Nov 15, 2009

Linux 2012: The Real Disaster

Almost a decade after the Year 2000 Problem, in which two-character date fields threatened the existence of the human race, the computing industry is once again back to worrying about Windows upgrades, Mac one-upmanship, processor numbers, bloated Adobe updates, and the latest MMORPG expansion.

Despite the ease with which software makers updated their date fields and the general tenor of calm today, things are not nearly as stable as one might think they are. Another pitfall lurks around the corner, this time based on the proliferation of GNU/Linux, a free operating system programmed by a worldwide collective of hackers.

Nov 12, 2009

QNX Interface Lags Mac, Windows

I've been a QNX user since 2000, when QNX Software Systems released the new Neutrino-based QNX6 platform. This was a large-but-welcome upgrade: QNX finally had a 32-bit kernel with hard realtime capabilities that ran on multiple microarchitectures. Likewise, the Photon microGUI was much improved and was even impressive for its day.

Apple's Mac OS 9 was working with the Platinum interface introduced in 1997 and Windows, at the time, was still using the Chicago GUI from 1995. QNX took a couple pages from each company's interface book for Photon and the system had a cutting-edge look and feel. But the industry didn't stand still, and Apple and Microsoft both upgraded their graphical user interfaces significantly in 2001.

The GUIs were much improved: Apple's Aqua interface had been the darling of the industry since Mac OS X Beta was available, and debuted to a chorus of praise while Microsoft showed off their Fischer-Price scheme that wowed non-technical users and other lower rungs of society. But QNX stayed still.