Re: Free Dumb

Daniel Veillard (
Sun, 9 Aug 1998 18:17:33 -0400

Hi all,

> Another hardware trend that I see happening. Everything
> will have a GPS/Clock/wireless modem in it. I think
> this is going to happen well within the next 7 years.
> You can fit every single circuit in your standard rockwell
> 33.6 modem chip on a $.22 wafer with any combination of your
> new chip technologies. The most expensive part of the GPS
> is the receiver, but they've gone from $4500 to $79. No
> sense stopping that trend. Clocks? It comes with the
> GPS, but just to point out a trend that's gone way past
> zero. Free digital wristwatches used to be all the rage.

That's interesting, since it may change quite a bit the way we think
about distributed system. The basic premice upon which all the theory
of DOS is based is the absence of global clock, hence impossibility
to do global synchronization. BUT with the ability to locate yourself
precisely, a decent (predictable timeouts lenght) and a very reliable
clock, doing soft synchronization (loose synchronization opposed to to hard
synchronization e.g. #SYNC line of copper on the motherboard goes to 0)
becomes theorically valid (I remember one of these DOS a couple of years
ago using GPS for synchronization, but at that time the cost was out
of reach for most systems).
Now after nearly 20 years of failure of research in the domain
of distributed operating systems, time may have come to remove the
basic rule who made them impossible to build and start getting something
that will actually work within 5 years.
For those interested it may be time to start a PhD on DOS, it may be
more interesting than 5 years ago ...


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