posted by Michael Reed on Thu 12th Oct 2006 18:00 UTC

"My Dream OS, 5/5"

The GUI

The GUI would be based around X11 and a standard Window manager.

Ideally, MikeOS would have its own, custom made GUI system; however, the independent re-creation of a GUI system would be too draining on time and money resources. The other problem that the creation of a custom GUI subsystem creates is that it greatly complicates the porting of existing software.

There exist some, mostly experimental projects which attempt to create a replacement of X-Windows for Unix-like operating systems. However what none of them can offer is a the guarantee of continued maintenance and improvement that X11 benefits from. This way, every time X gets an improvement, MikeOS gets that improvement.

In keeping with the slick, custom nature of the OS it would use XFCE as its window manager. XFCE offers a good balance between looks, speed and features.

Some people might conjecture at this point that this system would face huge compatibility problems when porting standard applications. However, it's worth pointing out that the X11 server running on OS/2 has been able to run applications such as The Gimp and the Enlightenment window manager for years, even though it is not very Unix-like in terms of its system file layout.

On the other hand, I doubt that MikeOS would offer ``./configure - make - make install'' compatibility, right out of the box. As stated above, programmers would port the applications and users would install the packages.

The Base Install

This is another key feature of the OS. The base install is just that - a base system. It doesn't include three word processors as some Linux installs do. Basic tools such as the text editor and perhaps the web browser would be allowable. The target user of MikeOS is a geek who might happen not to be a Unix God; he or she knows what an application is and has experience of installing software on other operating systems. When I make a fresh installation of an operating system, after establishing the network connection, my first move is to gather together all of the tools and applications I want. In the case of a fresh Linux install, I'm just as likely to start by uninstalling some of the junk which was installed by default. In the case of my current Ubuntu setup, there must be a significant number of icons in the application selector which I have never even clicked on.

This highlights an area of difference between the philosophy of MikeOS and that of an OS such as Ubuntu Linux. The people behind Ubuntu have tried to standardise the entire OS experience, with a standard choice of WM, email program, web browser etc. You can add your own choices of application but it is clear that they expect most of their users to stick with Evolution as their Email Client.

The emphasis of MikeOS would be on standardising the Base Operating System. The Base Install would be free of applications. The difference is that the Base Install could be considered more restrictive than a typical Linux install such as Ubuntu. There wouldn't be any support for moving over to KDE as your desktop and If you simply can't do your work with Bash as your CLI shell, Linux might be a better OS for you. However, the OS would be less prescriptive in terms of the apps that you run.

Conclusion

So, there you have it - Mike's Dream OS. It's slick, fast and oriented around the sort of things that I like to do (like Helena Bonham Carter). I suspect there are other people who aren't entirely happy with the way that Linux works. This is a class of user - the fiddler-geek - who understands tech, loves the world of FOSS but just isn't prepared to do what it takes to become a Linux God.

About The Author:
Michael Reed is a super computer geek of the highest order. Come and find out more about his never to be finished writing and music projects on his website.


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Table of contents
  1. "My Dream OS, 1/5"
  2. "My Dream OS, 2/5"
  3. "My Dream OS, 3/5"
  4. "My Dream OS, 4/5"
  5. "My Dream OS, 5/5"
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