04/17/2000 - Research paper reviews

Bryan Wang (bryan@clip.dhs.org)
Tue, 18 Apr 2000 01:04:08 -0700

Bryan Wang, 4/17/00

Pilot: An Operating System for a Personal Computer
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Xerox proposes an interesting twist to an old problem, with the problem
being the development of a high-performance OS, and the twist being that
it's going to be implemented on a single-user PC. Before the 1980s,
personal computers weren't always seen as powerful or useful for large
projects. Pilot addresses this problem by proposing a system that's
designed specifically for the PC.

The engineers anticipated the workload and usage habits of a single-user
environment and designed the system accordingly. They address virtual
memory, file system, networking, and implementation issues. The paper
adequately addresses these issues, but I must admit that the interlocking
filer/swapper is a bit difficult to conceptualize. Also the heavy
dependence on the Mesa language is a shortcoming of this system, in my
opinion.

>From this paper, I learned about the differing system requirements for a
single-user and multi-user OS. Also, I saw a way that a single-user OS can
be made easily-extensible to a multi-user environment over a network.

I didn't care for this system very much. It seems overly restrictive, with
networking provisions to talk only to other Pilot systems, and with support
for only one programming language. It doesn't help that the only language
supported by Pilot is one that I've never heard of. :)