Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 29th Dec 2010 18:43 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes What were the big themes this year? Which stories on OSNews were the most popular? We dove into our database (well, Adam did), and compiled a list of 2010's ten most popular stories on OSNews. As a metric, we didn't look at silly things like hits or whatever, but at the only metric that matters on OSNews, the only metric which really indicates what our registered (and thus, loyal) readers loved to argue about this year: number of comments. Yes, that headline is intentionally confusing.
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RE[2]: Comment by Kroc
by jimmy1971 on Thu 30th Dec 2010 13:48 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Kroc"
Member since:

The browser is only the "new OS" to people who don't understand what an OS is. Perhaps it's the new "software suite", but to say it's an OS is to be lulled by marketing nonsense. (Given how people these days are so GUI-centric, this misconception is understandable.)

The concerning thing about the "browser as OS" mentality is that it plays into the whole "cloud computing" sham. (If we called "cloud computing" for what it really is, "data storage outsourcing", it wouldn't sound nearly as sexy to the easily-swayed.)

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[3]: Comment by Kroc
by sorpigal on Thu 30th Dec 2010 14:08 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Kroc"
sorpigal Member since:

If we called "cloud computing" for what it really is, "data storage outsourcing"

The term is overly broad. This is only one of its meanings. Another meaning of cloud computing is "processor outsourcing" - or you could say SMP over an internet bus, like @home but you're SETI and the service provider's computer crunches your numbers. There aren't too many general-purpose services of this kind but a lot of what we use (e.g. google) is really providing us processing power we can't/don't want to provide ourselves.

Reply Parent Score: 2

BlueofRainbow Member since:

Goog point which warrants further exploration.

The degree of intimacy one is willing to seek with the OS managing the Apps and the Device they are executed on depends on many factors:

1) First experience

For those of us whose first experience on a computer was a mainframe with I/O via a card keypunch and a line printer, the OS will likely always remain the collection of programs and utilities used to manage the hardware resources.

For those of us whose first experience has been an internet linked device, the OS will likely only be its visible expression (the Apps and how they are activated and where the content is stored).

By now, users with the later experience dominate the user base/community even though they are not (and will never be) as vocal as the first generation of computer users.

2) Willingness to explore

The "mass" is essentially a passive consumer of content (music, video) or a node in a social network. What is the proportion of creative and/or curious users enjoying the quest to understand and ultimately control the devices they use? Is-it 1 in 100? 1 in a 1,000? 1 in a 1,000,000?

For the vast majority of users, the Browser IS the OS.

Reply Parent Score: 1

jimmy1971 Member since:

Let me put it another way: if someone's programming experience is limited to contributing to web browser projects, can they rightfully call themselves an "operating systems developer"? Likewise for a 1960's mainframe user who created some punch cards?

Simply put, the interface is not the operating system itself. When you use a browser, you are transferring bits of data between two machines. The browser simply translates that data into text, pictures, audio and video.

To use the well-worn car comparison, a browser is the equivalent of a dashboard, yet nobody ever confuses a dashboard with the engine itself, nor do they ever refer to it as the "visible" engine. Is the dashboard an interface with some potential for interaction with the engine? Sure, but experience with repairing a dashboard doesn't make one an engine mechanic.

The "browser as OS" mantra is just breathless hype to me. (Not that the tech sector is subject to breathless hype...)

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by Kroc
by Lennie on Thu 30th Dec 2010 16:50 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Kroc"
Lennie Member since:

Well, there was a smiley.

But seriously, maybe the browser/webserver combination is the new SDK/API ?

Yeah I know what you mean about cloud computing, I don't buy it (much). I have no problems when I'm able to do my own 'hosting' though.

Edited 2010-12-30 16:51 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

BlueofRainbow Member since:

Having the browser/webserver as the next generation SDK/API is an interesting thought.

Going back to the early days of the transition from the command-line to the graphical user interface, much was said about the "device browser" a.k.a. "Finder" in the Mac world and "File Manager/Explorer" in the Microsoft world. Much was also said about the BeOS Tracker and how great it was to the point of being a distinctive feature of BeOS.

In essence, the browsing/exploring concept, coupled with search engines, apps servers/stores, content servers/stores, and the safe handling of active content allow web resources to be treated in similar ways as local resources. This from a very user-centric horizon.

Anyways, the cloud concept has some appeal - although in my mind, the "home hosting base" should be home, not in half-way accross the world. Doubt this would be practical with a dial-up connection ;)

Reply Parent Score: 1