Plan 9: The next Generation
Qute from Rob Pike:
Delivered-To: firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com From: "rob pike" <firstname.lastname@example.org> MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit Subject: [9fans] Plan 9 X-BeenThere: email@example.com X-Mailman-Version: 2.0.6 List-Id: Fans of the OS Plan 9 from Bell Labs <9fans.cse.psu.edu> List-Archive: <http://lists.cse.psu.edu/archives/9fans/> Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2001 08:45:48 -0400 The original reason behind Plan 9 is still the most important and, unfortunately, is largely obscured by the need to make a distribution and the desire for individuals to run it on PCs: a shared environment. We boot all our machines in the lab over the network; they have no local state except a configuration file (plan9.ini) usually held on a floppy. When I go home, my environment - that is, the working state of my machine - is identical not only with my environment at work, but with all my colleague's working state, too. Diskless operation is not only possible, it's the basic principle of the system. It's just like the good old timesharing days: our machines are *terminals* to a large computing system; whatever machine I sit down at to work, I have equivalent access to identical resources. It's more than diskless, it's transparent statelessness. Local administration? What's that? Sure, with NFS you can get somewhere close to that ideal, but then why are there so few truly diskless Unix systems out there? One reason is that the storage file system isn't enough: the environment includes a huge array of other machines with special local services (authentication, printing, backup, connections to other OSs and networks, etc.) and the NFS model doesn't permit a general enough notion of file. Plan 9 does. That's the true joy of it. -rob
Bela Lugosi, the Dracula, inconveniently died after only two days of shooting
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