Future of operating systems

JazzSinatra

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What do you think? Will Microsoft (possible Windows) and Linux based operating systems dominate market still in for example 20 years to future? Some technologies seems to last for ever (for example QWERTY).
 

Cthulhux

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I hope Linux implodes soon.

QWERTY is surely a technique that should have been replaced long ago, but our muscle memory has become used to it - and learning a layout that is only available on the minority of computers will probably not really improve your productivity at all.

Generally, however, the question should be whether computers with actual keyboards will still dominate in 20 years. And I am really afraid of the future here.
 
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JazzSinatra

JazzSinatra

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I hope Linux implodes soon.

QWERTY is surely a technique that should have been replaced long ago, but our muscle memory has become used to it - and learning a layout that is only available on the minority of computers will probably not really improve your productivity at all.

Generally, however, the question should be whether computers with actual keyboards will still dominate in 20 years. And I am really afraid of the future here.
About the QWERTY, I recommend to read this:


"majority of key strokes to the home row, the Dvorak layout uses about 63% of the finger motion required by QWERTY, which is claimed to make the keyboard more ergonomic.[25] In fact, it has been estimated that during a typical 8-hour day a typist's fingers will travel 25 kilometers (16 mi) on a QWERTY keyboard and only 1.6 kilometers (1 mi) on a Dvorak keyboard.[citation needed] Because the Dvorak layout requires less finger motion from the typist compared to QWERTY, some users with repetitive strain injuries have reported that switching from QWERTY to Dvorak alleviated or even eliminated their repetitive strain injuries;[26][27] however, no scientific study has been conducted verifying this.[28]"

It’s strange how hard is to replace old tech, even if new one is objectively significantly better.
 

Cthulhux

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I am German, I need my umlauts, so Dvorak is out of the question here. I know that there are alternatives, like Colemak and Neo, but, again, I use a variety of (own and not own) computers, including smartphones, so I cannot make sure that all of them come with the particular layout. QWERTZ has it quirks.

(I guess we're drifting into off-topic though.)
 
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JazzSinatra

JazzSinatra

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I am German, I need my umlauts, so Dvorak is out of the question here. I know that there are alternatives, like Colemak and Neo, but, again, I use a variety of (own and not own) computers, including smartphones, so I cannot make sure that all of them come with the particular layout. QWERTZ has it quirks.

(I guess we're drifting into off-topic though.)
We (finns) also use umlauts. There is also a version of Dvorak which has umlauts. We also have own layout which is designed to write Finnish (DAS-layout) . Although neither Dvorak or DAS is widely used here.
 

CraigHB

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Man it would drive me nuts to switch keyboard layout. But yeah, qwerty is pretty inefficient.

I don't know about twenty years, that's probably not long enough to see any real change. Fifty would be more like it. Maybe direct brain to device interface by then.

Though in twenty years we could see changes in the dominant products. Whatever it is I hope it's not Linux, Windows, or Android. None of those I think are particularly great. Linux does seem like it's on the fast track to implosion.
 

drhowarddrfine

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Microsoft is already inserting their influence on Linux and, if MS manages to stay afloat, will completely absorb Linux to where it is offered as an alternative--if not a replacement--for Windows. Even Linux users, who already praise Microsoft for where they've absorbed Linux and inserted Microsoft products, will buy "Microsoft Linux" and shun all the current options. This absorption by Microsoft has already started and, I suspect, "Microsoft Linux" will be introduced in five to 10 years.

But I don't care. I'll be running FreeBSD and don't need to be told how to think, what to use and how to use it.
 

rigoletto@

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I am German, I need my umlauts, so Dvorak is out of the question here. I know that there are alternatives, like Colemak and Neo, but, again, I use a variety of (own and not own) computers, including smartphones, so I cannot make sure that all of them come with the particular layout. QWERTZ has it quirks.

(I guess we're drifting into off-topic though.)
We still have these languages with complex modified latin alphabet like Czech, Polish, Turkish, and non-latin like Greek, all languages based on Cyrillic, Chinese, Japanese, Hindi and many others to Dvorak and similars are completelly no-go.
 

getopt

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Niels Bohr said:
Prediction is very difficult, specially if it is about the future.
There is no reliable Pythia and never was, except in the story telling of the Ancient Greeks. So what to "think"?

I think you need a model before attempting to predict anything and "20 years" would be no serious parameter.

But that does not stop humans to waffle about the future. It does tell you nothing about the future but a lot about the people who cannot hold on. The rest is entertainment and the betting business.

QUERTY is no technology. It is a design of a keyboard. The technology of keyboards changed from mechanical to electromechanical. Using sensors for keyboards is another technology.
 

xtremae

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Unless there is a breakthrough to accelerate mass adoption of an alternative computation paradigm (quantum, carbon nanotubes, or something else) trends will largely remain the same. Assuming this forum and I exist in 20 years, I will come back to evaluate my prediction.
 

Crivens

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In the beginning, one computer could only run one program. Then one at a time. Then many at a time.
Virtual memory and syscalls were invented to give a program the idea it would be alone on a computer. And programs got more complex. Now we have containers where a program simulates a dedicated machine which provides virtual address spaces to programs. I have no idea how the next shell of the matroshka is going to be painted.
 

xtremae

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Crivens Maybe something like google's fuchsia that implements containers as a natively developed first class citizen instead of an add-on. Combined with the fact that it uses a microkernel, you can contain much more than just applications and services. In fact a filesystem in fuchsia is just another service. For better or worse, things evolve in interesting ways.
 

kpedersen

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My prediction is not entirely positive and I reckon consumer operating systems (i.e 99%) will be extremely locked down with very little but a web browser by default. You will then be tied to "app stores" where you can only install and run "signed software" (basically with a strict DRM).
Development tools will be web based where you need to pay a subscription to access them and then pay another subscription monthly to allow your hardware to execute and debug provisionally signed applications.
The main alternative to this app store approach will be streaming applications, particularly games and videos so you will be very dependent on an internet connection. Again development tools will be completely web based and you will not be able to host the streaming servers yourself.
And the funny thing is that consumers will be fine with this. They will have been told it is for their "safety" and only bad people such as pedophiles need to use "open platforms" XD.
Consumers will get quite used to seeing adverts on their desktops and possibly pay a subscription for reducing the number of adverts as part of the "premium" offering.

None of these schemes are new. Android, Microsoft and Apple are individually doing parts of it. If one company ends up being dominant, then they will probably tie all these lock-down mechanisms together into one terrible experience.
This is obviously not sustainable so a new locked down platform will appear every few decades, do largely the same sort of crap and then disappear again creating a cycle of "non-innovation" and OS development will stagnate for hundreds of years.
 

Phishfry

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OJ

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I would tend to agree with kpedersen regarding consumer operating systems. The future is not looking good.

The Operating System landscape is much broader than what the consumer is directly exposed to though. I think that some of the basic standards for computing and commutations will not fade so readily for those of us who take a more hands-on approach. We don't necessarily have to follow the market for all our purposes and there will be alternative avenues for us to explore for quite some time.

But in any case, when it comes to Operating Systems in general, the current landscape is not just what it may seem. The joke in 2017 that this was the year of Minix on the desktop was more than just funny - it was a heads up that we're not just running one OS at any one time. Operating Systems are used in various situations for different purposes, and consumer level Operating Systems are only a part of the picture.
 

ralphbsz

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Will Microsoft (possible Windows) and Linux based operating systems dominate market ...
You seem to assume that there is going to be an OS market, namely a place with buyers and sellers. That is already getting to be untrue. The vast majority of all computers in the world run an OS that the user never paid for directly. If you look at server machines, the vast majority run Linux, which is (by construction) free. If you look at desktop clients, the vast majority run Windows, but most didn't actually buy it, it came "free" with the purchase of the hardware, which means that the end user didn't have a choice, instead the hardware vendor (HP, Acer, ...) gave a small amount to Microsoft. The second largest desktop OS (MacOS) is by construction free, but only to people who have purchased Mac hardware. Of the people who re-install OSes that can be bought (nearly always Windows), the bulk do not actually pay for the copy, but install either free student copies (Windows is free for high school and college students), or use pirated copies. Then there is the mobile market (a large fraction of all computers in the world are mobile), but there you don't even have a choice of OS, nor can you purchase one: If you have an iPhone, you get your free iOS, and otherwise you get your free Android, end of discussion.

Your question should be: Will Microsoft and Linux dominate OS development? In the case of Linux, I'm sure that for the next 20 or so years it will be the most common OS for servers, or something derived from it. There is such a huge investment in it. In the case of Windows for servers (which still exists), I have my doubts; with Microsoft switching to a Linux base underneath their Azure cloud windows instances, that seems to be the end. I think desktop computing will become irrelevant, as we are going to go to a mobile-only cloud-based world, with the operating systems being iOS, Android, ChromeOS (which is now Linux-based), and so on.

I hope Linux implodes soon.
Why? It is a very good solution for many problems. For example, every single supercomputer on the Top500 list runs Linux. The vast majority of all servers in the world run Linux (the fraction is probably near 100% among the FAANG and cloud companies, with the notable exception of MS Azure).

Do I like to personally administer Linux? No. But I accept that it works really well, and I use dozens or hundreds of Linux machines, pretty successfully.

Whatever it is I hope it's not Linux, Windows, or Android. None of those I think are particularly great.
Why not? The fact that they solve people's problems more efficiently than the alternatives demonstrate that they are better than other options. If we assume that computer users are rational, then we have to conclude that the tools they use are the best tools available. And since Linux, Windows and Android are leaders in the market place, they must be the best available OSes, QED. You may not personally like them, and that's your choice: you don't have to use them.

Linux does seem like it's on the fast track to implosion.
I think it's rather on the fast track to world domination.

Even Linux users, who already praise Microsoft for where they've absorbed Linux and inserted Microsoft products, ...
I don't think you mean "Linux users". I think you mean "Linux evangelists and clueless people in the blogosphere". Who are the real Linux users? They are the CIOs of companies that decide which OS to run; they are the technical people running supercomputers with hundreds of thousands of nodes, and clouds with millions of nodes. These are the folks who make decisions about whether and how to use Linux. And I'm quite sure you haven't heard any of them praise Microsoft products. Not because they dislike Microsoft, but because they tend to not speak in public.

Do not confuse the press and internet chatter with decision makers.
 

Hakaba

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My prediction:
Multics / terminal / ...
One computer for several user.

Windows / Atari / Linux (as a deep configurable OS) / Mac Os
One computer for one user*

iOS / Androïd / smart car, smart TV / smart whatyouwant :
Several computer for one user.

My prediction then :
Several computers for several users

The cost of hardware and the cost of OS is very low. The «cloud» has all you need to restore your information everywhere. Why a consumer will use a smartphone in a store if the store has multiple screen with the right information (check list in this use case) ?
A check list ordered to decrease the time passed in the store and a take and go tech to pay with no action... The client use store's computers to «digitalize» his experience and that right for all client.

In enterprise, (like Google) you will use a specific/optimized computer for a task and change the computer for another task. As an exemple, if you make a presentation, you will use the smart TV that can read your powerpoint/keynote/... Despite using you laptop and try to find a USB3/HDMI adaptator.

*even if it's possible to use the same computer for more users, the usage is not here. In all my recent job, the company propose one computer per employee... The computer is linked to AD and the hard drive is locked (encrypted) with one password...
 

drhowarddrfine

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ralphbsz Yes. I mean the countless hobbyists on hobbyist forums like reddit and other sinkholes where today's fact was yesterday's headline or advertisement.
 

drhowarddrfine

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JazzSinatra Yeah, Quora used to be pretty good, and there are some pretty authoritative and good questions and replies still there but, like Stack Overflow, it became popular and now you get so many questions and answers by some of the dumbest people on the planet--mostly redditors--that it's no longer worth visiting.
 

ronaldlees

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I hope Linux implodes soon.

QWERTY is surely a technique that should have been replaced long ago, but our muscle memory has become used to it - and learning a layout that is only available on the minority of computers will probably not really improve your productivity at all.

Generally, however, the question should be whether computers with actual keyboards will still dominate in 20 years. And I am really afraid of the future here.
Good reason to be afraid: the Mind/Machine interface is the siren's seduction for the Singularity.
 
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