Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 15th May 2010 19:23 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes There's one complaint we here at OSNews get thrown in our faces quite often: what's up with the lack of, you know, operating system news on OSNews? Why so much mobile phone news? Why so much talk of H264, HTML5, and Flash? Where's the juicy news on tomorrow's operating systems? Since it's weekend, I might as well explain why things are the way they are. Hint: it has nothing to do with a lack of willingness.
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RE[3]: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by kaiwai on Sun 16th May 2010 11:11 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by mtzmtulivu"
kaiwai
Member since:
2005-07-06

I agree with you. Unix vs VMS's and DOS's ugly grandson is boring. I agree that UNIX was a cool OS back on its days, and certainly still is for servers, but it's not meant to be a desktop operating system nor is not good at it.


Yeap but it amazes me why we as a people keep gravitating back to UNIX as if it were the pinnacle of perfection when in reality it was a piece of GET (Good Enough Technology) where superior alternatives have been provided since. OpenVMS - why hasn't anyone re-implemented OpenVMS in pure C99? then there is the UNIX route, ok there are some great ideas - so why not embrace Plan9? sure the licence might not be to everyones taste but why hasn't anyone implemented Plan9 in a LGPL and run with many of these ideas that were laid out? it is as almost we have legions of programmers who go into a parking lot looking for a get away car and of all the cars they could take - they choose the lada.

UNIX is an OS family where the preferred data type in system calls is char*, which was not designed with multitasking in mind at all, whose standard GUI structure is horrible (a single app can take down everything by crashing), and for which "event-driven", "pop-up threads" and "asynchronous" are scary words which only get rarely used...


You can multitask in a way, load something and then push it to the background ;) I'd say to be more correct the method of input wasn't conducent to a single end user multitasking - X11 was a nice idea but it was never fully standardised thus you end up with the situation we have today with two desktops that are each horrible in their own unique way.

Things are no better in the Windows side. Sure, it's finally stable, but
-The kernel is horribly bloated. In fact, the whole OS suffers from an insane bloat level.
-Everything is still pixel-based
-Just every driver installation CD sees some obvious need to reinvent standard controls and break interface consistency
-There's still a lot of silly popups.
-A web browser is used to render every single system windows, in order to justify its infamous presence.
-When you want to install an app, you still have to give full admin rights to an untrusted "setup.exe" program.

And so on... In fact, Windows could be a good OS, provided that it did not bear the Win9x legacy and had a simpler kernel structure. But it does bear this legacy, and unless a complete rewrite occurs someday it will bear it forever.


What Microsoft Windows reminds me of is a person who throws things against a wall until they find something that'll stick and then run with it or they have a good idea but never following it through to the logical conclusion. Take the registry, nice idea conceptually but when implemented there were no instructions as so far as how developers should use it and for times when they shouldn't use it. The net result - a good idea that should have worked in principle ends up getting used and abused to the point that it becomes the single vector for legions of people to spew hatred against. An otherwise innocuous operating system feature at the centre of discourse surrounding "what does Windows suck".

As for the res, what Microsoft need to do is provide a single interface for accessing each device. There is should be no reason for Intel or Lenovo to bundle custom interfaces and other widgets with their computers when the bundled interface should work nicely. Same can be said for scanners - there should be no reason for HP to provide a 200MB download just so someone can scan a damn picture - the only thing provided should be 5MB worth of drivers with the functionality being provided by the operating system through a set of built in tools.

Then there is the low levels of the operating system which always seems to me like a knee jerk reaction against UNIX rather than an operating system designed a certain way because it was the superior way of doing something. Decisions being made for political rather than technical decisions, focusing on delivering features rather than asking the question how that particular addition fits into the larger system itself. For example, when ActiveX was posed, why didn't anyone think about the larger implications of such a decision? how about the giving everyone admin privileges in Windows 2000 for the sake of compatibility - why didn't they tell developers during development to test their software with the most restrictive setting so then it would work with Windows 2000 users being setup in limited user mode?

End of the day, however, Microsoft has made their decision and it has little impact upon me given that I am not exposed to using their software other than what I purchase from their MacBU. In the end Mac OS X might not be perfect but at least fundamentally the issues are simply matter of fixing up bugs rather than fundamental structural issues - see Windows and shatter attack.

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