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Windows, Linux 25 Year Old "Clunkers"? 461

Phil817 writes to tell us that Bob Metcalfe recently gave a TV interview in which he stated that current operating systems (Windows and Linux) are outdated clunkers that wont be able to adequately handle the coming of "video internet" and suggests that new operating systems need to be developed to take hold in a few years. Also, when asked if current deals in the works like eBay's purchase of Skype were an indication of more investment hype he replied with "I'm looking forward to the next Internet bubble. I don't know what everyone's so negative about. The last bubble was lots of fun.". Let us at least hope we learned a few things from the last bubble.
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Windows, Linux 25 Year Old "Clunkers"?

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  • by Polarism ( 736984 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @06:44AM (#14390977)
  • by oneiros27 ( 46144 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @06:44AM (#14390981) Homepage
    Obviously, the editors don't care, but for those of us who actually try to read the article, I found the following, so others don't have to waste their time, as well:
    (and it's probably redundant by now, but this would be the creator of Ethernet, for those who didn't know who Bob Metcalfe is)
  • Re:OS - Video - WTF? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sique ( 173459 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @07:09AM (#14391058) Homepage
    The main problem is that today's mainstream operating systems are not 'stream' OSes ;). They don't think of data as a stream with certain properties. They just have input and output devices, and what happens inbetween is just a matter of how to couple them together.

    Networks like ATM and TENET have special layers to define the properties of a data stream independently from the source and the sink. There is no equivalence in Windows or UNIX for those. There are some tacked on QoS-parameters for certain network devices (to handle the QoS of the networks connected), but this is not a design principle for all the not networked devices.

    Current OSes thus have a simple solution to QoS: Throw enough resources at the problem, and it will work for the lower bandwidths. For higher bandwidths just wait for the next generation. But in theory the hardware today should handle the higher bandwidths today fine, if the schedulers and the definitions of what has to be scheduled were better supported inside the operating systems. So you can have at maximum one data stream with QoS-warranties on your computer at any given moment.

    Computers used for data stream switching often have a subsystem that runs at highest priority on the host operating system and provides those streaming facilities without the host OS getting in the way too much. Futural operating systems should be able to handle the scheduling problems of several datastreams at the same time natively.
  • 25 years? (Score:3, Informative)

    by dabadab ( 126782 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @07:10AM (#14391059)
    The only specific thing he mentions is that both Windows and Linux are 25 year old... let me see:
    Windows NT (which is the base for all the current Windowses) was first released in 1993. (Windows 1.0 was released in 1985, but that was not 25 years ago and has little to do with current ones (like, a copletely different codebase and technology))
    Linux began in 1991, but if you really want to dig to the roots, UNIX was created in 1969.
    and, of course, the problems "video internet" has (though these are not critical, as demonstrated by porn sites) these are related to the network, not to the OSes.

    So, Metcalfe is talking BS as usually.
  • Misleading summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by oneandoneis2 ( 777721 ) * on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @07:32AM (#14391114) Homepage
    The actual quote is Windows and Linux, are 25 years old -- they're going to need updating to adequately carry video - so he's not really implying "They're dinosaurs and need to die out & be replaced", more "They're not yet ready for future demands" - which is pretty much a given: How can you create functionality for something that doesn't exist yet?
  • by lord_rob the only on ( 859100 ) <`shiva3003' `at' `'> on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @07:46AM (#14391163)
    "The internet will soon go spectaculary supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse"
    He promised to "eat his words" if he was wrong
    So, in early 1997, at a technical conference he ate
    (from "Computer Networks" by Tanenbaum)
  • Re:OS - Video - WTF? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sique ( 173459 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @08:01AM (#14391208) Homepage
    Your argumentation holds very well as long as it is only one datastream we are talking about, or only one pipe it can go through. As soon as you have several of them, starting and ending at different times and going different ways, you should be able to schedule streaming resources: Postpone one that doesn't fit into the sum of all bandwith you get for instance, or reroute it through different pipes that are not fully used.

    Currently we still use benchmarks to tell us, how much bandwidth we can really muster for different tasks on a computer. A streaming OS would have to have an operating system function, where you can actually ask it, how much bandwidth you get if you want to pipe a data stream from point A to point B at a predefined time, and then you should be able to reserve the bandwidth, so no other application starting later can eat into this bandwidth, the same way today it can't write into the memory an other application is using.

    Currently you can separate application only in a way that they don't use the same resources at the same time, which is a very discrete schedule. For actually switching data streams (which is different from having one datastream uninterupted), you should also schedule the access continously. Imagine it like a big railway station. Today's operating systems are able to make sure that every single track and railswitch is protected and can only be used by a single train at a time. For actual operation of the railway station you need the full way from the starting rail across the station to the leaving rail protected (and freed after the train went through). With todays operating systems you just hold all trains and have only a single one moving. With actuall streaming operating systems you should be able to let several trains run at the same time as long as their ways don't cross. (The analogy doesn't hold completely, because on a railway only one train can use one rail at a time. Streaming data of different streams could use the same path through the operating system at the same time as long as they don't exceed the bandwidth limit).
  • Re:OS - Video - WTF? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sique ( 173459 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @10:56AM (#14391978) Homepage
    The issue is not, as you are all somehow seem to believe, that there are limits of bandwidth. The issue is that the operating system can't tell you what they are. A streaming capable operating system should tell you when starting a certain stream would be unwise because the bandwidth is not there to serve it, as a file system is telling you that you can't save any more data because the disk is full. Currently you either have hard limits with some PC based DVRs or similar equipment, which are found out by benchmarking and testing, or you just start the streams and hope they will run rather smoothly.

    Stream aware operating systems should always KNOW where the limits are, and if certain streams with certain properties still fit into the bandwidth limits, whatever causes the limitations.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @11:47AM (#14392378)
    And predicted that open source would fail.

    The guy is a moron, riding his notoreity for working on one popular peice of technology into a career as a pundit who can't see past his own ass.

"The pathology is to want control, not that you ever get it, because of course you never do." -- Gregory Bateson