Mac's operating system, cont. (80)

Sun, 16 Apr 89 21:20:04 EDT

Humanist Mailing List, Vol. 2, No. 848. Sunday, 16 Apr 1989.

(1) Date: Sunday, 16 April 1989 1420-EST (25 lines)
Subject: No petty wars about OS...

(2) Date: Sun, 16 Apr 89 14:18:37 EDT (35 lines)
From: "James H. Coombs" <JAZBO@BROWNVM>
Subject: Multitasking on Macs

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Sunday, 16 April 1989 1420-EST
Subject: No petty wars about OS...

After reading Richard Goerwitz's second message re. the "nonstandard"
operating system thread--the Mac's OS in particular--I would agree with
his conclusions that the Mac is likely not, in its present incarnation,
what he requires. As a weak defense to my own contribution to this
thread, I will interject that those requirements weren't completely
clear (to me) from his first message.

What interests me most about the messages (mine included) defending the
Mac "standard" is the tendency--even now, when the machine has clearly
proven its capabilities equal to or greater than its Big Blue
competition in nearly every arena--of Mac users to read disparagement
into comments that may simply be skeptical. Despite the growing
acceptance of the OS characteristics that make the Mac "Mac-ish"--ROM
toolbox routines, menus, windows, icons, etc.--it remains too easy for
discussions of the relative advantages and disadvantages of the
different OS's to lapse into what Goerwitz called "petty wars about
whose computer is better."

I suspect that this sort of thing will grow even more heated when the
promised OS's--the fabled "major revision" to the Mac OS, OS/2 in
promised full uniform, NeXT, etc.--begin to battle one another.
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------38----
Date: Sun, 16 Apr 89 14:18:37 EDT
From: "James H. Coombs" <JAZBO@BROWNVM>
Subject: Multitasking on Macs

Richard L. Goerwitz has drawn our attention to the fact that the Mac
system is not multitasking. If one wants a true multitasking
multilingual system (with the source code) one should not consider a
Mac. While there are rumors about a future operating system with
Unix under the hood I doubt Apple will ever surrender the source
code. I also doubt NeXT will make theirs available to anyone who is
not willing to surrender children as hostages. That leaves other
brands of Unix or OS/2.

What about A/UX? It's System V Unix with Berkeley 4.3 sockets. I don't know
about the availability of source code.

We have source for 4.2 and 4.3. It's not fun. In fact, we never built a
sufficient 4.3 (with X---we have only so much time to give to OS hacking).

We also have SUNs with no source for the OS. No one that I know of gets
source for IBM PC OSs.

This seems like a red herring to me. Before dismissing platforms on the basis
of speculations about the availability of source code, we should hear exactly
what one needs the source for. We should also consider whether or not the
same things can be accomplished without hacking at the kernel.


Dr. James H. Coombs
Senior Software Engineer, Research
Institute for Research in Information and Scholarship (IRIS)
Brown University