Linked by David Adams on Tue 9th Dec 2008 16:46 UTC, submitted by weildish
OSNews, Generic OSes Sometimes it seems that every new OS that comes out these days is ultimately and altogether quite similar. "It's all been done before," we sigh as new system after system is released with only eye-candy the apparent difference for most users. This new OS, named "g-speak" by its creators, will give one a run for his money. Using special gloves, a user of the system gestures his way about the OS on several wall-sized displays that interact with one another. The makers of g-speak call it "the first major step in [a] computer interface since 1984." Perhaps they are right. See the neat video here. You can even go so far as to dust off your Tom Cruise Minority Report action figure to better savor the future with.
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RE: New UI not OS
by Morgan on Tue 9th Dec 2008 18:02 UTC in reply to "New UI not OS"
Morgan
Member since:
2005-06-29

Exactly. When I read "New OS Designed With 21st Century In Mind" I expect something with a radically different approach to all aspects of computing, not just a nice new interface for the same old box.

Where is my new object oriented, document centric file system? Where is my document centric (as opposed to application centric) workflow? Where is my driverless hardware?

I personally think Apple is way ahead of the competition when it comes to treating an operating system as a tool that stays out of your way and is simple and beautiful besides. The other UNIX-like operating systems are coming along well, but they are stuck in the rut of keeping up with Windows and Office compatibility instead of breaking out in a new direction. We need someone out there in OSS land to show Microsoft how to make an OS that cares more about what the user wants to do and less about what's beneath the hood.

Here's an example using existing ideas: Your machine has two file systems in use, each on a separate physical SSD. The first is low-level OS storage, using a traditional journaling file system, and hidden completely from the user. The second is an object oriented document centric file system with generous use of metadata. Instead of opening an application to then open a file to edit, you click, tap or otherwise select the file you wish to use. When you do this, various actions possible with this file fan out around the icon allowing you to do whichever action you wish. You can even queue several actions in a sequence to create a workflow for that file.

So what constitutes a file? Anything tangible in the storage; bring up a calendar widget and select a day. That day becomes a file that can then be manipulated in any way you desire; it can be placed inside of other files as well, since every file can act as a container for other files. This is what I imagine when I hear the term "3D computing"; not the visual interface but the metaphoric placement of file objects.

Ok, so Apple has done a lot of what I wrote above. OS X is a great first step towards this radically different way of managing your digital life, but the possibilities are endless once we break out of the tired old ways of doing things we struggle with today.

Reply Parent Score: 8

RE[2]: New UI not OS
by rajj on Tue 9th Dec 2008 20:50 in reply to "RE: New UI not OS"
rajj Member since:
2005-07-06

What exactly is an object oriented file system supposed to be? Where you have abstracted containers with common methods to act upon them-- sort of like... files?

As far as their contents being application or document centric, that's really up to the applications and libraries used to access it. The file system proper doesn't --and shouldn't-- really come into play.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: New UI not OS
by Morgan on Tue 9th Dec 2008 21:16 in reply to "RE[2]: New UI not OS"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

More information about OO file system concepts:

http://www.usenix.org/publications/library/proceedings/coots97/full...

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: New UI not OS
by Morgan on Tue 9th Dec 2008 21:26 in reply to "RE[2]: New UI not OS"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

As far as their contents being application or document centric, that's really up to the applications and libraries used to access it. The file system proper doesn't --and shouldn't-- really come into play.


This statement shows you don't understand the difference at all. The current way of doing things is that the application decides what to do with the file. Conversely, I think the user should decide what to do with the file, and the OS should open the correct application based on the user's decision. This is facilitated through the file system; in my example above, when a user selects a file he is presented with the possible tasks for that file based on the file system's understanding of how the file can be manipulated.

An example: Do you want to print a rich text document? Instead of opening TextEdit or Word, then opening the file, then choosing Print from the menu, you should be able to just click once on the file, then select Print from the actions available. You've just saved yourself and your computer a great deal of time and processing cycles.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: New UI not OS
by vaughancoveny on Wed 10th Dec 2008 10:58 in reply to "RE: New UI not OS"
vaughancoveny Member since:
2007-12-26

What g-speak seem to have achieved is that a control, say local only ActiveX, can take over your machines without compromising security and getting other jobs done. g-speak and Microsoft ought to rework the Plan 9 Operating System http://plan9.bell-labs.com/plan9dist/ . It was not designed with a OOPL so doesn't suffer security risks with Objects, although it works in an OO way. Everything is a file in Plan 9. Bell Labs own only part of it, it was thought as a possible successor to UNIX, but does not replace UNIX.

Reply Parent Score: 0