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 Post subject: Re: The "Good News, Bad News" thread
PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 6:18 pm 
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TightCoderEx wrote:
Excerpt from article:

Android now world’s most popular operating system in terms of internet usage

Android is no more an operating system than Redhat, Mandrake or Ubuntu. It is just simply a GUI riding atop the Linux kernel. What would make a more interesting article is NT vs Linux. For the multitudes, these colloquial connotations may resonate to varying degrees, but I would venture to say, the author of that article is no better informed than they are.


If you define an OS not just by its kernel but also by its suite of standard tools, user environment and programming environment then it's quite fair to call Android an OS in its own right.

Also as a personal aside, except for programming and gaming, I use a Samsung tablet as my daily driver for web browsing, emails, banking, ect. For most people, I think this covers 90% of what they would use a home PC for so why would your regular user ever even buy a PC anymore?


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 Post subject: Re: The "Good News, Bad News" thread
PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 12:07 am 
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Hi,

StudlyCaps wrote:
Also as a personal aside, except for programming and gaming, I use a Samsung tablet as my daily driver for web browsing, emails, banking, ect. For most people, I think this covers 90% of what they would use a home PC for so why would your regular user ever even buy a PC anymore?


"Computer usage" is extremely varied, and it's very hard to guess what any person might use computers for and impossible to list all the things that a PC can do. Some people are into creating and editing movies, some people use CAD software to design furniture, some people use desktop publishing to create newsletters for community groups, some use spreadsheets to work out their personal finances (or for other things), some people design electronic circuit boards as a hobby, some run some sort of personal server (HTTP, Minecraft, etc) at home, some use it for reliable storage and file synchronisation for other devices, some compose music, some create mods for games, some like donating processing time (SETI@home, Folding@home, etc), some do bitcoin mining, etc.

Devices like smartphones are fine for some things (and are better/more convenient for some things), but they're also useless for other things.

Ideally, what we should be striving for is both, with proper integration between everything. For example, if you imagine a stereotypical "2 parents with 2.4 children" family; then you could imagine a wifi network consisting of a small number of PCs being used for everything a smartphone can't do (media center, gaming, http proxy cache, whatever) in addition to various "satellite" smartphone/tablet devices; where all of the smartphones, tablets and PCs are running a distributed OS that allows (e.g.) smartphones/tablets to seamlessly offload any heavy processing and/or storage to the PCs and allows (e.g.) running applications to be seamlessly transferred between devices (so that someone using a tiny smartphone screen could switch to using the huge screen in the lounge room without stopping/restarting their applications).

Unfortunately, we're probably never going to see an OS that doesn't suck, because companies are only interested in creating "isolated walled gardens". This means that we'll probably never escape from the false dichotomy (where consumers choose between smartphone or PC and are denied the ability to choose "smartphone and PC").


Cheers,

Brendan

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 Post subject: Re: The "Good News, Bad News" thread
PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 12:54 am 
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For many years, people have used a smartphone, tablet and PC in a way that does not fundamentally differ from the above. I may quickly read this discussion on a smartphone and then "seamlessly" reply on a PC. It is true that the integration is not "proper" but the big picture is the same. Implementation details may change, of course, and there is a lot of room for improvement.

StudlyCaps wrote:
For most people, I think this covers 90% of what they would use a home PC for so why would your regular user ever even buy a PC anymore?


As a fan of workstation PCs I somehow feel uncomfortable and it is hard to "accept" this. However, it is happening and underestimating the threat to the PCs may help temporarily but the trend is clear. PCs are used if you are a producer (the "10%") and other devices when you are a consumer (the "90%") if we wanted to generalize about the situation.

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 Post subject: Re: The "Good News, Bad News" thread
PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 4:17 am 
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Brendan wrote:
Ideally, what we should be striving for is both, with proper integration between everything. For example, if you imagine a stereotypical "2 parents with 2.4 children" family; then you could imagine a wifi network consisting of a small number of PCs being used for everything a smartphone can't do (media center, gaming, http proxy cache, whatever) in addition to various "satellite" smartphone/tablet devices; where all of the smartphones, tablets and PCs are running a distributed OS that allows (e.g.) smartphones/tablets to seamlessly offload any heavy processing and/or storage to the PCs and allows (e.g.) running applications to be seamlessly transferred between devices (so that someone using a tiny smartphone screen could switch to using the huge screen in the lounge room without stopping/restarting their applications).


That's what i wanted to do for the last 10 years and still do want. I am pretty sure we will get there and some OS will not suck too much (heh) to be usable for this.

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 Post subject: Re: The "Good News, Bad News" thread
PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:16 pm 
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Brendan wrote:
Unfortunately, we're probably never going to see an OS that doesn't suck, because companies are only interested in creating "isolated walled gardens". This means that we'll probably never escape from the false dichotomy (where consumers choose between smartphone or PC and are denied the ability to choose "smartphone and PC").

I doubt we won't see a "smartphone and PC", in fact the vendors are ultimately wanting to push for mobile to kill PCs (with "laptopized" tablets taking over the role that PCs have currently). The walled gardens have more to do with brands instead, and as of right now it pretty much boils down (if we stick to what's relevant) to iOS vs Android (unless Microsoft can get their act together).

And yeah, let's not forget that one big push PCs have in workplace is that they're used at home too. But now the latter is not happening, and the moment you can have a laptop-form device running Android or iOS with the kind of productivity software needed at offices, you can say good-bye to PCs. The biggest problem them will be how closed the new platforms will be, because as it is right now, they're very closed (Android at least allows sideloading, but that doesn't help with the hardware itself being all completely unique in each single device model aside maybe from the CPU being some variant of ARM, the situation is even worse than on PC), and if they remain closed, well expect all sorts of abuse in the long term.

EDIT: and just to make it clear, yes I'm aware that Windows is still the elephant in the room. This is not something that will happen overnight, and during this period Microsoft may manage to convince everybody to use Windows on non-PC platforms.


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 Post subject: Re: The "Good News, Bad News" thread
PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 6:24 pm 
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As OS devvers I think we're all part of that group who need the flexibility and ease of use that you can only get from a desktop (or workstation laptop). One concern I have is that with a shrinking market share of consumer desktops, the commodity hardware market will start to die out and we'll go back to the days where only HP and similar vendors sell PCs and they're OEMs costing ~$4k.

Brendan wrote:
Unfortunately, we're probably never going to see an OS that doesn't suck, because companies are only interested in creating "isolated walled gardens". This means that we'll probably never escape from the false dichotomy (where consumers choose between smartphone or PC and are denied the ability to choose "smartphone and PC").


This seems to be the nature of the industry at the moment unfortunately. I think part of it is the massive barrier of entry and the ease of locking out competitors that is inherent in OSs as a market, from a businesses POV there is no downside to forming a monopoly. Microsoft, Apple and Google also have to be very aggressive in defending their market share because anything other than complete domination of an sector of the market dooms you to obscurity.

Not saying it's a good situation, but it is the situation we have.

Maybe we'll just have to make the perfect, multi-platform, integrated OS ourselves :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: The "Good News, Bad News" thread
PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 1:45 am 
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Hi,

Sik wrote:
Brendan wrote:
Unfortunately, we're probably never going to see an OS that doesn't suck, because companies are only interested in creating "isolated walled gardens". This means that we'll probably never escape from the false dichotomy (where consumers choose between smartphone or PC and are denied the ability to choose "smartphone and PC").

I doubt we won't see a "smartphone and PC",


So far there's been incredibly little support for people using both smartphone and PC - file sharing, and almost nothing else. There's also very little support for people using two or more PCs (or two or more smartphones). The ability to (e.g.) shift an application's window (both input and output) to a different computer, or (e.g.) automatically decide which computer an application should run on (based on load balancing, etc) when it's started, simply doesn't exist. Everything (programming languages, APIs, operating systems, etc) is designed for a "single computer" assumption; and everything would need to be redesigned. Ideally; this would include splitting "application" into multiple pieces so that those pieces can be spread across multiple computers (e.g. where pieces of the application that don't cause much CPU load can run on a smartphone while other parts of the same application that do heavy processing are run on 1 or more PCs).

Sik wrote:
in fact the vendors are ultimately wanting to push for mobile to kill PCs (with "laptopized" tablets taking over the role that PCs have currently). The walled gardens have more to do with brands instead, and as of right now it pretty much boils down (if we stick to what's relevant) to iOS vs Android (unless Microsoft can get their act together).


Killing PCs is "smartphone/tablet only" and is not "smartphone and PC at the same time". Killing PCs is also never going to happen. People that want/need PCs (for whatever reason) have always existed and will always exist.

Think of it like this...

Once upon a time there was only massive mainframes, so everyone used massive mainframes (or nothing) even though something that didn't exist would've been more suitable for some of these people. Then servers came along, and some people shifted to servers, but the people that needed mainframes never did and mainframes still exist today. Some of the people were using servers even though something that didn't exist would've been more suitable.

Then desktop machines came along, and some people shifted to desktop machines, but the people that needed servers never did, and both servers and mainframes still exist today. Some of the people were using desktop machines even though something that didn't exist would've been more suitable.

Then laptop machines came along, and some people shifted to laptops, but the people that needed desktop machines never did, and desktop machines and servers and mainframes all still exist today. Some of the people were using laptop even though something that didn't exist would've been more suitable.

Then smartphones and tablets came along, and some people shifted to smartphones and tablets, but the people that needed laptops still haven't shifted and never will; and laptops and desktop machines and servers and mainframes will all still continue to exist. It's likely that some people are using smartphones and tablets even though something that doesn't exist yet would been more suitable. It's likely that sooner or later people using smartphones and tablets will shift to something else when it does exist.

Sik wrote:
And yeah, let's not forget that one big push PCs have in workplace is that they're used at home too.


No. Workplaces and homes adopted PCs as they became affordable. Businesses were able to afford them sooner and started adopting them sooner. There was no "big push" in any direction (other than technology pushing the price down).

Sik wrote:
But now the latter is not happening, and the moment you can have a laptop-form device running Android or iOS with the kind of productivity software needed at offices, you can say good-bye to PCs.


Sure, you can (almost) replace your "laptop personal computer (that is 80x86)" with a "laptop personal computer (that isn't 80x86)"; but this has nothing to do with smartphones/tablets replacing PCs. In the same way, you've (almost) always been able to replace a "server (that is 80x86)" with a "server (that is not 80x86)" and you'll still be using a server.

Sik wrote:
The biggest problem them will be how closed the new platforms will be, because as it is right now, they're very closed (Android at least allows sideloading, but that doesn't help with the hardware itself being all completely unique in each single device model aside maybe from the CPU being some variant of ARM, the situation is even worse than on PC), and if they remain closed, well expect all sorts of abuse in the long term.


For ARM servers (if they ever exist beyond hype) it's going to be "almost identical to 80x86, with UEFI and ACPI and PCI and all the exact same standards; just with a different instruction set". I'd assume that "ARM workstation" (if they ever exist beyond hype) will follow (literally the same motherboards would be used for workstation and server), and then "ARM desktop" (if they ever exist beyond hype) will follow that. "ARM laptop" will eventually end up adopting the same "everything identical to 80x86 except instruction set" platform; but that will take a lot longer because "non-standard vendor lock-in trash" (rising up from smartphone/tablet) will get their first and will take a while before the extra costs of maintaining firmware/OS for "non-standard" causes its death.

Sik wrote:
EDIT: and just to make it clear, yes I'm aware that Windows is still the elephant in the room. This is not something that will happen overnight, and during this period Microsoft may manage to convince everybody to use Windows on non-PC platforms.


Microsoft already has Windows10 ported to "everything identical to 80x86 except ARM instruction set" for server, workstation, desktop and laptop. Ironically, (at least for laptops and larger) Microsoft will probably act as our ally in the fight against "non-standard vendor lock-in trash".


Cheers,

Brendan

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 Post subject: Re: The "Good News, Bad News" thread
PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 1:16 pm 
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Your whole argument is full of implicit assumptions about what makes something good. It's hard to really take that kind of argument seriously, when you haven't convinced anyone but yourself that a distributed home OS is even worthwhile.

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 Post subject: Re: The "Good News, Bad News" thread
PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 2:19 pm 
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Hi,

Rusky wrote:
Your whole argument is full of implicit assumptions about what makes something good. It's hard to really take that kind of argument seriously, when you haven't convinced anyone but yourself that a distributed home OS is even worthwhile.


You're reacting to completely unrelated things from a completely different topic (that you don't fully understand); and looking for excuses to lash out, and behaving like a troll because of it. You don't want to continue down this path.


Cheers,

Brendan

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 Post subject: Re: The "Good News, Bad News" thread
PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 2:50 pm 
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I'm reacting to this, and the posts that precede it in this thread (and, sure, previous threads, but not the one you seem to be implying):

Brendan wrote:
Sik wrote:
Brendan wrote:
Unfortunately, we're probably never going to see an OS that doesn't suck, because companies are only interested in creating "isolated walled gardens". This means that we'll probably never escape from the false dichotomy (where consumers choose between smartphone or PC and are denied the ability to choose "smartphone and PC").

I doubt we won't see a "smartphone and PC",


So far there's been incredibly little support for people using both smartphone and PC - file sharing, and almost nothing else. There's also very little support for people using two or more PCs (or two or more smartphones). The ability to (e.g.) shift an application's window (both input and output) to a different computer, or (e.g.) automatically decide which computer an application should run on (based on load balancing, etc) when it's started, simply doesn't exist. Everything (programming languages, APIs, operating systems, etc) is designed for a "single computer" assumption; and everything would need to be redesigned. Ideally; this would include splitting "application" into multiple pieces so that those pieces can be spread across multiple computers (e.g. where pieces of the application that don't cause much CPU load can run on a smartphone while other parts of the same application that do heavy processing are run on 1 or more PCs).

You seem to be asserting that the only possible "OS that doesn't suck" is one with these properties. These are the implicit, unargued assumptions I'm referring to. I would like to continue down a path where OS design discussions can go in other directions without your bullshit derailing every thread into a debate about the merits of your OS design.

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 Post subject: Re: The "Good News, Bad News" thread
PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 3:43 pm 
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Hi,

Rusky wrote:
I'm reacting to this, and the posts that precede it in this thread (and, sure, previous threads, but not the ones you seem to be implying):

Brendan wrote:
Sik wrote:
I doubt we won't see a "smartphone and PC",


So far there's been incredibly little support for people using both smartphone and PC - file sharing, and almost nothing else. There's also very little support for people using two or more PCs (or two or more smartphones). The ability to (e.g.) shift an application's window (both input and output) to a different computer, or (e.g.) automatically decide which computer an application should run on (based on load balancing, etc) when it's started, simply doesn't exist. Everything (programming languages, APIs, operating systems, etc) is designed for a "single computer" assumption; and everything would need to be redesigned. Ideally; this would include splitting "application" into multiple pieces so that those pieces can be spread across multiple computers (e.g. where pieces of the application that don't cause much CPU load can run on a smartphone while other parts of the same application that do heavy processing are run on 1 or more PCs).


Note: To me, it looked like Sik thought that (for "smartphone and PC") I was talking about some kind of convertible device (e.g. a smartphone you can plug into a docking station with keyboard, large monitors, etc to make it similar to a desktop). For this reason part of my motivation was to make it clear that when I said "smartphone and PC" I was talking about people using both smartphone and PC as separate physical computers. Yes, I "stole" a few ideas from project to do this.

Rusky wrote:
You seem to be asserting that the only possible "OS that doesn't suck" is one with these properties. These are the implicit, unargued assumptions I'm referring to. I would like to continue down a path where OS design discussions can go in other directions without your bullshit derailing every thread into an argument about the merits of your OS design.


You seem to be asserting that there are other ways to increase the integration between smartphone and PC, and you state that you would like to continue the discussion in other directions; but you fail to mention any other ways of increasing integration and fail to continue the discussion in any other direction. I think your only goal is to criticise, and you've provided nothing that suggests otherwise.


Cheers,

Brendan

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 Post subject: Re: The "Good News, Bad News" thread
PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:11 pm 
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Brendan wrote:
You seem to be asserting that there are other ways to increase the integration between smartphone and PC, and you state that you would like to continue the discussion in other directions; but you fail to mention any other ways of increasing integration and fail to continue the discussion in any other direction. I think your only goal is to criticise, and you've provided nothing that suggests otherwise.
Fair enough. (Though, in the past such efforts of mine have not changed your determination to drag every thread into a debate about your design.)

A more interesting direction might be to recognize that smartphones are never going to be useful for running the types of apps you need a PC or laptop for, and thus would not benefit from forcing every app to be a distributed system. They might, instead, benefit from a more focused sort of integration where they do notification and communication.

For example, the sorts of apps that I do run on both PCs and smartphones are email clients, instant messengers, web forums and issue trackers, etc. These apps are all already distributed, and they thus already have all the benefits you describe, at a vastly lower implementation and performance cost.

Most of them still do require more work than necessary to implement, because I use different OSes for desktop and mobile, and those OSes don't share much notification or UI infrastructure. Of course, now we're back on familiar ground for this thread- Windows 10 and similar efforts.

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 Post subject: Re: The "Good News, Bad News" thread
PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:23 pm 
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Hi,

Rusky wrote:
Brendan wrote:
You seem to be asserting that there are other ways to increase the integration between smartphone and PC, and you state that you would like to continue the discussion in other directions; but you fail to mention any other ways of increasing integration and fail to continue the discussion in any other direction. I think your only goal is to criticise, and you've provided nothing that suggests otherwise.
Fair enough. (Though, in the past such efforts of mine have not changed your determination to drag every thread into a debate about your design.)

A more interesting direction might be to recognize that smartphones are never going to be useful for running the types of apps you need a PC or laptop for, and thus would not benefit from forcing every app to be a distributed system. They might, instead, benefit from a more focused sort of integration where they do notification and communication.

For example, the sorts of apps that I do run on both PCs and smartphones are email clients, instant messengers, web forums and issue trackers, etc. These apps are all already distributed, and they thus already have all the benefits you describe, at a vastly lower implementation and performance cost.


That only really works for a "web app" type of scenarios.

For other scenarios there's "audio/video streaming", which is supported (in both directions in various ways; including "to/from game consoles" variations too). Then there's various "file sync" options; various ways of making apps portable between smartphone and PC (and game console too in some cases - e.g. "Universal Windows Platform"); and a few hacks/tricks to allow things like (e.g.) smartphone to be used as a game console controller. For PCs, Microsoft has had "roaming desktop" and "Microsoft Clustering Services" for ages, but they're too awkward to use for smaller (e.g. home) networks, and (as far as I know) haven't been ported over to smartphone (or game console).

All of these things tell me that the big OS vendors (Microsoft, Google, Apple) are trying to push integration (beyond "web apps") and that I'm not the only one that sees the benefits. However, in my opinion, their ability to increase integration is constrained by compatibility - it can only go so far, and that isn't enough to get the full benefits.

Rusky wrote:
Most of them still do require more work than necessary to implement, because I use different OSes for desktop and mobile, and those OSes don't share much notification or UI infrastructure. Of course, now we're back on familiar ground for this thread- Windows 10 and similar efforts.


That's the other problem (one I have no intention of trying to solve) - half of the existing stuff for "integration" doesn't work between different vendor's systems.


Cheers,

Brendan

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