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DBOS: A better way to build applications?

At the end of March 2024, Mike Stonebraker announced in a blog post the release of DBOS Cloud, “a transactional serverless computing platform, made possible by a revolutionary new operating system, DBOS, that implements OS services on top of a distributed database.” That sounds odd, to put it mildly, but it makes more sense when you read the origin story:

The idea for DBOS (DataBase oriented Operating System) originated 3 years ago with my realization that the state an operating system must maintain (files, processes, threads, messages, etc.) has increased in size by about 6 orders of magnitude since I began using Unix on a PDP-11/40 in 1973. As such, storing OS state is a database problem. Also, Linux is legacy code at the present time and is having difficulty making forward progress. For example there is no multi-node version of Linux, requiring people to run an orchestrator such as Kubernetes. When I heard a talk by Matei Zaharia in which he said Databricks could not use traditional OS scheduling technology at the scale they were running and had turned to a DBMS solution instead, it was clear that it was time to move the DBMS into the kernel and build a new operating system.”

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