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Re: A niche for the Hurd

From: olafBuddenhagen
Subject: Re: A niche for the Hurd
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 2008 01:05:20 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.18 (2008-05-17)


On Wed, Nov 12, 2008 at 08:35:21PM +0100, Arne Babenhauserheide wrote:
> Am Mittwoch 12 November 2008 05:14:02 schrieb olafBuddenhagen@gmx.net:

> > This is actually not far off: In fact distributed systems were a (or
> > even *the*?) major research focus of Mach -- Mach provides
> > network-transparent RPC for that purpose.
> - snip -
> > And it's not terribly useful either: Today even the smallest
> > machines have enough resources that there is no motivation to avoid
> > having a complete instance of the operating system on each node.
> Is that also true for embedded devices? 


Very simple (8 bit) microcontrollers are still used quite a lot in less
demanding embedded applications -- but nobody would cluster these up to
achieve better performance. If more is needed, more powerful
microcontrollers are used, and these can easily run a full-blown modern

> Far fetched it could be used in intelligent houses, where common
> (expensive) functions and the state of the house could be implemented
> in a shared server. Why should every small part of my house have the
> processing power to do price calculations and cost optimizations? That
> would mean that the whole house would have to be connected, though... 
> It might not be the easiest niche to advertise (and thus not the
> first), but currently the Hurd is set on Mach, and so Machs
> capabilities could be used. 

As I said, distributed systems at the *application* level are still
interesting. But these do not require support at the microkernel level.

Distributed systems without shared memory (compute clusters and other
kinds of supercomputers) run almost exclusively with explicit
communication (MPI). Even MOSIX, which works at a higher level than Mach
IPC, never really took off.


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