Knights who say OS

Thor’s day. End of gym for the week. Sparse. Passable episode of “Linux Luddites”, the main detraction a totally boring interview with some fellow who has written his own OS.

So what? To bogs, writing an OS falls into the “What?” category. From what I can tell Bogs, or Ivory Soap of them, have no idea what an OS is. They think Windows and such are just brands. In fact they more strongly identify with then as brands than they do Dell or HP. Which is why hardware companies are having identity problems. 

Geeks, on the other hand, know what OS are but again, Ivory Soap fraction, would never try to do an OS. Geeks who write OS are divine. Or something like that.

Nerds, know what OS are. And if they can’t do something with their OS then they look for an OS that will empower them. And if they can’t find such, they write an OS. No fuss, no mess, just a learning and production process. 

Back when I walked to class five days a week, uphill both ways – at least part of the way – and occasionally (rarely!) through snow but through a lot of mown, wet, sticky grass much of the year, we all wrote an OS. Well, all the physical science nerds did. The real nerds. Not the fake nerds the Greek frats kept around to pull up their GPA and keep them in good (?) standing. You know the type: the ones who wear penny loafers with no socks even when they know they’re gonna get foot fungus and rot. And they did. As well as acid burns on their feet. Gravity.

Anyway this was in the days of IBM 360 mainframes, and JCL and FORTRAN 2. One step up from an HP-35 calculator that wouldn’t be available for several years. But a big step up from our ten inch K&E slide rules. Actually, the problem wasn’t the slide rules, it was the stopping and starting to write numbers down on paper. And this was before 0.5 mm pencils. 

But FORTRAN 2 was only wonderful in that it was easier to use than assembly language. (There were assembly language nerds but they didn’t bathe or shave and lived in caves – Nerdoldytes.) And it was infinitely better than COBOL which is like saying health is better than death. But it wasn’t number crunch friendly. Not really.

But what would make it friendly wasn’t something we could reach consensus on. So each of us wrote his own OS. And compilers. And kept rewriting. When we weren’t doing real work. 

If you see where D&D came from after computers and OS and compilers got better, you’re on top of things. Writing OS is sort of like being a D&D master. Sorta.

But better. 

But guys who wrote their own OS only talked to faculty and other guys who wrote their own OS. “Those who watch over Israel..”

Maybe they’re the rest? Film at Eleven.

Advertisements