Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 5th May 2006 19:54 UTC, submitted by Gary
OSNews, Generic OSes The micro vs. monolithic kernel debate is now very much alive. Not too long ago, I wrote an article on the merits of microkernels, while a week later we featured a retort. Now, the greatest proponent of the microkernel steps in-- yes, Andy Tanenbaum writes: "Microkernels - long discarded as unacceptable because of their lower performance compared with monolithic kernels - might be making a comeback in operating systems due to their potentially higher reliability, which many researchers now regard as more important than performance." Now, we only need Torvalds to chime in, and it's 1992 all over again.
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RE[4]: Hmmm...
by christian on Sun 7th May 2006 15:05 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Hmmm..."
Member since:

> By 92, the handwriting was on the wall, and only people
> who needed to believe otherwise couldn't see it.
> Workstation makers, such as Intergraph, had gotten out
> of the processor business and moved to x86 already, and
> other companies, such as HP had started making plans
> for the eventual demise of their home-grown ISAs.

Hardly. Hindsight may make it seem that way, but there was still much development ahead in 1992.

1992 saw the release of the Alpha processor, and preceded the release of the PowerPC alliance. MIPS had just done the MIPS IV 64-bit processor architecture, and PA-RISC and SPARC were yet to enter the 64-bit world.

The fastest x86 was the i486 DX2 66, which was humiliated by all the RISC CPUs of the time (including SPARC), was a joke. It was by no means clear that Windows would be as dominant as it turned out to be with OS/2 still on the scene and MS hanging on using illegal means, so the future of the OS was still potentially up for grabs.

Merced was but a glimmer in Intel and HPs eye. And Itanium is hardly an x86 processor anyway.

And where are Intergraph now? Basically just another Wintel OEM.

Only one company actually make x86 competitive. AMD. Without competition, x86 would suck more than they do now.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[5]: Hmmm...
by Cloudy on Sun 7th May 2006 17:56 in reply to "RE[4]: Hmmm..."
Cloudy Member since:

OK, I overestimated the ability of people to read the handwriting on the wall.

In 92, it was clear to the people I worked with. I had just helped Intergraph finish the Clipper C4 processor and see the light, and had gone to HP and was involved in what would become Merced. To us it was clear that Intel had won.

And it wasn't about immediate performance, it was about market economics. We all knew how much it cost to turn out a new processor, or to support our Unix variants, and we all knew how many copies of that processor or Unix we were going to sell. The math made it clear that eventually Intel would catch up and bypass all the in-house processors, and the market made it clear that no one was doing very well selling their ISAs to other companies.

I also knew how management inside Fortune 50 companies were responding to the FUD Microsoft was spreading about NT, and how badly fragmented the Unix-variant marketplace had become.

Reply Parent Score: 1