shithub: 9ferno

ref: b502a62da2ec6058923db94f87ecc2d29db2fa77
dir: /man/lib/preface/

View raw version
.FP lucidasans
.nr PS -1
.nr VS -1
.SP 0.4i exactly
Inferno benefits from the results of many years of systems research
at the Computing Science Research Center at Lucent Technologies, Bell Labs.
The system is clearly a cultural descendent of the earliest Unix systems,
and amongst Inferno's inventors, listed below, are several venerable programmers
associated with the development of Unix.
Inferno looks out on a very different world from Unix: complexity is no longer
confined to large mainframes, but has sprawled
across world wide networks, trapping programmers in its web.
Inferno tackles this as radically now as Unix did then.
First, it adopts key ideas from the system Plan 9, also from Bell Labs:
.IP \(bu
Replace a plethora of protocols by a simple, unifying file service protocol (Styx),
that can be served even by tiny devices, giving a uniform
way to access objects throughout the network.
.IP \(bu
Let applications `compute a name space': all resources are represented
as file systems, which an application assembles into an application-specific
hierarchy or `name space', private or shared, that hides their source (local or remote)
and nature (static or dynamic), for completely transparent access.
.IP \(bu
Using those primitives, implement windowing systems, networked graphics, remote debugging,
device control, and much more, with remarkable ease
and great simplicity.
Inferno carries Plan 9's ideas further.
Plan 9 virtualised resources; Inferno virtualises the whole system.
The operating system kernel can run both native and `hosted' on a range
of platforms presenting identical interfaces on all, offering wider portability.
The Limbo programming language offers proper concurrent programming,
and straightforward yet dynamic modularity.
The Dis virtual machine allows applications to cross architecture boundaries
invisibly during execution.
Inferno shows the `continued appliance of computer science'.
The original development team at Bell Labs was
Sean Dorward, Rob Pike and Phil Winterbottom,
with Eric Grosse, Jim McKie, Dave Presotto,
Dennis Ritchie, Ken Thompson and Howard Trickey.
Many others have contributed much since then, both within Lucent and without.
Inferno® is now a supported, commercial product of Vita Nuova.
The Third Edition of the Programmer's manual marked that event.
The Fourth Edition brings many changes in content, but also makes the full
source available as Free Software under a new `dual licence' scheme.
.in 4i
.ft I
.ce 100
Dave Atkin
John Bates
Danny Byrne
John Firth
Charles Forsyth
Michael Jeffrey
Chris Locke
Roger Peppé
Nigel Roles
Vita Nuova
June 2003
.ce 0
.in -4i