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Date: Tue, 22 May 2012 02:53:19 +0200
From: aep <aep@...s.org>
To: <musl@...ts.openwall.com>
Subject: Re: Vision for new platform

On Mon, 21 May 2012 18:25:23 -0400, Rich Felker wrote:

> I'm not sure if
> that's easier or harder in the grand scheme of things

Hehe. I can't compare. I've writen zillions of middleware and desktop 
components and ui frameworks, but i would have never imagined that 
something like libc even _can_ be rewritten without committing suicide 
halfway.
Things on top are mostly hard because the further you get on top of the 
stack, the more people think their opinion matters. Libc has the 
advantage that you can blame other people for their non standard code. 
One layer higher, there's just no standard. It's all crap, and everyone 
things their crap is the least crap. In short, it's a whole lot more 
about maintaining a kinder-garden then technical issues.
Those problems aren't even covered by a scientific field. Other then 
java-ipc research, which is just straight out worthless material. 
University degree profs fail at building a basic platform because it's 
so ridiculously hard to keep it together.

>> They're perfectly happy with the UI's that canonical provides for 
>> them.
> Are you sure?

No, i'm talking from subjective experience here.
However, from a user point of view, nettops are a non issue. The 
hardware will eventually be decent enough to drive ubuntu unity or 
whatever they call their nettop ui now. Users are very satisfied with 
it.
There's some percentage being pissed, but when you investigate further, 
it turns out they are just unhappy that things change in general. Can't 
really help those people.

> DE bloat leaves your system stuttering, swapping,
> and draining the battery much faster than it should.

I haven't used a DE for daily work in over 5 years, other then on test 
machines, because i just find the concept to be broken by design. But of 
the > 20 different vms i have at work, only kde4 on suse12 is unusable.
Progress isn't a bad thing at all, and neither is diversity in having 
different ways of working. Some people prefer having glow effects on 
their window borders, i prefer having no window borders.

The problem you might want to address, is that the diversity has a 
sharp cut when it comes to middleware. You either use the holy Ubuntu 
desktop, or you're left behind with some half baked crap. Well, i like 
sharp cuts because the positions are clear and there's no political talk 
like "well but we do kinda support your non-canonical-approved-desktop 
through these fugly undocumented xml hacks, so what are you complaining 
about?". Okay, so you're not supporting my setup, that's ok, i'll go 
build my own middleware. So here we are, all building our own hacks 
around the junk they throw at us. Might just as well rebuild the whole 
thing.


> Aside from some interface considerations (mainly screen size and 
> touch
> vs mouse/trackpad) I think a lot of the basic system component
> requirements are the same for "desktop" and "mobile" platforms,

Err, no, not really. The "Linux desktop" is a basically a copy of MS 
Window. Everything else is some basement kids dream that they matter.
Embedded platforms on the hand are engineered on unique experience. 
They'll eventually revert to mimic whatever mobile OS will dominate, but 
right now each of them has unique abilities.
They're very very different in requirements. Try to run  Windows 7 on 
128MB  RAM with a 800Mhz MIPS core. Well, they got it working, it's 
called WP7, except ... The UI is different, the MW is different, even 
the kernel is different.
It doesn't have plug and play, because it doesn't even have an usb 
host. There's no HAL, no fricking login manager, no borked .net 
delivery. I could go on and on. There's barely any code they share. Now 
for Linux. Look at the N900, that's gnome in your pocket right there. 
Then look at when a lesson was learned with the N9. No more gnome. No 
gconfd, no networkmanager, no dpkg, no weird ass X11, middleware 
entirely rebuilt. Woop all of the sudden i can actually use this thing 
to write an sms without getting a heart attack.
On the other hand, on the desktop, people enjoy these things (I don't 
know why. I really hate all of this crap getting in my way. I just want 
to open a terminal in the least painful way).


> anything in between. Especially the stuff handled by "dbus hell" in
> the FDO regime now (network config, removable media, bluetooth, ...).


Well yes. Independant of me not using a DE, i still want to be able to 
configure network in a less hacky way then writing a script that does 
ifconfig. This is what things like wicd attempt to address, but fail, 
since they're just that.. hacks around ifconfig. Here's something you 
can really get me committed with. Something that does NOT intend to be a 
an MS Windows copy, but still give me something more then the tools from 
1960 i have to use right now. Something like an actual system with an 
actual design.

> for each type of system. (And if the system stuff is not needlessly
> coupled with this sort of app level stuff, you can mix and match them
> with no problem.)

Very high goals again. Unsure how this statement differs from the goals 
of HAL. Also i wonder how you are capable of using any of these UI's 
that assume you have an IQ of zero, but to each their own.


Looking forward to it. I'm right behind you.



Arvid

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