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Author Topic: Why can't they ever get an operating system right?  (Read 2698 times)

Offline Atomic-S

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Recently I have discovered that Google Earth no longer will work on thi smachine. I uninstalled it, reinstalled it, and it still does  not work. The diagnostic pages seem to suiggest that my graphics processor is outdated, although it worked before. However, between then and now, the maker of the operating system has sent numerous updates, supposedly to keep the system secure against hackers. I wonder if that could have anything to do with it. If these updates were for the purpose of fixing security vulnerabilities, how is it that after numerous updates coming all the time with no letup in sight, the system is still not secure? (These updates do not appear to be the same as definition updates that go to the anti-virus software, which appear to be a distinct kind of update).  I marvel at the intellectual limits of system designers who, after numerous attempts, still can't figure out how to keep hackers out of the system for more than a few days at a time.


 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Why can't they ever get an operating system right?
« Reply #1 on: 17/09/2013 07:25:41 »
Google Earth hasn't worked for me for quite some time (Under Linux).  I've tried a couple of updates, and nothing.  But, that is just one of the biggest and most visible companies in the world trying to keep their software secure.  I have no doubt that if it was open source, then someone would have found and fixed the problem by now.

As far as why the other big software company seems to have security update after security update.  Obviously there is no end to the ingenuity of hackers. 

However, a couple of issues come up.
  • The current operating systems are HUGE.
    Think of an encyclopedia full of unreadable code
  • The systems must be designed to work with a wide variety of hardware and software that is not controlled by the OS manufacturer
  • The operating system should be fast and efficient (is this true anymore?)
  • Throw the baby out with the bathwater?
    Part of the commercial OS paradigm is to always be making something new and better.  Yet, to a large extent I'd be happy with Windows NT + a few updates.  Unfortunately, Microsoft would not make any money selling a 20 year old OS. 
    So, every couple of years, they create a new major release, essentially rewriting everything.  Unfortunately it means that once the last major release is mostly debugged, they release another bug infested release

    There certainly have been hardware updates over time.  More memory, bigger hard drives, wider buses, multiprocessing, and etc, which would have stressed earlier OS designs.

Anyway, 30 years ago, software designers were realizing problems with memory access and passing values to subroutines.  Methods were being developed to enforce array bounds, and prevent subroutines from modifying the parent procedure's data unless desired. 

I remember a discussion of a very precise definition of every variable passed to the subroutines to be written in compiler readable form for each subroutine.

However, doing infinite numbers of checks and recopying data is computationally expensive.  C was chosen as the industry choice for a base language due to flexibility, but it also introduces many places for errors.  With a plethora of DLLs, one gets a big mess. 

Layers of abstraction should help somewhat, but they also take speed and resources.

The version of Linux I use is essentially a free prototyping beta version of a commercial release version of the OS.  It pisses me off that the company puts out a major release every 6 months.  I just can't keep up.  Still using version 16 when the current release is 19.
 

Offline syhprum

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Re: Why can't they ever get an operating system right?
« Reply #2 on: 17/09/2013 20:02:46 »
I use a cheap G-force 6100 mother board with an AMD phenom 8450 CPU and a G-force 8400s video card and have no problem with Google Earth either with windows 8.0, windows 8.1 or windows 7 ultimate.
I did have problems with Linux before I fitted the video card (I could not get the screen resolution correct)
 

Offline RD

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Re: Why can't they ever get an operating system right?
« Reply #3 on: 17/09/2013 21:17:32 »
Recently I have discovered that Google Earth no longer will work on thi smachine ...  it worked before.

A "previous version" of Google Earth is available , click on "advanced setup" for the option ...


https://www.google.com/intl/en_uk/earth/download/ge/agree.html

« Last Edit: 17/09/2013 21:21:46 by RD »
 

Offline AndroidNeox

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Re: Why can't they ever get an operating system right?
« Reply #4 on: 18/09/2013 19:12:15 »
Personally, I miss VAX/VMS and won't ever forgive Bill Gates for destroying Digital Equipment Corp. The operating system was 5 MB in size and, in my experience, provided at least 2 and usually 3 ways of implementing anything the hardware could physically do. Want to mount a tape as a random access device? No problem.

In 5 years of system administration I never found a single flaw in it. It was robust and reliable.

The market success of Windows is why I gave up system administration.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Why can't they ever get an operating system right?
« Reply #5 on: 18/09/2013 21:48:33 »
I'm not going to say that a primarily text based OS is superior over the current graphic based OS systems. 

However, perhaps one should think about what the OS provides.
  • Directory Services.
  • System Management.
  • Abstraction Layer, and a few basic tools for the applications to tie into.
Can one keep it below a gigabyte?

I haven't dealt much with the low level stuff, but perhaps one should separate the kernel from all the other handy applications to make it all work smoothly.

Viruses, of course, often are targeted towards applications, including GRAPHICS Programs.  I realize the power of macros, but perhaps the design for OS and program extensions should have kept in mind the potential for viruses.
 

Offline RD

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Re: Why can't they ever get an operating system right?
« Reply #6 on: 18/09/2013 23:15:32 »
... Can one keep it below a gigabyte ?

There are lightweight Linux OSes which are under 100Meg ... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lightweight_Linux_distribution
 

Offline AndroidNeox

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Re: Why can't they ever get an operating system right?
« Reply #7 on: 18/09/2013 23:46:46 »
I'm not going to say that a primarily text based OS is superior over the current graphic based OS systems.

I'm afraid my bias is in favor of operating systems that can be managed reliably. Personally, I think that if a complete OS for a mainframe cluster can fit in 5MB, a GUI should be able to fit into 10MB. Programmers will be as sloppy as they can get away with. As storage becomes cheaper and hardware faster, the OS will put on weight to consume it.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Why can't they ever get an operating system right?
« Reply #8 on: 19/09/2013 03:47:12 »
Years ago, I dealt with scripts in DOS 3, 4, & 5. 

Solid, robust... (although there were still viruses).

The problem is that very few people would venture beyond the menus that we configured. 

Much, much, much more is done with the current systems.

Messing with bg, fg, etc?  Hmmm...  Nice to just ignore it.
 

Offline RD

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Re: Why can't they ever get an operating system right?
« Reply #9 on: 19/09/2013 08:54:11 »
... As storage becomes cheaper and hardware faster, the OS will put on weight to consume it.

Sounds like "Parkinson's Law" in  action ...

Quote
"Parkinson's Law" could be generalized further still as:

    The demand upon a resource tends to expand to match the supply of the resource.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkinson%27s_law#Generalization
 

Offline Atomic-S

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Re: Why can't they ever get an operating system right?
« Reply #10 on: 02/10/2013 04:17:39 »
That may well be correct. Unfortunately, one's computer does not automatically expand to accommodate the latest excesses of the software industry.
 

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Re: Why can't they ever get an operating system right?
« Reply #10 on: 02/10/2013 04:17:39 »

 

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