Linked by Hadrien Grasland on Fri 15th Apr 2011 10:24 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes Ever since iPhoneOS (now iOS) has been released, there's an old fight going on about how multitasking should work on personal computers, and more specially what should happen to applications which are put in the background. Some advocate that they should be dipped in virtual liquid nitrogen and stop doing anything, like on iOS, which others advocate that they should continue to run in the background, like on desktop OSs. What about putting a little more flexibility in there?
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RE[2]: Comment by OSbunny
by jack_perry on Fri 15th Apr 2011 14:09 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by OSbunny"
jack_perry
Member since:
2005-07-06

"Frozen tasks are not multitasking. Multitasking is multiple running programs. If they are not getting CPU time its not multitasking.

Well, since Apple have decided to call the iOS task switcher multitasking...
"

Well, since MinTruth decided to call war peace and slavery freedom...

What iOS usually does is called task-switching, not multitasking. iOS has very limited support for multitasking, to complete a download, for example. However, if I load a computer algebra system (say) onto an iPad, I wouldn't be able to start a long computation and let it go for a half hour while in the meantime I read email or other things. Because of this, the iPad will not substitute for a PC in its current form.

I understand that Apple imposes this limitation for reasons that are important to battery life, etc., but that doesn't change the fact that it isn't multitasking. Since WebOS, Windows Mobile, and now Playbook came out with real multitasking, making Apple look kind of, you know, Stone Age, Apple's solution has been to point to a task switcher UI and say, "Look! multitasking!" No, it isn't.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[3]: Comment by OSbunny
by Neolander on Fri 15th Apr 2011 14:21 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by OSbunny"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Apple's solution has been to point to a task switcher UI and say, "Look! multitasking!" No, it isn't.

Not quite. It's a bit more interesting. As has been mentioned multiple times, iOS 4 offers a number of hacks that allow to get around the "one task at a time" limitation for very specific purposes.

As an example, Skype for iOS works using such a hack, called "voip mode".

The thing is, it's not a sustainable model, because as more people figure out what they can develop, Apple will have to add more and more hacks or to ban more and more applications. But who could explain that to them ?

Edited 2011-04-15 14:28 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by OSbunny
by bert64 on Fri 15th Apr 2011 16:38 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by OSbunny"
bert64 Member since:
2007-04-23

What would make more sense, is to put the decision in the hands of the user and not just the application developer or platform designer...

For instance, i might want a complex calculation to complete, using 100% cpu and draining my battery very quickly, but i also want to read my mail or something while its doing that. Under Apple's system i would either need to waste my time watching the progress of the cpu intensive app, or suspend that app while i read my mail.

You should have a choice between suspending an app (thus it stays running, but is frozen - effectively a SIGSTOP), killing the app or letting it run in the background (with the option to adjust its priority so its processing doesn't interfere with my foreground app). App authors and platform vendors should only get to choose a default, not force the user.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[4]: Comment by OSbunny
by jack_perry on Fri 15th Apr 2011 17:32 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by OSbunny"
jack_perry Member since:
2005-07-06

Not quite. It's a bit more interesting. As has been mentioned multiple times, iOS 4 offers a number of hacks that allow to get around the "one task at a time" limitation for very specific purposes.


I know. That's why I said usually.

The thing is, it's not a sustainable model, because as more people figure out what they can develop, Apple will have to add more and more hacks or to ban more and more applications. But who could explain that to them ?


Explain what to whom? Certainly Apple's engineers are smart enough to know this. I have no doubt that, unlike the original MacOS, iOS is capable of doing real multitasking; unfortunately, it's not allowed to do so.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by OSbunny
by polaris20 on Fri 15th Apr 2011 18:54 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by OSbunny"
polaris20 Member since:
2005-07-06

"Apple's solution has been to point to a task switcher UI and say, "Look! multitasking!" No, it isn't.

Not quite. It's a bit more interesting. As has been mentioned multiple times, iOS 4 offers a number of hacks that allow to get around the "one task at a time" limitation for very specific purposes.

As an example, Skype for iOS works using such a hack, called "voip mode".

The thing is, it's not a sustainable model, because as more people figure out what they can develop, Apple will have to add more and more hacks or to ban more and more applications. But who could explain that to them ?
"

Right, Skype works that way, as does the Cisco client for iOS. And because of that, my battery while running either one of those in the background is at 50% by noon. Right now, with otherwise same usage but no VoIP client running? 90%.

I'm not in favor of tinkering with how multitasking runs on desktop OSes, but I prefer how iOS does it at this point, for everything but VoIP. If they extended that to all apps, I'd spend most my day killing apps due to battery suckage.

I already got rid of my Android phone because its battery life was terrible. I don't want to deal with that again. It's a phone, and at the end of the day, I need to make phone calls.

It does become a touchier subject when you get to tablets though.

Reply Parent Score: 2