Linked by bcavally on Mon 21st Dec 2009 17:18 UTC
BeOS & Derivatives Today there are many operating systems available. Every vendor or community round it tries to make it as good as possible. Having different goals, different legacy and different cultures, they succeed in it more or less. We (end users) end up with big selection of operating systems, but for us the operating systems are usually compromise of the features that we would like to have. So is there an operating system that would fit all the needs of the end user? Is is the BeOS clone Haiku?
Thread beginning with comment 400615
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Legacy architecture == bad?
by cycoj on Mon 21st Dec 2009 23:27 UTC
cycoj
Member since:
2007-11-04

I've two somewhat related points I take issue with:


The Haiku operating system is designed to be binary compatible replacement for BeOS, which was designed from scratch, and was designed to be a desktop operating system. Haiku builds on the same foundations. This is its main advantage: it does not rely on any legacy architecture, as other operating systems do. E.g. desktop operating system based on Unix have at least three layers: core operating system, X-Windows and DE (e.g. KDE, GNOME, ...). A lot of the same functions in those layers duplicate, leaving system slower, harder to manage and less secure.


I hear that argument quite often, Unix/Linux is based on an architecture which was designed ~40 years ago, therefore system x which was designed from scratch is more modern (which somewhat == better). What people tend to forget is that the people who actually invented and designed the Unix architecture were probably some of the smartest computer engineers of all times. Now if some "random" guys sit down and make a new operating system "from scratch" why would it be necessarily be better?
Secondly Unix is one of the few OS which was actually designed after some laid out principles most other systems seem more like they are implemented after some random ideas. This is not to say that there aren't better designs around (Plan9 anyone?).
Third, you write that there is lots of duplication between the three layers in Unix (base,X,WM) which causes slowness, security issues etc. do you have any evidence to back up?

The second point is:

Security
Haiku was build from scratch with no legacy. This is a good starting point for well written code with good security record.


Again I fail to see how the second follows from the first. If the legacy is very well designed from a security point of view, it will actually be better for a secure system. Also, security is actually very hard to do, people spend their research careers about this. So creating a secure design is actually not easy.

Just to point out, I'm not saying that Haiku lacks in any of these points. I simply take issue with the premises.

Reply Score: 7

Michael Oliveira Member since:
2005-07-07

I hear that argument quite often, Unix/Linux is based on an architecture which was designed ~40 years ago, therefore system x which was designed from scratch is more modern (which somewhat == better). What people tend to forget is that the people who actually invented and designed the Unix architecture were probably some of the smartest computer engineers of all times. Now if some "random" guys sit down and make a new operating system "from scratch" why would it be necessarily be better?
Secondly Unix is one of the few OS which was actually designed after some laid out principles most other systems seem more like they are implemented after some random ideas. This is not to say that there aren't better designs around (Plan9 anyone?).
Third, you write that there is lots of duplication between the three layers in Unix (base,X,WM) which causes slowness, security issues etc. do you have any evidence to back up?

Yes. I have a good one! my Ubuntu Linux 9.10 and FreeBSD 8.0 that uses X ;)
Window responsiviness with Haiku app_server is amazing! (except by firefox maybe. In time: Megan Fox >>>>>>>> Firefox ;) )


Again I fail to see how the second follows from the first. If the legacy is very well designed from a security point of view, it will actually be better for a secure system. Also, security is actually very hard to do, people spend their research careers about this. So creating a secure design is actually not easy.

Just to point out, I'm not saying that Haiku lacks in any of these points. I simply take issue with the premises.

Well, for default, Haiku keeps all ports closed. I'm not an expert in security, but seems very safe for me

Reply Parent Score: 1

cycoj Member since:
2007-11-04

"I hear that argument quite often, Unix/Linux is based on an architecture which was designed ~40 years ago, therefore system x which was designed from scratch is more modern (which somewhat == better). What people tend to forget is that the people who actually invented and designed the Unix architecture were probably some of the smartest computer engineers of all times. Now if some "random" guys sit down and make a new operating system "from scratch" why would it be necessarily be better?
Secondly Unix is one of the few OS which was actually designed after some laid out principles most other systems seem more like they are implemented after some random ideas. This is not to say that there aren't better designs around (Plan9 anyone?).
Third, you write that there is lots of duplication between the three layers in Unix (base,X,WM) which causes slowness, security issues etc. do you have any evidence to back up?

Yes. I have a good one! my Ubuntu Linux 9.10 and FreeBSD 8.0 that uses X ;)
Window responsiviness with Haiku app_server is amazing! (except by firefox maybe. In time: Megan Fox >>>>>>>> Firefox ;) )
"

I wish people would stop bashing X. The architecture and design of X is almost never the cause of performance bottlenecks. Sure under Xfree86 the code rotted, but since the split off Xorg has been making great strides. X runs and runs fast on hardware ranging from servers to phones or PDAs, it really isn't the problem.

E.g. in your comparison you're saying yourself that firefox is as slow on Haiku, so I'd say you're looking at performance of the apps not X. Also are you comparing the performance of something like KDE or Gnome with all the wizbang enabled to Haiku?, hardly a fair comparison.


"Again I fail to see how the second follows from the first. If the legacy is very well designed from a security point of view, it will actually be better for a secure system. Also, security is actually very hard to do, people spend their research careers about this. So creating a secure design is actually not easy.

Just to point out, I'm not saying that Haiku lacks in any of these points. I simply take issue with the premises.

Well, for default, Haiku keeps all ports closed. I'm not an expert in security, but seems very safe for me
"
Well I pointed out that I was not talking about Haiku, but there is a lot more to make a system secure than simply keeping all ports closed by default.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Legacy architecture == bad?
by cerbie on Tue 22nd Dec 2009 00:19 in reply to "Legacy architecture == bad?"
cerbie Member since:
2006-01-02

It's not so much that they weren't smart, but that there is 40 years of baggage to bog it down, with confusing layered complexity. That makes certain kinds of features take more man-hours than they otherwise could, and as such, often requires large groups to get along, which they may not do.

Reply Parent Score: 1

cycoj Member since:
2007-11-04

It's not so much that they weren't smart, but that there is 40 years of baggage to bog it down, with confusing layered complexity. That makes certain kinds of features take more man-hours than they otherwise could, and as such, often requires large groups to get along, which they may not do.


Can you give examples? What you write is so generic that I really don't understand what you're talking about. What are the confusing layers of complexity?

Also you could make the same argument about the C programming language, but it is arguably less complex than most e.g. C++ or C# or others. And it is still the language of choice if performance is important so 40 years can't have bogged it down too much.

Reply Parent Score: 2

nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

What people tend to forget is that the people who actually invented and designed the Unix architecture were probably some of the smartest computer engineers of all times.

What people like you forget is that those very smart computer engineers were making decisions based on completely different computing needs and hardware.

For example I really doubt they would build an OS today with a shared library system when 1TB drives can be had for $100.

Unix has a solid underlying foundation but let's not act like it was created on Mount Sinai.

Reply Parent Score: 2

tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

For example I really doubt they would build an OS today with a shared library system when 1TB drives can be had for $100.

Right. OSX and Windows don't use ANY shared libraries.

Linux/Unix uses shared libraries... or it DOESN'T, depending on how the distro/project was setup or on how YOU set it up.

With Windows and OSX you get only what the OS/app developers dictate.


Unix has a solid underlying foundation but let's not act like it was created on Mount Sinai.

So, the core of OSX wasn't created on Mount Sinai?

Reply Parent Score: 4

malxau Member since:
2005-12-04

What people like you forget is that those very smart computer engineers were making decisions based on completely different computing needs and hardware. For example I really doubt they would build an OS today with a shared library system when 1TB drives can be had for $100.


If the size of code on disk were the only issue, that may be valid. However, the reality is more nuanced. Unix was not born with shared libraries - they actually arrived there later (mid 90s), and arrived largely to reduce RAM footprint, since multiple processes can now share the same code pages.

Today shared libraries (or DLLs or frameworks) largely exist to minimize servicing problems. If a security bug is found in one component, a shared library enables it to be patched once. Static linking results in the same patch being issued multiplicatively.

Although shared libraries aren't distributed as part of applications as much as they used to be, this is really a reflection of operating systems/distributions incorporating more functionality themselves, so that applications distribute less. The basic architecture of shared libraries + smallish program specific code hasn't changed in a long time.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Legacy architecture == bad?
by renox on Tue 22nd Dec 2009 09:57 in reply to "Legacy architecture == bad?"
renox Member since:
2005-07-06

What people tend to forget is that the people who actually invented and designed the Unix architecture were probably some of the smartest computer engineers of all times. Now if some "random" guys sit down and make a new operating system "from scratch" why would it be necessarily be better?


An argument of authority isn't very convincing..
BeOS was much more responsive than any other OS.
That's a fact not something as vague as 'designer X was more intelligent as design Y'.

I agree with you that the 'layer duplication' of the original article doesn't seem very convincing.

Reply Parent Score: 2