28 Jun 2000 wsanchez   » (Master)

I've gotten a lot of mail and feedback about my USENIX paper, mostly positive, some occasionally critical. Several people were hoping to find out different things, such as how administration of the BSD subsystem will be presented to the user. There are certainly many other interesting topics in the Mac OS X space and the relationship of the Mac OS user experience and the BSD underpinnings. Hopefully other people will find time to write papers on these various topics. I'd love to expand on the material in the paper I did write, and write up some new stuff altogether, but that takes a fair bit of time and effort. For the time being, I need to get back to other things.

Some in the Slashdot crowd apparently think I'm an idiot because I didn't spellcheck the paper. Actually, I did, but making lots of last-minute changes didn't help, I guess. Certainly I'm happy to correct such things, if for no other reason than my professors some college might read some of this stuff, but the goal was to communicate some issues we ran into, not to pass a writing test. My target audience seems to understand this, so I'll not lose sleep over it. My apologies for the typos and bad grammar in my diary; I know there are plenty of examples here as well.

Also some people think I'm being too generous to the original Mac development team. Now I don't program for Classic Mac OS--I never have--and that's largely because I find the APIs too bulky, I "grew up" in a POSIX world, and I don't like some of the fundamentals of the system. Those things are the reason we have Mac OS X in development, and why I have a job at Apple. That said, in talking to some of the people that really understand why things are the way they are, I did develop a lot more respect for the decisions that were made, and I do think that they were quite reasonable given the state of computing at the time. My friend Dan B. (as opposed to Dan R. who needs to turn his modem off of sometime so I can call him) pointed out that Amiga did manage to made preemption in the same timeframe as the Mac launch. That's certainly true, though I don't know how long each product was in development. But cooperative tasks could in theory be more efficient than preemptive tasks, and while the practical value of preemption seems obvious now, it wasn't necessarily a proven thing then. Memory was really the big issue, and the even Amiga ├╝bercomputer didn't protect memory.

One of the key points I was trying to make is that the priority set between the Unix and Mac worlds were very different. One a system where a one-to-one mapping between computers and users exists simply has a different notion of what "security" is than a system where many users share a computer, particularly if they do so simultaneously. it's not the case that security isn't needed in both systems, but the requirements are quite different.

Anyway, I firmly believe that the Mac team has nothing at all to apologize for, given their accomplishments.

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