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Re: Translucent storage: design, pros, and cons

From: Marcus Brinkmann
Subject: Re: Translucent storage: design, pros, and cons
Date: Thu, 11 Jan 2007 21:48:35 +0100
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At Thu, 11 Jan 2007 14:47:03 -0500,
"Jonathan S. Shapiro" <address@hidden> wrote:
> On Thu, 2007-01-11 at 12:48 +0100, Marcus Brinkmann wrote:
> > there are aspects of the goals and the design where I am fairly
> > confident, and aspects where I am less confident, increasingly so as I
> > learn more about operating system design, from you and other people.
> Me too!

Yes, but you have much more experience, so my problems look smaller
for you from higher up :) (the flip side is that I can't see your
problems from here, which is quite comfortable)

> I have two comments. The first about my time and the second about your
> time.
> The problem with my time is that it is essentially over. I understand
> from what you say above that you are not ready to make a kernel choice
> yet.

It seems so, sadly.

> That is your decision to make. Your potential collaborators
> (including me) are also operating on time tables. Even if I wanted to
> wait forever, I do not have that option. I need to make effort
> commitments *now* on behalf of my company if we are going to support
> HURD. If you aren't ready to make a decision, I can respect that, but I
> cannot wait any longer from my side.

I understand that.  However, my current impression is that if the
decision to use Coyotos is made, the remaining issues are probably
minor modifications, for example like the translucent space bank,
which hopefully could also be developed by us and added.  As you say,
you have your own commitments and it would not be reasonable from us
to expect you to do any major changes for us at all, and you have
totally unexpectedly (from my part) been extraordinarily forthcoming
in that respect.

There would be costs and risks involved in doing even such minor
modifications, but I think that is quite manageable.
> If Coyotos turns out to be useful to you when you get there, great, but
> I need to make hard system design commitments in the next two weeks that
> I will not be able to reverse later. Not your fault in any way, but that
> is how it is on my end.

I understand completely.

> But my immediate question is: how realistic is it to expect that you
> will have the time to resume active leadership after your PhD is
> completed? If it is not, what should you do about it?

I hope you understand and respect that I do not want to discuss my
future plans on a public mailing list.  This involves decisions that
are not only made by me.  I have always given advance notice to the
community of any long-term absences on my part (including this one),
and have never held onto a "post" (official or not) when I had no
desire or ability to continue.  I have handed off free software
projects before, and it was never problematic.

That said, in this case, there is at this point nothing for me to
"hand off" but an idea, or a dream, and ideas don't belong to
individuals.  For all formal purposes, aside from being a mailing list
maintainer, I am just a member on this mailing list, as everybody
else.  I am also a co-maintainer of the Hurd, and although I (and many
others) hope that we will develop what will become the next generation
of the Hurd, that will only be decided when we have something to back
it up (ie running code).  And even then we will have to convince the
actual Hurd community, which is not faithfully represented on this
list.  Both in terms of core people and basis.  And it is a given that
I would not use my co-maintainership of the Hurd as a lever to impose
my proposal, but absent myself from that decision if it ever comes to

I am not sure it is a good idea to reinforce conceptions of the sort
that my involvement or non-involvement is holding up anybody to make
any sort of contributions.  If somebody came along tomorrow with a
system design or running system that is (or should be) adopted by the
Hurd, I can very well imagine giving up my own efforts and joining
that one, or alternatively, relabel my work.


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