Subject: On the subject of Mach....
To: None <macbsd-general@NetBSD.ORG>
From: Peter Brewer <>
List: macbsd-general
Date: 03/06/1995 15:36:03

(March 3rd 1995) The latest addition to the groups working on a
desktop Unix for Macintosh is one at the Santa Clara University.

The native Mach/BSD Unix implementation is a by-product of the team's
efforts to develop a distributed operating environment dubbed the
"Local Area MultiProcessor (LAMP)". Machines in a LAMP network
actually share physical memory across the network, with cache coherency
maintained by specialised hardware in the workstations.

Current the team, lead by Dr. Qiang Li are building the system on
Power Macs, since the machines' Processor Direct Slots (PDS) make it
easy to implement the distributed cache coherency needed.

As part of the software side of the project, the team have built a
Mach/BSD-Unix operating system.  Now Dr Li believes that the work may
have applicability outside of LAMP project.

"We tentatively call our version of Mach 'PMacMach'", said Dr Li in a
posting on Usenet, "The porting started in Summer'94 and has been
carried out mainly by 3 graduate students... After long and
painstaking effort, we have been able to boot the single-user mode and
execute external commands from the Unix shell. There is still a lot of
work ahead before the system will be stable, but the biggest hurdle
for bootstrapping the system is almost overcome."

Funding from Apple and the US National Science Foundation covers the
core LAMP activity only, and there are no resources available to turn
PMacMach into a separate, stand-alone project. In addition,  Dr Li
says that since the project involves Apple's confidential information,
"it is difficult to have people outside our school to get involved,
except at very high level, such as porting gcc".

So where does the project go from here?  "It would be ideal if someone
would give money to support two students just to finish the porting
and maintain the system. But I know I am stretching." Says Dr Li.
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