Linked by Neeraj Singh on Mon 23rd Apr 2007 19:02 UTC
Windows If you shout something loud enough and many people are saying it, does it become true? Some groups of people (include tech journalists and Linux advocates, such as Steven J. Vaughn-Nichols) have a psychological need to find Vista lacking. Mr. V-N has predicted that Vista will have all manner of problems, so his clear interest is to point out everything that is wrong with the OS. Who cares if he has to even make some stuff up?
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The Linux/UNIX method of simplicity is great for certain tasks, like high-performance-computing and portable servers... But when it comes to making applications that have to have many interactions with the underlying system or which have to get a naturally complex task done, I think it's better to put some intelligence into the OS.

What I mean by simplicity is that a complex system is made up of simple and often interchangeable components that interface in a well-defined manner. Each component can be developed in loose coordination with its neighbors and completely ignorant of other components in the system.

The complexity isn't in the components themselves so much as the way they fit together. This is why UNIX and free software has excelled in the server space, where systems are often logically structured as a stack of components. The choice of where to draw the lines and how the components communicate isn't really that difficult in a stack.

But a desktop is more like a tree or even a more general form of graph. Some components form a sort of stack, others connect to a bus, some synchronize, others stream, and many participate in a combination of these relationships. Where to draw the lines and how to connect the dots is a harder problem, and as we watch the free software desktop develop mature technologies like DBUS and KParts, we see more powerful ways of connecting the components of the desktop becoming central pillars of the platform.

But as the componentized system that evolved in a distributed development environment becomes more powerful, or intelligent as you say, the complexity of each component stays in check, and the complexity of their relationships scales reasonably. The monolith forged in the halls of the Redmond campus, on the other hand, becomes harder and harder to maintain as new features creep in.

I shied away from your NFS comment before, but I'll agree with you that NFSv3 had its shortcomings and that NFSv4 is arguably even worse overall. Of course, Linux and other UNIX-like systems have SMB and CIFS support, but that doesn't mean that this is the best possible solution. There are other DFSs like Cargenie Mellon's AFS and Coda, IBM's GSA, and Red Hat's GFS, among many others. Then there's the trend of tunneling anything and everything through SSH to arrive at some interesting solutions like sshfs.

I have no problem with a registry in theory, such as the gconf registry in GNOME. But the Windows registry was subverted by malware authors early on, and Microsoft has seemed powerless to do anything about it. Maybe you could better explain how this happened, if you agree that the registry has become a weakness for Windows, that is.

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