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Unix Insider: Interview with Michael Jeffrey - CEO of Vita Nuova

Mar 18, 2001, 13:10 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Danny Kalev)

"A Unix-like OS running inside a browser window? The idea may sound bizarre, but Vita Nuova wants to make it come true. Danny Kalev talked with the company's CEO, Michael Jeffrey, in ITworld.com's Interviews forum last month."

"Michael, for those of us who use Linux as our primary operating system, can you please introduce Inferno and Plan 9, outlining their major features and design goals? How do these two differ from each other and how do they differ from other mainstream operating systems, such as Linux, Windows, and Unix?"

"Michael Jeffrey: The Unix group at Bell Labs started work on Plan 9 during the latter part of the 1980s. Whereas Unix began with the structural idea of how to represent a local filesystem, Plan 9 began with the structural idea of the definition of a protocol to communicate with resources. In other words, Plan 9 provides an abstraction of a network of resources, as opposed to most OSs, which provide an abstraction of a single computing device and consequently employ different mechanisms for accessing local and remote devices."

"Plan 9 represents all resources by filesystem names and uses a single file protocol for accessing these resources, whether local or remote. The file protocol, 9p, is applied aggressively and consistently: there are no special cases, no ifs, no buts."

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