Linked by Eugenia Loli on Wed 18th Sep 2002 02:30 UTC
Oracle and SUN These days, the big players in the Linux "purely-desktop market" are Lycoris, Lindows, ELX and the much awaited Xandros Desktop 1.0. OSNews got their hands to the latest version of Xandros (beta3b) and we are giving it a whirl. Read more for information and screenshots.
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A Unix-less Linux
by Warren Downs on Wed 18th Sep 2002 19:25 UTC

I don't know how far Xandros goes in this direction, but I believe there is a place for Unix-less Linux distributions. What I mean by this is, getting rid of the legacy or server-centric Unix ways of doing things, and designing for a single-user desktop.

These kinds of changes wouldn't require major modifications to the Linux kernel. Rather, these changes would involve things much like those that MacOS X does to BSD unix. The average user shouldn't need to know about the various /bin, /usr/bin, /lib, /usr/lib, /var, /opt, /tmp, /usr/share/*, /etc and relations. Instead, the directory tree should be simplified (NOT NECESSARILY according to the LSB).

In order to maintain binary compatibility, a system library and/or kernel shim could redirect applications that try to read/write /etc, or load /bin/sh, etc., to the actual location of the applications. Applications would be bundled much like MacOS X, with shared libraries included and automatically managed by the OS installation process which would occur automatically when the package was dropped into place by the user.

I envision a complete redesign of the internals of the system, getting rid of the SysV init system scripts and replacing them with one of the alternatives which have automatic dependency management for daemons.

I would like to see compatibility for Win32 be standard, perhaps using a merge of WineX and CodeWeaver's WINE improvements. This wouldn't be "free", but a commercial merge of both proprietary sets of enhancements, to provide something which can run both Office and DirectX games well. Alternately, one could use a database of applications and a system which would choose which one to use at runtime (preferably with a common directory tree, to avoid user confusion).

DOS compatibility (using DosEMU) should be merged in, so users can seamlessly run Win32, DOS, and Linux binaries without blinking.

Of course, I'm dreaming, as I doubt anyone will produce such a system. For one thing, too many people have religious preferences which won't let them consider compromise, and this would certainly involve a lot of compromises. But, it would be a nice technical solution to the age-old compatibility problem.