Talk:Plan 9 from Bell Labs

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Good article Plan 9 from Bell Labs has been listed as one of the Engineering and technology good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
January 25, 2012 Good article nominee Listed
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Principles of Plan 9[edit]

There has been a recent hatchet job on this article.

In particular, the removal of the key principles (sourced) behind the architecture of Plan 9. I can only assume that this is due to youthful ignorance of, not Plan 9 (how many people did ever use it hands-on?), but of the state of other contemporary systems. Needless to say, they're now edit-warring to repeat this deletion, because their deletion of the logo was opposed. I see 9front has gone as well.

It used to be a Good Article too 8-( Andy Dingley (talk) 19:03, 13 February 2015 (UTC)

First off, I would like to remind you of WP:AGF. Calling edits that attempt to clarify an article's contents a "hatchet job" is in blatant violation of that principle.
Second, let me explain my removal of the "principles" of Plan 9.

Plan 9 is an evolution of UNIX design concepts:

  1. all objects are either files or file systems
  2. communication is over a network
  3. private namespaces allow their owners to access local and remote processes transparently
From the very first sentence, this is unclear and unworthy of a Good Article. Are these Unix design principles? No. The first one is, to some extent, the rest are not: in Unix there is one namespace per machine, and networks were added as an afterthought (multiple times with different APIs, never integrated with the FS). If we're going to compare to Unix, then let's describe what Unix does, and how Plan 9 generalizes that. The second principle, "communication is over a network" is a slogan that is not explained. What does that mean, that processes cannot talk to each other unless their messages pass through a network?
As everyone can see in the diff, I replaced this with some (well-sourced) prose and examples that actually explains principles 1 and 3 while ignoring the strange principle 2 that makes no sense without an explanation. (Maybe the source actually elaborates on this, but I've no access to it.) QVVERTYVS (hm?) 20:14, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
"Are these Unix design principles? "
And that is why you should leave this article well alone.
Plan 9 is not Unix. It is something different. If you don't even appreciate that much, no wonder you've made such a wreck of it. The "Delete things I don't understand" approach so rarely works out well.
Plan 9 began from these principles (with a load of pre-existing Unix background). It was an axiomatic decision (the merit of which has been argued since) that everything would be presented as a file / file system. It was also the first OS (in a still broadly pre-Internet world) to assume that the Internet was/would become ubiquitous and that networked devices (even if individually trivial) needed to operate in that context first and foremost. Plan 9 was misunderstood for a decade or so and frequently criticised as being a poor desktop PC OS - completely missing its point. The clever aspect was to recognise (at this initial axiomatic level) that this would also require the third principle, of local scoping rules. All three of these were novel for Plan 9: even with contemporary OS that had "good" networking, these were always as an alternative (and with an alternative API) to the "fundamental" means of working via local device access. This was novel for Plan 9: it was not part of Unix, nor even Windows, MacOS or even VMS. Andy Dingley (talk) 20:43, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
You're missing my point entirely, and it would serve you well to cool down before telling me what to do.
My point is that the old text can be read as if these three points are Unix design principles. You don't need to convince me that they're not. You should be worried about the reader who is not going to understand why any of this is important.
Read the old text again, and try to take the position of someone who does not know what Plan 9 is. Can you tell what the list I removed is trying to convey? Is it listing Plan 9 principles only, or principles shared with Unix? "Communication is over a network"? What does that mean? Why wasn't Rob Pike's explanation of the two(!) design ideas of Plan 9 cited instead, until I added it a few minutes ago? QVVERTYVS (hm?) 21:14, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
Have you not heard of copyediting? Andy Dingley (talk) 21:20, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
Incidentally, for those previously unfamiliar with Plan 9, a clearer explanation is in ESR's paper (later part of The Art Of Unix Programming) 'Plan 9: The Way the Future Was'. This is written as an explanation for those unfamiliar with it, not like the Bell Labs papers that were generally written for those who'd been following its history all along. Andy Dingley (talk) 21:31, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
I have not liked the past presentation of the 'Design concept', as well as other parts, in this article. The reader was thrusted against three bullet points that had no tangible contexts meaningful to a general audience. E.g., "all objects are either files or filesystems" is devoid of meaning and in such simple form, actually false. The new prose states these same highlights in better fashion in relation to known features of the predecessor system Unix, from which they evolved, in this case from the notion of a /dev filesystem with device nodes representing peripherals. Already in Unix there was the notion of this being extended to the network, in RFS-based networking (only in SVR3 and 4). Providing the context is important which the old version did a much poorer job of. So, sometimes a hatched job is really needed for improvement. Kbrose (talk) 21:51, 13 February 2015 (UTC)