Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 9th May 2006 21:25 UTC, submitted by luzr
OSNews, Generic OSes Torvalds has indeed chimed in on the micro vs. monolithic kernel debate. Going all 1992, he says: "The whole 'microkernels are simpler' argument is just bull, and it is clearly shown to be bull by the fact that whenever you compare the speed of development of a microkernel and a traditional kernel, the traditional kernel wins. The whole argument that microkernels are somehow 'more secure' or 'more stable' is also total crap. The fact that each individual piece is simple and secure does not make the aggregate either simple or secure. And the argument that you can 'just reload' a failed service and not take the whole system down is equally flawed." My take: While I am not qualified to reply to Linus, there is one thing I want to say: just because it is difficult to program, does not make it the worse design.
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Honestly, this whole discussion of signal-based computing seems quite reminiscent of the dicussions in Functional programming (although FP does not explicitly use signals, the effect seems similar, as are the claims to "software correctness"). The main difference being that the functional programming guys actually have tons of working software out there. What are the parallels and differences between your concepts and those of the functional programming (eg. the Lisp machine)?

Signal-based programming is reactive programming: code is invoked when a state change is detected.

Functional programming is the exact opposite: there is no state, only computations. Values are copied with each change, and special constructs called monads are used to make sure memory space is reused and operations are invoked sequentially.

You may consider signal-based programming as event-driven programming where code can be attached to any variable. I have posted an example of a phonebook application at

where anyone interested in signal-based programming can discuss it there.

Personally I found signal-based programming much easier than anything else, but it has to be used together with functional programming; some aspects of FP are very useful (like combinatorial programming), some others are not that useful (like making the sequence of computations irrelevant - nobody things without sequencing in mind), and some others are plain irritating (like not being able to update state - not all state update is bad; plus there is no useful FP program without monads anyway).

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