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On binary drivers and stable interfaces

On binary drivers and stable interfaces

Posted Nov 10, 2005 6:47 UTC (Thu) by cventers (guest, #31465)
In reply to: On binary drivers and stable interfaces by drag
Parent article: On binary drivers and stable interfaces

Just addressing your last point about a single-user OS.

Convex predicted many years ago that the market for specialty computer
hardware would diminish as technology moved forward.

I see the same thing with software, and I think it's really evident. Why
have a special wireless-router OS when it can run Linux? Wireless routers
certainly don't need a full "enterprise UNIX" - VFS, etc...

The stock 2.6 kernel already runs on everything from embedded devices
like wireless routers, TiVOs, cell phones to huge supercomputers, and
save for some places it hasn't fully innovated yet, it shines on every
platform. I'd rather have all the interesting work going into one or a
few open source operating systems than many specialized ones. By having
one Linux kernel, for example, you have lots and lots of developers
working on one product. Compare that to (and please don't let this turn
into a flame war) BSD, where you have OpenBSD, NetBSD and FreeBSD all
working towards somewhat different goals and quite obviously *not* moving
at the pace of Linux.

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On binary drivers and stable interfaces

Posted Nov 11, 2005 2:03 UTC (Fri) by bk (guest, #25617) [Link]

I agree. The single-user OS idea is valid and a good niche to explore, however there's no reason why the Linux kernel can't be part of it. Linux is a *general purpose* kernel, not a Unix operating system in and of itself.

It's a problem of userspace engineering. Although I'm going to be booed for saying it, Lindows (or whatever they're calling it now) tried to fulfill the ideal of a simple consumer desktop OS and got nothing but skepticism from the majority of people. It was single user (root), simple, largely non-configurable, point-and-click everything and so on. You could argue the *implementation* of the idea was sub-optimal (I would agree), but that says nothing about the merit of the core ideal.

Perhaps Lindows didn't go far enough; it still exposed enough of its Linux underpinnings that people reviewed it as if it were just another Linux distribution. Linux 2.6 has the facilities to completely replace the classic Unix user/group security scheme, if one had a lot of ambition and venture capital another attempt at a mass market single-user OS might be worthwhile.

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