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On Tradition of Portability in UNIX

On Tradition of Portability in UNIX

Posted Mar 3, 2011 9:07 UTC (Thu) by roblucid (subscriber, #48964)
In reply to: Choosing between portability and innovation by mezcalero
Parent article: Choosing between portability and innovation

Portability was a key feature of UNIX itself from early days. It was often simpler to port the OS, to new architectures than port applications to different OSes. That included moving from 16 bit minis to 32 bit mainframe style machines, and application programs benefitted from a sane and simple model for file handling (compared to most 60's & early 70's OSes).

There's nothing wrong with components implementing a layer taking advantage of system specific features. The API provided by that layer of components should however be designed to be cleanly re-implementable and "cut" where much detail can be hidden. So that applications see reduced complexity and focus on the essential essence rather than implementation details.

Exposing everything to applications, just leads to a morass of complexity and poorly done buggy reimplementations of the same old thing. The whole Linux Audio story with OSS/ALSA and your difficulties with Pulse Audio ought to show why it's VERY BAD to have implementation specifics leak into widely distributed applications.

Design of API's is a KEY selling point and if the BSD's, truly have problems emulating a hot disk layer for the desktop, then it suggests an overly highly coupled badly abstracted implementation that replaced HAL.

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On Tradition of Portability in UNIX

Posted Mar 3, 2011 17:52 UTC (Thu) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

If I am not mistaken, the person calling for ignoring BSD and portability is the author of pulse audio

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