essential Erlang

Peter-Henry Mander erlang@REDACTED
Wed Sep 24 10:34:36 CEST 2003

Hi Vlad,

It sounds suspiciously like a microkernel architecture that was in vogue 
in the '80s. I think the Gnu-HURD is still trying to push the concept to 
its logical limits, but there's no production-quality OS from them yet.

Windows-NT was initially an object oriented microkernel, but pragmatism 
and marketing soon corrupted the initially clean concept.

Linux, being a pragmatic venture from the outset never pretended to be a 
microkernel, and perpetuates the monolithic kernel concept, with claims 
that this is the only way to achieve high performance without compromise.

But Erlang _proves_ (at least to me) that lightweight processes and 
massively concurrent systems can equal or surpass monolithic systems in 
practice. With the advantage of being easier to use and to implement 
complex systems than with any other language I know of.

Why not start from the outset with the Mach kernel, as are the Gnu-HURD 
team, and build a native Core-Erlang system on top of that? Mach 
provides the process scheduling and message passing primitives. Erlang 
can be used to implement the higher-level services. This project may 
even ride upon Gnu-HURD to give it a starting block, and give support to 
the Gnu-HURD.

I think this could be lots of fun! (-:


Vlad Dumitrescu wrote:


> After describing this architecture, it begins to look like a OS kernel (I think)
> and I am pleased to notice that :-) In the future maybe this will be *the* OS...


> regards,
> Vlad

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