A new Lisp-based OS that hearkens back to the old days of comprehensible computers

Noel Chiappa jnc at mercury.lcs.mit.edu
Wed Sep 30 10:08:22 CDT 2015

    > From: Liam Proven

I am _very much_ in sympathy with the complaints here; I too feel that modern
computers are too complex, etc. (Although some of it, like the entire computer
turning into a single chip, were/are inevitable/unavoidable.)

I like the functionality of modern system, but I feel they are _more complex
than they need to be_ to generate that level of functionality.

However, one thing I am going to quibble with:

    > This is a nice explanatory quote:

    >  The main reasons TempleOS is simple and beautiful are because it's
    >  ring-0-only .. Linux wants to be a secure, multi-user mainframe. ...
    >  It was simple, open and hackable. It was not networked. ... It was
    >  simple and unsecure. If you don't have malware and you don't have
    >  bugs, protection just slows things down and makes the code complicated.

Note the part I highlighted. If you want to have a system that's
network-capable, which is pretty much mandatory for a _really_ usable system
in this day and age, i) that means Web-capable, and ii) if it's Web-capable
today, it has to be able to handle what I dub 'active content' (JavaScript,
etc) - i.e. content coming off the network which contains code, which runs in
the local machine.

To paraphrase a certain well-known SF work, IMO active content is probably the
worst idea since humans' fore-fathers crawled out of the mud. It's
_potentially_ a giant, gaping security hole - one that in today's OS's is
responsible for a huge share of security issues. (There _is_ a way to have
systems which aren't as vulnerable, but it means having military-grade
security on everyone's machine - and no, I don't mean crypto; probably not
likely, alas.) I mourn the early days of the Web, when there was no active
content - just text, images, etc, etc. But no, they had to add all sorts of
flashy eye candy - and did so in a way that makes basically all modern
machines horribly insecure. But let me dispense with the soap box...

Anyway, the inevitable consequence is that if you want a networked machine,
it's _not_ going to be simple. Alas.

You're basically sharing the machine with _lots_ of other people -
effectively, every Tom, Dick and Jane out there in the Internet. In other
words, you need everything one normally saw/sees in a time-sharing machine.
(And I'm not talking about wimpy ones like Unix/Linux. I mean industrial
strength ones like Multics.)


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