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?
Thread beginning with comment 470202
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE[3]: Comment by OSbunny
by Neolander on Fri 15th Apr 2011 14:21 UTC 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[5]: Comment by OSbunny
by Neolander on Fri 15th Apr 2011 17:13 in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by OSbunny"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Hum... I considered something like my phones where you have one hardware button for killing apps and another hardware button for leaving it in the background, but indeed this should be emulated in software when it's not available.

You're also right that the ability to override default app settings should be available for power users, at least on larger form factors. Something like unices' nice or windows' file properties...

Edited 2011-04-15 17:19 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

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[5]: Comment by OSbunny
by Neolander on Fri 15th Apr 2011 19:32 in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by OSbunny"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

"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.

Of course ;) No phone OS could exist without multitasking, as you need to be able to receive network events while the user is fooling around with the device anyway.

What I consider as non-sustainable is their way of saying "we support multitasking, but only through hacks for x and y" and gradually add other use cases to that list as needed. Increasing OS complexity this way is rarely a good idea.

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

RE[5]: Comment by OSbunny
by Neolander on Fri 15th Apr 2011 19:37 in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by OSbunny"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Of course they eat lots of power ! They need a network connection to be permanently on in order to work, how could it work another way ? Those applications simply cannot work without true multitasking, so it's unfair to blame multitasking here, it's as if you were comparing battery life when making phone calls with standby battery time and concluded that phone calls' power consumption sucks, it's just not right.

That being says, your "keep closing apps" nightmare does show that the way many phones manage apps is broken. The "let's put everything in the background as a default setting" philosophy is just wrong, because it encourages wasting resources. If you don't need an app, you should close it. If closing apps is not intuitive, it's a design failure. Switching between opened tasks should be the exception, not the default.

Edited 2011-04-15 19:42 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1