Mike Prince mprince@crl.com
Fri, 14 Oct 1994 17:32:29 -0700 (PDT)

On Sat, 15 Oct 1994, Francois-Rene Rideau wrote:

> Dear Mike,
>   I'm myself considering writing a real light & powerful (unlike Unix)
> OS using (some non-ANSI) dialect of FORTH as a portable low-level language.
> My idea of specs for the OS seem to match yours (I'd add persistence as
> an important characteristics for the system; also dynamic strong typing and
> lazy partial evaluation and garbage collection).

They sound the same.  I'd interpret persistence as the ability of the 
system to remain running (i.e. no bugs crashing the system) for long 
periods of time.  I would add to that resilience, the ability to survive 
the failure of several CPU's which are working on part of an application.

I have a different idea about strong dynamic typing.  The basic OS 
should not concern itself about the content of objects.  This would make 
the OS very small, and very versatile.  On top of the OS, as part of the 
applications, ANY level of typing could be used.  I want the OS to be 
able to serve as many camps as possible.  This way the OS will be a standard 
building block others can use to explore different programming languages.

In order to steer programmers in the direction of dynamic typing I have 
contemplated a data encapsulation language to enclose parameters being 
passed between objects.  Objects could use a library of extraction
functions to pull parameters.  Just an idea though...

>   If my goal and yours agree, then I'm ready to join you.
>   Note that there's also the FIRE project whose goal is to build a computer
> & OS based on FORTH (mailing list: fire-l@artopro.mlnet.com); but from what I
> understand, they don't have much idea about what a multi* OS should be (as
> FORTH systems are generally single-user).

The gentleman in charge of FIRE e-mailed me today.  Their project is too 
hardware and language specific for me, although I hope to foster a 
healthy exchange of ideas with them.

I hope that your goals are close enough to ours so that we can 
collaborate.  I'll add you to the mailing list and you should receive the 
first mailing on the 17th.  I hope to hear from you soon.