What I want out of an OS

Just feel like writing this to organize my own thoughts.  Since I have extensively used three of the 4 major OS’s in use today (Windows, Mac OS X, Gnu/Linux, but I have not used any true Unix systems without Cocoa on top like BSD) I feel fairly capable of thinking in a relatively unbiased way about this.  They all have pros and cons, and this article isn’t about which of those I want, but rather what I would want out of a perfect, dream OS.

1. Hardware support

I want everything to connect seemlessly and automatically.  If it’s plugged in or available via infrared or wireless I expect the OS to know it and support it.  The video card should function smoothly and as fast as it was designed to without major failures.

2. Software support

I want there to be software available for my OS for any purpose, whether it be hosting a webserver or database, obviously running office software, playing the latest greatest 3D graphics MMORPG or FPS, professional level video or audio editing and composition, 2d and 3d graphic and design production software including vector art, raster art, 3D rendering for animation or CAD, as well as the really niche stuff like circuit design, math programs, geocaching, and anything else.  Essentially I don’t want software compatibility to be something I think about.  I also expect there to be competition between proprietary and free software/open source projects both of which are supported natively.

3. Simple installation and default configuration

I want an OS that installs neatly, is self explanatory, and is immediately comprehensible to an intelligent first time user.  I expect the installer to explain any jargon words (or eschew them entirely) and the effects of any user-interaction required or requested.  The default configuration after installation should be obvious, points of interaction should be clear and basic file directory should be easy to access.

4. Advanced configuration and documentation

I want an OS that installs to a very simple default, but can be configured to do anything I want.  That goes for GUI as well as CLI.  I expect every aspect of the desktop, window manager, file manager, menu system, all to be highly configurable and extensible.  Documentation should be provided with the install, without accessing the Internet for performing this configuration and extension.  Internet links to community and professional support are also nice, but are secondary.

5. Automatic functionality

I don’t want my computer to auto-anything unless I tell it to.  The default should be manual control with options for automation.  I don’t want auto-updates, auto-syncing, automated cleaning or checking of any sort unless I specifically turn it on.  I also don’t want programs to auto-load on start-up unless I asked them to.

6. Security

Security should be inherent.  I shouldn’t need to find a third party program to monitor malware and incoming network connections because a good OS should include such measures in a built-in, native and sufficient manner.

7. Included software

This is obviously a personal preference, and as such should be available on installation or pre-installation.  The following is a list of functionality I need everyday from my software:

  1. Wordprocessing, simple (like Gedit) and complex (like Open Office Writer)
  2. Spreadsheets.
  3. Vector graphics editing
  4. Raster graphics editing
  5. Graphical web browsing
  6. Calculator, with scientific functions
  7. Image preview/browsing
  8. Audio playback/browsing
  9. Video playback/browsing
  10. Audio recording
  11. Synth audio production
  12. Non-linear video editing
  13. Current time and weather display
  14. Remote system access

Any changes you would make?  Obviously the included software is just my personal preference and your mileage may vary.

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1 Comment

Filed under internet, linux, technology

One response to “What I want out of an OS

  1. And in short where each of the 3 OSs I’ve used failed this.

    Windows: automated tons of things without asking, terrible and insufficient native security, not particularly configurable or extensible without extra software.

    Mac: terrible customization, bad software support, and somewhat lacking hardware support as well.

    GNU/Linux: terrible software support, somewhat lacking hardware support, offline documentation often insufficient for customization and configuration unless you already know how to do it…

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