Computer: Database
Relational DB OS   (+2, -2)  [vote for, against]
Meticulous file management, anyone?

An operating system that uses a relational database to keep track of the filing. There would be tables for creation date, last access date, file type, associated applications, logical file location, etc. One would then be able to run a cross-table query to find any particular file, or view the contents of disks/directories in a multi-dimensional array, with each dimension defining lists of details according to user preference. If it were a three dimensional view, a holographic interface would make for a very flexible, powerful system to keep track of files.
-- absterge, Nov 15 2000

Semantic File Systems
Would this help? [dgeiser13, Nov 15 2000, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Implements some basic database capabilities in the OS itself for filesystem maintenance. Plus, you can't argue with the price. [xrayTed, Nov 15 2000, last modified Oct 17 2004]

An essay on the subject http://www.reenigne...uter/hierarchy.html
I wrote an essay about this very subject some time ago. [aj, Nov 15 2000, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Unfortunately, relational databases don't deal well with hierarchy, and keeping all those indexes incurs some overhead.

Still, you're hardly the only the one to come up with the idea; it's de rigeur for a hardcore relational database bigot to see the filesystem as a vestige of the 60s that really ought to go away someday (sooner rather than later).

Oracle's "Internet File System" is something like what you describe, though it hasn't been a rousing success. I've seen many doomed projects (with names like "UniOS" and "JAWS") which set out to integrate filesystems and relational databases.
-- egnor, Nov 16 2000

Why would you need a whole new OS?
-- bookworm, Dec 05 2000

i used to be a whiz at a db product called "revelation", which was a relational db os (derived, they tell me, from the pic (pick?) os) that ran on top of dos in the late 80s, early 90s. field lengths were limitless by default. records were nothing more than the characters between two record delimiters. there were field delimiter characters, sub field delimiter chars, an onward. it liked it.
-- gnormal, Feb 25 2001

aj, update your link. there is no group called nextlevelorganization on eGroups...
-- dgeiser13, Jun 24 2001

ICL's VME operating system was based on a codasyl database that contained much of what you mention (in effect if not in detailed implementation). OK - major advances have taken place since the '70s (when it was written) but I still miss many of its features. In particular it was about the only OS that I have used where there really was no need to know where anything was - you could find out if you really cared but normally it would only matter to the system support bods.
-- snagger, Sep 20 2001

ack, ack, snagger! I'm all about knowing exactly where everything is, all the time, and being able to logically extract the location of something by it's function if I don't remember right off. (You should see my absolutely anal directory heirarchy) The idea was to be able to redefine the way one searches and classifies, not to be allowed to forget where one put things. That would seem to be more a 'bug' than a feature! :P

Anyway, it's a flimsy idea to start with, and I only kept it because it appeared as one more croissant on my profile page (amidst a sea of similar mediocrity, mostly 2 or 3 vote ideas). I'm considering mfding it.
-- absterge, Sep 21 2001

Couldn't be absolutely anal, or it likely wouldn't work. <Assuming you're using Windows, anyway...> We get calls about once a month of someone who decides they want to clean up their drives <which I've never understood...what difference does it make what the directories look like?>, so they move all the exe files into a directory named 'exe', all the dll's into a 'dll' directory, etc.

Then they reboot, and for SOME reason, the computer doesn't work anymore...and of course it's all MY fault.

Then there was the one whose friend who 'knows computers' helped the process by telling her that all she had to do was doubleclick the file, and if nothing happened it was safe to delete it. Dll, sys, dat, etc, all down the tubes...

StarChaser the Tech Support Tyger
-- StarChaser, Sep 22 2001

I saw a proposal within Microsoft for a unified relational database filesystem OS all-encompassing foo foo, and it was introduced by reciting an anecdote much like what StarChaser described. (In this case, the user made folders "A" through "Z" and neatly organized all the system files by initial letter -- MSVCRT.DLL went under "M", and so on.)

The premise was that this was a perfectly reasonable thing to do; users should be able to rearrange their view of the system as they see fit, and internal links (relations) and whatnot would keep the system humming right along.

Of course that particular proposal eventually died with the rest. Databases suck, anyway.

Doesn't PalmOS keep application data in a "database" rather than a conventional filesystem?
-- egnor, Sep 22 2001

I really don't see why one would need a whole OS for this. Perhaps an FS module would do. HFS and BFS are somewhat relational. There are also several implementations of this idea on Linux. And of course, there's the upcoming WinFS, by Microsoft.

I'm currently looking into the merits of doing a study on this topic. I've seen a great deal of commentary on matter, both positive and negative. What do you think?
-- pvenegas, Jul 06 2004

random, halfbakery