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Tanenbaum-Torvalds Microkernel Debate Continues 534

twasserman writes "Andy Tanenbaum's recent article in the May 2006 issue of IEEE Computer restarted the longstanding Slashdot discussion about microkernels. He has posted a message on his website that responds to the various comments, describes numerous microkernel operating systems, including Minix3, and addresses his goal of building highly reliable, self-healing operating systems."
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Tanenbaum-Torvalds Microkernel Debate Continues

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  • by robla ( 4860 ) * on Monday May 15, 2006 @01:27PM (#15335800) Homepage Journal

    Tanenbaum wrote (in TFA):The average user does not care about even more features or squeezing the last drop of performance out of the hardware, but cares a lot about having the computer work flawlessly 100% of the time and never crashing. Ask your grandma.

    Interesting. My mom recently bought a computer for my grandma. Grandma doesn't have a problem with the computer crashing at all. Her secret? She never turns it on.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 15, 2006 @01:44PM (#15335929)
    I'd like to point out that Minix is already FAR FAR *FAR* ahead of Linux in the version numbering war. Minix recently moved to version 3
    And Linux seems to be stuck on version 2.6

    And v3.12 (I think, I'm going from memory here) will finally support the X windowing system

    Oh...maybe I should have left out that last sentence...kinda kills my argument
  • by dr_dank ( 472072 ) on Monday May 15, 2006 @01:53PM (#15336009) Homepage Journal
    Since I know that this story is going to turn into flame-fest central

    Damn right, this'll be better than the less filling/tastes great argument.
  • by rcamans ( 252182 ) on Monday May 15, 2006 @02:02PM (#15336086)
    Whoo, there, good buddy. Actually I have seen some pretty entertaining videos of less filling / tastes great cat fights on the internet lately. Now, if someone wants to post videos of supermodels catfighting over microkernel / linus, I would then get pretty excited over the whole debate.
    Wait a minute, too much information here...

  • by maxwell demon ( 590494 ) on Monday May 15, 2006 @02:12PM (#15336183) Journal
    Here's the fight! []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 15, 2006 @02:13PM (#15336196)
    Hello everybody out there using minix -

    I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and
    professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones. This has been brewing
    since april, and is starting to get ready. I'd like any feedback on
    things people like/dislike in minix, as my OS resembles it somewhat
    (same physical layout of the file-system (due to practical reasons)
    among other things).

    I've currently ported bash and gcc, and things seem to work.
    This implies that I'll get something practical within a few months, and
    I'd like to know what features most people would want. Any suggestions
    are welcome, but I won't promise I'll implement them :-)
  • by AcidPenguin9873 ( 911493 ) on Monday May 15, 2006 @02:14PM (#15336209)
    "dont forget that Linux became only possible because 20 years of OS research was carefully studied, analyzed, discussed and thrown away." .0/0746.html []

    He is, of course, referring to all the research in the '80s and '90s on microkernels and IPC-based operating systems.

  • by xenocide2 ( 231786 ) on Monday May 15, 2006 @02:49PM (#15336530) Homepage
    With modules, you don't get a warm fuzzy feeling inside, telling you that microkernels are truly superior.
  • Oh Tanenbaum, oh Tanenbaum, wie grün sind deine Blätter
    Du grünst nicht nur zur Sommerszeit, nein auch im Winter, wenn es schneit.
    Oh Tanenbaum, oh Tanenbaum, wie grün sind deine Blätter

    For the uninformed: Tannenbaum (with double n) is the german word for Fir (conifer) or the synonym for Christmas-Tree. The verse above is the first of a famous german christmas-carol. :-)
  • Re:OOP (Score:4, Funny)

    by robertjw ( 728654 ) on Monday May 15, 2006 @03:47PM (#15337001) Homepage
    code goes from spaghetti to whatever the opposite is:

  • by jjohnson ( 62583 ) on Monday May 15, 2006 @05:38PM (#15338112) Homepage
    Linux as a kernel is sufficiently mature that the problems Linus is spending time on are management and scalability problems--organizing the large-scale kernel hacking effort and dealing with massively parallel processing.

    I'd like to see Linus say "I've done a monolithic kernel and proven its success. Now I'm going to build a performant microkernel and see what all the fuss is about." He could hand over Linux kernel development to the senior crew that's already taking care of the major modules, and try something else.

    Essentially, it would be cool for someone like Linus, with his incredibly strong practical engineering bent, to do again what he did with Linux: semi-clean-sheet a new kernel that meets his performance requirements, but is designed around different strategies for achieving what every OS tries to achieve.

    I bet that, in two or three years, he would recant his earlier dismissal of microkernels and say that there's actually some interesting stuff there, and along the way solve some of the perennial complaints that slashdotters always bring up whenever microkernels are mentioned. In his heart of hearts, I'm sure Linus has some legacy issues with the current kernel design that he'd love to jettison, but can't without massively re-organizing the existing architecture, in which too many interested parties are already involved.

    And he could put Stallman and the HURD boys to shame *again*, which is a twofer :)

To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk. -- Thomas Edison