Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

The incredible shrinking operating system

Filed under
OS

From the software concept called JeOS (pronounced "juice"), the Just Enough OS, to hardware concepts like Celio RedFly, an 8-inch screen and keyboard device running applications off a smartphone via a USB or a Bluetooth connection, there are an increasing number of indications that the center of gravity is shifting away from the traditional massive operating systems of the past.

Even the major OS vendors themselves are saying that the next versions of their OS -- Windows 7, Linux in its many distributions, and Mac OS X 10.6, aka Snow Leopard -- are getting a smaller footprint. Linux distribution vendors are also slimming down their versions of Linux. Ubuntu, for example, has stripped out MySQL, CUPS (Common Unix Printing Service), e-mail, and LDAP functionality to bring the size of its OS down from about 700MB to 200MB.

There are many reasons for the traditional OS to shrink and for new OSes to start small, but two stand out:

One, a smaller code base is easier to manage and secure than a large one. For example, estimates for Vista's development costs run around $6 billion, and BusinessWeek has estimated that 10,000 employees spent about five years developing it.

Two, a smaller OS can run on a greater variety of devices, and as netbooks, smartphones, and new devices such as the iPod Touch gain traction, the benefit of a smaller OS becomes hard to ignore.

rest here




More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

Proposed: A Tainted Performance State For The Linux Kernel

Similar to the kernel states of having a tainted kernel for using binary blob kernel modules or unsigned modules, a new tainting method has been proposed for warning the user about potentially adverse kernel performance. Dave Hansen of Intel has proposed a new "TAINT_PERFORMANCE" for the kernel that would proactively print a warning message about not using the kernel for any performance measurements. Dave explained in his RFC announcement, "I have more than once myself been the victim of an accidentally-enabled kernel configuration option being mistaken for a true performance problem. I'm sure I've also taken profiles or performance measurements and assumed they were real-world when really I was measuring the performance with an option that nobody turns on in production. A warning like this late in boot will help remind folks when these kinds of things are enabled." Read more

Scientific Linux 7.0 x86_64 BETA 3

Fermilab's intention is to continue the development and support of Scientific Linux and refine its focus as an operating system for scientific computing. Today we are announcing a beta release of Scientific Linux 7. We continue to develop a stable process for generating and distributing Scientific Linux, with the intent that Scientific Linux remains the same high quality operating system the community has come to expect. Please do not install Pre-Release software in your production environment. Read more

Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn) Now Features Linux Kernel 3.16.1

"The Utopic kernel has been rebased to the first v3.16.1 upstream stable kernel and uploaded to the archive, ie. linux-3.16.0-9.14. Please test and let us know your results," says Canonical's Joseph Salisbury, after the latest Ubuntu Kernel Team meeting. Read more