FYI: "FSF work on a GNU OS" posted to comp.arch

Mariusz Stanczak Mariusz at
Thu May 9 17:37:09 AEST 1991

In article <1991May8.035642.28195 at>, yarvin-norman at (Norman Yarvin) writes:
> The problem with this that the Mach 'microkernel' is about as big as the
> entire 3b1 OS, and then some monster compatible with 4.4BSD is to run as a
> process on _top_ of that.  There is no way it will fit in a 3b1.

Well Norman, you must be more in the known, and I have not seen the code,
but all that I have read about the effort (Mach microkernel, not GNU kernel),
its design goals, and the intent/idea behind it (on a theoretical level)
left me with a completely different picture.  One of the pieces I read (about
the differences between Mach kernel, and the future microkernel [I think in
CTR]) mentioned a 1000 line C code for the whole thing.  True, the microker-
nell needs many layers glued onto it (the BSD "look&feel" in this case) to
become an OS, but it, in itself, should be a few K's big for all I understand.
What do you know that leads you to believe in what you stated above?  It's 
quite a revolation(sp) to me.

> The other factor to note is that this is _very_ heavy vaporware.  Even the
> details of 4.4BSD are not yet out, mostly because it is still in the process
> of being written.

Very true, but then isn't anything that's just being started "vaporware"?
The microkernel idea is just few years old(new), and OSF's implementation
(with all its resources, and commitment) is a couple years away, so GNU's
effort will be a thing coming into fruition for some years ahead.  I'd
begg to differ... vaporware are things that are announced with a particular
date (and usually shady intent), and then not delivered.  In GNU's case,
vaporware might be things that are not worked on, but then its US and nobody
else.  It's a very ambitious effort, and the projection is about right... 
as 4.4BSD develops, so accordingly will the pieces be picked up... after all
you develop for tomorow, not today.  "Everybody" was pledging(sp) OSI commit-
ment before first layer was a reality.  Is there anything "wrong" with that?
I mean look at the results.

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