Would you buy/use a computer that ran 3x slower than modern machines if it were more secure (less vulnerable to side-channel attacks)?

Beyond side channels I'm even more worried about the ever present issues of poor security design/architecture and of security-critical components being written in unsafe languages. The fact that there is always another buffer overflow waiting in the kernel, in the browser, etc is nonsense. Who knows when someone will find a critical vulnerability in libjpeg and start manipulating images to take over the browser, then call a vulnerable syscall to install a rootkit.

I really want to run a microkernel (so poorly written driver code doesn't compromise the whole system) written in a safe language with arbitrarily nestable security contexts (eg. beyond users having different privileges, I want any program to be able to spawn processes, threads, etc in more restricted contexts, which can also spawn more restricted children, etc).

Also I want a modern Lisp machine...

@willghatch @cwebber

> Also I want a modern Lisp machine...

Are you thinking in terms (also) of hardware (designed for Lisp)?


Yes and no. I would love a usable lisp OS (especially Racket) even without special hardware. But with hardware designed for it I'm sure it would be better. One of the major reasons Lisp Machines died is that Moore's Law was so fast that by the time you finished the longer design of the specialized hardware newer simple chips were already faster. Now that Moore's law (and friends) are largely over that could change.

@_emacsomancer @cwebber
Just the other day there was an article circulating about recent work on hardware assisted GC. Combined with eg. math instructions that automatically strip and check the type tag, etc, I could see it ameliorating many of the performance concerns of using higher level lamguages.

@willghatch @cwebber Yeah, it was the memory of the discussion of hardware-assisted GC which in part prompted the question.

@_emacsomancer @cwebber
Though I'm not sure to what extent. For example the original RISC paper uses an example that an array access instruction on CISC machines was slower than using several RISC instructions. I'm not sure whether that included bounds checking.

@willghatch @cwebber I don't know if anything like github.com/froggey/Mezzano would ever become something that could be run on bare metal.

@willghatch @_emacsomancer @cwebber I am intrigued by a lisp OS but also wary of how much work would need doing to make it even remotely usable.

Yeah, I'm not honestly optimistic that it will ever happen, but I would love it.
@_emacsomancer @cwebber

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