11 November 2011

Android Nails Sandboxing

So I'm learning to programme the Android platform. Despite constantly typing it as "Androind" finding programming fun again after many years of regarding it as somewhere between tiresome drudgery and only mildly interesting in sporadic parts.

It's early days, yet, but I do think that Android's architects had one flash of brilliant insight: Using Unix user and group permissions to sandbox applications. Brilliant! We've had this mechanism since forever, and let's be honest, it's never been all that useful except in the very early years of Unix when we actually did have to put multiple users on a single computer. And even then, most users didn't understand it. Questions about umask and file permissions are among the commonest of Unix confusions I've run across for the past 25-odd years.

Warping the idea to mean that every application is a unique user is a flash of inspiration.

09 November 2011


'the idea of immediate compilation and "unit tests" appeals to me only rarely, when I’m feeling my way in a totally unknown environment and need feedback about what works and what doesn’t. Otherwise, lots of time is wasted on activities that I simply never need to perform or even think about. Nothing needs to be "mocked up."'

Donald Knuth 25 April 2008

(Okay, so I'm late to the party. As always.)
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