/joh'liks/ n.,adj. 386BSD
PORTING UNIX TO THE 386: A PRACTICAL APPROACH
William & Lynne Jolitz
Filesystem as metaphor allows us to restructure the way we organize system operation - perhaps other arrangements of the filesystem can achieve more enhanced operation, possibly rethinking how to bring up the system in the future.
The Filesystem Metaphor and its Importance in Future Work
With all modern systems, we now use the filesystem metaphor underlying the basic syntax and semantics of the UNIX filesystem. As a result, the same file specification syntax known to all UNIX applications programs can be used to transparently access files embedded in archival storage systems, remotely manipulate files on remote systems of entirely heterogeneous design, store files on fail-safe redundant media, or a combination of these. We could even design a database filesystem where the filename directory path would describe a database query, with the "leaf" files themselves being the database records. The foresight of the originators of the early hierarchical filesystems (and the Multics Project) is now apparent, as these ideas come to fruition in a variety of research and commercial applications. As we continue to struggle with the complexity of our software systems, the use of powerful metaphors that unify many mechanisms within one becomes increasingly critical to the design and implementation of any complex system.