Ronnie05's Blog

Operating systems: The Big Squeeze

Posted in Computing and Operating Systems by Manas Ganguly on February 7, 2009

The Bug Squeeze


Those huge operating systems are citadels of the past! Most of the major OS vendors are designing their next versions of OSs with a smaller footprint! So now, the software concept revolves around JeOS (pronounced “juice”), the Just Enough OS, even as hardware goes mobile like Celio RedFly, an 8-inch screen and keyboard device running applications off a smartphone via a USB or a Bluetooth connection. Thus, this is an era of squeeze for the massive operating systems!


The rationale behind the squeeze is simple: Why do you have to fit a Ferrari 10 cylinder 450 BHP engine when all you require is a Tata Nano in performance!


Reason 1. A smaller code base is easier to develop and manage than a larger one!


Reason 2. Computing has graduated from mainframes, desktops and lap tops to Smart phones, Notebooks and PDAs. Thus hardware resources are also limiting!


The two reasons stated above make the case for a smaller OS a difficult thing to ignore!


To quote Ephraim Schwartz, “Today, Microsoft’s Windows Mobile is a separate code base from the desktop Windows, while Apple’s iPhone OS is a both a subset of and extension of the Mac OS. In both cases, that adds a lot of work for their companies and for application developers. And it means that customers must support an unwieldy number of operating systems.”


Reason 3. The other obvious advantage is that a smaller OS reduces the memory footprint. This reduces the number of applications opened at boot, it reduces memory space usage, reduces battery drainage and in consumer term is effective and fast!


Thus, major OS vendors are designing the next versions of their OS — Windows 7, Linux in its many distributions, and Mac OS X 10.6, aka Snow Leopard — with a smaller footprint.


Reason 4: Mobile devices have a greater dependence on the browser! Thus the OS shrinks giving up much of its role to the browser!


Reason5: Web 2.0 is a liberating medium! There was a time when no one thought that feature rich applications would sit anywhere but the OS. (example Adobe Photoshop). However with Adobe Photoshop migrating to and Photoshop Express (a web 2.0 application), do you really need to load Adobe on your system? Do you need that OS?


Interestingly, Microsoft is in denial over the seizure in dominance of the OS trend. However, the course of lfe and development, being Darwinian (evolution), companies will have to adapt or die as virtualization, cloud computing, the explosion of unique devices, and the desire for more efficient, less costly operating systems all drive the next generation of business users toward smaller, less costly, and more efficient operating environments

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