Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 29th Jun 2012 22:55 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes "Whenever there is a conversation about the future of computing, is discussion inevitably turns to the notion of a 'File'. After all, most tablets and phones don't show the user anything that resembles a file, only Apps that contain their own content, tucked away inside their own opaque storage structure. This is wrong. Files are abstraction layers around content that are necessary for interoperability. Without the notion of a File or other similar shared content abstraction, the ability to use different applications with the same information grinds to a halt, which hampers innovation and user experience." Aside from the fact that a file manager for Android is just a click away, and aside from the fact that Android's share menu addresses many of these concerns, his point still stands: files are not an outdated, archaic concept. One of my biggest gripes with iOS is just how user-hostile the operating system it when it comes to getting stuff - whatever stuff - to and from the device.
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Tagged data chunks on a storage device.
by poladark on Sat 30th Jun 2012 08:28 UTC
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I think a problem here is that "files" is just one model of representing data on a storage device. There's nothing inherently magic about a hierarchical database of storage indexes that makes them more "true" than any other form of representation. In fact, i think the rigid adherence to the "file" concept is holding everyone back, casual and seasoned users alike.

One example already mentioned here is organizing photographs. Things you care about is when the picture was taken, where it was taken and what and who was in it. It's not really relevant what tree structure it is in.

Another example is versioning of files, similar to how it works in OpenVMS. It's something that's tremendously useful when you're editing code and it's trivial to implement (just save a new file automatically with a new version number). However, since we're so stuck on the UNIX/Windows concept of a simple hierarchical file system, there's no room for extending the current paradigm.

Rather than building layers of obfuscation on top of a hierarchical file system a file system should have a more flexible indexing system supporting tags to allow you to represent your data in whatever format is most well-suited to the work you have ahead of you. This should be done without adding another layer of complexity (no matter how popular it is to add complexity to avoid fixing the fundamental problems).

The sooner we realize that we have a problem and that it needs to be addressed - the better.

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