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Re: Broken dream of mine :(

From: Bas Wijnen
Subject: Re: Broken dream of mine :(
Date: Tue, 15 Sep 2009 22:15:15 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.18 (2008-05-17)

On Tue, Sep 15, 2009 at 08:19:19PM +0200, Michal Suchanek wrote:
> 2009/9/15 Bas Wijnen <address@hidden>:
> > I have written a toy kernel for x86 some time ago, in the spirit of
> > discussions I had on this list with Shapiro and others.  That kernel was
> > written in C.  It worked, and I am still quite happy about it.  If
> > others would have joined, it might have become a serious kernel, maybe
> > even the basis for the Hurd.
> >
> > However, nobody did, and I moved on as well.  Recently, I started
> > writing a new kernel[0], for a mips-based mini-pc, mostly with the same
> > ideas, but now in C++[1].  Of course I'm not using any libraries, so no
> > new, virtual member functions, exceptions, or any other fancy things.
> > But I do sort my code in classes with normal member functions and
> > namespaces, and I do use default function arguments and a few templates
> > (but not the STL, because it uses new).
> >
> When you announced that you are writing this kernel you said something
> along the lines that it will be a sort of proof-of-concept
> implementation of some not-yet-finished ideas.

It was.  That was the toy kernel I was talking about. ;-)  If one or two
people would have really liked it and helped me improve it, it might
have become more than a toy.

However, I currently prefer to focus on Iris, because with her target
hardware, it is more likely that people will actually want to use it.  I
don't see any way to get people to change their desktop system.  After
all, a new system will for quite some time have problems such as missing

> I was somewhat curious about the results because the kernel was
> supposed to have a resource management which was based on ideas that I
> could not imagine working.

Well, it can run nethack. ;-)  That does mean it is almost completely
functional.  What do you mean by "not working"?  That is doesn't run, or
that it is extremely slow?  I didn't do any benchmarks, and obviously
nethack isn't a heavy application, so not having performance issues
there doesn't mean anything.  Also, as I wrote in the announcement, I
didn't even try to make my libc fast; it was only intended to make
nethack run so I could see (and show) that the kernel worked.

> I did not notice any announcement of progress or other output so there
> we are.

There wasn't any announcement, because there was no progress. ;-)  Well,
not with that kernel anyway.  There is progress with Iris now, which is
for several reasons a nicer project, the change of language being one of
them.  I do think it is a better kernel because I wrote the other one
first, though.  So my work on that was not wasted.[1] :-)


[1] Not that I make programs for the result.  It's too much work for
that.  I do it for the process.  Which IMO is the only good reason to do
it.  And if you really need something that doesn't exist, but that
hardly ever happens to programmers, and it never happens to people who
don't know what is possible. :-)

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