What is Systems Research these days?
This still looks
Web caches, web servers, file systems, network packet delays,
all that stuff. Performance, peripherals, and applications, but
not kernels or even user-level applications.
Mostly, though, it's just a lot of measurement; a
misinterpretation and misapplication of the scientific method.
Too much phenomenology: invention has been replaced by
observation. Today we see papers comparing interrupt latency
on Linux vs. Windows. They may be interesting, they may
even be relevant, but they aren't research.
In a misguided attempt to seem scientific, there's too much
measurement: performance minutiae and bad charts.
By contrast, a new language or OS can make the machine feel
different, give excitement, novelty. But today that's done by a
cool web site or a higher CPU clock rate or some cute little
device that should be a computer but isn't.
The art is gone.
But art is not science, and that's part of the point. Systems
research cannot be just science; there must be engineering,
design, and art.