How I work

Every computer and every operating system that I’ve ever used has always made the claim of making things easy. You know the message “it just works”.

I’ve worked with many operating systems. I’ve always joked that the last time I really understood how a computer worked was with my original TRS-80. Everything was driven from the command line and every instruction had to be explicitly typed in order for it to work.

Certainly, we’ve moved on since then. MS-DOS, QNX, Windows, MacOS, Linux, ChromeOS, iOS, and Android – I’ve had a crack at them all. The irony is that as operating systems get more sophisticated, the further that I get away from really knowing what’s going on. Now, a single click can make incredible “magic” happen on the machine.

At times, I really do feel like I’ve lost control. I’ve just become so accustomed to the “magic” actually happening. Does the computer work for me or do I work for the computer – or rather is what I do dependent upon how the computer expects that I’m going to use it. Or does it really matter; is the end use productivity what really matters?

It’s a philosophical question that I have every now and again. Not frequently; I’m not obsessed with it, but every now and again. For example, why did I embrace the concept of “folders” rather than “directories’. I don’t ever remember wanting to do that; it just had to happen because I was told I had to do it!

What if another operating system came along? What if it had another change in paradigm was on the horizon?

That’s one of the reasons that I’ve been reading about the development of Fuchsia – an operating system that will harmonize ChromeOS and Android.

Now, there’s a chance to peek at what it might look like? A demonstration that you can run in your browser is available here.

There’s no doubt that this comes from Google, is there?

On the landing page, only the ability to log in as Guest is available. And, a sense of what might be follows. The big change that had me going was something as simple as the cursor. It’s kind of fuchsia!

The documentation, while way over my head, was interesting to read and poke around with.

It’s interesting to experiment, read, and wonder. Is this in my future?

Author: dougpete

The content of this blog is generated by whatever strikes my fancy at any given point. It might be computers, weather, political, or something else in nature. I experiment and comment a lot on things so don't take anything here too seriously; I might change my mind a day later but what you read is my thought and opinion at the time I wrote it! My personal website is at: http://www.dougpeterson.ca Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dougpete I'm bookmarking things at: http://www.diigo.com/user/dougpete

3 thoughts on “How I work”

  1. Back in the day I was intimately familiar with the internal code of a number of operating systems. In fact at one point I was on an OS development team and was responsible for building it and the installation processes. I also wrote, from scratch, the user interface for the print and batch subsystem, updated the error logger and reporter, updated the crash dump analyzer, and even updated the login and log out utilities. Legend has it I could get that familiar with Linux if I wanted to but, well, been there done that.

    These days I am happy stuff just works. I’ve used a great many operating systems and changed with the times for the most part. Things that used to be hard are now easy. Things that used to be easy are now hard. It balances out I think. Especially phone operating systems. Figuring out what files are on it or details about what is using memory or CPU is hard.

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