xkcd: Operating Systems

xkcd: Operating Systems

The hover text is great

One of the survivors, poking around in the ruins with the point of a spear, uncovers a singed photo of Richard Stallman. They stare in silence. "This," one of them finally says, "This is a man who BELIEVED in something."

I'm surprised the comic didn't end civilization in 2038 at the end of the 32-bit Unix Epoch.

I assume TinderOS is the eventual Operating System made by the (current) dating app Tinder.

[something].js split my sides. But I don't think I understood the whole comic. Like, what is Tinderos, and by Nest, is he referring to Nest labs that were acquired by Google?

Either way, I think the Elon Musk and HURD predictions are spot on. :)

m.xkcd.com got the alt-text available under the picture. Also, the pushbullet feed opens right into the mobile page

The Hurd is usable/stable now by most metrics, the issue is more so that due to the amount of shifting Linux has done away from monlithic to hybrid over the past decade or-so ... And some inherent issues in the showing of age GNU Mach (1st generation Microkernel) has had, too the lack of developer power aimed at moving to a L4-like base or similar, there's really no big motivation anymore to move/embrace that front as a whole when it mostly 'just works' now. Heck 4.x looks like it can do some sort of hot-patching in where you don't even have to reboot, to update your kernel.

Hurd is and has been dead to Stallman for years now, it's a hobbyist project and will stay at that level for the forseeable and conceivable future. If one is interested in Microkernels generally though, obviously Minix3 is probably somefactor of the most recent sucess stories. X15 (like the plane, not the display system) is pretty nice too and is actually written by a Hurd developer.

Thanks, the hover text doesn't work on mobile, so I couldn't read it myself on the site.

Grindr is superior to Tinder in any conceivable way.

For one, it omits the "e" vowel in the "-der" suffix, a sure mark of success in today's "something-dr.io" startup culture.

The photo of Stallman: http://shop.fsf.org/product/signed-rms-photo-print/

fun fact: grindr was there first.

the founder(s) of tinder just copied the concept for heterosexuals.

Randall went far more old school. 2044 is when DOS itself no longer knows what to do. The date format used by DOS is a 16 bit date followed by a 16 bit time. So it's still 32 bits total to represent it, but ends up having a narrower range than the Unix convention of seconds from Jan 1, 1970.

No BeOS? What a casual.

I was half expecting it to be a GPG signature.

Looks as if this project was made just to troll people:

By providing environment for JavaScript code only, it is possible to rethink kernel design to improve security, reliability and performance of the system.


The end of Linux running in his house, not necessarily completely.

In a post-apocalyptic world, Temple Operating System is where it's at.


[something].js is not far from reality.

There's no real push to increase the bits as there was up till now. 64 bit provides such a mind-boggling large amount of numbers to work with that's there's almost no chance of running into a limit. 64 bit alone is enough to address 18.5 exabytes. It's enough to give every single person on the planet 2.6 billion numbers that they can call their own without overlap. Even when the first 32 bit machines were invented you couldn't give every person their own.

It's such a massive difference that I don't see any advancement from 64 bit computing happening in a long time, hell, even if we keep counting seconds up for timekeeping like we've been doing, using 64 bit numbers gives us 585 billion years. May as well be infinite.

Pushbullet is an application that lets you transfer text/links/photos/files between all your devices via their servers. It's generally a lot more convenient than connecting your phone via USB, or FTP, or Dropbox, or whatever other way people do things.

It also shows you your phone's notifications on your desktop/laptop as a pop up, so you don't have to pick up your phone to see what your notification was.

Lately they added a new feature called a feed, which to my understanding is basically just RSS.

Right after overflow, weird things could happen. Most programs assume time is monotonically increasing.

I think if I had that photo by my computer I would feel him judging me every time I updated my Nvidia drivers.

Cool, wasn't aware of m.xkcd.com. What's "pushbullet"?

I'll emulate it for you:

2,147,483,647 -> 03:14:07, Tuesday, 19 January 2038

2,147,483,648 -> 20:45:52, Friday, 13 December 1901


sweating intensely

Developers, developers, developers, developers! Developers, developers, developers, developers! Developers, developers, developers, developers! Developers, developers, developers, developers! Developers, developers, developers, developers! Developers, developers, developers, developers! Developers, developers, developers, developers! Developers, developers, developers, developers! Developers, developers, developers, developers! Developers, developers, developers, developers! Developers, developers, developers, developers! Developers, developers, developers, developers! Developers, developers, developers, developers! Developers, developers, developers, developers! Developers, developers, developers, developers! Developers, developers, developers, developers! Developers, developers, developers, developers! Developers, developers, developers, developers! Developers, developers, developers, developers! Developers, developers, developers, developers! Developers, developers, developers, developers! Developers, developers, developers, developers! Developers, developers, developers, developers!

And I'm sure most of them will happily keep ticking away think it's 1970, what does it really matter what non internet connected devices think the time/date is anyway.

realistically, the end of the Unix epoch will be a more important problem, not because of PCs but because of all the gadgets, instruments, vehicles, appliances, elevators and so on that run some form of Linux.

Same line of thinking goes for IPv6

It's even more insane for IPv6 with 128 bit addresses, the engineers who designed it pretty much had to be saying "Screw it, we're going to just go balls to the wall insane so we never have to upgrade anything ever again, billion year old equipment be damned."

Especially considering how much of a pain in the ass deprecating IPv4 is being.

heh GNU/Hurd at the end of time.

Will it be ready?

The title of the comic is, "Operating Systems Running in my house".

So after the End of Human Civilization, some"thing" will install and use GNU/HURD in his house.

Yep, 95% of time machines run gnu/hurd :>

Are you the professor from my advanded OS class?



Just a 22 y/o with too much time on their hands.*

Edit: What I find neat and often muse on and in-term amuse myself with, is how far we have progressed in the realm of compsci in that the baseline OS is often so abstracted away that barring general kernel dev and/or otherthings which require fine-tuned manipulation at/for the advancement of performance of the so-called "low level" ... In a substantial way, one need not really understand even a nebulous quantification of what a kernel is, nor the general functions of such a thing, let alone the processes needed to facilitate this, and still be a competent developer propped up on stories high of these opaque cubes.

What a wonderful time to be alive, and I feel very fortunate that my low-level interests are just that, interests, and not born out of literal necessity -- though that being said, this viewed necessity (real or imagined) does seem to be how many of our "legends" are born. How else does one get a greybeard, if not for stress/desperation, and time?

In any case, as I tend to ... I'm rambling again, so I'll cut myself off here.

Actually DOS's time representation has a narrower range than a 32-bit time_t (128 years vs 136-ish years). DOS's epoch is in 1980 instead of 1970, though.

The post-human android that runs HURD who moves into his house after humanity's demise, presumably.

Don't say that three times. You'll summon Steve Ballmer.


Dos but ironically xD

The end of Linux in 2018? I don't think so.

If you think about it Linux filled in the hole that HURD was meant to fill for Stallman. H wanted a GPL kernel to complete the GNU operating system. Linux got there first and has exceeded all expectations. There is no longer and great urgent need for a GPL kernel so as far as Stallman goes the GNU OS project is more or less complete.

But has it been ported to pursuers of the opposite Sex? Or can I build it myself?

Does everything go through Pushbullet's servers?

Yes, I believe that is what he's saying.

Then why did he get mad when I asked him to sign my Linux book...

EDIT: I'm being cheeky..... but yes, as a naïve college freshman many years ago, I asked him to sign my Linux book, and he went on a very long rant about Linux not actually being free, shortly followed by him bragging about only using cash for anonymity and then asking us to make credit card donations on the FSF website.

But it pushes all your notifications! :-O

OpenBSD 5.5 and later fixed the 2038 bug for all platforms, even 32-bit ones.

Well, Tinder allows everyone, it's just not nearly as popular with us queers.

It took a couple of years for someone to do it as well. I'm honestly surprised it took that long.

Java script

Never. Again.

No, that summoning word is Developers.

We had responsive design. It was called HTML.

Then designers got involved and stuffed everything in tables.

Devs shook their heads and invented CSS.

So everybody shook their fists at Internet Explorer instead.

Now we have Bootstrap. And the world is at peace again.

For now...

Reminds me of a tech joke I once heard. Only two things will survive the apocalypse, cockroaches and Debian Stable.

Introducing Stallman's Creature.

The GNU/Hurd timeline seems overly optimistic

It's not like a redirect HAS to lose the relative URL information. I do 301 redirects from http to https on my web apps and it does exactly what it should - bounce you from http://site/URL to https://site/URL.

The same can be done with mobile redirects (or, as mentioned earlier, responsive design).

Inferno on top of Plan 9 will be essential to rebuilding society.

I never understood why people always call out Java as being 'slow.' It's not the slowest by a loooong shot.

Here's some benchmarks for different languages.

Java comes in 6th, behind C, C++, Rust, Ada, and Fortran. But wait, there's 20 languages on that list!

Java was faster than Haskell, Go, Scala, Erlang, Python, PHP, Perl, JRuby, Ruby, C#, OCaml, Conjure, F#, Lisp, Pascal, Racket, and Dart. Holy shit! That's a pretty fast language.

So, why doesn't anyone ever complain about Python being "so slow" when it's ~20 times slower than Java? Or Ruby? Or any of the above,* really.

* except maybe PHP ;)

This converts an LGA 775 socket to accept socket 771 Xeons:

You get a sticker that goes on the bottom of the Xeon. This swaps the position of two pins. Then you take a razor blade and cut off the notches in the socket that force the chip to go in only one way. I think you rotate the CPU 90○ and drop it in.

Some motherboards require you to update the microcode before it will work. Not sure how that works but mine fired right up, first try. I replaced a Core2Quad 2.3 with a Xeon Quad 3.0. You can usually buy a used Xeon that's more powerful and has more cache cheaper than an equivalent 775 chip.

Spot on. Same line of thinking goes for IPv6. My buddy got a free block of addresses. The number is a 16 with a LOT of zeros. He's probably working on an addressable nanobot army.

People think tech will just keep advancing and it's not, at least in the desktop world. Servers are getting outrageously fast with tons of RAM and CPUs for VMs but desktops are pretty much topped out for most people. Hell, I have a 7 or 8 year old Xeon in my desktop and it hauls ass. (Yes, it's a desktop and yes it's a Xeon. I did the sticker trick.)

Of course, you don't push sensitive stuff.

I personally hate it when this happens. Most mobile sites suck, and the whole point of the mobile browser is that it's capable of rendering full websites without much issue. It would be far better if people just wrote HTML/CSS that flows well regardless of the browser size, but barring that I almost never want the mobile site.

I though the one about opportunity claiming Mars for itself was pretty funny.

But yes, it's hard to keep a comic strip interesting for such a long time, particularly the kind of stuff that xkcd did.

Some people like Scott Adams manage to do it, but then again he uses a much simpler setup and management fads are what you'd call a renewable energy source.

xkcd has for a long while been "Check out what Randall Munroe learned on wikipedia today!"


Oh god, the birth and death of Java script might actually be true.

Yes. This resulted in an ABI break between 5.4 and 5.5, but OpenBSD really doesn't give a shit about breaking proprietary software that can't be recompiled.

Not Linux


Java is neither slow nor insecure. Go troll somewhere else.

I'd actually prefer that for some reason...

Among idiots that haven't seen it in action since 1997, perhaps. Back here in the real world, not so much.

They already thought about interplanetary internet communication (RFC 4838), which is pretty cool.

Yeah. End-to-end encryption has been on their to-do list for a while but I think that new features take precedence usually.

Randall doesn't usually like mobile sites

And yet we're forced to use one if we want to read the alt-text on mobile.

Come on, do you seriously feel that the execution speed of a Java program is comparable with a native one ?

Yes, because the parts of any Java program that run frequently enough to be worth optimizing are translated into native code by the JIT compiler. You can see the generated assembly and everything. At that point, it will be comparable with native code because it is native code.

Execution speed (and memory usage) of a Java program will be worsened somewhat by its garbage collector, of course. That is a trade-off for the improved memory safety guarantees that a GC-mandatory environment makes possible. Most notably, buffer overflow vulnerabilities in a Java program are impossible, so finding remotely-exploitable bugs in a Java program is that much harder.

It's not much of a trade-off, though. Tons of research has been poured into making the GCs in the current HotSpot JVM fast, and it shows.

Can you ignore how huge is the CPU power needed for the Android UI to run smoothly ?

Yes, because it isn't huge. If it was, Android phones would have no battery life.

Anyway, Android has its own, shitty, pseudo-Java VM called Dalvik, and a newer, less-shitty, still-pseudo-Java VM called ART. Neither of these is even an actual JVM, let alone the only JVM.

Don't you know that the jvm is considered as one of the most unsafe and dangerous programs ?

Whoever told you that has a very incomplete understanding of the situation. Stop listening to that person.

Running arbitrary Java applets is unsafe, but that's got nothing to do with the JVM itself. You wouldn't run arbitrary C programs directly from web pages, either.

civilization will have migrated to 128 bit by then though

Don't you know that the jvm is considered as one of the most unsafe and dangerous programs ?

To be honest, all programs that have the unholy goal to reimplement their host OS suffer from that disease.

TinderOS I can only hazard a guess at being an OS based on the popular dating (read: booty call) app for smart phones.

Not Linux exclusively. May I remind you that Android, Mac OSX, most server OSes like IBM's AIX, HP's HPUX, Oracle/Sun's Solaris, among many others are all based on Unix?

Classic Stallman. And that's not a compliment.

I'm looking forward to the Elon Musk project.