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(OT) Your Dream OS

by jdporter (Canon)
on Apr 12, 2012 at 16:30 UTC ( #964782=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Thinking about various operating systems and what makes them more or less preferable to others. So I'd like to put this question to you: If you could create a new OS with the best aspects of other existing systems — a "love child", if you will — what would it have? What are the things that set your favorite system(s) apart?

I'm phrasing the survey like this:

My ideal environment would have:

  • the    (noun)    of Linux,
  • the    (noun)    of Mac, and
  • the    (noun)    of Windows.


My ideal environment would be:

  •    (adjective)    like Linux,
  •    (adjective)    like Mac, and
  •    (adjective)    like Windows.

Feel free to use other systems (Plan9? VMS?) as you like, though I'm mainly interested in these "big 3".

For myself, I think my ideal environment would have:

  • the simplicity, power, and FOSSitude of Linux,
  • the sane and elegant UX of Mac, and
  • the ubiquity (with all that entails — well, all the good stuff, anyway) of Windows.

I reckon we are the only monastery ever to have a dungeon stuffed with 16,000 zombies.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: (OT) Your Dream OS
by luis.roca (Deacon) on Apr 12, 2012 at 18:56 UTC

    Similar to your own:

    • the BSD Kernel and UX of Mac
    • the Open Culture of Linux
    • the Variety of Desktop Software of Windows

    "...the adversities born of well-placed thoughts should be considered mercies rather than misfortunes." Don Quixote
Re: (OT) Your Dream OS
by duelafn (Vicar) on Apr 13, 2012 at 13:58 UTC

    I'll play just so that I can rant

    • the Spit and Polish of MacOS
    • the acceptance/familiarity of Windows - not necessarily ubiquity, just the ability to say "I use FooOS" without having people look at you cross-eyed
    • the Choices and Freedom of the "Linux" stack - yes I do run a custom patched firefox on fvwm

    However, at this point, comparisons like these are just comparing the caricatures of common perception. Chasing these things down to details is slippery. When I was little boy back in old country, one could reasonably say "UI/UX of MacOS > UI/UX of Linux" or "security of Linux > security of Windows". These days, I do not think that there are any clear winners in the major categories. Linux can be made more secure than windows, but out of the box windows beats most linux distributions. A fresh install of a linux distribution that embraces a non-free package repository will play far more media (and other file types) than a fresh install of windows or macos.

    The comparisons can not be made using broad strokes anymore.

    Good Day,

Re: (OT) Your Dream OS
by BrowserUk (Pope) on Apr 13, 2012 at 15:16 UTC
    • cmd.exe
    • The user interface of XP.
    • The stability and reliability of Vista-64.
    • The openness of Linux.
    • The toolset of BSD
    • Nothing whatsoever of the walled-garden, nanny-state of iOS (and soon to be OS-X).

    With the rise and rise of 'Social' network sites: 'Computers are making people easier to use everyday'
    Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
    "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority".
    In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.

    The start of some sanity?

      One thing in particular about interface, is having more than one way to get there.

      You've got everything in the control panel, but Rclick->properties on the desktop, network, computer, etc will get you to the related config GUIs too.

      Another thing I miss is using the drive letters as multiple pointers / dynamic bookmarks into the filesystem.

      Such as, browse to c:\somewhere\out\there\, and then browse to d:\over\the\rainbow\, fiddle around there, and flip back and forth easily. When dealing with two regions of the same drive, subst z: c:\ does the trick

      Not so much an issue these days with GUI file browsing tho ;)

      Nothing whatsoever of the walled-garden, nanny-state of iOS (and soon to be OS-X).

      Oh, come on in. They serve the best coffee, and the young girls with their fashion accessory glasses look so cute.

      Can you elaborate on liking cmd.exe ?

        Can you elaborate on liking cmd.exe ?

        In a nutshell, consistency; with simplicity coming a close second.

        I've effectively been using the same shell for 30 years. From MSDOS through OS/2 through NT to now. I am very familiar with both is possibilities and its limitations. Whilst it has gained a few new extensions here and there over the years, they have come slowly, and been consistent with what has gone before.

        Conversely, sit down at someone else's open *nix console and the first thing you need to do is work out which shell -- and which variant of that shell -- that is running. You then have to find out how it has been customised...

        The problems with *nix shells, are:

        • that there are so many of them;

          And there is no one stand-out leader, which means they all get used and that means that when you pick up someone else's code it may have dependencies on any or all of them.

        • that they try to be programming environments in their own right;

          Many of them are capable enough to encourage people to use them to do quite sophisticated things; but none of them are really capable/maintainable enough for full application development, hence the popularity of proper scripting languages like Perl and similar.

        • that they are so similar, but different;

          Subtle differences are the very worst thing for programmers and sysadmins to get to grips with.

        • that they are so configurable;

          Sit down at any number of *nix programmer's setups and you'll never find two the same. Even if they favour the same shell.

          And take a *nix programmer out of his setup to a newly installed clean system and they will often be at sixs & sevens until they manage to reestablish at least a baseline of setup -- key mappings; ini-files for their favourite tools; personal aliases etc. -- they are comfortable with.

        Many people will see one or more of these as advantages, but like sophisticated programmable editors, I've found that it is very easy to become overly dependent upon highly programmable shells.

        cmd.exe is powerful enough to do most every day tasks; but not powerful enough to warrant trying to do anything sophisticated; therefore very few people attempt to. That means that any applications that require proper programming are written in proper programming languages, and that is a good thing IMO.

        There is a far more powerful Windows shell available -- PowerShell -- but quite frankly, it drives me nuts. Have you ever read through someones CV where they've written it in normal English first, and then gone through it using a thesaurus and switched all the short words for the longest near synonym they could find in an attempt to make it seem "sophisticated". I think the design committee that came up with the PowerShell syntax were paid by the character.

        I guess what I am saying means I'm making a virtue of limited choice. But, think about cars or motorbikes or even airplanes. If you can drive one car, you can pretty much jump into any other car anywhere in the world and drive it away. You may wash the screen instead of signaling your intended direction for the first few attempts; but the major controls all work the same way. Same can be said for the other two.

        With the rise and rise of 'Social' network sites: 'Computers are making people easier to use everyday'
        Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
        "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority".
        In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.

        The start of some sanity?

Re: (OT) Your Dream OS
by JavaFan (Canon) on Apr 13, 2012 at 20:23 UTC
    • The stability of VMS
    • The backwards compatibility of Solaris
    • The design of Plan 9
    • The absence of anything that comes from Windows, Linux or OS X
Re: (OT) Your Dream OS
by nimdokk (Vicar) on Apr 13, 2012 at 12:35 UTC
    Apart from the fact that Every OS Sucks, I like the file versioning and stability of OpenVMS, the UI of OSX, the power of *nix (any flavor or Linux), and well the fact that software is readily available off the shelf for Windows.
Re: (OT) Your Dream OS
by jffry (Hermit) on Apr 13, 2012 at 15:02 UTC
    • The Objective C runtime and Cocoa framework of Mac,
    • The GNU (over BSD) flavor of certain tools in Linux,
    • The video games of Windows.
Re: (OT) Your Dream OS
by jffry (Hermit) on Apr 13, 2012 at 21:05 UTC
    • The immense joy from experimenting with the sound effects API of Atari OS in the 80s,
    • The sheer awe felt using IRIX in the 90s,
    • The lost companionship found gathered around a Sega Genesis,
    • The esoteric mystery hidden behind an OpenFirmware/Forth prompt of an new IBM pSeries 690 in the 2000s.
Re: (OT) Your Dream OS
by Tux (Abbot) on Apr 13, 2012 at 06:19 UTC

    I actualle hate (every version of) AIX, but its journalled file system is fabulous.

    For Linux, the question of what makes it a dream OS very much depends on its use. As a desktop it stands and falls with what you require in the Window Manager and I have founs none yet that fulfills all my wishes: speed, easy of use, dwimmery, minimal (but functional) decoration, looks (without bling-bling) etc etc. I stuck to KDE because of the easy key bindings and the possibility to minimize decoration, but it is still slow and starts too many background processes for functions I don't use but without those background processes KDE won't start.

    In the end ALL software sucks and will cause reasons for hate.

    In Paris (QA Hackathon) I learned that MacOS only supports a very limited set of file systems fr external drives (no FAT32, Ext2, Ext3, or Ext4), which would be yet another reason not to want it (price being the primary reason not to buy a Mac)

    Enjoy, Have FUN! H.Merijn

      I guess I wasn't being clear. For each OS, please name the one (or, if you must, some very few) aspects that you would "copy" into your new, ideal OS. You can think of them as genomes.

      You can provide supporting argumentation if you want, but narrative cluttered with what you don't like about this or that system isn't terribly helpful.

      That being said, I am grateful for everyone's input.

Re: (OT) Your Dream OS
by tobyink (Canon) on Apr 14, 2012 at 18:57 UTC

    Ubuntu Linux is getting pretty good these days. A few years back I might have said it would be nice to have the hardware support that Windows does, but in recent years I can't say I've had many issues in that department.

    GNOME is pretty polished as a desktop, but once you step into the application arena, look and feel becomes hit and miss. GNOME has guidelines in this area but they're not as widely followed as the equivalents in the Mac and Windows worlds.

    perl -E'sub Monkey::do{say$_,for@_,do{($monkey=[caller(0)]->[3])=~s{::}{ }and$monkey}}"Monkey say"->Monkey::do'
Re: (OT) Your Dream OS
by DrHyde (Prior) on Apr 16, 2012 at 10:45 UTC
    I'll take ...
    • the clustering and stability of VMS
    • the UI of SunOS circa 1992-ish
    • the windowing system being a mash-up of NeWS, X11 and Plan 9
    • the consistency of Plan 9
    • the frugality with resources of QNX
    • the scalability of Irix
    • the even-my-mother-can-use-it-ness of iOS and its applications
    • the the-hardware-just-works-ness of anything Apple
    • the FOSSness of Linux or {Free,Net}BSD
    • the documentation of Oracle's databases
    • for the filesystem I want to smash together the elegant simplicity of POSIX, the versioning and ACLs of VMS, the databasey-ness that never really made it into BeOS (I understand that OS/400 has similar concepts, but I've never used that), and networkability of Plan 9
    I would also like a kitten, and for sausages to grow on trees.
Re: (OT) Your Dream OS
by raybies (Chaplain) on Apr 18, 2012 at 13:10 UTC
    my ideal OS would have:

    The vast Hardware Driver/Support of Windows,

    The Security of VMS

    The Polish of Mac OS

    The Perl and the assortment of shell commands of Linux

    For the Price of Linux...

Re: (OT) Your Dream OS
by zentara (Archbishop) on Apr 14, 2012 at 16:32 UTC
Re: (OT) Your Dream OS
by bulk88 (Priest) on Apr 17, 2012 at 23:54 UTC
    NT Kernel/Native API

    BSD command line tools (not GNU)

    BSD TCPIP stack (not Linux or Windows)

    Windows 95/2000 or Classic Mac GUI

    pre Web 2.0 browser and pre Web 2.0 web, Links is fine
Re: (OT) Your Dream OS
by Anonymous Monk on Apr 13, 2012 at 09:31 UTC

    I hate the Mac User eXperience :)

    I like bare-bones WIMP - square windows, taskbar, control panel ... multi-monitor support, of Win2000/XP

    I like the WIMP... virtual desktops of Solaris/CDE

    I like the hardness of Fedora but hate Gnome

Re: (OT) Your Dream OS
by Anonymous Monk on Apr 17, 2012 at 10:38 UTC
    My ideal environment would have:
    • Freedom of Linux
    • Sex appeal of Mac
    • Games of Windows
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