Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 15th May 2010 19:23 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes There's one complaint we here at OSNews get thrown in our faces quite often: what's up with the lack of, you know, operating system news on OSNews? Why so much mobile phone news? Why so much talk of H264, HTML5, and Flash? Where's the juicy news on tomorrow's operating systems? Since it's weekend, I might as well explain why things are the way they are. Hint: it has nothing to do with a lack of willingness.
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Comment by mtzmtulivu
by mtzmtulivu on Sat 15th May 2010 19:50 UTC
mtzmtulivu
Member since:
2006-11-14

I was in college a few years ago and a professor once asked how many students were taking a compiler class and no hand was raised. He then went on commenting about the removal of compiler class in core CS curriculum and how the operating system class was on its way out too.

A few months later, i went to a university nearby and i looked at their CS curriculum and operating system was not a required class!!! ..students are graduating with CS degrees without knowing anything about the fundamentals of operating systems and computer languages.

There is no point in teaching OS in undergrad when preferred languages are OS agnostic like java and C# ..only Phd students these days have the time and resources to look into complicated file systems or internals of the modern OS.

The operating system space is a matured space and the world seem to be settling in to the three systems(Macwinilux), nothing new is coming on this front.

Desktop environments have also hit a wall with no where else to go unless they come up with a 3D desktop. The only new addition in recent years is glassy interfaces and wobby windows

What is the future of the general purpose OS?

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by puelocesar on Sat 15th May 2010 23:25 in reply to "Comment by mtzmtulivu"
puelocesar Member since:
2008-10-30

Compilers as optional discipline? WTF??? A CS graduation without compilers is not a CS graduation.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by kaiwai on Sun 16th May 2010 04:45 in reply to "Comment by mtzmtulivu"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

The operating system space is a matured space and the world seem to be settling in to the three systems(Macwinilux), nothing new is coming on this front.


I'd argue it is Macwinnix because although Linux is the most visible *NIX out there, it would also be correct to note that pretty much every 'new' operating system today is a variation of *NIX rather than a totally new idea form the ground up or at least a clone of a not very well known operating system. For some reason, something that confuses me, you never see a group stating the intention on creating a desktop operating system and have it based upon OpenVMS for some reason.

What one ends up having is a variation of *NIX's out there versus Windows rather than a collection of distinctively different operating systems. It is kind of depressing, therefore, that there is this push to keep re-implementing *NIX when there are possibly better operating systems to clone such as Plan9, OpenVMS or maybe a hybrid operating system that takes the best from each operating system which is what appears that DragonFlyBSD has done ;)

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by Neolander on Sun 16th May 2010 08:48 in reply to "RE: Comment by mtzmtulivu"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

/begin rant

I'd argue it is Macwinnix because although Linux is the most visible *NIX out there, it would also be correct to note that pretty much every 'new' operating system today is a variation of *NIX rather than a totally new idea form the ground up or at least a clone of a not very well known operating system.

I agree with you. Unix vs VMS's and DOS's ugly grandson is boring. I agree that UNIX was a cool OS back on its days, and certainly still is for servers, but it's not meant to be a desktop operating system nor is not good at it.

UNIX is an OS family where the preferred data type in system calls is char*, which was not designed with multitasking in mind at all, whose standard GUI structure is horrible (a single app can take down everything by crashing), and for which "event-driven", "pop-up threads" and "asynchronous" are scary words which only get rarely used...

Things are no better in the Windows side. Sure, it's finally stable, but
-The kernel is horribly bloated. In fact, the whole OS suffers from an insane bloat level.
-Everything is still pixel-based
-Just every driver installation CD sees some obvious need to reinvent standard controls and break interface consistency
-There's still a lot of silly popups.
-A web browser is used to render every single system windows, in order to justify its infamous presence.
-When you want to install an app, you still have to give full admin rights to an untrusted "setup.exe" program.

And so on... In fact, Windows could be a good OS, provided that it did not bear the Win9x legacy and had a simpler kernel structure. But it does bear this legacy, and unless a complete rewrite occurs someday it will bear it forever.

I know, I know, desktop is not everything. But that's because things are pretty much mature on the server side. Sometimes, we get a new filesystem, yeah. A 10% performance increase. Or a compatibility layer which allows running apps from os Y on top of os Z with "almost no performance loss". And then life goes on. Revolutionary changes in the server area are planned with the advent of distributed operating systems which just about every computer science lab has a team working on. To the contrary, the desktop is still very immature, but does not get attention anymore.

That's why I'm working on a desktop operating system project. I try to prove that some real evolutions are still possible in that area. But it won't be ready tomorrow. And it could never be ready at all, even though articles like this are encouraging me to go further and prove that the desktop still has something to say.

The fact is, at the moment, I've got nothing that's worth showing. Only some written doc (targeted user experience and kernel design) and a code which turns multiboot data into something useful and arch-independent, and which *almost* turns long mode on. Until I get a fully working ┬Ákernel, there's nothing interesting here. And until I get some usable GUI running on top of it, there's nothing worth showing here at OSnews.

It'll take a year or two, at least, before I get a stable GUI, if I take the time to write clean code (which I want to do). Hence, at the moment, I can only agree with this article : it's sad that OS development is so out of fashion, especially in the desktop area, and that people now learn C# and Java instead of C++ and C. But well... If you want this to change, change it yourself ;)

/end rant

Edited 2010-05-16 09:03 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by shotsman on Sun 16th May 2010 17:13 in reply to "Comment by mtzmtulivu"
shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

I couldn't agree with you more on this.

I met with a group of Final Year CS students a few months ago. I was interested in the sort of things they were studying.
In return, I told them about my time as an Undergrad between 1972-75. Their mouths collectively dropped open when I told them about the paper I wrote on Operating System Schedulers and Work Queues. And to cap it all, they simply couldn't believe that I was an Engineering student. I was studying Control Eng and in particular Computer Control of systems hence my interest in how the OS worked and things like interrupt latency might affect real time operations.
One took me aside afterwards and said that the work I did would now be considered more of a PHD thing.
The one thing I got from my time with the students was their almost total lack of wanting to find out how/why things worked the way they did.
I suppose this is all down to the Computer market maturing into more of a commodity appliance that it was then.
Sigh.
I'll be glad to retire in 3 years and get on with restoring a few old Motorcycles.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by voidlogic on Sun 16th May 2010 18:45 in reply to "Comment by mtzmtulivu"
voidlogic Member since:
2005-09-03

As a counter example, the school where I received by undgrad degree from a couple of years ago has both operating systems and compilers as required courses. In fact, compilers is the make-break C-S capstone class. There is a also a programming language concepts class which teaches all of the common lang. paradigms, with the primary languages used in other courses being C and Java.

In the region I live this is very much the standard, so becareful generalizing the decline of one C-S program you are familiar with to all. I think you are correct in implying it is a dangerous trend.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by ricegf on Mon 17th May 2010 11:12 in reply to "RE: Comment by mtzmtulivu"
ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

Which school? Sounds like their professorial staff is on the ball.

Reply Parent Score: 1