You can still have a useful machine without it being connected to the
public Internet. Network access is indeed very important, Internet
connectivity, less so.
I too rue the loss of simplicity ... and this has been voiced by many
people much more luminous than I ... Ken Thompson, for one, has commented
about the size and complexity in contemporary UNIX implementations ... This
is one reason why I love Plan 9 so much ... it takes you back a little bit
to when it was a pleasure to bang out a little code and you don't have to
deal with so much nonsense to get a little application that actually does
On Wed, Sep 30, 2015 at 11:08 AM, Noel Chiappa <jnc at mercury.lcs.mit.edu>
I am _very much_ in sympathy with the complaints here; I too feel that
computers are too complex, etc. (Although some of it, like the entire
turning into a single chip, were/are inevitable/unavoidable.)
I like the functionality of modern system, but I feel they are _more
than they need to be_ to generate that level of functionality.
However, one thing I am going to quibble with:
This is a nice explanatory quote:
The main reasons TempleOS is simple and
beautiful are because it's
ring-0-only .. Linux wants to be a secure, multi-user mainframe. ...
It was simple, open and hackable. It was not networked. ... It was
simple and unsecure. If you don't have
malware and you don't have
bugs, protection just slows things down and makes the code
Note the part I highlighted. If you want to have a system that's
network-capable, which is pretty much mandatory for a _really_ usable
in this day and age, i) that means Web-capable, and ii) if it's Web-capable
etc) - i.e. content coming off the network which contains code, which runs
the local machine.
To paraphrase a certain well-known SF work, IMO active content is probably
worst idea since humans' fore-fathers crawled out of the mud. It's
_potentially_ a giant, gaping security hole - one that in today's OS's is
responsible for a huge share of security issues. (There _is_ a way to have
systems which aren't as vulnerable, but it means having military-grade
security on everyone's machine - and no, I don't mean crypto; probably not
likely, alas.) I mourn the early days of the Web, when there was no active
content - just text, images, etc, etc. But no, they had to add all sorts of
flashy eye candy - and did so in a way that makes basically all modern
machines horribly insecure. But let me dispense with the soap box...
Anyway, the inevitable consequence is that if you want a networked machine,
it's _not_ going to be simple. Alas.
You're basically sharing the machine with _lots_ of other people -
effectively, every Tom, Dick and Jane out there in the Internet. In other
words, you need everything one normally saw/sees in a time-sharing machine.
(And I'm not talking about wimpy ones like Unix/Linux. I mean industrial
strength ones like Multics.)