osOpinion: The End of the Desktop OS?Nov 26, 1999, 06:31 (16 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Gareth Barnard)
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"Recently I have been reading up on the architecture of Linux and Windows NT. This is partly to make myself a better Penguinista(1) and also to find out why Windows NT Sucks. I was struck by a statement, which went along these lines: Hard disk storage is used because memory is expensive. The main function of the operating system is to channel data from one to the other and control the way each one stores data."
"What if you could build a machine that had unlimited memory? Well, you wouldn't need virtual memory, a virtual file system or any kind of file system. The kernel would need drivers only for I/O devices. It wouldn't need memory management. Linux would be ideal for this because it is modular and infinitely configurable. Linux developers can chop off bits and add bits so fast it makes your head spin."
"By "unlimited memory" I mean, of course, the network. Now that Gigabit hardware is here, it will be only a couple of years before the Internet is as fast as a PCI bus. Megamiles of optical fibers will have to be laid, but there will be a very strong financial incentive. I believe it will happen surprisingly quickly. The explosive growth of cable modems and DSL is an indication of things to come."
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