Abstract. The evolution of inexpensive, powerful personal computers, ever-expanding storage capacity, gigabit bandwidth backbones, unique hardware devices and direct portal access has opened a new frontier in distributed computing. Several operating systems have been built in an attempt to harness the vast store of computational power locked in idle personal computers. A distributed operating system (OS) that seamlessly integrates a wide variety of devices into a computational grid is required. Computational abilities and overall performance should improve while users are guaranteed that their individual performance will not be reduced significantly and their privacy will be maintained Any distributed OS hoping to meet these demands must support the concept of a global system-wide OS, dynamic resource allocation, a file system which hides the physical location from the user, fault tolerance, protection, and scalability, while simultaneously improving productivity. We describe each of these components and then evaluate Amoeba, Mach, NOW, and WebOS against these core requirements. And finally, we review the feasibility of such an OS and offer some ideas for a distributed OS acceptable to users.
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