Wednesday, August 10, 2005

INIX, the UNIX of the FUTURE!

We live in a world of connected data. When you browse your book order, you can click for more information on the book, the author, people who read the book, reviews of the book, price comparisons, special offers, books related to this book, and so on. With one click, you can access a lot of data.

Almost all that data helps to sell books. That's to be expected: that's where the money goes. But we've had that kind of system running for years, now. Let's turn that into something a bit more useful to everyone.

I call it INIX: Interactive UNIX.

If you've done any kind of UNIX-like install, you know the dread. Perhaps you look forward to the inevitable hang-ups and irritations. A posse of missing drivers, a whole host of programs not interacting in the right way, and that's not to mention stupid stuff like not being able to make it boot without the install disk being continuously in the tray.

We're PAST that stage. There's no reason for us to slog through to hazy on-line forums begging for crumbs from people who don't even know what the situation is because we're too clueless to know the important things to tell them.

Here's where INIX reigns supreme. In INIX, if something happens, you get options. With a few arrow keys (or, hey, have mouse support right from the get-go, it's 2005!) you can select all sorts of responses. Instead of the useless "Not found, oh well" messages you always get, why not a "not found: here are some methods to fix it, automatically generated from the code parser."

Non-bootable disk error? Click the link, and it'll tell you WHY it thinks it needs a disk, and even let you alter the files right there, without needing a reboot or a painful manual edit. Can't find a particular library? Click for a detailed description of the library, along with places it can be found or - even better - the option to go download it RIGHT NOW, install it automatically, and RECOMPILE WITHOUT EVER SEEING THE SYSTEM PROMPT!

Why is that beyond us? It's not. I want to be able to click on a running process and pull up a list of not just what resources it's using, but what the hell it IS, and what it's DOING.

That's INIX. INIX knows itself. As it executes critical code, it tracks what the code is doing, and how it fits into the global framework. Then, it can tell the user these things, and even let the user edit code right there, along with providing helpful mini-macros containing likely permutations.

Sure, it's a bit bloaty. Sure, it would require an essentially ground-up rebuilding of Unix.

But you know what? It'd be worth it. Because all systems - UNIX or Windows - suck monkey balls. This would go a considerable way to letting those monkeys go free, and getting on to sucking something tastier.

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