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Re: Broken dream of mine :(

From: olafBuddenhagen
Subject: Re: Broken dream of mine :(
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 2009 03:16:45 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.19 (2009-01-05)


On Mon, Sep 14, 2009 at 03:30:08PM +0530, arnuld uttre wrote:

> A thought struck my mind that I can use BitC to rewrite Hurd.

The purpose of BitC is formal verification. We are not interested in

> Now, I passionately wanted to use a GNU system but after 25 years the
> Hurd is still in its nascent stage

19 years. The Hurd was started much later than GNU itself -- which is
one of the reasons why it never really took off...

>  There is one concept in Lisp. When we want to do something then we
>  can bend the language according to our design and that is possible
>  because Lisp is the programmable programming language.

This is the nice feature about Lisp, but also its major weakness:
everyone can build his own language on top of Lisp -- so it's hard to
keep to a common one in a project with multiple contributors; and every
new contributor needs to learn the specific language of the project

> I think a project as complex as Hurd needs to use a language that is
> specifically designed for that project, that can work according to the
> basic design of the OS not the other way around. Do you think using C
> fits that criteria for Hurd ?

I think C still best fits the criteria for low-level stuff, like the
microkernel. It's also good for the main system libraries, as other
languages can easily interface with C. (Kind of a least common

For translators, I believe that indeed it would be nice to use other
languages. As I mentioned in
http://tri-ceps.blogspot.com/2009/07/declaring-world-domination.html , I
think that some kind of declarative/functional language would be much
better suited for translator programming than anything imperative. But I
don't know enough languages to tell which one would best fit the bill.

But this is one of the major advantages of the Hurd: we don't have to
settle on a single language up front -- you can mix servers written in
all kinds of languages!

However, we also need to keep in mind that using a less known language
means fewer people are able hack on it... Unless we can turn it around
and make it the main use case for some interesting language, in which
case it could actually become a motivator for people to join the
project :-)


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