Over the weekend I was running my usual route and doing my usual thinking...about Linux. A strange thought crossed my mind as my music-listening-device (not an iPod thank you very much) jumped from one genre of music to another: What would my ideal operating system consist of? While running, a lot of possibilities crossed my brain: Which kernel, which desktop, which multi-media system, which printing system...the possibilities went on and on. But one issue that I struggled with was the idea that I wanted to have SOMETHING from the Windows operating system within my "ideal OS."
With that in mind I sat out to create an OS that included something from all of the MAJOR operating systems. Of course this is just fiction - we all know getting pieces of these OSes to work together just simply won't ever be done. Still, you get to see my take on the ideal operating system. Why don't you chime in and let us know what YOUR ideal operating system would look like.Kernel: Linux. I have to go this route simply because it's the only kernel of the major players that can be customized. And, in order for this to be an IDEAL operating system, you can bet this kernel would have to be customized. Naturally the idea here would be to avoid bloat. HAL: NetBSD. The NetBSD Hardware Abstraction Layer is one of the cleanest, and most portable HALs around. Network subsystem: Linux. For me this was an obvious choice because of the huge flexibility Linux networking has to offer. And besides, Linux was designed to be online. Printing subsystem: I have to give this one to Windows. The primary reason for this, and it relates to another category Windows owns, is that so many printers are now all-in-one devices. Yes Linux can use these devices, but generally speaking, they can only use the printing system. If I have an all-in-one, I want to be able to use all of the features in my hardware. This was a tough one because with the CUPS system you can easily set up a printer server using Linux. USB system: This one goes to OS X. For many the USB system just works. But the OS X take on USB is the cleanest and most user-friendly available. Hardware recognition: Windows 7. There is very little doubt that Windows offers some of the best hardware recognition out there. And it should, most hardware vendors aren't smart enough to create os-neutral hardware so they create it for one operating system. Desktop: Remember, this is MY ideal operating system. So I am going with the combination of Enlightenment E17 and Compiz (the one used for Elive+Compiz). It's a lightweight, fast, user-friendly desktop that has enough eye candy to not only keep up with the Jones', but (in most cases) blow them away. Multi-Media system (and subsystems): OS X. I will preface this by saying I am not a fan of the iPod. But that doesn't take away from the fact that OS X does have an outstanding system for multi-media. It's a rare occasion you can throw a media file at this OS and not have it played. Package management: Without a doubt this one goes to Ubuntu (or any OS that is based on apt/apt-get). The Synaptic application is one of the finest software installation management tools available. It's simple, reliable, and very user friendly. But I would add, in my "dream os," that all software vendors would bring their titles to the repositories for my ideal operating system. Security: OpenBSD. Without a doubt, OpenBSD has the best security of any operating system that is actually connected to a network. With only two remote attack vulnerabilities found in the last decade, how can you argue with this choice?
And there you have my Franken-OS. What does yours look like?
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.