Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 25th May 2010 21:10 UTC, submitted by asupcb
OSNews, Generic OSes EyeOS has released version 2.0 Beta. "After several months of hard work we're happy to announce the immediate availability of the official release of eyeOS 2.0 Beta. And even more: the new release doesn't come alone but with the brand new eyeOS.org website, which has not ben redesigned for the last 2 years now. eyeOS 2.0 Beta can be downloaded from the new downloads page and tested from a Beta test server in eyeOS.info."
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wannabe geek
Member since:
2006-09-27

I know, CS people always complain about the abuse of the "operating system" concept, but I think the strictest definition (as seen in Tanenbaum books, for instance), which basically restricts the operating system to the kernel, is not particularly useful these days. For instance, there are microkernels, nanokernels, exokernels, hypervisors and whatnot, which signal a clear trend towards getting as many things as possible outside of the kernel, and I've even read discussions about what a kernel really is.

But if you stop and think why you should care at all about what operating system you are using, it turns that you care because developers write applications on top of it. If your operating system has no applications, it's useless. So, let's suppose that most developers decide to just write Firefox plugins; then Firefox (particularly its API) would be, for all practical purposes, the OS. But, you may object, Firefox needs to run on top of, say, GNU/Linux. Fair enough, then the OS is Firefox+GNU/Linux, but the main layer is still Firefox, because it's where the action is, where all user applications are built. You could replace the underlying GNU/Linux with, say, FreeBSD, Haiku or your pet kernel that only supports your own hardware and can only run Firefox, and then you would get all the applications for free.

I picked the Firefox plugin example precisely because it's NOT really what is happening now.

Instead, I think a good summary is, in Gilad Bracha's words, "Javascript is the assembly language of the internet platform (and the browser is the OS)". I would add that W3C's standards like HTML, and WaSP tests like Acid3 are then the rough equivalent of POSIX.


But it's not about how you name it, be it an OS, a desktop, a platform or whatever. The main point is that the "OS battles" are about what developers will take as a basis to build ever more complex applications on top, not about the details of hardware drivers which are functionally identical from the user's point of view, and which, by their nature, can only have a limited complexity.

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