Must our computers be this "posessed"?

Francois-Rene Rideau
Tue, 23 May 95 1:26:08 MET DST

>[problems setting up Linux]
Linux took me quite a lot of time to setup. I did it on a necessity
basis, though, part by part, and could reuse my common unix
knowledge from sunos.

>[machine being "possessed"]
> Is there some unwritten rule that all 
> programs/OSs/subsystems must act "posessed"?
   Well, the problem is that all the free software we're using
is not supported by the hardware manufacturers, so there is
no way to be sure it will work on past or future chips. The
only way is "test", and test cannot be centralized by anyone,
because no one can afford buying lots of hardware to test
free software.
   TUNES will have the same problems, at least as of running
on uncommon hardware. Of course, TUNES could also run seamlessly
"On Top Of POSIX", or "On Top Of Windows", just slowlier and less
reliably. It could also run great on some adapted hardware (e.g.
the Forth hardware from the FIRE project). Or we could hack the
format of Windows drivers to use them ? Or drivers from other
software in general.

> Well, okay, enough complaining.  But the point all this goes to 
> illustrate is that TUNES, should it ever emerge into existance, _must_be 
> stable_!
I hope it is, and we should arrange so that it be. But as soon as
nonstandard software is involved (see all those drivers in Linux, plus
all the drivers in the XFree project, plus all the timings to gather),
there's definitely a problem.

> TUNES objects and subsystems should provide good error 
> messages, be able to better diognose which of their dependencies is at 
> fault, etc..
Yes, that we can do, I hope: good error reporting, so that even if it
doesn't work, people can understand why, and what part of the software to

> TUNES (as with technology) has a lot of potential. But if 
> we end up not being able to trust such basic things as printing, then 
> what _will_ we be able to trust?
At first, TUNES won't do much, I fear, except perhaps by using external
posix commands. Writing a terminal or network interface for tunes should
be one of the first things to do, when TUNES works, so we can truely
cross-develop it without having to reboot the development environment,
until we eventually fully bootstrap it.

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