[ProgClub list] So, why aren't we using Unix as god intended?

Asher Glynn asher.glynn at gmail.com
Thu Oct 27 01:44:36 AEDT 2011

> Focusing on short(ish) posts
>> http://asher-glynn.blogspot.**com/2011/10/unix-on-**
>> hypervisors-what-have-you-**done.html<http://asher-glynn.blogspot.com/2011/10/unix-on-hypervisors-what-have-you-done.html>
> I submitted you to reddit. Go vote yourself up!

> http://www.reddit.com/r/**programming/comments/lpp8c/**
> unix_on_hypervisors_what_have_**you_done_for_us/<http://www.reddit.com/r/programming/comments/lpp8c/unix_on_hypervisors_what_have_you_done_for_us/>
>  I agree - Unix is the correct default option, but why don't we have well
>> known alternatives?
> Well so far there doesn't seem any need for alternatives?
> I mean, I take your point that some of the features and idioms of Unix
> aren't used very much these days, but I rarely use the back seat of my car,
> or my car's rear windshield wiper, or the spare tire. They're just there in
> case they're useful some time.

At least most people know that they are carrying around a spare tire and a
dead body in their trunk. I think most people are blissfully unaware about
how much cruft is actually in their default kernel and how much extra
overhead they've got. 3/4 of the time it doesn't matter. Increasingly people
are looking for things to cut from virtualised environments to cut overhead
and power.

Also very aware that for years at UTS Unix was held out as an "ideal"
operating system because of the multiuser, multiprocessing, security etc
characteristics. Turns out nobody gives a f*ck.

>  Windows was based around the experiences of the VMS guys that came from
>> Digital - very clever guys. MS benefited from them in the same way as a
>> whole lot of pissed off Digital CPU designers benefited AMD for a bit,
>> bringing specific skills in. Hangovers in Windows from OS/2 are based
>> around
>> some of IBM's mainframe experience and DOS being a variant on CP/M which
>> actually hails in part back to CP/CMS in the mainframe. The "official"
>> language for CP/M was PL/M which was a variant of PL/I, definitely a
>> mainframe programming language. Windows NT is interesting because its
>> actually a much more modern design than Linux, but I think it suffers
>> because it is too much of a hodge podge of design concepts.
> Sometimes I feel like I have power I shouldn't have when I'm programming on
> Linux. I.e. when I'm doing text-processing with regular expressions and
> piping results around. It's just such a sloppy hack. I used to have a code
> generator that would stream XML, XSLT and 'code' (i.e. text) around to get
> the codegen job done, and I thought that was fairly elegant and robust,
> although I was essentially applying the Unix philosophy under Windows.
> Sometimes when I'm programming Windows I feel like I have the power I need
> to get what I want done. Other times I feel completely locked down.
> Overall I'd say that Linux makes me feel more powerful than Windows.

Yeah, not sure whether its real or not. Windows has a rich API as soon as
you scrape underneath the covers but not entirely convinced you are actually
supposed to use half the features. In Unix you definitely are supposed to
use the features but when you go to actually use them the feature doesn't
work as described or is a bitch to understand because of the lack of
conventions. I'm still baffled that anyone can actually _code_ anything from
most man pages without grepping for an example.

Noticed somewhere (possibly The Register) that MS was opening up the
compiler in the next generation of VS so you could trap different bits of
the compile process/tool chain, which as got to be a good thing.

>  go find a mirror and try and tell yourself that C++ in
>> any way is a well thought through language and watch the mirror crack
>> itself
>> up laughing.
> I was blown away by how "unsafe" that language is on the number of
> occasions that I've encountered it. I mean, it had my jaw dropping: "You
> mean they made it work like *that*!?" But I really don't know much about
> C++.

Saw a discussion the other day with a guy for C++11 - was arguing against
run time type information and *for* a whole lot of frankly sociopathic C++
behaviour. Heck, for a lot of the sheer power, C is better. A lot better.
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