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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Everyone wants to make an Operating System Now

If you thought having Microsoft's Windows, Apple's Mac OS X, and Linux for operating systems was enough, you were wrong. So now it seems like everyone wants their own operating system. Google has Android and now Chromium (which uses the linux kernel as its core). On the handheld and mobile phone side, Samsung has their BaDA operating system.

To make things even more confusing (and nerve-wracking for both developers and consumers), now Mozilla is looking into making an operating system for mobile phones and tablets. Word has it that for this new operating system, Mozilla has decided to use Android's kernel and drivers as its base instead of Linux kernel and drivers as its base.

As a developer, this makes trying to make a program that will have a version for every mobile (and perhaps desktop too) operating system more of a pain. Personally, I like Firefox, but I think Mozilla should just work on trying to perfect Firefox more (especially in the "ram used" area) before trying to venture in the world of operating systems.

From a consumer's standpoint, this makes things complicated. Do I want a tablet running Windows, mobile Mac OS X (a la iPad), Android, or Mozilla's new os? Do I want a phone which runs Windows Phone, Android, mobile Mac OS X (iPhone), BaDA, or Mozilla's new os? This also has the potential for the many who do not do their homework before buying an expensive item like a laptop, a tablet or netbook, or a mobile phone to buy something they doesn't fit their needs and/or something they later regret buying.

Now I'm not totally opposed to Mozilla making an operating system, but I do think this is a bad time to do so. If Mozilla does go through with making an operating system, as soon as they release something like an alpha or beta version, expect the patent war to begin again and for all of the patent lawyers to start a suing frenzy, which brings me to another point.

In the world of user interfaces, it is certainly possible, but I don't thing you can make a graphical user interface shell these days without running into a patent issue. It seems like many of those companies (yes, I especially mean you, Apple) will file a patent for just about anything. When another company builds on what that patent entails and either creates something similar, but different or creates something better, the patent hounds are released and they go to war with each other. I know that companies want to protect their intellectual property, but if anyone from said companies are watching, please consider which patent lawsuits are worthwhile to pursue and which ones are not worthwhile to pursue. Frivolous patent lawsuits clog up the courts and waste hard-earned time and money.

That's all I have to say on the issue of operating systems for now. If you have any thoughts, comments, or questions on this whole operating system mess, please make them known via the comment box below. You can also follow me on Twitter as well (username is @rctechgeek).

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