Towards safer, simpler computing

It's ironic Java's sandbox security model is designed to protect clients from unsafe/malicious code while its success is primarily on servers, where Java's security model is woefully inadequate. It can't protect against things like unbounded CPU, Memory or IO usage, things that cause serious server problems. Not to mention the security model complicates everything in the VM (class loaders, byte code verifiers, and doobledy gook plier frakers) even if you don't actually need any security.

I just had that conversation with a friend before he left for JavaOne. He's frustrated by a number of things in Java, which all go back to the needs of the security model - his point being that it has less relevance for a server side application. I'm running this application on a Smalltalk server, where arbitrary code could be loaded in at any time. Here's the catch though - only two people have permissions on the system. So in order to mount such a code loading attack, one of the two of us would have to do it. Hmm - seems unlikely.

Continuations and web apps

Instead of complex VM security models applied to general purpose languages, we'd be better off using domain specific languages that are by design limited to provably safe activities. I see a future more about simple and small special purpose languages that can be connected easily, and less about giant bloated do-it-all beasts like C# and Java.

Posted May 21, 2006 7:54 PM