New Paradigm in Operating Systems

3 Nov 2008 - 10:35am
5 years ago
4 replies
481 reads
Jose E.
2008

Hey IxDA Members,
I was looking for some article or material about new paradigms on the
operating system side; something like a new type of "interface". The Desktop
like paradigm is getting old with all the "Cloud Computing" drums we hear
these days.

My personal opinion is that all the mayor platforms (read Windows, Mac OS
and Linux) are getting really old; and is difficult to address some of the
new challenges of "the cloud" and the "always connected" trend.

Can you point me, to something is been made on this direction? or some
article about the future of UI/UE/Interaction on the Operating System. Or
better if you have some ideas on this matter and you'll like to share will
be great!

Thanks a million

Jose E.

Comments

3 Nov 2008 - 3:57pm
SteveJBayer
2008

While I don't have an article on hand, I personally see screen based
devices using more touch based input as the way forward. Windows 7
seems to be going in the right direction with integrating
Microsoft's surface technology.

Cloud computing seems to be more server oriented than end user
oriented and would be more about the data layer interface than the
end user interface?

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=35246

4 Nov 2008 - 3:32am
Andy Polaine
2008

José,

I agree with Steve that multi-touch and/or sensor/camera-based input
is probably the paradigm shift in terms of input, but I can't see the
keyboard and mouse dying anytime soon. Rubbish as they, frankly, are,
so many people are used to using them.

Mobile devices, on the other hand, have always been awkward in terms
of keyboards and multitouch makes a lot of sense as it does for shared/
public interfaces and they're younger as interfaces. So they're not as
deeply embedded and they've been awkward in the past, which makes them
(or made them) a good target to re-define the UI and OS.

I'm really not sure that 'cloud computing' will make a big difference
to the UI of operating systems (except, perhaps, for the amount of
browser-driven apps). They're two different things - the cloud is what
goes on 'beyond the screen', if you like. You still need an operating
system of some sort and you still need a UI. All of those will
necessarily have incremental changes rather than huge leaps because
existing users need to be weaned over to new paradigms. The old adage
of don't re-invent conventions unless your absolutely sure your new
way is miles better than the old is going to hold true for a while.

For those with broadband, we've all been "always connected" for some
time, it's not something new. Are the major platforms getting "old"?
Maybe, but compared to what? They're all also improving, again
incrementally, what they do. One area that reflects "always on-ness"
is networking. It's way, way easier than it used to be to just join a
Wi-Fi network and get surfing.

What Apple did with the iPhone is to make getting connected (almost)
equally as easy on a mobile device, which all the other manufacturers
had made a teeth pulling exercise because they were too lazy to work
out how to make the whole process simpler. So, if I were to point you
to "something that has been made in this direction" I'd point you to
the iPhone - it's the best commercial example of what you might think
of as 'cloud computing' around at the moment.

The thing about the cloud is that it should pretty much remain
invisible. If I had a UI in which it was obvious that I was waiting
for network transactions and the UI reflected this, I suspect I'd get
frustrated. Google Gears is the response, by the way. It's all in the
background where possible.

I don't think expecting cloud computing to radically change the OS is
a line of thinking that makes sense really. It's like asking whether
car steering wheels change if you use diesel or petrol or a hybrid.
What goes on under the hood doesn't change the controls that much.
IMHO - I suspect this is one of those prediction responses that I'll
regret in 10 years when everything has changed ;-)

Best,

Andy

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Andy Polaine

Research | Writing | Strategy
Interaction Concept Design
Education Futures

Twitter: apolaine
Skype: apolaine

http://playpen.polaine.com
http://www.designersreviewofbooks.com
http://www.omnium.net.au
http://www.antirom.com

4 Nov 2008 - 7:30am
Jose E.
2008

I agree with you Andy, the iPhone is one of the best "always
connected" devices right now, and the complete OS is designed to
that purpose.

But, I'll like to drive attention to how "integrate" the cloud
services like twitter, flickr, facebook or linkeding or [insert
favorite web app here]; as part of the operating system.

Out there are a bunch of "desktop" applications (mostly developed
in Adobe AIR) that bring some of the "cloud" to the desktop... but
nothing really disrupting.

I will like to see some approach integrating this services right into
the operating system, with the possibilities to interact with them
from the OS.

Touch and Multi-touch are popular on Mobile Devices right now, but
they are still niche on the desktop and laptop market. In other hand
the plethora of netbooks (read Eee-PC, Acer One, etc) released
lately, is having a huge success, mostly cause their price; are
lacking of such "integrated" functionality with the web.

The main problem I see with the OSs today, is they are "Application
Oriented", maybe is time to start to think in some "Task Oriented"
environments.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=35246

5 Nov 2008 - 10:08am
Andy Polaine
2008

Jose,

I did write something about this a while back, I just remembered: http://www.polaine.com/playpen/2007/06/12/leopard-death-of-the-application/

I thought Quicklook was/is interesting for some of the reasons you
mentioned. It's about tasks rather than applications. In the blog post
I talked about the idea of an app only opening up the parts it needs
to deal with the object at hand rather than the entire thing. Of
course the potential here is that the ongoing experience of using the
app is sluggish rather than waiting for a bit and then using it
(although with some current apps you get both - e.g. Office and Adobe
apps). In that sense, it's the parts of the app that are 'in the
cloud' and would be analogous to gears or some similar desktop/online
hybrid set-ups. Or, indeed, thin client terminals, which is what cloud
clients used to be called in the 70s.

I'm not entirely sure I believe myself in that article though. One of
the reasons is that applications, on a user-expectation and workflow
level, bundle up actions and tasks, usually for good reason. The
danger with splitting everything up is that it all just becomes a mess
in terms of any UI or UX integration. Of course, when it works, it can
be great. It's hard to imagine that not all that long ago dragging and
dropping things like addresses or files across different applications
just was impossible. We're already working in very object oriented
ways with most operating systems.

I think you're already seeing a lot of this anyway - it's possible to
Tweet, IM, SMS, call or e-mail my expenses, for example, to Freshbooks
via Xpenser and pretty much any web service with a decent API is open
to this. But that's all about integration and interface redundancy
(i.e., there are many ways to do the same thing, depending on the
context).

In the end, we're always going to need an interface of some kind.
Operating systems are, at a fundamental level, not just the nuts and
bolts of running a computer, but a style guide for interactions.
That's something that can fall apart and look and feel awful (Windows)
when there is nothing to hang it on. I'm not sure that task oriented
operating systems are anything new - I know we use apps a lot, but
there already is an awful lot of crossover between them as well as
integration into the OS. It feels to me like the cloud is another
networking paradigm buzzword more than a change in interface.

Best,

Andy

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Andy Polaine

Research | Writing | Strategy
Interaction Concept Design
Education Futures

Twitter: apolaine
Skype: apolaine

http://playpen.polaine.com
http://www.designersreviewofbooks.com
http://www.omnium.net.au
http://www.antirom.com

On 4 Nov 2008, at 04:30, Jose E. wrote:

> I agree with you Andy, the iPhone is one of the best "always
> connected" devices right now, and the complete OS is designed to
> that purpose.
>
> But, I'll like to drive attention to how "integrate" the cloud
> services like twitter, flickr, facebook or linkeding or [insert
> favorite web app here]; as part of the operating system.
>
> Out there are a bunch of "desktop" applications (mostly developed
> in Adobe AIR) that bring some of the "cloud" to the desktop... but
> nothing really disrupting.
>
> I will like to see some approach integrating this services right into
> the operating system, with the possibilities to interact with them
> from the OS.
>
> Touch and Multi-touch are popular on Mobile Devices right now, but
> they are still niche on the desktop and laptop market. In other hand
> the plethora of netbooks (read Eee-PC, Acer One, etc) released
> lately, is having a huge success, mostly cause their price; are
> lacking of such "integrated" functionality with the web.
>
> The main problem I see with the OSs today, is they are "Application
> Oriented", maybe is time to start to think in some "Task Oriented"
> environments.

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