Monday, October 18, 2010

Lion's Share

I am sick. Five days already, and counting. My brain feels like Sauerkraut and thinking is hard. But my dysregulated sleep cycle lets me ponder all kinds of idle things.

One of them is the upcoming "Back to Mac" announcements on Wednesday 11/9. It seems pretty sure that Mac OS X 10.7 (or 11.0 possibly) will be introduced under the 'Lion' code name. This is pretty exciting as nothing really revolutionary happened in the Mac world since 'Leopard'.

Many people are speculating what the foundations will be. My bet is a fully-LLVM compiled system: good-bye GCC, we had a nice time together. The majority of the LLVM team is virtually absent from the IRC channel and the mailing lists, they must be working on something big...
That is, ironing out the latest bugs so that nothing embarrassing can happen while Steve is on stage. But clang v2.8 already compiles e.g. the FreeBSD kernel and userland with pretty good quality, so this cannot be the entire reason. The (already filled-in) job posting for a "revolutionary new feature in the very foundations of Mac OS X" is probably LLVM-related. Modern GPUs have hundreds of very potent processors that excel at floating-point computations. To use them effectively one needs a flexible compiler that can specialize snippets of code to run on each with optimal throughput. OpenCL attempts this but mostly in the graphical domain, and it sources from a C-like language. What we have in this case, however, is not about graphics... I am going on a limb here and suggest that the new feature is about ... conscience! Yeah, a primitive (compared to humans) but effective way of reflection, that is, understanding of its own existence and goals. Also the goals of the user! This will pave the way to new forms of assistance the OS can provide for us to get our jobs done. It has been tried many times, but to cite the job description, "Something that has never been done before and will truly amaze everyone".

My neuronal storm has ceased, I feel limp and tired. Time for another nap. Bye.