Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 22nd Jan 2010 17:06 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes Taking a break from reporting on the latest netbook or phone rumours, Engadget posted an article yesterday about several elements in desktop operating systems writer Paul Miller finds outdated. While there's some interesting stuff in there, there's also a lot to discuss.
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darknexus
Member since:
2008-07-15

2. Lack of portability. Why the hell are developers still using the Windows registry? What purpose does that serve, exactly? Why not just have the config files in the program directory, so I can copy it to a USB stick and use it on whatever computer I happen to be working on?


As for the registry, I agree it has to go. Config files do nicely, just have a look at OS X to see a very well organized system of config files (Plists). Much cleaner than the registry. As for why they aren't in the program directory however, that one is easy to answer. Windows, just like most other desktop oses today, is multi-user. It therefore needs to put configuration files for each user separately, and the obvious place to do this is in the user's data folder. I think, perhaps, the best of both worlds could be achieved whereby the app looks in the user data folder first and, if nothing is found there, loads the same config files from its own directory instead. That'd mean you could easily copy the default configuration of your choice to the app and take it wherever you go, and yet it would still work properly in a multi-user environment. *NIX systems do something like this, except global config files are loaded from /etc when the user-specific conf files aren't found. Loading them from /etc is no good for USB portability, but the idea is essentially the same.

Reply Parent Score: 2

boldingd Member since:
2009-02-19

I do agree with SoulBender's last point: I find it somewhat amusing that the OP's last two points -- or, rather, the optimal solution to those problems -- are basically how unix-like OS's work now. For the last one, when I read that, I said to myself, "congratulations, you just invented apt." (Well, part of it's function, anyway.)

Edited 2010-01-22 20:28 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

I do agree with SoulBender's last point: I find it somewhat amusing that the OP's last two points -- or, rather, the optimal solution to those problems -- are basically how unix-like OS's work now. For the last one, when I read that, I said to myself, "congratulations, you just invented apt." (Well, part of it's function, anyway.)


I'm talking about something a little different than apt. I don't really have time to get into it, but my idea is to have sort of a 'software and update center' that doesn't require humans to package apps, and could alert you when updates are available (and even push them to you in real-time if you want), configurable on a per-application basis. Think of it as RSS for applications ;)

There are some apps I'd like to have updated the same day that a new version is released, some apps I NEVER want to update, and some apps to update immediately, but only if there's a security-related issue. And still there are others that I want to be able to put on a list that will only update when I go check. I don't want to be stuck with a system where I'm waiting for some dude to update my app on the repository whenever he gets around to it. And I sure as hell don't want some process updating every app on my system in one go.

Reply Parent Score: 3

sj87 Member since:
2007-12-16

Windows, just like most other desktop oses today, is multi-user. It therefore needs to put configuration files for each user separately, and the obvious place to do this is in the user's data folder. I think, perhaps, the best of both worlds could be achieved whereby the app looks in the user data folder first and, if nothing is found there, loads the same config files from its own directory instead.


Windows has had an "All users" directory for this sorts of things since XP. It's pretty much used only with some desktop and "start menu" icons then, dunno how Vista and Seven are different.

Reply Parent Score: 1

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

All users wouldn't be appropriate in the situation I'm thinking of, it would specifically need to be the program's directory if you wish to move it from computer to computer which was the point. Of course, none of the Windows software vendors nor Microsoft themselves want this to happen.

Reply Parent Score: 2

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Windows has had an "All users" directory for this sorts of things since XP. It's pretty much used only with some desktop and "start menu" icons then, dunno how Vista and Seven are different.


Problem is, you can't take a program with all of its settings and throw it on a USB stick, if the settings themselves are in a separate location as the program itself.

A better way would be to let the USER decide where the config files go. In regard to multiple users, all you have to do is, if the settings are stored in the program's own directory, just have a 'config' directory with a separate folder for each user's profile.

Reply Parent Score: 2