Some stuff I said at BarCamp yesterday, and this post from Smoothspan, got me thinking about operating systems.

First a proviso – I contend that more and more core tasks we use a computer for will move to being created, stored, backed up and catalogued on the web. To read the rest of this post you’ll have to buy into that vision a little.

With that in mind, what is an operating system? It runs a few drivers that control some peripheral stuff. It launches the web browser that allows me to do whatever it is I want to do. But what else?

Seems like a hell of a lot of disk space, code and processing speed for very little actual use. And if this is the case then there is a serious lack of design over this aspect of the way things work.

Here’s laptop (or desktop for that matter) 2.0……

I open the screen and there ain’t no humongous OS to launch so my browser fires up in roughly the time it takes me to adjust my chair for best ergonomics. I scan my retina through the built in webcam and this, via my OpenID (that ones for you Marek!) account I am ready for business, and ready to access whatever service I need. All my apps are (of course) in the ether so there are no issues there.

System tools? Don’t need them, my small solid state hard drive contains the bare essentials, the rest is in the clouds somewhere. Drivers?

Backwards engineering – there’s only a handful of OS’s but hundreds and hundreds of peripheral devices. Solution: backhack. All peripherals are loaded with the few drivers they need to work with the different browsers. The browser puts out its standard message that the peripheral then recognises from its small list of potentials. (This is kind of an exciting concept that I might follow up later).

No big mechanical harddrive and no processor robbing OS gives great battery life. No OS solves lots of buggy crash issues and the entire solution is to hardware what SaaS is to applications. A Designed (capitalisation intentional) solution that, from a user-centric perspective, seeks to do one thing only, solve a users clearly defined aims.

Thoughts anyone? Any hardware (or device driver for that matter) gurus want to tell me I’m dreaming???

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.


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