Great Circle Associates Firewalls
(December 1997)

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Subject: Re: NT as a central intranet firewall
From: ccurtis @ facm . fit . edu
Date: Thu, 11 Dec 1997 12:33:57 -0500 (EST)
To: Billy Verreynne <vslabs @ onwe . co . za>
Cc: Firewalls @ GreatCircle . COM
In-reply-to: <01bd0608$6c27e1e0$f3040059 @ billyv . vslabs . co . za>

On Thu, 11 Dec 1997, Billy Verreynne wrote:

> With NT 4 (or was it 3.5?), Microsoft moved a lot (all?) of the GDI
> (Grahpics Device Interface) code into ring 2 - one of reasons I think was
> that if the GDI crashes in ring 0 or ring 2 because of buggy GDI driver you
> still have no display to see what happened or to correct it. This has made
> NT's graphics display more "snappier" (or so they say).

hunmph.  interesting the most vocal NT advocates don't even know this.

NT 3.51 has video drivers in user space - NT 4.0 moved them into kernel
space.  From what I heard, the people doing NT (or, at least, the guy from
DEC who designed NT, I forget his name) fought to prevent this.  The
reason it was done was to increase video performance.  The drawback is
that if you have a buggy video driver, it will take your system down. 
Under 3.51, you will lose your graphics, but the system would continue to
run (that's the theory, at least).  And as long as the system is running,
you should be able to install a new driver and restart the UI.  Lack of
remote login hindered this severely.

> It seems to me that there must be some tradeoff between how robust you can
> make the o/s, vs. the resulting o/s performance. And then there are also

Of course there is.  DOS.  Non-DOS.  However, it is still faster for me to
log in and load X than it is for me to log into already-in-GUI NT. 

> Talking about performance - you know which multitasking o/s gave me the best
> stability and performance on my old 386 box some years ago? Linux - and that
> after I've tried both Win95 and OS/2. :-)

You know why you can't run NT 4 on a 386?


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