OODBMS & smtp/pop

Henry G. Baker hbaker@netcom.com
Tue, 6 May 1997 17:41:28 -0700 (PDT)

Re OODBMS & smtp/pop:

1.  I agree that a good smtp & pop server could be built that didn't
use files.  Indeed, it would solve the problem of having n copies of
the same message for each of the people who have accounts on the
server and get the same broadcast message.  However, there will have
to be well-defined & reversible mappings from the object format
to/from a text format for the various protocols.  Furthermore, you may
have to provide text in/out capabilities for 'plugins' that may not be
written in Lisp (gag).

2.  Early OODBMS's and RDBMS's failed miserably on 'bulk' data such as
audio and video images.  As a result, these DBMS vendors had to
scramble after-the-fact to provide efficient storage and retrieval for
such bulk data.  You gotta do this, so plan on it.

3.  I have had many occasions to process bulk data in Lisp using
stream i/o on 8-bit byte streams, and I've usually been grossed out at
how slow this can be.  People seem to really remember this, not so
much because they want to do this very much, but because it is so
readily compared to more traditional systems.

4.  The Lisp machine's serial I/O _sucked_ !  I remember trying to
hook up a high speed I/O device to the serial line, and was grossed
out that it could only do about 4800 baud (circa 1981).  When we
looked into it, we found that the LispM was doing a large number of
flavor calls _per byte transmitted/received_ !  This was then speeded
up somewhat, but I think it would still have trouble handling
128Kbits/sec ISDN.  The bottom line is that _performance matters_, and
more especially, _performance that can be readily compared with other
machines matters_.  I found after I got my Mac that Apple made the
same mistake, because the Apple serial lines also sucked (except for
Appletalk, which was cool, although it was still pretty slow).  DOS
PC's may have sucked in the software department, but they usually had
_fast disk controllers_ and _fast interrupt-driven I/O_.  I was always
impressed by how much faster the DOS PC's were at handling disk
traffic than with the Mac.

Henry Baker
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