This series explores the sort of technologies we could use if we were to build a new platform today. In the first part I described a system with a multi-core multi-threaded CPU, FPGA and Cell processors. In this second part we start looking at the Operating System.
This article describes some of my annoyances in computing. If you had any problems reading this article, then skip this one. It will only be a waste of your time. There are a lot of annoying things in the wonderful world of computing. Of course, nothing is perfect, but that doesn't mean we are not allowed to complain and scream and throw our keyboards at our monitors when yet another irritation pops up.
"Poor usability is a huge barrier to wider open source adoption. Our backends have matured and we consistently achieve technical excellence. Usability is the one area we have not yet mastered. For some reason, we treat it as a mystery instead of looking at it as a problem we can solve the same way we solve all other technical problems." Read the editorial at NewsForge.
I recently blogged on a disconcerting trend that I see at USENIX, and for OS research more generally.
Given the number of reviews floating around detailing people's first experiences with every Linux distro under the sun, I thought it might be entertaining to take a light-hearted look at my early experiences with my first Mac.
"Linux represents a threat and an opportunity for every software and hardware company. Apple is once again at the crossroads. While it will take a couple of years before we know whether the company will make the right choice, one thing is clear: Apple's path is about to become vastly more interesting" says Rob Enderle for TechNewsWorld.
Open source licensing has been known to be controversial here at OSNews. Simplistic characterizations (Communism, Virus, Utopia) abound which do nothing to argue the philosophy on its merits. A medical researcher notes that there is a parallel with open source development in one of our most important (and most capitalistic) industries: pharmaceutical research.
To draw a parallel between Netscape & Google in their fight against Microsoft, it is necessary to examine the various similarities between the two situations and see if the tactics that worked then will work now.
It is when I read articles like this that I have "my blood all going up to my head" (that's a Greek saying for people that get angry). So apparently, Apple is trying to patent "transparent windows that do a certain action after fading away". While I don't personally find this "innovation/invention" patentable, it's fine with me: Apple is doing the best it can to secure its business (maybe I would do the same if I had shareholders on my back).
In a local office somewhere near you, someone wants to send someone else a electronic document. Once there was a fairly broad agreement about the way such documents were prepared and delivered, before the advent of the computers and the Internet.
While most people bicker about which OS is best, the truth is much vaguer: what computer is sitting on your desk has more to do with your comfort level than intellectual choice.
The software industry is very fearful of open source software, but this fear is irrational. The software industry can quite easily combat OSS as similar challenges have been met successfully in other industries. Part II of "Why Good Ideas Fail" discusses the future evolution of the software industry, and the implications of this evolution for innovative ideas.
Conscious, Emotional machines, will we ever see them? How far can technology go and can technology be applied to us? In this final part I wonder into the realm of Science Fiction. Then, to conclude the series I come back down to Earth to speculate on the features we'll see in any radical new platform that appears. Update: Never let it be said I ignore my errors, in the interests of clarity and with apologies to Extreme Programmers I have revised Part 1.
If it's AI and robots you wanted from this series then this one is for you. Artificial Intelligence exists today, when this and other technologies merge the result will be more like Science Fiction than any PC. The technology will be fantastic, the possibilities endless. Get it wrong, the consequences dire.
When a good idea fails the loss is not just that idea, the failure scares away potential investors from anything resembling that idea; consequently, innovation suffers and everyone pays the price. The software industry is especially good at killing good ideas, and Usman Latif's article "Why Good Ideas Fail" discusses the reasons behind this terrible record.
Today's computers are the result of many decades of evolution of techniques and technologies. From this process new techniques and technologies have sprung forth and some of these are really just starting on their evolutionary journey, in time they will change the face of computing but there's a road bump to get over first.
No, I'm not going all "New Age" on you, this time I'm looking at how computers are going to get a 3rd dimension and how this will change the way we interact with them. The previous parts of this series have been based on extrapolations or previous history. This time I'm looking further forward, when technologies currently in long term development become available and open up a whole new realm of possibilities.
At the end of Part 2 (Part 1 is here) I asserted that a new force would enter the world of computing completely changing the landscape. I stated that Microsoft will lose this battle. I lied, there is more than one force, but one way or another there will be one result.
In Part 1 I discussed how the software development world is about to be turned on it's head. Now in Part 2 I look at how the hardware world may be about to undergo even bigger changes and why it wont be a hardware manufacturer leading the way.
The OSNews is accompanied by the by-line "Exploring the Future of Computing". In this series I've decided to do exactly that, to go beyond the daily stream of the latest updates and rumours and cast my eyes at the future. What will happen to Software, Hardware, the Companies and Technologies involved and how these are developed. I for one think there will be big changes to come, some for the better, some for the worse.