Seeking Alpha

Tronder Investments

 
View as an RSS Feed
View Tronder Investments' Comments BY TICKER:
Latest  |  Highest rated
  • BlackBerry: Understanding QNX [View article]
    @ Shergar

    Here is a quote from Andy Tanenbaum (http://bit.ly/10cVY7S) that basically makes the "iffy" claim that the only reason to use monolithic was better performance. He goes on to say that this is no longer the case. Both Tanenbaum and Linus Torvalds (from Seppo2's comment) participated in a flame war over monolithic vs. micro (http://bit.ly/10cUGcT).

    To directly quote Tanenbaum in his forum post "LINUX is obsolete" (http://bit.ly/ZH1CNn), "suffice it to say that among the people who actually design operating systems, the debate is essentially over. Microkernels have won. The only real argument for monolithic systems was performance, and there is now enough evidence showing that microkernel systems can be just as fast as monolithic systems."

    I have quoted his post below (Andy Tanenbaum in 2006):
    ======================...
    "I was in the U.S. for a couple of weeks, so I haven't commented much on LINUX (not that I would have said much had I been round), but for what it is worth, I have a couple of comments now.

    As most of you know, for me MINIX is a hobby, something that I do in the evening when I get bored writing books and there are no major wars, revolutions, or senate hearings being televised live on CNN. My real job is a professor and researcher in the area of operating systems.

    As a result of my occupation, I think I know a bit about where operating are going in the next decade or so. Two aspects stand out:

    1. MICROKERNEL VS MONOLITHIC SYSTEM
    Most older operating systems are monolithic, that is, the whole operating system is a single a.out file that runs in 'kernel mode.' This binary contains the process management, memory management, file system and the rest. Examples of such systems are UNIX, MS-DOS, VMS, MVS, OS/360, MULTICS, and many more.

    The alternative is a microkernel-based system, in which most of the OS runs as separate processes, mostly outside the kernel. They communicate by message passing. The kernel's job is to handle the message passing, interrupt handling, low-level process management, and possibly the I/O. Examples of this design are the RC4000, Amoeba, Chorus, Mach, and the not-yet-released Windows/NT.

    While I could go into a long story here about the relative merits of the two designs, suffice it to say that among the people who actually design operating systems, the debate is essentially over. Microkernels have won. The only real argument for monolithic systems was performance, and there is now enough evidence showing that microkernel systems can be just as fast as monolithic systems (e.g., Rick Rashid has published papers comparing Mach 3.0 to monolithic systems) that it is now all over but the shoutin`.

    MINIX is a microkernel-based system. The file system and memory management are separate processes, running outside the kernel. The I/O drivers are also separate processes (in the kernel, but only because the brain-dead nature of the Intel CPUs makes that difficult to do otherwise). LINUX is a monolithic style system. This is a giant step back into the 1970s. That is like taking an existing, working C program and rewriting it in BASIC. To me, writing a monolithic system in 1991 is a truly poor idea.

    2. PORTABILITY
    Once upon a time there was the 4004 CPU. When it grew up it became an 8008. Then it underwent plastic surgery and became the 8080. It begat the 8086, which begat the 8088, which begat the 80286, which begat the 80386, which begat the 80486, and so on unto the N-th generation. In the meantime, RISC chips happened, and some of them are running at over 100 MIPS. Speeds of 200 MIPS and more are likely in the coming years. These things are not going to suddenly vanish. What is going to happen is that they will gradually take over from the 80x86 line. They will run old MS-DOS programs by interpreting the 80386 in software. (I even wrote my own IBM PC simulator in C, which you can get by FTP from ftp.cs.vu.nl = 192.31.231.42 in dir minix/simulator.) I think it is a gross error to design an OS for any specific architecture, since that is not going to be around all that long.

    MINIX was designed to be reasonably portable, and has been ported from the Intel line to the 680x0 (Atari, Amiga, Macintosh), SPARC, and NS32016. LINUX is tied fairly closely to the 80x86. Not the way to go.

    Don`t get me wrong, I am not unhappy with LINUX. It will get all the people who want to turn MINIX in BSD UNIX off my back. But in all honesty, I would suggest that people who want a **MODERN** "free" OS look around for a microkernel-based, portable OS, like maybe GNU or something like that."


    Andy Tanenbaum (a...@cs.vu.nl)
    ======================...
    Mar 19 11:03 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • BYOD: When 800,000 Apps Becomes A Bad Thing [View article]
    PS: I have added more detail on my views on microkernels and why I like QNX below (addressed to Shergar). Feel free to critique my assessment.
    Mar 15 11:53 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • BYOD: When 800,000 Apps Becomes A Bad Thing [View article]
    Hi MrMatt

    I have read up on security through obscurity, and I believe it is not as secure as keeping some code hidden.

    Note in your link that the section for "Arguments Against" is much larger than the "Arguments For".

    To quote your link:

    "The greater the number of points of compromise in a system, the greater the chance that an attack on one of those points of compromise exists, or will be developed."

    Giving up all of your secrets assuming that someone will eventually know it anyway is poor policy, in my opinion. Again, my opinion is this is a fallacy that is pushed on us by developers who want full freedom in creation. I get that... it still does not make it right.

    Again, we will agree to disagree.

    I will put it to you this way. What if a closed source and open source device gets a zero-day attack at the same time? And, in the case of the closed source, it affects their hidden code. Which platform developer will have the most flexibility in dealing with this attack? Most importantly, who will have a higher likelihood of never having this attack occur again?

    (I can't believe I am about to say this, because I am not an Apple fan-boy)... Do you think Steve Jobs was wrong? He wanted to control his products for a reason. If he insisted on closed source products, then I am comfortable siding with him.
    Mar 15 11:25 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • BYOD: When 800,000 Apps Becomes A Bad Thing [View article]
    Hi Pimust

    I am not too familiar with WP8. However, I believe it is a hybrid like the iPhone. So, it is not a monolithic kernel nor microkernel. It is also closed source like the BBRY and the iPhone.

    This link will give you all the information you need with regards to software.

    http://bit.ly/ZEmYcD
    Mar 15 02:32 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • BYOD: When 800,000 Apps Becomes A Bad Thing [View article]
    Hi MrMatt

    I appreciate your comments... but at the end of the day, they will not convince me that BlackBerry is not the most secure platform.

    I thought about adding a blog to this topic, but I am not sure many on SA would find value in it.

    In my opinion, this old debate is quite distorted. Software developers love to work in an open environment with no restrictions. Having to deal with a closed environment limits them. And, that sucks for them.

    Microsoft is accused of marketing the term "shared source". They fight the term "open source" passionately. Why do you think this is? At the end of the day, people will think that closed is more secure (rightly or wrongly).

    My opinion is that software developers have tried to convince us all that there is no difference, from a security standpoint. I disagree with this. I believe closed source software and OS will always be preferred for security.

    I will refer you to this link (however, it is really old):

    http://bit.ly/12UVQ0K

    In the end, the author concludes that there is no right answer when it comes to open versus closed. It really boils down to your opinion versus my opinion. My opinion is obviously that closed is better.

    If security is your priority (and it is for BYOD), I would recommend a BlackBerry or an Apple before I would recommend an Android.
    Mar 15 01:50 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • BYOD: When 800,000 Apps Becomes A Bad Thing [View article]
    Hi Shergar

    Thanks for the comment. In discussing what is best for BYOD, I believe that a microkernel OS is the best choice for security (I am sure some of our IT folks will jump-down-my-throat over my comments below).

    Traditionally, monolithic kernel OS had higher system performance than microkernel OS. What makes QNX special, is that it has proven to be just as fast as monolithic... therefore, the advantage that monolithic used to have is negated.

    The BYOD advantage of microkernel OS is that it provides more security and reliability. So, since QNX now preforms near the speeds of monolithic kernel systems... this is awesome news for the BlackBerry Z10. BlackBerry owns QNX, so this is exclusive to BlackBerry.

    A monolithic kernel OS executes all of the operating system code at once. A microkernel executes only the portions of the operating system code that it needs. I am generalizing, but this is what makes microkernel more secure. Only the computer code required for functionality is utilized. Malware (i.e. viruses) cannot access data that is not currently being utilized.

    From a reliability perspective, microkernels are amazing. Minimizing code means that systems are less likely to fail. Which is why QNX is used for nuclear power generation, 9-1-1 dispatch, cars, etc.

    If you have ever got "the blue screen of death"... this will happen in a monolithic kernel OS. This will not happen in QNX.

    So, to sum up... with BlackBerry Z10 you get the speed of the monolithic kernel OS, with the added security and reliability benefits of the microkernel OS - QNX. Apple is a hybrid, and Android is monolithic… there is no comparison when it comes to security.
    Mar 15 12:55 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • BYOD: When 800,000 Apps Becomes A Bad Thing [View article]
    @ MrMatt

    Thank you for the input and feedback.

    Is not the fact that very few apps even clearly identify license terms, a concern for BYOD? If we are left unsure, then a corporation will have to assume that they are all open - and treat them accordingly. The corporation would have to view all 800,000 as potential risks to corporate IT security.

    I do not know what the software license is for SuperClean. I do know that it can access corporate networks, which is scary enough for me. Again, I would view all 800,000 as potential risks... which means I would make the assumption it is open. Shoot first and ask later - so to speak.

    The main theme of my article was to point out why bigger is not necessarily better. What worked for Microsoft in computing should not be assumed to work for Android in smartphones.

    Granted, I should not have listed Microsoft as "open source". Microsoft is officially closed/shared source (something that I overlooked while writing at 2AM last night). However, this too is up for debate as some view the "shared source" as a marketing term created and controlled by Microsoft. http://bit.ly/Z1Wq47 This too, is only opinion.

    I feel that the general message of my article is factual, in that the BlackBerry Z10 is the best choice for BYOD. We may disagree on the specifics, but I stand by my article.

    I would encourage you to write an article on open source versus closed source devices and apps, as there is obviously some confusion out there. A great title would be, "Misconceptions of Open Source and Close Source Devices".

    This would be of great value to those on Seeking Alpha. Investors need clear and honest information, which is what I have tried to do with this article.
    Mar 14 02:04 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • BYOD: When 800,000 Apps Becomes A Bad Thing [View article]
    Also, I would welcome you to write an article about why HTML 5 is a risk for BlackBerry, or give us all a lesson on open source versus closed source terminology. This would be of value.

    Posting one comment on an anonymous account, is quite different than attaching your name to something while putting your opinion out there - for all to see. Please respect that.
    Mar 14 01:28 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • BYOD: When 800,000 Apps Becomes A Bad Thing [View article]
    Hi User 7338261

    Could you please refer to the exact statement where I said that Apple is open source?

    At no time did I ever mention that Apple was open source. I consistently referred to it as closed source.

    My references to Apple are as follows:

    "Of the three smartphone manufactures mentioned in this article, Android is open source. Apple and BlackBerry are closed source devices."

    "Apple is the Second Best, Closed Source Smartphone for BYOD"

    Please read the entire article before you attack, rather than just skim over it with an assumption. Not only is it unwarranted, but it completely negates your points (even if they are valid).

    The title of this article is in reference to the 800,000 apps on Android devices.

    Apple is a fine product, but I feel that the BlackBerry Z10 is the best for BYOD. This is my opinion, and you are free to disagree with me.

    I have tried to present the facts as I see them. I own an Android and love it. However, this alone is not reason to promote it as a good BYOD device.
    Mar 14 01:16 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • BYOD: When 800,000 Apps Becomes A Bad Thing [View article]
    @gladtidings

    I should state that the $3000 price tag was not paid to BlackBerry, but rather to the makers of the enhancement, Secusmart (mentioned in the article). It is assumed that BlackBerry would still have only been paid for the regular cost of their phone.
    Mar 14 11:22 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • BYOD: When 800,000 Apps Becomes A Bad Thing [View article]
    I have made changes to my wording. Microsoft is now listed as "Closed/Shared Source".
    Mar 14 11:17 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • BYOD: When 800,000 Apps Becomes A Bad Thing [View article]
    Article has been updated to reflect changes.
    Mar 14 11:11 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • BYOD: When 800,000 Apps Becomes A Bad Thing [View article]
    Article has been updated to reflect these changes.
    Mar 14 11:10 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • BYOD: When 800,000 Apps Becomes A Bad Thing [View article]
    Thank you, Michael.

    Your comments are very much appreciated!
    Mar 14 11:01 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • BYOD: When 800,000 Apps Becomes A Bad Thing [View article]
    Hi Physdude...

    I have submitted a correction to list Microsoft as "Closed/Shared Source". I have also submitted other changes in the article to clear up any confusion.

    Thank you for your comment.
    Mar 14 10:59 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
COMMENTS STATS
36 Comments
32 Likes