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osOpinion: Unified Computing? We Need HAL!

Nov 30, 1999, 06:30 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Shlomi Tal)

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"In the case of MP3s I need a decoder to play them. The same MP3 is decoded the same way by Winamp and XMMS. The difference between Winamp and XMMS is that they derive their functions (GUI layout, for example) from the OS (the former from Windows, the latter from Linux-X-GTK). But I do not require a separate data (music) file for Winamp and XMMS. Both have the same decoder, which is a virtual machine that can decode the same file."

"In fact, the only things which cannot run on both platforms are the executables. They derive their functions from the operating systems, so that the same executable cannot run on a different system. Here my "Test Drive Problem" is still in effect: the lack of a virtual machine for unified computing...."

"However, while Sun is anti-Microsoft, it is not anti-monopoly. No company is. If Microsoft is against a hardware monopoly, it is only because it wants to propagate its software monopoly. If Sun is against a standalone-software monopoly, it is only because it wants to hold a monopoly on its Java Virtual Machine. What is needed is a HAL with a monopoly-prohibitive license - in other worlds, the GNU GPL. A HAL with a standards-base community to keep everything compatible, just like Linux, just like the Internet, which are unified even though they are multi-platform and non-proprietary."

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