"I have a mind like a steel... uh... thingy." Patrick Logan's weblog.

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Saturday, July 01, 2006

Minix 3

Chris Double has been working with Minix 3 and a blog with Minix tips. A new release of Minix, it is more of a true microkernel design. Some interesting papers on the web site describe this evolution of Minix.

I was able to install it in short order. It runs all kinds of Unix/Linux/Posix software, including the X Window System.

Underneath the system calls is a small kernel, drivers and servers that run in user space, side-by-side with user application processes, each in their own protected address space. The system calls are implemented using message passing among the processes and the kernel. The driver processes can come and go due to bugs or intentionally, and there is a "reincarnation server" to help with this.

The Principle of Least Authority is followed, to prevent processes from sending messages they should not. This separation also enables experimenting with drivers and servers written in various programming languages.

Of course this is the same design approach that makes systems built with Erlang so reliable. Although Erlang makes the style explicit, while Minix 3 wraps the Unix API around the message-passing implementation. They are complementary systems and each have another quality: Fun.

"Scalable" is the new "Fast"

See this article on Erlang.

It used to be that if your code ran quite quickly, a year later you could run it twice as fast for the same amount of money. These days, you’re much less likely to get a chip that’s twice as fast, but you may get one with twice as many cores. If your code is highly parallel, you can just spread it out a bit more...

Two features of Erlang, both of which are built into the language, make it especially suited to writing scalable applications: process creation and message passing.

(via Mickaël Rémond)

Some years down the road, people will realize *this* model is service-oriented. There will be some kicking and screaming along the way, no doubt.

Web Services in Stockholm

Another one from Panic From Fuzzy...

I saw this a lot with EJB. I was certainly guilty of it. Having achieved some success and decent understanding of EJB, I became an ardent defender of it even though it was terrible technology.

I see this same phenomena today with WS-*.

No kidding. There are very few ways to discuss design decisions rationally with programmers fascinated by sparkling technologies, unproven technologies that promise to be the only way to develop software in the near future.

Eventually these programmers will be older and will no doubt have learned some lessons too. Until then they have to make their own mistakes.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

When the lights go down in the city...

From the SOA Yahoo group...

[In] the grand design of Service Oriented Architecture (of which Web Services may be a means), HTTP plays a very insignificant role.
Sweet irony.

"I shall be telling this with a sigh 
 Somewhere ages and ages hence: 
 Two roads diverged in a wood..."

(Sorry for including Journey and Robert Frost in one post about SOA.)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


That rails guy writes...

"Is DHH trying to to tighten the belts on the straight jacket of design once more?"... Why yes, I am.
(via Mark Baker)

And a rich commentary from Jim Greer including this...

To be frank DHH’s combination of “aryan” good looks, personal magnetism, and zeal for an orderly utopian world does lead to some uncomfortable associations.

But DHH doesn’t seem to want to take over the world – he wants to make a better one and let the old world come along when it’s ready.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Greg geeks...

Google can store roughly 500k * 8G = 4 petabytes of data in memory on their cluster.

Four petabytes. How much is that?

It is twice the size of the entire Internet Archive, a historical copy of much of the Web. It is the same as the estimated size of all the data Google had in 2003 on disk.

It is a staggering amount of data. And it is all accessible at speeds orders of magnitude faster than those with punier clusters.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Sunday, June 25, 2006

More Beavers! (SFW!)

One more baseball game is left in the College World Series. North Carolina topped the Oregon State Beavers 4-3 yesterday in a great game (except for the hour storm delay late in the game).

The Beavers found themselves down 5-0 today, but found some fireworks in the fourth and sixth innings for an 11-7 win.

The final game is tomorrow night. If you're in Omaha its hard to imagine a better baseball game in a 500 mile radius this summer. Especially when the tickets cost less than $50.00



Steve Dekorte quotes Milton Friedman on the tremendous prosperity of Hong Kong over Britain in the last several decades...

...the average per capita income in Hong Kong... had risen to 137 percent of that in Britain...

I believe that the only plausible explanation for the different rates of growth is socialism in Britain, free enterprise and free markets in Hong Kong.

I don't believe socialism has been a smashing success in Britain. Certainly Britain has a very old bureaucracy as well. Hong Kong has been a wheeling and a dealing.

But perhaps a more disturbing fact is that Friedman seems all-consumed with "average per capita income". What about income disparity?

Hong Kong seems to be well down at the bottom in terms of income gap between rich and poor.

Socialism isn't needed to make improvements there. (And isn't Hong Kong governed by the Chinese now? Hey, China's way down there too. So much for socialism.)

So much for Friedman.

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About Me

Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.