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 Post subject: Project Oberon
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2007 5:40 am 
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Place to discuss Wirth & Gutknecht's Book "Project Oberon" (located on the Books wiki page)


Last edited by Bernhard on Sat Nov 10, 2007 8:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2007 5:41 am 
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???


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2007 6:27 am 
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I haven't even heard of this system until I searched for it, I can't say I find it the least bit interesting though.. :wink:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oberon_operating_system

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2007 7:18 am 
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Same here.

I scanned the document about the project for about 2 mins and came up with the following:

Quote:
In practice, the design of the Oberon runtime model as described in Chapters 3, 4 and 5 proved to be basically flawless and sustainable.


Why aren't we all using it then? :twisted:

Quote:
...the Oberon System basically assumes three [mouse] buttons to be available...


Great. The system basically doesn't let you work without 3 mouse buttons. It also assumes that the LMB is for setting a position, the MMB for issuing commands and the RMB for selecting items. Sounds a little inflexible - what else does it assume about hardware?

Quote:
Recently, it has become fashionable to use overlapping windows mirroring documents being piled up on one's desk. We have found this metaphor not entirely convincing...

It is a good example of a case where the benefit of a complication is incommensurate with its cost. Therefore, we have chosen a solution that is much simpler to realize, yet has no genuine disadvantages compared to overlapping windows: tiled viewers.


Taskbar, anyone?

Cheers,
Adam


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2007 7:42 am 
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Quote:
tiled viewers.


Uh... I actually like to have windows overlap partially. In every non-trivial application GUI there is much window space that is useful, but not actually in-use, so I frequently have my text editor partially overlap a browser window in a way that I still see that part of the browser window that's interesting to me (a drawing, for example).

Actually, I am quite annoyed at Windows XP for not properly supporting window ordering. On AmigaOS, I was quite satisfied with having the currently active window not being on top, and being able to fine-tune the ordering of windows on screen to maximum efficiency.

I feel this is the same thing as with CPU clock cycles, repeated with screen real estate. We have so much more than we had ten years ago, let's not bother with using it efficiently...

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2007 10:06 am 
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Solar wrote:
Uh... I actually like to have windows overlap partially.


My main problem with the whole thing is that Oberon seems not to give you a choice about whether you want tiling or overlapping.

I believe Windows 3.1 used to provide 'tile' or 'cascade' modes - I wonder why that never got carried through to later versions (unless I've missed it!).

[a bit OT] By far my preferred option with modern PC's is using a dual screen setup :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2007 10:07 am 
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Solar wrote:
....I frequently have my text editor partially overlap a browser window in a way that I still see that part of the browser window that's interesting to me...

Exactly! I find that considerably useful... :wink:

I keep a text editor "always-on-top" of the application below... especially when reading documentation! :lol:

So I can take a few notes.. 8)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2007 8:48 pm 
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AJ wrote:
I believe Windows 3.1 used to provide 'tile' or 'cascade' modes - I wonder why that never got carried through to later versions (unless I've missed it!).


How about right clicking on the taskbar, you should see them there. ;)


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2007 1:55 am 
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:oops:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 12:34 pm 
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AJ wrote:
I believe Windows 3.1 used to provide 'tile' or 'cascade' modes - I wonder why that never got carried through to later versions (unless I've missed it!).


it was -- try right-clicking on the task-bar -- there are options for both cascading and tileing

they never went away -- its just that most people dont use them (personally, i prefer to run most of my programs (especially my browser -- but for some reason not notepad) fullscreen) instead preferring to manually adjust the size and position of each window to their own preferred size and location

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 Post subject: Tiled Viewers task bars etc.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 3:10 am 
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Everybody should note that the book describes an operating system designed 22 and finished 18 years ago. It has to be compared to Windows 1.0 and or MacOS in its first years.

The current version BlueBottle (which is partially described in an appendix of the online version) has a zooming user interface.

Bernhard


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 Post subject: Re: Tiled Viewers task bars etc.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 7:47 am 
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Bernhard wrote:
...which is partially described in an appendix of the online version...


Generally very bad presentation, both by the project homepage, and by you here, Bernhard.

The most important question is: Why?

What makes this OS special? Why should one be interested in it?

Why should we discuss it here?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 3:30 pm 
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The benefit of Oberon is that it is a modular system. The operating system and user developed modules are on the same footing. One can easily intermix the two.

For those with a Windows box you can use BlackBox/Component Pascal which has the same interface look and feel as Windows (overlapping windows or cascaded).

I believe the reason Oberon is not mainstream is the same reason the National Semiconductors NS16000 chip never took off. The chip had an extremely regular instruction set with direct memory addressing without segmentation. Unfortunately the x86 architecture from Intel was already well established. The same goes for Oberon verses Windows and Unix. The best systems do not always win.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 3:59 pm 
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DGDanforth wrote:
The operating system and user developed modules are on the same footing.
Wouldn't that be a huge security issue?

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 Post subject: Oberon security
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 4:08 pm 
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Security depends upon what you export from the modules.
One can choose to put (1) only the compiled code (2) code plus interface (3) source plus interface plus code.
The later (3) is the least secure. The first (1) is the most secure.

Note, linkage is done at runtime so modules can be dropped in during execution (or removed depending upon their interdependency)

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