Ken Dickey on a new OS...

Kenneth Dickey
Thu, 01 Jun 2000 23:01:48 -0700

Francois-Rene Rideau wrote:

> > E.g. pick an under $200 hw computing platform [...]

> I fear that if we are to be a internet-distributed project,
> our computing platform will have to be mostly PCs (and maybe PowerMacs),
> and/or the UNIX C virtual machine. In any case -- yuck.

Having standard, inexpensive hardware could help a distributed project converge.  If we develop a custom OS, it delays having to pay the communication, porting and testing costs.  

> > and work on the UI (from the top) and the TUNE (from the bottom).

> Uh, what do you call the TUNE, here?

I am hoping to find out from you.

> > I guess the questions I have are: "How does what you want differ from
> > the closest already available approximation?" and "How can you make use
> > of the user community which supports this?".
> I fear that what we want differs a lot from the closest already available
> approximation, and that there is no user community in which to tap directly.
> Indeed, one of the major features we want is orthogonal persistence:

No problem.  I find this a very good reason for doing something differently.

> Certainly Squeak also qualifies as a near target.
> even Squeak depends on a C runtime that isn't Squeak-hackable,

Actually it is a Smalltalk runtime which cross compiles to C.  [E.g. the GC is written in Smalltalk].  

You probably are also aware of Scheme48 which has a runtime written in PreScheme and cross compiled to C.  Scheme48 has a number of reflective features--or near enough with a little hacking.

> > [Obviously, I do not yet have a concrete mental model
> > of what you are proposing].
> > I have looked through various docs (arrow, etc.)
> I fear the arrow paper is not the right thing to read for concrete stuff.
> Actually, there is currently no coherent documentation about our concrete
> goals, only lots of information scattered around the various subprojects
> and the mailing-list archive.

I'll keep reading.