OS-wars: UNIX file system(s)

OS-wars: UNIX file system(s)

Post by Alfred Fa » Sun, 02 Dec 1990 22:07:00



Quote:> Subject:OS-wars:  Unix file system(s)


Quote:> Item 2:  Recent Data General ads tout their Unix as having a "commercial
> grade file system."  I don't know if that means RMS-type file structures,
> or multiple file versions, or what, but it sounds intriguing.  It offers
> a faint glimmer of hope -- maybe this would be my type of Unix.  (Although

  We've had a DG/AViiON here for demo and i've talked to several DG sales
reps and engineers.  (Including one at DEXPO!)  What they have done is
re-write the file system kernal.  The file system looks and behaves just
like anybody else's UN*X file system.  The difference is that theirs is less
fragile than usual.  The AViiON actually has a RESET button on the side like
pc's.  If you press it or power off and on, the file system is checked and
repaired in less than a minute.  On our SUN 3 it takes about 20 minutes
- which is why there is no RESET button on the side of SUNs.

  Incidentally, I am told that this file system kernal was originally
intended to be identical to that used in their proprietary AOS/VS_II at
the source level (the hardware platforms are quite different, except that
DG/UX also runs on MV/*'s).  The AOS (16-bit), AOS/VS (32-bit) file
system (i.e. directory structure) bears a very strong resemblance to UN*X
- but unlike UN*X, several (6?) internal file structures are supported
by the OS.

Quote:> after having read Tracy Kidder's book nearly 10 years ago, I'm amazed
> that Data General computers run at all.)

I suspect that you would be equally horrified if you saw what went on
anywhere else.  I can assure you from a decade's experience that Data
General computers run very well indeed.

**** SOAPBOX ON ****

I am really quite tired of UN*X vs VMS OS wars.  Hardly anything new ever
gets said and both sides seem to assume that one or the other has all the
features and qualities one could ever want.  Furthermore, that the "BEST"
will necessarily survive and the other is necessarily doomed.  (There have
been some good comments already on that line.)

Of the many operating systems i have been privileged/cursed with knowing
DG's AOS, AOS/VS is my favourite by far.  It's been described as "sanitized
UN*X".
An aside on credentials:
  I started in this business in 1967 and worked with several IBM and
  DEC systems.  I first worked with UNIX in 1974 (yes, University
  of Alberta was one of the first non-AT&T sites, before the rest of the
  world heard of UNIX except in CACM papers).  I loved it.
  In ten year's of consulting and contract programming since then, I've
  worked with RSX-11, DG RDOS, DG AOS and AOS/VS, and VMS, often any three
  on the same day.  I now work full-time in a VAX shop with a few dying
  PDP-11's to tend to.
... blah, blah, blah.
What I'm really trying to say, is that neither UN*X or VMS has, or could
have, the all the ultimate answers.  Furthermore, AOS is likely doomed
- but don't hold your breath - even though it has many features that
proponents of either side would be happy to have.  Survival is not proof
of superiority.  The flaw in AOS was marketing, not functionality.
There are other ways of doing things that neither UN*Xor VMS (or AOS!) allow.

**** SOAPBOX OFF ****

Alfred Falk
Alberta Research Council
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada