[modular-debian] More thoughts on Plan 9 and GUIs

  • From: Marty <martyb@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: modular-debian@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 27 Nov 2014 15:58:02 -0500

   The community must separate research from market
   capitalization. -Rob Pike


Linux GUIs are dinosaurs and I don't think there is much that is
salvageable. As many have noted, MS are now more responsive to users
than Linux distros. For me Linux GUIs seem so broken and clunky that
they are almost be unusable. Devs seem determined to find new and
innovative ways to break users' workflow.

Instead of using the GUI as a pen where users can be herded, watched and
harvested of their personal data, I think the GUI needs to be penned up
watched by users, to keep it under control and out of trouble. This
requires VMs and mobile has paved the way.

With the GUI out of the way, we can focus on the user-space system.
My proposals for that foundation are Plan 9 and Go (with C
for the performance parts).

Like Gobolinux, Plan 9 addressed the directory hierarchy issue, except they use bind mounts instead of symbolic links. That's an improvement
but I would rather use something like lightweight subvolume clones,
as an improvement on hard links. (Would that work?) I'm not worried
about the partition issue: mfrs are planning hard drives with
hundreds of terabytes.

I don't know how this could work within Debian. Maybe people are right,
and the distro-as-packaging-service is an anachronism. I don't think
moving into orbit around Red Hat will solve that.

I would like to keep something like dpkg/apt, but adapt it to a
compile-from-source model, maybe compile from "launch" so each program
could use pre-audited source and signed "recipes." Binaries are not only
removed from distribution, but from the users' hard drive so they exist
only in RAM. All software is "interpreted." The division between
compiled and interpreted languages will narrow and eventually
disappear (PyPy seems to pre-sage this trend).

It's a new concept for me, but I was surprised only by how long it took
for me to notice it. This demo is one of the things that got me
thinking about it: https://golang.org/

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