[movitz-devel] Re: Lisp OS

Frode Vatvedt Fjeld frodef at cs.uit.no
Tue Feb 3 21:04:06 UTC 2004

mikel evins <mikel at evins.net> writes:

> [..] Plan 9 is said to be organized around 3 fundamental concepts:
> 1 - everything in the system looks like a file
> 2 - files respond to the same unifying protocol regardless over
> whether they are local or remote
> 3 - the namespace of the filesystem is subjective; that is, each
> process names all the files in the universe using a single namespace,
> but that namespace is defined relative to the process itself, so two
> different processes may have very different views of the same set of
> files.
> These fundamentals give rise to a system with powerful and elegant
> abstractions. [..]

Regarding file-abstractions/pathnames specifically, my perspective is
that they are (in unix and e.g. plan 9) a solution to a naming problem
that results from having separate address spaces, and no dynamic
typing. So my feeling towards this would obviously be to solve that
problem by not introducing it, so to speak.

> [..] What are the corresponding small number of powerful
> fundamentals of a modern Lisp OS? What are the irreducible atoms of
> which it is constructed? What are the abstractions that make for the
> most natural expression of OS ideas in Lisp? What would the
> ultimately Lispy OS look like?

There are a lot of angles from which to attack this I suppose. But one
I find interesting is the idea that information should be kept
carefully in the system. Dynamic typing is the fundamental aspect of
this, and CLIM etc. a logic extension. And this leads to what is my
impression that people rave about from the lisp machines: the level of
integration and resulting user experience. I wonder how this might be
extended further in a distributed setting, the web, etc.

Other angles would be such issues as what is a process? An
application? Safety? Security? Users? As I've probably said before, my
hope is that Movitz can provide a platform for exploring these things.

Frode Vatvedt Fjeld

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