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- Subject: Inferno
- From: Rogers Cadenhead <email@example.com>
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Reposted from Anssi Porttikivi <firstname.lastname@example.org> in comp.lang.java. He's a subscriber to this list, though for some reason my mail to him keeps bouncing back. This may stir some conversation ... From: Anssi Porttikivi <email@example.com> Hi! There has been discussion in comp.lang.java about the Bell Labs Inferno (See <http://plan9.bell-labs.com/inferno/>, <http://www.lucent.com/inferno/>, <news:comp.os.plan9> and <http://cruel.com/vanni/>) operating evironment (runs on different raw hardware and on top of MS-Windows and popular Unix versions) and it's Limbo language, a Java like system. Whatever the engineering or commercial assets of Limbo vs. Java are, that is not the point. If it where, Java would win the market share battle, because Limbo as an interpreted or on-the-fly compiled language can't be so fundamentally different and Java already has really strong support everywhere. I see thta the real problem Inferno/Plan 9 targets is bigger: the state of the computer and telecommunications industry. Unix is an architecture which is beautiful, but 25 years old (an amazing achievement from the Bell people, anyway). MS-Windows is a collection of only moderately good ideas bought second hand and is as much on the way of good software than enabling it. (The success of MS-DOS was based on the fact that it was so small it was only little on the way.) We need a multi-purpose, modern, network centric OS. There are other systems which claim to be that, but they have no scientific muscle of Bell Labs or commercial muscle of Lucent to fight Sun, IBM and Microsoft operating systems. The problem is not only software. The stagnation in the OS market hinders development in hardware. Unix enabled the RISC revolution, but the Wintel monopoly is stronger than ever and becoming more so. Inferno allows for true innovation in hardware, including long due multiprocessor architectures, the support of which goes deep and wide in Inferno programming tools. Any new interpreted system won't do: to establish a new standard for true hardware independency we need a small, efficient but higly expressive common environment, so that programmers don't feel tempted to bypass it. As always, hardest work with Inferno has probably been designing things out: no threading, C++ like objects or a microkernel - no buzzword compliance. But the same functionality is there implemented in better, user, programmer and physical reality compliant ways. And finally, Inferno can exist in harmony with legacy systems: you can start using full power of it without giving up anything you already have. regards Anssi An obsessed Inferno fan
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