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Filed under: Uncategorized — mgrusin at 12:04 pm on Thursday, January 25, 2007

Tanenbaum outlines his vision for a grandma-proof OS (Computerworld Australia)

From the title of this article I thought computer science legend Andrew Tanenbaum would be discussing one of my interests; user interfaces and software design for non-computer literates (see the remarkable design of the OLPC). However, he was actually speaking about another of my interests; the sorry state of what passes for consumer operating systems today.

Tanenbaum, who developed a small teaching OS called Minix which was a precursor to Linux, recently spoke at a Linux conference about a fundamental and escalating problem with modern operating systems: the fact that they’re big and getting bigger automatically means that they’ll be increasingly buggy. He supports a return to the fundamentals: small modules of code which can be kept reasonably bug-free, and isolating these modules from each other so a failure in one doesn’t cascade to others. Hopefully the Linux developers he spoke to take this advice to heart; Linux isn’t immune from this effect.