Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Where Are Operating Systems Headed?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the oses-in-spaaaace dept.

Operating Systems 278

An anonymous reader writes "Dr. Dobb's Michael Swaine breaks down the question of where operating systems are headed. Among his teasers: Is Vista the last version of desktop Windows? (Counterintuitively, he says no.); Did Linux miss its window on the desktop? (Maybe.) And, most interestingly, are OSes at this point no longer necessary? He calls out the Symbian smartphone OS as something to keep an eye on, and reassures us that Hollywood-style OSes are not in our short-term future. Where do you weigh in on the future of operating systems? In ten years will we all be running applications via the internet?"

cancel ×

278 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

who fucking cares ? (-1, Troll)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949680)

are you telling us you'd like to give head to steve jobs ?
just install vista and stfu !
viva el goatse OS [goatse.ch] !

Article author is displaying some confusion (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949696)

I think the author of the article is displaying a great deal of confusion over Operating Systems vs. Programming Platforms. Which is understandable. We've had the concept of "everything included on the CD is part of the operating system" idea drilled into our heads for the last decade or so. There has been little attempt to recognize how distinct different portions of today's "operating systems" actually are.

Consider for a moment: What is Debian on FreeBSD? [debian.org] Is it a FreeBSD operating system or a Linux operating system? Or is it a Frankenstein kitbash of both? The answer is, neither answer is correct. It is the FreeBSD kernel combined with the GNU Platform.

Separating the task of operating the hardware (traditionally the job of the kernel) from the higher level "platform" has a variety of implications. The most important implication is that the software is as portable as the platform is. It doesn't matter if the underlying kernel is FreeBSD, Linux, or Windows NT. If you software targets the GNU platform, it is portable across all those systems. At least at a source level, though binary compatibility is ideal.

Thus when programmers make the comment that Java "is like an Operating System", what they mean is that the Java Platform is sufficient to replace the platform that shipped with your operating system. While the focus is currently on integrating the disparate platforms, what you're starting to see is that the OS is taking a back seat to the platform. Programmers want portability across devices, and Information Technology wants more flexible deployment solutions. Combined, these two needs add up to a drive for further portability of platforms with an eye toward using the right kernel for the right deployment solution.

That is where "Operating Systems" are headed. Not the monoliths of yesteryear, but the flexibility to provide familiar functionality where you need it and when you need it.

My definition of an OS (4, Interesting)

tchuladdiass (174342) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949828)

The definition of an operating system I like to use is:
An OS is a collection of code that is used by software to manage access to system hardware via a well defined API, along with a collection of standardized utilities that provide for user access and management of system hardware and data structures and data streams associated with that hardware.

So, under this definition, the kernel is a peice of the OS, disk access utilities are part of the OS, but applets such as a mini word processor and paint program are mearly bundled utilities.

Re:My definition of an OS (5, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949942)

What is OpenGL? ODBC? SDL? XLib? They aren't part of the Operating System, and yet they're not programs. What are they?

Programmers think of them individually as APIs. Collectively, however, they add up to the platform the software targets. As long as that platform is available, the software is portable.

They are a new platform (5, Informative)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950228)

Think of a computer as a layer of platforms. Applications can target any platform unless some part of the platform stack restricts such access.

A typical PC:
CPU and other hardware, BIOS, OS kernel including kernel-level library routines and virtual-machine subsystems, OS-supplied and 3rd-party library routines including OpenGL and non-kernel virtual machines, and applications. For the sake of simplicity I'm ignoring complex scenarios like OSes running in a VM that's running in an OS that's running in a VM.

In principle, applications can "call" functions at any level in the stack, although in modern OSes the kernel blocks direct access to the BIOS and some other hardware and the chip itself blocks access to privileged instructions by unprivileged applications.

Why? (2, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949978)

Why include things like "a mini word processor"? That gets into too much interpretation of what "mini" is.

I prefer to define an OS as the code that controls the local hardware.

If the OS allows some other app to control the local hardware then that OS has a "vulnerability" and is not "secure". There are lots of examples of that in history.

Apps run on the OS. And app can be something such as Java which can run apps itself. But Java should never be touching the local hardware.

Re:My definition of an OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17950166)

disk access utilities are part of the OS

How long, though, before we see a database on a chip - combining storage with SQL access? At the macro-level, all an operating system does, is allow the user to create and view data - it's the connections and presentation of the data which defines the complete end-user experience.

Yahoo Pipes demonstrates this on some level, although it is not ready for the typical end-user yet - but within a few generations of this technology I believe files and directories will become as relevant to the typical end-user as inodes are today.

When I first heard about the Java OS (4, Informative)

complexmath (449417) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950100)

I envisioned a modular OS where the core provided essential features and all the trappings were completely pluggable. Don't like the UI framework? Use a different one. Same for the filesystem, etc. At the heart of the OS I expected to see a sort of object database where all these features were installed and managed, with some sort of OpenDOC layer on top to retrieve modules as needed. Of course, I was way off the mark, but this is the kind of OS I would like to see in the future.

Unix has this to some degree, partially by virtue of it being old, but there exists no structured management system for the packages at this basic level (that I'm aware of). And while I grant that one isn't necessary (the shell/filesystem combination is fine for package management), the lack of one tends to complicate things from a user perspective. Linux has made great progress over the years in achieving high-level usability, but many low-level tasks still require a good bit of domain knowledge and thought, largely because of the filesystem/shell nature of how these tasks are typically performed. If this process could be simplified and in turn made more reliable (it's a bad example, but compare installing an application on MacOS compared to any other operating system), then I think things would be moving in the right direction. This isn't to say that being able to mess with the core of things is bad, but it should be an option, not a requirement.

Re:When I first heard about the Java OS (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950370)

It's difficult to precisely follow your vision in a quicky Slasdot post, but it sounds somewhat interesting. Have you considered snagging some free Blog space and doing a full writeup of your idea? At the very least, communicating the concept in detail can help you find problems and solutions that you haven't yet considered. :)

Re:Article author is displaying some confusion (1)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950562)

Agreed. We'll have configurable computing platforms for decades, whether they are in the form of desktops, laptops, tablets, PDAs, or some not-yet-invented device doesn't matter. It's unreasonable to assume we'll ever run everything off the web, as the web can never provide the access and reliability of a disconnected device.

Also, how has Linux missed the boat? Linux is WAY behind on desktop usability features (from a typical end-user POV), but there are thousands of developers working to improve it. Logically, someone will release a Linux-based desktop/laptop O/S that will be a real contender for desktops given the critical mass of developers and investors behind it.

A bit obvious... (2, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949722)

What geek would run a operating system without using his or her head? We're not all mindless consumers.

Virtualized (1)

cpearson (809811) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949728)

Virtualized machines running a base os integrated with an online os / data storage.

Vista Help Forum [vistahelpforum.com]

Linux is headed to the landfill (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17949744)

Linux on the desktop is a pipe dream. Even today it can't touch Windows 95.
Linux in the server room is already being overtaken by (open)solaris x86.

In two years, Linux will be finished.

On a personal note, I don't mind *BSD for instance, but Linux is a POS. Good riddance.

Re:Linux is headed to the landfill (3, Funny)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949868)

Too bad you posted as AC. I was looking forward to a mature conversation about your assertions...

Oh wait, this is Slashdot. What am I thinking?

Re:Linux is headed to the landfill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17950334)

An AC posted! Let's not listen.

Re:Linux is headed to the landfill (1)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950554)

What I'm saying is that you can't have a conversation with an AC since you can't differentiate one ac from another. You would never be able to know whether the ac that just posted is the same person.

Re:Linux is headed to the landfill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17950694)


you can't differentiate one ac from another.


I'm Spartacus!

(glad to have cleared that up for you.)

Re:Linux is headed to the landfill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17950758)

Does that really matter? I posit that you can have a perfectly good conversation with one-or-more anonymous repliers, so long as everyone involved reads all the parent posts.

Re:Linux is headed to the landfill (-1, Flamebait)

teknopurge (199509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950020)

Agreed, and I'll post non-AC.

Linux is a hobbyists OS, regardless of how much marketing capital the likes of RedHat and IBM put behind it. IMO, the Kernel is turning to crap when script-kiddies from Turkey are using 0-days weekly and the subjugated server count increases by the thousands daily.

For serious deployments:

Solaris (TrustedSolaris is nice too)
HP-UX
AIX
Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition (be kind!)
FreeBSD/OpenBSD (Hurry with that complete SMP support!)

Yes - Theo can be an ass, but his code is clean, elegant and robust, as are his development mantras. From the above list, the only fair comparison to Linux are the BSDs, and let's be blunt: they trounce Linux in terms of reliability. We have not had a Kernel panic on our OpenBSD cluster in over 5 years, and a buffer overflow? Not in my OpenBSD-world.......which brings this little rant full-circle: the Linux development process is headed for the landfill, and that is the cause of the now inferior Linux Kernel.

Re:Linux is headed to the landfill (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950330)

For serious deployments:
...
FreeBSD/OpenBSD (Hurry with that complete SMP support!)

Seriously?

Re:Linux is headed to the landfill (1)

teknopurge (199509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950408)

yes.

Re:Linux is headed to the landfill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17950528)

How come script-kiddies from Turkey is a way of comparision.

Re:Linux is headed to the landfill (1)

arevos (659374) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950766)

IMO, the Kernel is turning to crap when script-kiddies from Turkey are using 0-days weekly and the subjugated server count increases by the thousands daily
You don't appear to know what you're talking about. Most server exploits, on any platform, rarely involve the kernel, and I can't find any reported vulnerabilities for 2.6 in Secunia that result in the system being compromised by a remote attacker. The worst I found was a vulnerability on PPC architectures that had the potential for an attacker to read kernel memory locations.

If you do know what you're talking about, you'll be able to provide an extensive list of documented vulnerabilities in the Linux kernel that allow a remove attacker to fully compromise the system. Since these vulnerabilities are, in your words, showing up "weekly", you should have no problem in finding a good number.

A quick look at your posting history confirms you're a troll, but hell, I've already written a reply now.

Re:Linux is headed to the landfill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17950956)

FreeBSD not a hobbyist OS?

Big Giant Lock?
inetd instead of xinetd?
filesystems?
fibre channel support?

Stick to desktops, FreeBSD is not a server-level OS

Re:Linux is headed to the landfill (4, Insightful)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950262)

I dispute that. And even if Linux does die out, its legacy will continue.

Linux has had a huge positive effect. For one thing, it gave the GNU project a serious kick-start. Sure it was possible to run GNU on a BSD kernel before Linux came along; but next to nobody actually did. Anyway, BSD had its own set of Open Source userland utilities, and still hardly anybody used it. Suddenly Linux came along, and Open Source was trendy. Linux had its limitations, for sure; and some of the people who tried Linux moved over to BSD for what at the time were valid reasons. Some of them moved back when Linux cleaned its act up. These peole might never have tried a free OS, if it had not been for some young upstart Finn with a bee in his bonnet about performance of monolithic vs. microkernels.

Do you think Solaris would have been open-sourced -- possibly even under GPLv3! -- if it hadn't been for the fact that GNU/Linux posed a credible threat to it?

If anything is "headed to the landfill", it's the whole Closed Source model -- or more strictly, the egregious idea of keeping the Source Code of a program secret from its own users. The extent of the damage that this has done is just beginning to sink in, ever so slowly. Within a generation, there will be more than one country in the world where it will be illegal not to supply Source Code with software, even if you are not allowed to give out copies of it.

Re:Linux is headed to the landfill (2, Insightful)

botlrokit (244504) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950618)

the egregious idea of keeping the Source Code of a program secret from its own users
 
As long as your biggest market is people who want it done for them, and as long as it's affordable, the OS will continue to drop into their hands. The price increase for the various iterations of Vista show that Microsoft is at least aware of Windows' continuing strength.
 
If you want OSS to blossom, it has got to become sexy and work with much less nerd/geek presence. Symbian happens to power smart phones, but it's not sexy either. It can't spoil you in that "mainstream-moves-the-most-water" way, like Windows can.

Re:Linux is headed to the landfill (2, Insightful)

ak3ldama (554026) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950780)

I dispute that. And even if Linux does die out, its legacy will continue.
This is very true. Not to mention if 'Linux' dies it will just be the kernel. there is so much more to a linux distro/application stack than just the kernel.
If anything is "headed to the landfill", it's the whole Closed Source model -- or more strictly, the egregious idea of keeping the Source Code of a program secret from its own users.
This is the key statement. Do you think people these days would be buying Dells and running Solaris on them if Solaris wasn't open sourced? No; they would be too afraid that Sun would pull another quick one and decide that Solaris 11 (or whatever) wouldn't be released on x86. People forget about history, but not when this stuff happened so recently. Over time people may forget exactly why, but using Open Source Software will become second nature. People will start asking why there's no open development process, why there's not publicly available mailing lists, why the documentation for a peice of software isn't editable by the users, why the end users can't directly submit a bug request. All of those things lend themselves to a faster and more adaptable development process, and quicker turn around time for the customer. Why call up your proprietary vendor, sit on the phone waiting for an hour only to find out some information that you could have just looked up if their data sat in an externally viewable location? Transparency is also a great tool for the customer to evaluate the real quality of a product and the people behind it.

Re:Linux is headed to the landfill (2, Informative)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950386)

I decided to give linux on the desktop another go, I've been trying it about every other year for about 12 years now. During that time I've seen windows progress from 3.1, to Vista. Sure, there's a lot to hate about microsoft, but if you cant look at that evolution and tell me they've significantly improved the product, you're just being a zealot.

During the same time, I've seen the linux desktop evolve - well none. OpenOffice works, but it just feels clunky - it feels like the versino of word I used on win 3.1 so long ago. MPlayer will start and randomly not play sound. Sound is still a big kludgy wtf-is-goin-on type thing. Should I be using ALSA, or ESD or /dev/dsp or what? What the fuck? I think ESD is what I want to use, but now all sound is delayed by a half second. What about all the piles of graphics libraries, what's a game developer supposed to work with? DirectX may be kludgy in a lot of ways, but it's a HUGE asset for Windows.

Bon Echo feels bloaty and slow - but firefox under windows XP on the same hardware is snappy and responsive. I'm using nvidias latest drivers, and glx.

I dunno, it's usable, but it was usable in the early 90s. I know that things have improved, but it still feels like the same experience I had back then - right down to fucking around with monitor frequencies by hand?. The big difference is that file is called xorg.conf now. What the fuck is up with that? Are people still using monitors without EDID? Even if a handful are, why are we still designing for that outside case? Why cant I just have " Section Montior / EDID True / End Section" or something like that?

The one thing that's gotten me excited is NX, and when I can migrate a session from windows to unix and back, and hijack the local desktop, then maybe I'll be a bit happier and find a little more use for my linux machine. Of course, Windows already does all of this.

Linux, in my home, is still just a big thing that runs samba so I can store all my porn on a computer built out of spare parts.

Re:Linux is headed to the landfill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17950886)

right down to fucking around with monitor frequencies by hand?

You don't actually have to do that anymore. Just put the resolution in the format "800x600" (with the quotes) in the screen section as you would ordinarily do, but don't define the mode. X will make up the details.

Re: Stay Married To Microsoft (0, Troll)

mpapet (761907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17951080)

If it is so useless, then please pay Microsoft for the privilege to serve your porn and stop wasting your time trolling about how much Microsoft rulez.

What's the point? (5, Interesting)

itsmilesdavis (985700) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949808)

Everybody is talking about running applications through the internet. Why would we, as consumers, want to do this? The RIAA and MPAA are attempting to limit our ability to make backups of things we purchase. Now, software appears to be heading in the same direction. If we start streaming applications, then we could easily get into a pay-as-you-use function, or some other horrid distribution system. Frankly, I would not want to be charged every time I open a text document, or an IM window, or an internet browser. And I don't like the idea of paying a subscription fee either. I think forcing people to stream applications through the internet will only push more people into using Linux, so that everything is right there on the machine.

The point of Internet applications (3, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950338)

The point of Internet applications, or equally, Intranet applications, is "run anywhere" convenience.

My ISP offers webmail. If I use it instead of POP, I can read my mail anywhere, anytime. In exchange, I lose the privacy that comes with keeping my data local. I also lose the ability to read my mail when the ISP has a hiccup.

Google offers maps. In most cases Google Maps is a lot more convenient than firing up my local street-maps program. It's also "run anywhere."

On the other hand, I don't think I'd want my doctor to put my medical records on any online database unless it was very secure and run by trustworthy people and didn't allow unencrypted connections.

Monolithic Forever (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17949832)

If Linus has his way, the monolithic kernel will be with us forever.
I say go microkernel or go home.

Re:Monolithic Forever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17950534)

The Linux kernel is already microkernel to some extent.
So you are wrong.

The future is ten tons of spaghetti. (3, Interesting)

Peter Trepan (572016) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949836)

I'm worried that we're going to keep building on top of the macrokernels we already have, without cleaning up and simplifying things as we go. I'm worried that the future will be as presented in Vernor Vinge's A Deepness in the Sky, where everyone runs an operating system too large, un-modular, and spaghetti-like for anyone to understand, much less debug. Hurry with The Hurd, RMS!

Re:The future is ten tons of spaghetti. (1)

EXMSFT (935404) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950140)

Vista has shipped, and you're worried about that NOW? Man, where were you 24-48 months ago when Microsoft needed you?

Some cleanup happens (3, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950440)

There was a time when people tried to cram an http server into Linux.

It may still be there but it's not used outside special-purpose environment.

Likewise, until recently people tried to cram almost every filesystem and pseudo-filesystem under the sun into the Linux kernel. With the advent of FUSE, future pseudo-filesystems and even real ones will be in userland. Sure they won't perform as well but at least they won't kill the kernel when they bug out.

Offensive? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17949852)

What's more offensive:

a turd?

a piece of shit?

U decide!

Out the Windows? (1)

StressGuy (472374) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949862)

{...buh-dum-ching...}

Thank you, I'll be here all night...TRY THE VEAL!

10 years? how about right now? (2, Interesting)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949886)

The vast, vast majority of internet-goers are already running a lot of stuff on the internet, like email, various activex controls, etc. which aren't technically traditionally installed apps, even if they're not entirely internet-based either. The transition phase is over, and now that more and more internet-based apps are coming out, it will just be a more diverse environment -- not just a "pc only" or "internet only" world.

Re:10 years? how about right now? (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950126)

You're right. Until the software needs to directly access hardware, in which case "Windows only" or "Mac only" will still apply.

Consumer devices (5, Interesting)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949900)


Two words: Consumer devices.

I think Steve Jobs has seen the future, and realised that the PC won't be so important, the action is all going to move to various types of devices aimed at consumers. So, he started with music players, is moving into portable video/gaming and now of course telephones, and has made the first steps towards TV. Television is the biggie of course, and I believe Jobs is being deliberately low key about his intentions there - with the low key announcement of the Apple TV box, for instance.

Here's a prediction, in the next few years Steve Jobs is going to make a presentation where he says something like "First we revolutionised the personal computer, then the music player and the telephone. Now we're going to revolutionise television..."

Re:Consumer devices (1)

kitejumping (953022) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950016)

Hate to kill your Apple dream but Microsoft will do mainstream IPTV with the xbox360 way sooner, due to the sheer fact that it is also a gaming system, doesn't cost a million dollars, and is easily available to anyone that wants one.

Re:Consumer devices (2, Interesting)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950104)

Hate to kill your Apple dream but Microsoft will do mainstream IPTV with the xbox360 way sooner,

Yes, and they did phones sooner, and I believe they had PDAs that play music before the iPod.

The difference is that Jobs has a very clear idea of what consumers want. My old mum isn't going to buy an XBox360 to watch TV on it. Nor am I for that matter.
 

Re:Consumer devices (1)

Dan_Bercell (826965) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950480)

And your old mum is going to spend $400 for an IPhone? Not sure about your mom, but the day my mom wants a phone to check email, take pictures is the day pigs fly; she just wants a phone.

I am not anti-Apple, but please take a look into how Windows Media edition + Xbox 360 work together to provide a 'currently' unbeatable home enterataintment system. PVR, PC, Gaming Console, what other company can offer such a combo with two of their products. It is very expensive to purchase both of them, but as with everything price will come down and some other company will make a less quality item, but it will be at a very decent price. Xbox is a huge gaming console, and to think MS just got into the market. Both apple and MS are trying to get to the same point, but I believe MS will make it there first.


Is it really unrealistic to have an Xbox acting like a DVD player, PVR, Slideshow presenter, and connect (through wire or wireless) a monitor, keyboard, and mouse and you have a fully functional computer. Software wise this is already possible, however processor speed/price needs 4-5 years to make this a common applicance. Apply may have fancy good looking stuff, but Microsoft is Microsoft. One day the giant will fall, but not before they take over your living room.

Re:Consumer devices (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950624)

And your old mum is going to spend $400 for an IPhone?

Actually she might. She loves her Mac Mini.

Both Apple and MS are trying to get to the same point, but I believe MS will make it there first.

And then Apple will come along and do it right...

Compare the iPod and the Zune and tell me which company understands the consumer better.

Microsoft are stuck in a quagmire of their own making at the moment. Still the large majority of their revenue come from two products - their operating system and their office suite, a monopoly they have had for over a decade, and even with their core products they've been having major difficulties (see Vista). The future belongs to others.
 

Re:Consumer devices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17950948)

Compare the iPod and the Zune and tell me which company understands the consumer better.
I don't know how you can even try to make that comparison, by that comparison alone, Microsoft understands the consumer WAY better. Sharing music with your friends, a large, wide screen display with adjustable orientation, FM radio. Apple gets consumer opinions and says, "We don't want that in our device." Microsoft's device may have been poorly executed, but you can't possibly say that it has less of what consumers want than the iPod.

Re:Consumer devices (1)

Dan_Bercell (826965) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950198)

I doubt people will replace a single device (a PC or MAC) with multiple devices that provide the same functionality and increases complexity. Its more realistic to imagine all entertainment devices will eventually be in a single box.

Both Apple and MS are moving into this direction, but the technology is not easy enough to use and is still too expensive to really make a huge impact on households. I am exciting to see what will be out there in 5+ years.

Re:Consumer devices (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950384)

I am exciting to see what will be out there in 5+ years.

That's kind of what I'm referring to in the parent post - the question was "were are operating systems headed?"

Re:Consumer devices (1)

Dan_Bercell (826965) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950568)

I was commenting on your statement about Steve Jobs making the right moves about consumer devices.
I was basically saying that I don't believe device(s) are the way to go, I believe its a single device.

Re:Consumer devices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17950706)

So, are you proposing a 42 inch telephone or a 4 inch TV?

Re:Consumer devices (2, Insightful)

0racle (667029) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950238)

the PC won't be so important
You say that, then proceed to list everything from Apple that is designed to have a Mac at the center of it all controlling it. iPod? iTunes on a Mac (or Windows machine). iPhone? Gets information and syncs with your Mac. AppleTV? Receives broadcast from a Mac.

That Mac looks pretty important to me.

Re:Consumer devices (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950340)

You say that, then proceed to list everything from Apple that is designed to have a Mac at the center of it all controlling it.

I don't think they are designed that way, I bet future iPods will have a direct link to the iTunes store and you'll be able to purchase music directly. And I'm not sure why you think the iPhone needs a Mac, it looks like a pretty standalone device from what I've seen. Finally, the box that they currently call the AppleTV I believe is not the final product - that will come in the next few years, and I'll bet you won't need a Mac or PC to use it.
 

Re:Consumer devices (1)

HAKdragon (193605) | more than 7 years ago | (#17951170)

Wasn't the whole point of the Apple TV to stream Music, Movies, TV Shows, and Photos from your computer?

Re:Consumer devices (2, Insightful)

robably (1044462) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950544)

Two words: Nearly right.

It's not that the consumer devices that are becoming important in themselves, what's important is that they are becoming interoperable. This is what Apple is doing with the iTV, iPhone, and the iPod, and if anything the PC (Mac) becomes more important because it ties all the consumer devices together.

Re:Consumer devices (1)

Dan_Bercell (826965) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950590)

Exacly!!!.

becomes more important because it ties all the consumer devices together

This is why MS and Apple are going towards this market and hitting it hard. Apple went the Ipod route, MS went the XBox route, I guess time will tell which route was faster :)

Re:Consumer devices (1)

chaoticgeek (874438) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950966)

Maybe I'm just throwing ideas out but I think that all these devices alone will not have the power or functionality to work together if you don't have a computer to help. But when you have say your ipod, iphone, your mac computer, and apple TV thing you can have your computer get all the info from all the devices and it will then go out and say ok, well the person is on there ipod listing to music so we should update their screen with this info that pertains to their phone service, and that this show will be on in an hour and if you like this show that other people like then you might like this one too that they all like. Kinda like getting an RSS feed from your computer that is the single main internet access point and it goes and relays info to what ever device you are currently on. That way you can stay up to date and for what ever device you are currently using it will give you info you want.

Re:Consumer devices (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950628)

Here's a better prediction: Steve Jobs will sink the entire R&D budget into another dopey stinker of a product (Lisa, Newton, Pippin), and Apple will slink back into the semi-obscurity they've almost always labored in.

The XBox 360 already beat Apple TV into my entertainment center, and with Video Marketplace here (and pretty cool) and IPTV service starting soon for it, I fail to see what's going to be so groundbreaking about apple when they release a product to do the same things, but I'm sure slashdotters will tell me all about it ad-nauseum.

"Hollywood-style OSes" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17949920)

"Hollywood-style OSes are not in our short-term future."

Which leaves Vista where?

Symbian? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17949934)

Symbian? You've got to be kidding me, right?
He definitely never looked at it or never tried to develop something on it.
If Symbian is your answer, you've got the wrong question.

Re:Symbian? (1)

vonhammer (992352) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950750)

Preach on Brother AC!

I have developed on Symbian UIQ, Series 80, and now Series 60 3rd edition platforms for the last few years. It is the most difficult and rtarded platform I have ever seen. The cost of development is so much greater than Windows Mobile that I can't see it competing. The tool set is pathetic (although perhaps getting better with Carbide), the version of C++ used is so bad with such horrible idioms (why use exceptions when you can have Leaves?!), the build environment so clunky, and the debugging so atrocious, that I can't see it ever overcoming Microsoft's momentum. Sure, it claims a huge number of devices sold, but most of those are the decidedly non-smartphone variety.

The class hierarchy and mixin patterns are extremely unintuitive, the documentation horrible, rant ad infinitum...

Counterintuitively? (2, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949936)

Counterintuitively, he says no.

How is this counterintuitive? Of course Vista is not the last version of desktop Windows. You don't think Microsoft will want to retain their revenue stream in 5 years? Plus with China growing economically there will still be much demand for new computers with new OSs for many years.

In ten years will we all be running applications via the internet?

Maybe, but that doesn't mean there will be no OS. Even thin clients need some form of OS. Your web browser has run on hardware somehow.

BeOS (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17949972)

BeOS was/is the future. If only we could get the source code.

The last OS that won't install direct to our BRAIN (3, Interesting)

wsanders (114993) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949982)

I'm inspired by Ray Kurzweil's keynote at RSA Conference 2007.. http://singularity.com/ [singularity.com]

If you're a M$ hater, just wait until "sap and impurify your precious bodily fluids" is a system requirement.

Among other nanotechnological breakthroughs, Kurzweil says it will be possible to inject robotic blood cells that will enable you to "sit at the bottom of a swimming pool for 4 hours."

OK, for now I'll settle for Fedora Core 42 and nano-robots that will let me drink as much red wine as I want without getting a headache.

Re:The last OS that won't install direct to BRAIN (3, Funny)

martyb (196687) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950206)

Among other nanotechnological breakthroughs, Kurzweil says it will be possible to inject robotic blood cells that will enable you to "sit at the bottom of a swimming pool for 4 hours."

Big Deal. I can do that NOW, without any nano-anything. Heck, I bet YOU can, too!

Now, if you insist on filling the pool with water... <grin>

Re:The last OS that won't install direct to our BR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17950746)

Kurzweil is such a crank. Am I the only one who thinks he's completely full of crap?

Re:The last OS that won't install direct to our BR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17951026)

You can always identify a crackpot running a large racket, because the crackpot can't resist smearing his name and face all over his or her product.

Kent Hovind's name and face pop up everywhere in the campaign to popularize Creationism, and Ray Kurzweil's name and face pop up everywhere in the uhh... I guess you could call it the campaign to inform people about the singularity. (Which, incidentally, is undefined, and every attempt to define it necessarily uses undefined terms and unquantifiable statistics like "progress".)

Even the website you linked shows Kurzweil's smug little face in a JPEG with a caption saying "he is the rightful successor to Thomas Edison". Give me a fucking break. I hope this guy gets raped by a 15 massively endowed donkeys.

Where are apostrophes headed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17950002)

Billions of lines of code, gobs of RAM, enormous hard disks, but still no simple spell-checker for the dreaded IT'S MEANS "IT IS" thing. Doesn't your apostrophe key wear out faster when you overuse it?

Here's a hint: if it's already possessive, it doesn't need an apostrophe. You don't write her's, hi's, their's, or do you?

Re:Where are apostrophes headed? (1)

Jekler (626699) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950684)

You must be new to the internet. They write all of those.

headed or heading? (0, Offtopic)

muftak (636261) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950032)

Headed doesn't look right, shouldn't it be "Where Are Operating Systems Heading?"?

Re:headed or heading? (2, Funny)

Peter Trepan (572016) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950180)

Operating systems are headed right at the top, with #include <io.h>.

100,000 Symbian devices!? (1)

CockMonster (886033) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950044)

More like 100 million.

The need for OSes or the lack thereof (3, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950052)

For a computer to be useful, you need hardware, applications, and input and output. That's it, nothing more.

Everything in between is there as a convenience.

Whether it's convenience library routines like math libraries, a hardware-abstraction or -virtualization layer, or things that let more than one application coexist and even communicate, or whatever, OSes and other "in between" parts of a computer are there to make the application more useful, easier to write and maintain, or both.

We will always have these in-between layers. Whether the "in between" layers of the 22nd century are anything like today's OSes only time will tell.

Personally, I think 10 years from now you will see just about every application running in an isolated environment, possibly a VM of sorts. In particular, applications which access machines or applications that are not "trusted" will be run isolated from other applications on the system. They will be able to save files to a scratchpad area and send events to certain other applications such as a printing subsystem, but that's about it. Applications will communicate with other applications on the same PC in much the same way distributed applications, such as a web application, communicate today.

By 2017, I also see most applications using virtually no local storage except security credentials and cached data. All "real data" will be stored on "the big server in the sky" or "the big server run by the IT department." The exceptions will be applications demanding extreme privacy, such as diaries and non-networked dayplanners, applications demanding offline use, such as cellphone notepads, and "convenience applications" like calculators and non-networked games.

By the time our Kindergarteners reach High School, the distinction between wristwatch, cellphone/PDA, and laptop/desktop/home-entertainment-center will be one of scale and purpose, not architecture or raw capability.

Learn to spell "its", damn it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17950054)

Spelling matters.

MS's Way or the Highway? (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950074)

Sadly I fear OS's of the future will be much like OS's of today, at least for the common man. MS still has no incentive to really make OS's better for consumers instead of better for MS and a lot of incentive to make their Windows OS's more and more restrictive. They know their model is slowly being undermined, but they plan to use .Net to effectively create the internet equivalent and lock everyone into one online platform instead. Other companies still have little motivation to invest in the desktop OS market and decreasing motivation to invest in the Server OS market.

I predict we will still have the same glacially slow pace of improvement as we've had for the last decade, with a lot of foot dragging and backwards steps as MS does their best to hold us all in the past. In 2015 I predict the mainstream OS from MS will finally support spell checking in every .net application from the same dictionary. They may even support other common features like grammar checking, but it will still be hard for developers to add arbitrary functions. I predict security will still be an issue and MS's solution for determining the trust of a given application will be broken and abused for anti-competative reasons. Further, configuring the permissions for an application will be painful, lack granularity, and still be something users have to worry about.

There is some hope. Maybe outside of the US, Linux or some other OS will rise to supremacy, and major corporations will carry the effort to progress beyond Window's artificial limitations. Maybe enough people will buy Mac's so that the market share undermines MS's monopoly and the free market brings innovation again. I have serious doubts however.

Re:MS's Way or the Highway? (1)

benzapp (464105) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950208)

Your rant is pointless. No one besides Microsoft, even Apple, has figured out how to render fonts properly. Until that time, sit back and praise the gods that most people don't have to look at blurry fonts on Macs and the jagged ones on Linux.

Re:MS's Way or the Highway? (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950280)

Your rant is pointless. No one besides Microsoft, even Apple, has figured out how to render fonts properly.

It's funny because I know two people who cited better looking fonts as one reason they switched away from Windows. I actually have both IE+WinXP and Safari+OS X running on this same monitor and I prefer the look of the fonts in OS X. Maybe you need to look at your font settings if you're having problems.

O/Ss are glue + abstraction, they have long future (4, Interesting)

Morgaine (4316) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950098)

Until devices and other hardware components have enough built-in intelligence to communicate with each other and with user programs, and until their built-in intelligence is presented to applications through a standardized communications interface, there will always be a role for operating systems.

And the reason is simply that this is the primary role of an O/S: to glue together many rather dumb components (some virtual, some non-local), and to provide a standard abstraction for them, so that applications can be programmed with a degree of sanity. Everything that O/Ss do can be considered in those terms.

Host operating systems will disappear when they are no longer needed. And *that* will happen only when/if their key functions have migrated into the hardware, so it's a defensible argument to say that actually they will never really disappear, but transform.

My utopian vision (2, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950122)

In 10 years, your OS choice will be pretty much irrelevant. With virtualization built into desktop processors, you could just go ahead and run a hybrid linux/bsd/windows/osx box and run whatever application you want or need natively. Your host OS would be irrelevant.

Ok, Apple will keep it's fiefdom - but there's really nothing in that world I'd miss.

I would love to see some sort of unified driver type - your driver and hardware not tied to an OS, but that's unlikely.

Prehaps not correct about Symbian (2, Interesting)

johnhennessy (94737) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950218)


While the author correctly identifies a huge potential market for smartphones in the coming years, maybe his assumptions about Symbian are a little naive.

These smartphones are becoming popular because they are becoming more and more like a standard PC every day. The only exception being the user interface (if anyone has an idea how to fix this, give me a call ! I promise to share in the huge profits ! ).

This is facilitated by the increasing processor power that these phones have available to them. Symbian was designed for small memory, low performance processors which incredibly strict power consumption requirements and limited connectivity running in a highly controlled environment (i.e. software environment).

The cost of developing drivers for Symbian (with all its quirks) is enormous. At the moment, the semiconductor companies are getting hit with the cost of this development. This will not last forever, they will always strive for the cheapest possible solution - and this helps explain Linux large penetration in this market.

The company that holds the best cards in this field is Apple. They have waited until mobile devices have become powerful enough to run (only slightly modified) standard PC kernels (XNU). This is going to save them a fortune in the years to come. Microsoft has missed this boat - they are trying to split their OS into as many different branches/versions/flavours as possible, while neglecting the requirement to try and maintain a common "brand" across all devices.

Re:Prehaps not correct about Symbian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17951038)

Um, Microsoft already has has Windows Mobile - a common brand. All phone OSes are rewritten from scratch. The iPhone is not just a port of OSX, it is a complete rewrite.

To the author: Symbian is dead - people don't realize it yet. Windows Mobile is the future.

And, this means? (1)

DocHart (897992) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950244)

"In ten years will we all be running applications via the internet?" Ah, and we'll have perfect internet service, never any interruptions in services and no security problems? Thank you, I prefer to have my system in my lap or on my desk. I'll use the internet as one more tool to get my job done but I certainly won't rely on in for critical computing.

Do you have perfect electricity? (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950614)

Without a UPS, your desktop is at the mercy of your electricity provider. You may be blessed with a reliable electricity provider but in many areas, short outages are almost as frequent as thunderstorms.

Even with a UPS or laptop, you are at the mercy of your battery. Hope it's not a Sony.

My point is, there will always be "points of failure."

Virtualized Devices (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17950250)

I like Inferno's idea that a computer's devices (printer, sound card, hard drive, etc) are virtualized across the network. You could be playing a game and have the sound come out of a different computers soundcard. In theory, you could add hard drive, cpu, memory resources to you network as separate items and use them as needed.

Re:Virtualized Devices (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17950358)

The problem with relying on the internet, or any network, is that it becomes the single point of failure. If no local copy of the files you need exists, you're SOL if something happens halfway between you and the server. And unless a tremendous breakthrough occurs in the construction and deployment of fiber optic cables, bandwidth will be another problem. If everyone starts keeping all of the files they need on the internet without caching them to local drives, you'll suck up bandwidth like a sponge.

That Gartner report is worthless... (2, Insightful)

EXMSFT (935404) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950300)

Hardware + software = device. No amount of mindless drooling by Gartner "analysts" will change that. Sure, the OS may get smaller, and Nathan Myhrvold's much feared vision of the "Megaserver" (see here [iowaconsumercase.org] ) may be fulfilled - oh wait, it already has [google.com] . But at the end of the day, a device with some semblance of UI presentation to get the "'net goo" off of the Interweb tubes to the glass will still be required. And to print. And to play audio, video, and store info locally. Because at the end of the day, sure you can store stuff up in the cloud. But it has to come down at some point or another in order to be useful enough to even keep. Hence, an operating system (or embedded OS, whatever) is necessary.

platforms (3, Insightful)

alucinor (849600) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950352)

I think operating systems will increasing become less and less of a concern for all of us, except for hardware scientists. Those of us more interested in applications care more about the platform, which I see over time being standardized in freedesktop.org, with various implementations or bindings in about every major "platform" interpreter/machine, be it C(++)/Kernel, the JVM, the CLR, or Mozilla. I also see all the major scripting languages having JVM and .NET ports one day.

"Operating system" is a pretty old paradigm... (5, Insightful)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950424)

...not that I have any idea for a new one, but the OS as we know it is one of the prime examples of a system whose rationale is "we've always done it that way."

People have forgotten that the original goal of the "operating system" was nothing other than to automate the function of the "operator," reducing personnel costs and making sure that the computer wasn't sitting around at $200 an hour waiting for someone to square up the next deck of cards and load them into the hopper.

The only people who think they can tell you what an OS really is are the students who have recently memorized some textbook definition. An OS is an intertwingled hairball of utterly arbitrary functionality. It has evolved from competitors copying whatever it is that another competitor did, messing some things up, adding some cool stuff, and doing random things dictated by marketing strategy.

Want to bundle HyperCard, but you promised the database vendors you wouldn't compete with them? Easy, don't call HyperCard a database, call it part of the "system software." Want to hide the fact that your graphical shell could run on a competitor's operating system? Easy, just say Windows is part of--no, wait, IS--the operating system. And so it goes.

It is quite possible to use a computer without an operating system. I'm not saying any of these are viable paradigms for today, but none of the original versions of BASIC required an operating system. MUMPS is largely self-contained, no OS needed.

There is an opportunity for some kind of brand-new conceptualization. No, I don't know what it is. If I did, I'd promoting on it. But, yes, I think it's very likely that twenty years from now the idea of an operating system will seem as quaint as the idea of a front panel with lights and switches on it. There was a time when nobody believed you could run a computer without _that_, either.

Re:"Operating system" is a pretty old paradigm... (1)

Mordaximus (566304) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950854)

It is quite possible to use a computer without an operating system. I'm not saying any of these are viable paradigms for today, but none of the original versions of BASIC required an operating system. MUMPS is largely self-contained, no OS needed.

I'm curious. Are you saying that the original BASIC didn't need an operating system, or you didn't need to interact directly with the operating system when you used BASIC? I'm pretty sure the latter is true. Either BASIC interacted with the OS itself, or it WAS the OS (as simple as it would have been.)

Freedom and Technology (2, Informative)

argoff (142580) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950520)

People still can't wake up and smell the Hummis. The debate never has been about the direction of technology, but about the direction of freedom and liberty. The saying "the stone rejected by the builders has become the corner stone" has never been more true. People go on and on about how this feature matters, or that GUI, or such and such technology, ease of immediate use, or this and that driver/optimisation, consumer/corporate adoption, or DRM - and they still gon't get it. When people have the freedom to copy and modify without being punished and fenced off, those things will come naturally and more, when they don't then it does not matter how nice it is - it will eventually be overtaken and become obsolete. Free markets are not about technology or markets, but about freedom and people using it to create wealth and opportunity where it hasn't existed before. If that doesn't define the free software movement, then I don't know what does.

10 years Information is over participation is here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17950558)

I recall this summer a CEO proclaiming that with in two years there would be 60% of the third wold population experiencing the internet for the first time. And these people would not have computers but advanced cell phones not on today's market. The deals and marketing have been set in Brazil and Venezuela for the first instalment. His claim is that information age is giving over to the participation age.

Predictions are Risky Business (1)

pilsner.urquell (734632) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950576)

The author supports his point of view well and I think very well thought out but I still disagree

I agree that Vista isn't the last Windows OS. Case in point is OS/2, thought to be DOA in 1995 is still around and Windows will probably be too in 10 years.

Linux? Yes, the argument is very good but he doesn't take into account the raw power, quality, robustness and flexibility of Linux especially the Kernel. He expounds on the lack of drivers [kerneltrap.org] which indicates that the author isn't quite up to date on Kernel development.

As far as the OS being outdated I think not, maybe for the casual consumer a transparent OS will come true but there will always be a OS it is in the nature of computing machines. Running all your applications on the Internet will probably come true however accessing the Internet will still requite an OS AND an application to connect to it.

Ubiquitous Computing (2, Insightful)

ccozan (754085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950668)

well, maybe not in 10 years, but maybe 20, nobody will have a PC-as-we-know-it. Maybe some of us, geeks and nerds, will keep some beige boxes on the basement. But majority of the people will carry and interact with highly portable or tiny embedded systems - but with double+ computing power of what we have now ( wild prediction). Which leads to the conclusion that the OS of the future is not what we know of now ( as in Desktop Loaded with a OS called Windows). At least for the client/consumer part. So, Symbian, Linux have great chances for belonging to future. WinCE maybe, possibly. OSX in the iPhone. For all of them video/audio streaming will be a standard. Communication will focus on all major areas: Personal Area Network ( some kind of network between all gadgets on us), LAN ( device at home, or near vicinity), and WAN ( accessing the internet - or whatever will be called in 20years).

On the server side, we will build huge machine-servers, capable of virtualization. Which here i see lots of players, Linux included, but i see no OS from Microsoft. I see Google here too, as provinding enterprise-level services to all of us (aka email, office, anything else). Speaking of that, there is a reason why Google does not build a OS: it's irrelevant. We should follow the pack-leader ;)...

And, not to forget, on the enterprise side, i assume a big load of thin-clients will prevail. Maybe Windows-as-it-is-now has a slight chance here...

Re:Ubiquitous Computing (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950776)

I had a beiag box 20 years ago, why do you think the next 20 will be different?

The PC does the same thnig now as it did then, only faster.

Tne operating system is irrelevant? I wonder what runs all of googles boxes then? magic pixies?
The OS is relevent, it's just they it is very difficult to compete against a market leader no matter how much better your's is. It might be better to say that the OS is pretty much a commoditey.

10.4.9?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17950708)

Is he using an pre-release of the next OS X patch set, or did I miss the release of 10.4.9?

$> uname -a
Darwin copenhagen.local 8.8.0 Darwin Kernel Version 8.8.0: Fri Sep 8 17:18:57 PDT 2006; root:xnu-792.12.6.obj~1/RELEASE_PPC Power Macintosh powerpc
$> softwareupdate --list
Software Update Tool
Copyright 2002-2005 Apple
 
No new software available.
$>
looks like i'm running the latest...

Wish List (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950754)

There is a lot of discussion about various parts of OS's, but here is something. This is my wish list of what I'd like to see i the ideal OS released in 3 years:

  • Completely open source, for innovation and support from a variety of vendors.
  • Security granularity for files, users, applications, local services, network services, and hardware access broken down individually and by group
  • Well thought out security defaults, UI, and trust levels for all of the above so the user rarely if ever will have to see any of it
  • Open standards and file formats used everywhere
  • Easy communication and sharing of centralized services for all applications (spelling, grammar, dictionary, thesaurus, scripts, translation, mouse gestures, voice activation, screenshots and motion capture, etc.) all available to all programs along with the ability to add arbitrary ones.
  • Better UI's with more options for easy customization for even the clueless.
  • Virtualization integrated into the OS and somewhat abstracted from the interface. You should be able to run application designed for legacy OS's as though they were native with minimal noticeable differences. A non-native application should just be an icon you click on and it "just works."
  • Central package management for finding, downloading, licensing, updating, deleting, and controlling every application including all commercial software.
  • Portable applications the user can drag to a network share, thumb drive, iPod, IM session, e-mail message, or whatever and which will still work on the other end.
  • Integrated compiler and build tools, for auto-magically building custom binaries from included source invisible to end users.
  • Smart and granular audio controls by application, file, location, network resource, and sound level. My browser should never play loud music from a Website at work, and my IM chats should be heralded by a quiet ding. At home my Web browser should play music or not on a per-site basis, defaulting to off. My global volume control should allow me to make sure nothing coming out of my machine is ever above a given volume. I should be able to mix and match audio output devices and sounds from applications.
  • Better options for keeping multiple workstations and portables in synch and backed up without any work on my part.
  • GPS functionality. My machine should no where it is, and where everything else is and tell me.
  • Unified, secure communications by person. The OS should manage public-private keys for individuals and allow a given person to be identified and communicated with securely using voice, video, instant text, delayed text, etc. using a variety of networks including direct wifi with other machines cellular networks, and ethernet.
  • Any machine should be able to participate in ubiquitous and secure distributed computing, allowing me access to more resources when I need them for big jobs and to share my resources with others when I'm not using them.

Well, that is the list off the top of my head. Does anyone else have any wishes for the OS of tomorrow?

Why is this under Apple? (1)

Diordna (815458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950798)

The summary doesn't even mention Apple... (then again, I didn't rtfa, but I think the question stands.)

Symbian Smart Phone? (2, Funny)

encoderer (1060616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950836)

My wife has a symbian. She can't get off the fucking thing. Some days she takes meals on it.

You should see her. Sometimes she's moaning so loud I expect her head to start spinning 360*.

But phone?

It's got attachments, and I admit I'm a bit confused by it sometimes, but I'm pretty sure it DOESNT have a mouthpiece.

My 2 Cyberbucks Worth (1)

Jekler (626699) | more than 7 years ago | (#17951004)

Linux still has a good opportunity for the desktop market.

Microsoft will make another Windows operating system. The money is there, and so long as the money is there, Microsoft will be too.

Internet applications aren't going to take over just yet. Not as long as there's still a good number of people on dial-up (without even the option of broadband). And those of us who do have broadband have fairly shoddy connections, at least as far as running internet-direct applications would be concerned. Networking implies two-way communication, but thus far the majority of us are sold one-way connections (high download capacity, low upload capacity) which makes latency a huge issue. When you consider things the idea of all your data and applications being completely reliant on the availability of your network connection, anyone who's ever experienced even a couple hours of downtime will be slow to make that adoption.

I think we have the technology to build a completely internet-based operating system, but the requirements for it to function efficiently are not spread widely enough for it to be viable. It's like having a really awesome, solar-powered car, that can do 300mph on the road, but there's only one road in the world that it works on. No one would buy the car no matter how nice, they'll just stick with their old beat up 1984 chevy; It might be inferior by all technical specifications, but the roads you can drive it on are everywhere. Similarly, the number of people with a residential connection that has the quality required to use a completely internet-based operating system are so few and far between, it wouldn't matter how slick of an internet application you make, it's little more than a novelty for the curious.

Google OS :D (1)

Grinin (1050028) | more than 7 years ago | (#17951156)

I'm pretty sure everyone is realizing the potential for SAAS right now, and as a result the home user will eventually be using dumb terminals connected to their TV's to access their software, personal files, etc... all for a nice little (maybe not little) fee.

I'm pretty sure Google and Microsoft know this, which is why they are creating more and more online services and products that will require less powerful machine. We will still need to wait for really fast broadband to make it to the home user, but when that happens, game on.

Hopefully by the time it happens the government will be less intrusive than it is now... otherwise they can simply google whatever they want and search through all of your personal data; All without a Warrant! :D
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>