:: urbansheep (urbansheep) wrote,
:: urbansheep

[ L ] Name Spaces As Tools for Integrating the Operating System Rather Than As Ends in Themselves


For too long the file system has been semantically impoverished in comparison with database and keyword systems. It is time to change! The current lack of features makes it much easier to use the latest set theoretic models rather than older models of relational algebra or hypertext. The current FS syntax fits nicely into the newer model.

The utility of an operating system is more proportional to the number of connections possible between its components than it is to the number of those components. Namespace fragmentation is the most important determinant of that number of possible connections between OS components. Unix at its beginning increased the integration of I/O by putting devices into the file system name space. This is a winning strategy, let's take the file system name space, and one-by-one eliminate the reasons why the filesystem is inadequate for what other name spaces are used for, one missing feature at a time. Only once we have done so will the hobbles be removed from OS architects, or even OS conspiracies.

Yet before doing that, we need a core architecture for the semantics to ensure we end up with a coherent whole. This paper suggests a set theoretic model for those semantics. The relational models would at times unacceptably add structure to information, the keyword models would at times delete structure, and purely hierarchical models would create information mazes. Reworking their primitives is required to synthesize the best attributes of these models in a way that allows one the flexibility to tailor the level of structure to the need of the moment.


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