microkernels sucked (compared with monolithic kernels).

    That was the state in mid-nineties, when I knew some of the Mach guys (one of the Mach projects was called Lites [cs.hut.fi], and I used to know the core people of Lites). Nice design, but sucky performance, even these very bright guys couldn't make it much better. Then came Microsoft and bought most of the Mach people of CMU, and one of the Lites guys, to do hush-hush projects for their corporate research.

    Of course, Mach/Lites is not Hurd (maybe the Hurd people have figured out how to write fast microkernels and the servers around them), and in ten years the Moore's Law might have helped the slowness a lot: just throw enough hardware at the problem. So I don't know what the situation is these days.

    P.S. In another microkernel news, if you are interested in that kind of stuff, you might want to look at Chorus/C5: a rather nice and very modular real time OS. Originally a French academic project (just like Mach), then productized, then bought by Sun, and now quite recentely open sourced [sunlabs.com] and reproductized [jaluna.com] ("get support from us"). Source code free (not GPL), but one of the Sun OS licenses.

    • I meant to mention a little more about the performance issue. One thing I was trying to get at but failed to mention explicitly is that many of us are now using a microkernel on a daily basis. You specifically: I know you are because I saw you with an ibook at YAPC. :) OS X is built on a microkernel, and all you new Mac users can tell me how the performance is.

      I would not be surprised if the HURD I am predicting has poor performance for awhile. I am optimistic that if Apple can make a usable microkern

      --
      J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
      • > OS X is built on a microkernel, and all you new Mac users can tell me how the performance is.

        That's easy: my computers are always too slow :-) be they 8-bit home micros or 1024-node Crays.