[rescue] FrameMaker FYI

Jonathan C. Patschke jp at celestrion.net
Fri Mar 26 00:45:18 CST 2004

On Thu, 25 Mar 2004, Dave McGuire wrote:

>    Yes and no.  The basic *design* of Windows is fraught with flaws and
> security issues.  Is it even possible to write a secure piece of
> software for that platform?

That's not entirely true of NT.  However, all that went to hell when
they started opening up the kernel-space to various parts of the GUI for
the sake of speed for the gamers.

If you can dig up some docs about how NT was -supposed- to be, you'd be
impressed that such a system could come out of Redmond:

  * Support for multiple runtime environments, fully-implemented in
    userland so that you could run Unix, OS/2, Win32, Win16, or DOS
    applications on the same kernel with the ability for the user to add
    more just by installing a driver.
  * Wholly portable and written in C and Pascal, unlike the x86 assembly
    speed hacks in Windows 9x.
  * A microkernel design so that the same kernel-mode software can
    support vastly different systems (SGI x86 vs Compaq SMP vs "white
    box" PC) just by swapping in a HAL driver.
  * Impossible for userland code (including drivers) to crash the kernel
    or the system (because memory access and MMU frobbing happens in the
    HAL).  In fact, there're only two special cases:
     a) Any driver for any essential part of the console crashes and
        cannot be restarted, the system performs a graceful shutdown.
     b) Any portion of the storage system for the system partition
        crashes, the system forces a graceful crash with memory dump.
  * Kernel-deep threads, fifos, sockets, etc. all with enough memory
    protection to keep a bug in, say, WinSock from stomping on the

It's a really nice system, but the concessions they started making in
NT4 have turned it to shit.  We had systems at JJT that we -beat to
hell- day in, day out, with SAS, VC++, Oracle, and whatever else,
running on crap hardware, and they Would Not Crash.  Ever.

In fact, the only two times I saw NT crash there:
  1) I'd just installed some memory in my workstation and hadn't done
     it right.  I bumped my desk and the memory hopped off the bus. :)
  2) After upgrading to NT4. :(

Jonathan Patschke  ) "Being on the Internet is not the same as being
Elgin, TX         (   famous.  That's like calling Cheetos 'dinner'."
USA                )                                    --Metal Steve

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