No Monad, No Longhorn?

 
 
By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2005-06-09 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Opinion: Monad was potentially the most useful part of Longhorn. Now that it's gone, why should I 'upgrade' to Longhorn?

Whats going on with Longhorn anyway? First, WinFS was dropped. Then, it came out that Longhorn wasnt going to be based on .Net Framework after all. And now, Microsoft tells us that Monad, Microsofts super-duper combination shell and script language, isnt going to make it into Longhorn either.
Now, while some people were excited about WinFS, I really didnt care for it. Does the world really need a processor-intensive file system? I dont think so.
I agree with Hans Reiser, creator of the ReiserFS (Reiser File System), that if you have to build a layer on top of your file system, it means you need to fix the file system, not add another layer of complexity and abstraction on top of it. I was also unmoved by.Net Framework removal from Longhorns heart. To me, it just showed, as I had thought all along, that .Net Framework wasnt suitable for building something as complex as an operating system. Lest you accuse me of anti-Microsoft bigotry, thats not the case here.
I dont think any high-level language, such as Java, is suitable for building a production operating system. Even as our processors zoom past 3GHz, operating systems need speed, speed and more speed. For that, you need languages that produce fast machine code easily, and that still pretty much means you need to use the C language family. But Monad, I thought, had promise. Monad was going to be far more than just, as some have called it, the next generation CLI (command line interface) for Windows. It was going to be a scripting language that tried to one-up Python, Ruby, PHP, Perl and all the other advanced script languages that make quick and dirty programming so darn useful for system administrators and power-users. It was going to put the long-in-the-tooth VBS (Visual Basic Scripting) in the trashcan where it belonged. It was, for as far as Im concerned, the most potentially useful part of Longhorn. Next Page: Advanced script languages benefits.



 
 
 
 
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor at large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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