[TUHS] UNIX of choice these days?

Dan Cross crossd at gmail.com
Mon Sep 25 10:36:15 AEST 2017

On Sun, Sep 24, 2017 at 7:36 PM, Dave Horsfall <dave at horsfall.org> wrote:
> On Sun, 24 Sep 2017, Bakul Shah wrote:
>> There are just a few potential users of /proc and they were already using
>> other facilities. plus /proc is an optional facility. All this conspired to
>> make /proc less useful in FreeBSD. Unused code is in danger of being garbage
>> collected in FreeBSD :-)
> Whatever happened to the Unix philosophy of everything looking like a file?
> Adding more system calls is the Windoze (or perhaps Penguin) way of doing
> things.

This is an interesting point (and I think TUHS relevant): I've long
held that the powers-that-be in what has become the "Unix" world have
no more than a cursory interest in the Unix philosophy.

The reasons for this are many. Part of it is lack of exposure to any
other way of doing things (in particular, lack of exposure to a
canonically Unix way of doing things). I've lost track of the number
of people I've tried to show Plan 9-ish ways of doing things to and
the pushback I've gotten: "Filesystems?! That'll NEVER work!" "But
look...it's working right here." "Bah. That's just some goof-ball
research toy." Grrr....

Part of it is that the problems have shifted out from underfoot: Unix
was created in a place and at a time where a certain class of problem
was important; it solved those sorts of problems (and did damn well at
doing so). And while many of those problems are still important today,
entirely new classes of problems are also (if not more) important
these days and Unix did not grow to gracefully accommodate those
problems. Maybe those problems shouldn't matter, but they do; oh well.

The irony, of course, is that Unix basically "won". It's just that it
had to stop being Unix to do so. "He who stares into the abyss...."

        - Dan C.

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