[TUHS] Sprite

José R. Valverde jrvalverde at cnb.uam.es
Mon May 31 17:16:03 AEST 2004

On Sun, 30 May 2004 09:19:39 -0400
Aharon Robbins <arnold at skeeve.com> wrote:
> Wasn't the Symmetry a 386 based system?  Could Sprite be "revived" for the
> modern PC?  Just wondering ...
Would it make sense? Other than for historic reasons I mean.

Nowadays we have Linux, well supported, widely spread, with logging file
systems and with at least three free process migration extensions (Mosix, 
OpenMosix and OpenSSI) plus Bproc. It would make more sense to pursue a
merge of these extensions in the main kernel.

Truly, Sprite would be totally unencumbered (i.e. possibly free of SCO-like
attacks) but that wouldn't preclude any deep-pocket to attempt spurious or
unfunded attacks to spread FUD if they felt they could capitalize on them.

It's true too that Sprite code (to me) is more elegant, but I have concerns
how would it look after ten years of community development and without
Ousterhout's leadership.

Not less true, having a microkernel based implementation is tempting, but
I doubt people is ready for uKernels with so much marketing pressure to make 
them believe that they need to squeeze every single cycle and buy new CPUs 
every so. It takes time and experience with several *different* systems, 
algorithms and architectures to realize that a 10% linear speedup is most
often a meaningless achievement.

And to finish, the multi-architecture single-system image is still far
from most clusters, and noteworthy in itself, but I'm sure it would come if
more people could land their hands on more than cheap PCs for playing.

I certainly long for Sprite and would have loved to continue using it. Had
it been distributed two years earlier it might have become 'the' open system
instead of Linux. But so might have BSD had it not been for the ATT lawsuit.
Opening it might have produced the extensions and maintenance that the
original research team couldn't provide, but at the time few could imagine 
what the Internet community was able to achieve.

That said, I have also pondered that same question many times, but lack the
time or resources to give it a try (sigh).

	These opinions are mine and only mine. Hey, I saw them first!

			    José R. Valverde

	De nada sirve la Inteligencia Artificial cuando falta la Natural

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