Re: Philosophical Rant [was Re: Writing Drivers in Java]

“Gregory G. Dyess” wrote in message news:xxxxx@ntdev…
> VMS, despite its reputation as a CPU and memory hog, ran circles around NT
> in terms of responsiveness and it NEVER crashed on the exact same
> [snip]
> Everyone should start buying only hardware that has successfully passed
> MS quality tests.

Let’s not wax too nostalgic about VMS, OK? I mean, RSX-11M crashed less
than VMS. Maybe we should go back to using RSX-11M Plus?

VMS is a simpler operating system than NT. It was pretty cool in the 1970’s
when it was designed but, like RSX before it, it’s features do not allow it
to compete with NT.

In addition, VMS supports a tiny subset of peripheral devices compared to
NT. Further, Compaq nee Digital writes practically all the drivers.

And, of course, the world has changed very substantially from the days when
vendors could command huge sums for proprietary workstations. While much of
that money went to profit, and was subsequently invested in expensive suits
for the CEO, lots of that money want to “quality assurance.” The investment
in terms of money and time for qualifying a driver for NT the way we
qualified drivers for VMS would literally bankrupt most IHVs and make them
miss their market window. For example, ten years ago, it cost a couple of
hundred thousand dollars a year (1992 dollars) just to do the protocol
conformance testing for a DECnet VMS release. A four month testing period
was not at all unusual. This doesn’t include unit test, QA, and the rest.
And this was all using Digital-developed hardware.

In terms of the “MS quality tests” (I assume you mean tests for the Windows
Logo, right?)… do you really think they’re stringent enough to ensure
drivers don’t crash the system? I have personally loaded Logo’ed drivers on
the checked build of the system, and seen such drivers fail to even get
through the boot processes without assert-ing.

Nah. Times have changed. 80% correct drivers are all that we can hope for.
The O/S has to be resilient to Stupid Driver Writers. To coin a phrase:
“There will be poor driver writers always, pathetically struggling” to ship
their code. Why not just make it so that the consequence of their stupidity
doesn’t cause the REST of us to look bad.