deterministic behavior (was Re: [self-interest] simplicity)

Kyle Hayes kyle at
Mon Jun 28 16:27:54 UTC 2004

On Sunday 27 June 2004 22:54, Toby Ovod-Everett wrote:
> On Sun, Jun 27, 2004 at 08:20:43PM -0700, Michael Latta wrote:
> > If I can paraphrase your position:
> >
> > Reference counting is more deterministic when releasing resources that
> > have semantics beyond bits in memory.
> [Parrot notes]

Somewhat OT, but I believe that there is a blog entry or small whitepaper 
floating around on the Internet somewhere that shows that file operations 
are rarely as deterministic on Unix systems as people believe.  
Particularly close vs. file data being flushed out of per-process buffers 

So, while the language may make attempts to be deterministic, the OS may 
foil them.   If we all (language designers) try to keep everything fully 
deterministic and the OS people pull the rug out from underneath us....

The point is that OSes and even processors are moving toward models that 
have less deterministic behavior, not more (see the IA-64 programming 
model for just how non-deterministic things are becoming).    Languages 
need to plan for future use.  If deterministic behavior is going to become 
harder and harder to get, then, like multithreading, it may be something 
that programmers need to keep in mind when programming.

For now most systems have some level of deterministic behavior, but it 
isn't something I think will last out the decade.


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