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Re: X and other visions

From: Thomas Bushnell, BSG
Subject: Re: X and other visions
Date: 13 Jun 2004 12:05:50 -0700
User-agent: Gnus/5.09 (Gnus v5.9.0) Emacs/21.3

Michael Banck <mbanck@gmx.net> writes:

> Note that Desktop Environments such as GNOME are not Linux specific.
> GNOME runs (and is well supported by Sun) on Solaris, for example. Of
> course, GNU/Hurd might have a better implementation of virtual file
> systems as Linux, but nevertheless you need a platform-independant
> fallback if you're running on something else than GNU.

FWIW, this I think is one of the chief problems in operating systems
design today.

Any popular and full-featured interface is going to need to run on
vanilla (plain posix, X, etc) and cannot rely on whatever fancy tricks
the kernel-level services can provide.  And all the various user-land
vfs things for desktops demonstrate that it can be done well without
any kernel-level fancy tricks.

But the result is that no matter how cool the fancy kernel-level
tricks may be, they will not have the impact on users that they might
have had in 1985, when users used programs that were much closer to
the kernel.

Truly we do have a problem now that emacs and gnome and kde and web
browsers and so forth all have their own *different* ideas about how
to do vfs-stuff and how it should look, but that's a problem that can
be solved by coordination, and cannot be solved by fancy kernel-level
tricks--since all those userland tools will need to work, and work
consistently, on platforms that don't have the cool tricks.

This means there is less and less to distinguish systems at the kernel


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