Lambda the Ultimate

inactiveTopic Interview: Matthew Dillon
started 1/8/2002; 4:00:38 AM - last post 1/8/2002; 12:05:02 PM
Ehud Lamm - Interview: Matthew Dillon  blueArrow
1/8/2002; 4:00:38 AM (reads: 1470, responses: 2)
Interview: Matthew Dillon
This interview provides a different perspective compared to our recent theoretical discussions. It shows the state of the art in the most revered area of writing/hacking programs: kernel development. The sad truth is that the state of the art is far less developed than what one would expect.

It's notable that Matt Dillon advocates assertions, a weak (i.e., unsystematic) form of design-by-contract - and this is considered as a revelation and the giant step forward. Thirty years ago, perhaps.

It's not actually the matter of language: it's the matter of approach: design-by-contract, abstractions, more precise specification of interfaces, model checking, higher-order operators, awareness of closures and continuations, etc. You can write in a functional style even in C, if you have taste and knowledge of functional style.

One would hope, however, that programming languages would educate programmers into good SE techinques.

Oleg suggested this link, and most of the commentary. I agree with most of his sentiments.

Posted to Software-Eng by Ehud Lamm on 1/8/02; 5:12:18 AM

John Lawter - Re: Interview: Matthew Dillon  blueArrow
1/8/2002; 11:31:59 AM (reads: 644, responses: 1)
I don't agree that this interview represents the "state of the art " in kernel programming. Try looking at some of Dawson Engler's work in metacompilation. Or for non C-based kernels, the University of Washington's Spin project.

I should also point out that Dillon does one thing which is a good SE technique: he documents his code.

Ehud Lamm - Re: Interview: Matthew Dillon  blueArrow
1/8/2002; 12:05:02 PM (reads: 706, responses: 0)
By saying state of the art, I think both Oleg and I were thinking about what good kernel hackers do in practice. Obviously there are better techniques. That was the point I was trying to make!