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A fork() in the road
The received wisdom suggests that Unix’s unusual combination of fork() and exec() for process creation was an
inspired design. In this paper, we argue that fork was a clever
hack for machines and programs of the 1970s that has long
outlived its usefulness and is now a liability. We catalog the
ways in which fork is a terrible abstraction for the modern programmer to use, describe how it compromises OS
implementations, and propose alternatives.
As the designers and implementers of operating systems,
we should acknowledge that fork’s continued existence as
a first-class OS primitive holds back systems research, and
deprecate it. As educators, we should teach fork as a historical artifact, and not the first process creation mechanism
students encounter.
filetype:pdf  unix  os  design  fork  memory  safety  performance 
april 2019 by jabley
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