Position & proposal

Paul Prescod papresco@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca
Thu, 05 Jun 1997 05:46:33 -0400

Mike McDonald wrote:
>   But isn't the whole point of an OS to arbitrate access to shared
> resources, whether they be hardware or software? For instance, say I
> have a brilliant idea on how to implement a TCP/IP stack that takes
> one less copy than everyone else's. I can't test that out on the same
> machine that other users are on. (Who does the hardware deliver
> packets to? My new code or the production version?)

Which ever one is installed as the handler for interrupts from that
device. As someone else has pointed out you can change that at runtime
without a big problem.
>   Basicly, there's should be a distinction between a production
> machine and a development machine. You don't allow "users" on
> production machines, aka servers. They're tightly controlled wrt which
> software they're running and how that software is updated.

Seems like an artificial distinction to me. Didn't MIT run machines at
one point that anyone from the Internet could log into and make changes
to -- a remote hacking machine? Was that "production" or "development"?
I maintain machines like that myself -- multiple users but it is well
known that it can crash at any time.
> Each user should have his own development machine. (Let's get real,
> we're talking about PCs here! Nobody wants there own Cray YMP. A T3E,
> maybe. :-) And yes, each and ever user should have the ability to
> screw him or her self royally. With that freedom comes a sense of
> responibility. (Heck, it's no fun "hacking" a machine that'll let you
> do whatever you want. Where's the challenge?)

The question is: should users be able to timeshare production machines?
I think the answer is: sure!

 Paul Prescod