h a l f b a k e r y
Not so much a thought experiment as a single neuron misfire.
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After reading about the latest efforts of Apple, Microsoft and the open source community for the various operating systems available, I had an idea.
Computers always have this "transition" period where the older technologies are slowly phased out for the newer ones: PCI-Express for AGP and PCI, USB
and FireWire for PS/2 and serial ports, DVI for VGA connections etc.
My idea is that you combine a legacy-free set of hardware: just a simple motherboard and processor, USB and FireWire (sorry: "IEEE 1394") buses, DVI output, SP/DIF output and a Gigabit Ethernet port. And, of course, a standard AC power plug.
The OS would only work with these "newer" technologies, most of which are currently in acceptance already. The difference between this OS and say the *nix and *BSD world is that it has a very limited scope of hardware to support. This would mean less time spent on writing and optimizing 1000s of different drivers, more time writing and making the actual OS useful.
I suppose "don't reinvent the wheel" comes into play quite a lot here. But... you could base the OS around one of the stable, free kernels, such as Linux or one of the BSDs, and then bundle together a select few open source applications.
Essentially, it's a very minimalist computer running a highly-modified, easy-to-use version of BSD or *nix. Applications such as Mozilla Firefox, Mozilla Thunderbird, OpenOffice.org, The GIMP, VideoLAN and Gaim could be included.
I think my concept might appear pretty vague, but it's quite clear up here. *points to head*
Source for OS/2 and utilities (I paid good money for at least one program (ThinkTank) designed for OS2, but back during the 1980s) [reensure, Jul 29 2005]
Really free is hard to come by..
[loonquawl, Apr 20 2009]
Dozens of brand new OSes, kinda, many of which omit support for legacy hardware [Wrongfellow, Apr 23 2009]
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||"today's modern is tomorrow's legacy", discuss in relation to Hamlet's relationships, especially in the first act.
||Take a look at the Netlabs site I've linked to and tell us what you think.
||Reminds me of the NeXT stations we used at college. Also reminds me why the NeXT station didn't take off. Loved and hated those machines. 66 mghz, risc chips, no floppy drives, designed totally for networking. Way ahead of their times, and as fast as any powerPC. But also had stupid keyboards with the off switch where you'd put the delete key, ultra-slow boot times, and a strange X-windows-ish OS. Mathematica ruled on them, though.
||I believe the dominance of the x86 PC is the open architecture. Each component has a competitive market and the result is a machine which offers better price/performance than any machine made by a single company.
||The consequence of this is lots of different products and lots of different drivers. A simplified system could improve performance, but to add features would require some revision.
||Unfortunately the value of new technologies is only appreciated once they are popular, so the dev team would have to decide whether to support lots of new stuff and be just like modern OS's or keep it slim and let other systems get all the cool new gadgets first. Keeping it slim would be commercial suicide.