[TUHS] non-blocking IO

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Wed Jun 3 06:43:25 AEST 2020

On Tue, Jun 2, 2020 at 4:14 PM Noel Chiappa <jnc at mercury.lcs.mit.edu> wrote:

> Ahem. Lots more _core_. People keeep forgetting that we're looking at
> decicions made at a time when each bit in main memory was stored in a
> physically separate storage device, and having tons of memory was a dream
> of
> the future.
Yeah -- that is something that forgotten.  There's a kit/hackday project to
make 32-byte core for an Arduino I did with some of my boy scouts doing
electronic MB a while back just to try to give them a feel what a 'bit'
was.    Similarly, there was a update of in late 1960's children's book
originally called 'A Million' it's now called: A Million Dots
Each page has 10K dots.  The idea is to help young readers get a real feel
for what 'a million' means visually.

> E.g. the -11/40 I first ran Unix on had _48 KB_ of core memory - total!
> And that had to hold the resident OS, plus the application! It's no
> surprise that Unix was so focused on small size - and as a corollary, on
> high bang/buck ratio.'

Amen -- I ran an 11/34 with 64K under V6 for about 3-6 months while we were
awaiting the 256K memory upgrade.

> But even in his age of lighting one's cigars with gigabytes of main memory
> (literally), small is still beautiful, because it's easier to understand,
> and
> complexity is bad. So it's too bad Unix has lost that extreme parsimony.
Yep -- I think we were discussing this last week WRT to cat -v/fmt et al.

I fear some people confuse 'progress' with 'feature creep.'   Just because
we can do something, does not mean we should.

As I said, I'm a real fan of async I/O and like Paul, feel that it is a
'better' primitive.  But I fully understand and accept, that given the
tradeoffs of the time, UNIX did really well and I much prefer what we got
than the alternative.  I'm happy we ended up with simply and just works.
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