Future development of Jail (was Re: corporate backers of freebsd)

Andy Dills andy at xecu.net
Wed Jan 2 09:28:49 PST 2008

On Wed, 2 Jan 2008, Ted Mittelstaedt wrote:

> I don't.  In the entire history of computers every time there has
> been a horsepower increase, the "normal" software that people run
> on the system has bloated to consume all available additional horsepower.


So how has the amount of horsepower required to handle centralized radius 
authentication, or provide DNS resolution, or static web service grown 
over the years?

I'm not talking about the "normal" software that people run on a system. 
I've watched for a decade as the load generated by certain services has 
stayed flat, however for security considerations they should not be 
combined onto the same operating envrionment.

Are you trying to tell me that your shell server's utilization has just 
continued to grow over the years, that you've had to continuously upgrade 
the hardware to keep up with the demands of pine, tin, emacs, mutt, vim, 
irc, eggdrop, ezbounce, or whatever your customers are running? Please.

> What you are doing is akin to saying that since the modern
> CPU can virtualize hundreds of 1MB 8086 real-mode "sessions"
> that we ought to be able to run hundreds of instances of
> WordPerfect for DOS on a typical modern PC.  Well guess what - WE
> COULD!  If someone wrote the software to do it, of course.

I'm talking about professionally hosted services, you're talking about 
WordPerfect. Amateur hour starts at 5PM, the signups are over there.

> In the future I predict that ordinary standard desktop software is
> going to require:
> "numerous processors with numerous cores and several gigs of memory,
> fast busses and standard multiple gige ports, inexpensive solid state
> disks"
> as a MINIMUM system configuration, and people will think NOTHING of
> it.
> Code always bloats to fill all available machine power.

Desktop software? Shouldn't you be posting on a linux mailing list? 

> > We seem to be very close to having the ability to completely
> > segregate the
> > control-plane from the data-plane (using router terminology).
> We had that ability with commodity cheap desktop hardware a decade
> ago.  But, nobody wrote software to take advantage of the commodity
> cheap desktop hardware to do this back then, for the same reasons
> that the jail developer lost interest today.

Actually, somebody was paying the jail developer, and then wasn't. More to 
the point, no, we didn't have the ability a decade ago to seperate CP from 
DP. A decade ago we were dealing with silly things like the maximum size 
of a partition, how to handle USB, how to scale to multiple processors, 
how to acheive line rate on gige, etc.

> > This is such
> > a huge improvement over the status quo that I'm a little bit sad and
> > confused why it seems to be such a low priority with the developers. But
> > they have their hands full and nobody seems to be driven to steer that
> > particular ship.
> >
> In short, and don't take it wrongly, your a young pup.  You have not
> had the experience with the computer business that someone older
> and more jaded has.  Once you have another 20 years under your belt
> and you start seeing that it's the same old, same old, you will
> understand why this is a pipe dream.

In short, don't take it wrongly, but you're an arrogant has-been. If you 
were as wise as you claim, you would be more quick to consider one of the 
more interesting trends in professional computing: 

Legacy systems in a corporate envrionment that don't need to be upgraded 
whatsoever, but are running on failing hardware with no possible 
replacements, running on top of an ancient operating system. 

What are the smart technologists doing to resolve this? They're moving 
these services to a virtual environment running on top of some other 

> The day will never come that a corporation can go to Kmart and buy
> a $299 PC and use it as a server to run their entire 1000 person
> operation.  Yet, a $299 commodity PC that you buy from Kmart today,
> has about 100 times more power than a mainframe that this same
> corporation was using 2 decades ago to run their entire 1000 person
> operation.  Using your logic, the sensible thing would be to take
> that 20 year old software and run it on the $299 PC today.  Yet,
> nobody's doing this.  Think for a while about why this is and you
> might begin to understand what is really going on.

It's clear from your post that you have no idea what I'm talking about.

If you really think what I'm suggesting is that bad of an idea, help me 
understand why the CTO of F5 immediately posted asking for a quote on 
developing this feature?


Andy Dills
Xecunet, Inc.

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