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 vodoomoth on Sun 16th May 2010 14:55 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by mtzmtulivu"
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That's why I'm working on a desktop operating system project. I try to prove that some real evolutions are still possible in that area. But it won't be ready tomorrow. And it could never be ready at all, even though articles like this are encouraging me to go further and prove that the desktop still has something to say.

The fact is, at the moment, I've got nothing that's worth showing. Only some written doc (targeted user experience and kernel design) and a code which turns multiboot data into something useful and arch-independent, and which *almost* turns long mode on. Until I get a fully working µkernel, there's nothing interesting here. And until I get some usable GUI running on top of it, there's nothing worth showing here at OSnews.

It'll take a year or two, at least, before I get a stable GUI, if I take the time to write clean code (which I want to do).

@Neolander: I am more than willing to contribute to your project. Do you have a thread on some forum or a Sourceforge page started ?

Unless such a thing exists and I'm not aware of it, I think OSNews should have a forum were topics could be forked from the news. It's quite frustrating (I repeat, "unless it already exists") that comments cannot be posted on articles that are more than five days old. I'm referring specifically to the article where there was a link to Kroc's vision of what the dream OS would be (user and task-centric, no branding, no bloated apps like iTunes; that's IIRC). Back to the topic at hand, the reasons why we don't see the silhouette of a real "revolution" necessarily comprise these two:

1- some paradigms have emerged as the best. Specifically thinking of preemptive CPU time-sharing techniques. Although I recall (probably 4 months max) reading an article about a member of Microsoft's OS core team pointing out the need to rethink how the processor is used (wrt system space and user space) due to old designs applying to more recent multiple-core architectures. I think OS originality comes from design decisions or orientations; the rest is just accessory. None of this exists today: the file system explorers on Windows and Ubuntu look like twins of Finder, with more options, true, but still clones.

2- As I've pointed out in another article about Ubuntu 10.04, all OSes I've tried (all Windows except 7, MacOS 10.5 and 10.6, Linux - at various times in the past 13 years but it's never looked mature enough for my taste, except Kubuntu 10.04) suck and deserve a good "zéro pointé" (meaning zero plus half of zero) spoken out loud and clear for all that's related to speed.

In an OS, speed and user-experience (not the geek, the lay user, like any grandmother) should be the only design concerns. Any current OS on a current machine should ideally start in less than 15 seconds. Applications should launch and be usable in 2 seconds. Just as snappy as uTorrent on Windows or the new Opera 10.53 on MacOSX when loading a page on a good broadband connection. Anything longer than that on today's computers is either badly crafted or inherently flawed design-related (is that correct English ?).

Another thing to avoid as much as possible: drivers... The situation with Windows is just insane and ludicrous: plugging the same USB device in four distinct ports installs the device driver 4 times!

My advice for your project: before heading into code, choose your design goals clearly; in all cases strive to keep things: 1- minimal, 2- extensible and 3- easily configurable by average Joe. There's no point in having 60+ processes (current Vista) when the system has started after 3 minutes+ of painful loading and the user hasn't launched a single program yet. I understand having to wait longer when more options are on, I don't understand having to wait that long when I just want to retrieve some info from some text file or browse the web.

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