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Mon, 20 Oct 2003
Systems Software Research is Irrelevant - or is it?
John Lam has linked to Rob Pike's talk, Systems Software Research is Irrelevant. This is a presentation that is well worth a read. Pike correctly points out that systems researchers have had little or no influence on industrial systems since at least 1990. I personally believe that it may even be earlier than that, but whatever. There are two key points in his conclusion slide:
  1. The community must accept and explore unorthodox ideas. It is extremely difficult for industrial computer science to accept or explore unorthodox ideas. It may be impossible to do new hardware architecture research, and it may or may not be impossible to do an entirely new OS. But there are sizable software assets in the open source community that could be used by the research community as test beds and distribution channels for unorthodox ideas. The opportunity to do systems research in the context of an entire system is there.
  2. The community must separate research from market capitalization. -- Obviously this happens in universities. It doesn't happen in what's left of corporate research. But there is another way to get this to happen. If we take a page from what the biologists are doing, we may see a way for research in the software arena to go forward. The non-profit/charity/foundation model could be used to separate research from market cap. The only foundation that is doing this today is OSAF -- depending on how you look at Chandler, it is as much research project as PIM application. Surely there must be some people who still have .com money left that want to do something good for the world...
There's plenty of room for systems software research, but the systems research community needs to be brave enough to look at a different organizational and funding model.
[22:10] | [computers] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
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