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Working to rule

May 18, 2009, 23:31 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jeremy Allison)

[ Thanks to An Anonymous Reader for this link. ]

"I remember getting my hands on the first beta of Windows NT, starting up the POSIX subsystem and trying some code out on it. It was a joke. Networking? That's not part of the official POSIX spec, so no access to the network. Windowing? That's not in there either, so no fancy graphical interfaces for your POSIX programs, pure text based code only. Anything not fully mandated by the spec was ripped out. Yes, it could pass the pure POSIX conformance tests, but that was all it was able to do. No useful code could run on this system, as all of it expected something more than the basic standard, which most other POSIX vendors had managed to create de-facto standards around. The Windows subsystem even had some of these de-facto POSIX-like standards (the Berkeley sockets networking interface for example) but these were explicitly excluded from the Windows NT POSIX subsystem. The only purpose was to allow government purchasers to check the box marked "POSIX compliant" but allow them to purchase completely proprietary Windows solutions, and that's just what they did. It implemented the letter of the law, whilst completely ignoring the spirit of it. "

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