why panic(9) ?

Erik me at erik.eu
Wed Jan 12 16:50:35 UTC 2011

On Wed, 2011-01-12 at 13:43 +0100, Nils Holland wrote:
> C. P. Ghost wrote:
> > As far as I know, Windows NT is a microkernel arch, and
> > faulty drivers, often provided by external vendors would not
> > bring that system (as much as we hate or despise its
> > Windows OS personality that runs on top of it) to a complete halt.
> I don't know ... when Windows crashes (I'm no fan of it either, but anyway) 
> and you ask Microsoft about it, then it's most of the time an external 
> driver that is responsible. Graphics card driver seem to be the cause most 
> often, but other stuff as well. Here at work, we had a Windows Vista (moving 
> the focus of this discussion away from Windows 2000) machine that crashed 
> every time it was attempted to establisch a PPTP VPN connection. The reason, 
> as the blue screen clearly showed, was a faulty driver that was part of a 
> firewall made by AVG.
> So I would vote for exactly the contrary: Windows itself, in terms of "just 
> the Microsoft components" is fairly stable, and it's third-party drivers 
> that tend to bring it down most of the time. Having a job in which I have to 
> support people working on Windows, I can say for sure that there's no such 
> thing in Windows that prevents third-party system level stuff to bring down 
> the system. ;-)
> But back to the topic itself: Of course panics are useful. It's not a 
> feature you'll use to advertise your operating system with, but an 
> appropriate comparison is this: When you no longer know what you're doing, 
> it's better to just stop immediately. And that's what a panic does: When the 
> kernel has somehow gotten into an "undefined" state it cannot cope with, it 
> just pulls the plug before any additional damage can be done. Totally sane 
> thing. Of course, improving the kernel so that such "undefined states it 
> cannot cope with" occur as little frequently as possible makes sense (and 
> FreeBSD is certainly very good in that area), just "removing" panic doesn't 
> make any sense. When somehow you've gotten in front of a tunnel and there's 
> a train approaching, you don't believe that just standing still and closing 
> your eyes will save you. ;-)

On one of my first linux desktops, I had a screensaver which displayed
rotated dumpscreens of all kinds of different Operation systems. Apple,
Basic, linux and BSOD.. (come to think about it BSD was not included)

my 2 cents ;-) 

Best regards,

> Greetings,
> Nils 
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