The goal of the Linux-Society (LS, dating back to the mid-90s as a professional club and tech-mentoring group) has been a purely-democratic Information Society; many of the articles are sociological in nature. The LS was merged with Perl/Unix of NY to form multi-layered group that included advocacy, project-oriented learning by talented high school students: textbook constructivism. Linux has severe limitations such that it is useless for any computer that will, say, print or scan. It is primarily used for webservers and embedded devices such as the Android. (Google is high-invested in it).

Technology is problematic. During the heyday of technology (1990s), it seemed it had the democratic direction Lewis Mumford said it should have in his seminal
Technics and Civilization.

Today, we are effectively stuck with Windows as Linux is poor on the desktop and has cultured a maladaptive following. Apple is prohibitive, and all other operating systems lack drivers, including Google's Android, an offshoot of linux.

In the late 90s there was hope for new kernels such as LibOS and ExoOS that would bare their hardware to programs, some of which would be virtual machines such as Java uses. Another important player was the L4 system that is a minor relation to the code underlying the Apple's systems. It was highly scientific but fell into the wrong hangs, apparently, and has suffered from having no progress on the desktop. There is a version, "SE" that is apparently running in many cell phones as specialized telecom chips, but is proprietary. SE's closed nature was only recently revealed, which is important because it is apparently built from publicly-owned code as it is not a "clean room" design it may violate public domain protections, and most certainly violates the widely-accepted social contract.

Recent attempts to enjoin into L4 development as an advocate for "the people" have been as frustrating (and demeaning) as previous attempts with the usual attacks to self-esteem by maladaptive "hacks" being reinforced by "leadership" (now mostly university professors).

In short, this leaves us with Windows, which is quite a reversal if you have read earlier posts here. But, upon Windows, we have free and open software development systems in the forms of GTK+ (the windows usually used on Linux) and the Minimal GNU Windows (MinGW and MSYS) systems. It is very likely this direction that development should go (that is, on Windows) such that s/w can then be ported to a currently-valid microkernel system that includes a driver system that can be adapted by hardware developers to reuse of their windows and apple drivers.

From a brief survey of L4, it appears that the last clean copy was the DROPS system of the early 2010s, was a German effort that used the Unix-like "OS kit" from an American University.

If we are going to be stuck on Windows, then it seems that a high level approach to free and open systems integration, such as creating fully transparent mouse communication between apps so that they can seamlessly work together as a single desktop (rather than deliberately conflicting). This would be very helpful for GIMP and Inkscape, both leading graphics programs that are strong in the special ways, but suffer from an inability to easily interrelate.

Another important issue is the nature, if you can call it that, of the "geek" or "hack." Technology is formed democratically but "harvested" authoritarian-ly --if I can coin a term that Mumford might use. Authority is plutarchy: a combination of aristocracy and oligarchy that is kept alive after all these millennia by using, or maligning, the information society as a part of the civilizing (or law-giving) process that embraces the dialectic as its method. Democratic restoration, that is to put humanity back on an evolutionary (and not de-evolutionary) track, I think, will require the exclusion of the "geek" from decision-making. As is, the free/open s/w culture attempts to give leadership to those who write the most lines of code --irrespective of their comprehension of the real world or relationship with normal users. We need normal people to somehow organize around common sense (rather than oligarchic rationalism) to bring to life useful and cohesive software and communications systems.

Interestingly, the most popular page on this site is about Carl Rogers' humanistic psychology, and has nothing to do with technology.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Rationale for the Pengpod (in relation to ThinMan Model)

Given NSA involvement in everything with obvious capitulation to gov't sponsored hacking/cracking by nearly every information corporation (possibly even Microsoft/Windows) PengPod makes huge sense

I have promoted L4 over Linux for a decade now, but L4 needs to roll back a decade. to make it actually free and open as FSU developers have made it purely-proprietary (w/o mentioning..) The microkernel advantage, I believe, is currently security-oriented; not to say Linux is bad in that way, but that OSs need to be able to switch out components depending on how political/financial winds blow around their developers. Further, I support the original GNU model where code is highly-visible so that weaknesses can be easily spotted during implementation efforts: scripting like Korn's shell, but significantly updated.

If Pengpod is going to be real-world useful far beyond Android, it needs drivers, and all drivers are written for Apple (IOkit) and Windows (NDSI), so, in my opinion, the driver tail wags the OS dog.

Comparions w/ my Thinman Model from late-90s / early 2000s
If I may say so, I pretty-well "presaged" this idea in the late-90s during the tech boom but had horrible experiences with F-ll-ps and Caldera. (Caldera went on to the famous own-your-brain nonsense law suits bought with SCO via the Unix purchase from Bell, so you get the idea). My products were basically this and also a set-top box that was educationally-oriented. I initially meant to use a National Semiconductor/Cyrix chip that eventually became the VIA MiniITX with all its fun community stuff (http://www.mini-itx.com/projects). At first glance PengPod meets much of my initial criteria including external keyboards and HDMI.

This idea, the ThinMan, meant to develop a purely-data-centric OS that brought modules to data within a browser window, so that each dataset imitated a unique "app." All developers would code would be modules and libraries. Perl's CPAN was the model for support, but in machine- or byte-code; meshing would be the communication method of sharing and to wire for server support: the Thin/Fat model.

Needless to say, I learned the hard way that individual efforts are nearly a waste of time and hugely demoralizing, and that "angel" investors are anything but. Keep in mind the tech market had just crashed along w/ the WTC towers with a good many associates. The entire US economy would follow in a few years thanks to CDS derivatives, which was actually my last paying tech gig, oops.

L4 now runs fully independently as a "security phone"
I must add OSkit when writing about IOkit and drivers. This effort in the earliest part of the century (in Utah, of all places ;) ) was much like it sounds, and was used by Dresden to create the proprietary L4 that is in nearly every phone. In one case, a "secure" phone system "montes" to pure L4 operation, so fully-certified secure code is out there (but not available to us despite impressions.)

L4 is effectively purely-proprietary
The Dresden effort was largely academic (but still proprietary ironically a descendant of the non-owning socialism of the former GDR), so many PDFs (in typically-horrid empirical-style) are available so one can get a good idea of where free OSs need to go--or, at least, follow.

Re-assembled Linux as the new Android
An area w/in Android that confuses me wrt to Linux and Android is the Linux/Android fork. First, why has Android forked, or, perhaps, delineated?  The explanation seems to be that Linux & Co. are too slow to intake Android mods, and, of course, Android cannot wait. So, Android goes its own way making it effectively a fork, but it continues to be Linux.

If Android is moving ahead so fast and Linux is lagging, and Android is meeting consumer demand and Linux was a server-oriented deception pretending to be a (free) desktop (for the masses) all along, then, logically, Android is the place to be! What I read is that Android is highly-reduced and, thus, no longer POSIX. So, my question is "why hasn't a distro emerged that takes Android released-code and adds back the missing stuff" to make a valid POSIX desktop (and presumably server) for all systems?

Note: I often coredump here: http://www.oddmuse.org/wiki/John_Bessa