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  Operating systems
Real-Time and Embedded Linux, Part II

In the previous article, I touched upon embedded systems, their uses, and the importance of developed them in an open manner. Now I'd like to take a closer look at the technology involved, looking into the specifics of some of the approaches on the market right now. Real-time systems have been on the market for years because there has long been a need for systems to control industrial systems, robotics, and similar systems. When it comes to controlling hardware on a machine floor, where a scheduling latency could result in injury or death to those on the floor, guaranteed scheduling...

Real-Time and Embedded Linux

For years, there has been a sentiment throughout the industry that the desktop is where products should be targeted and that the home system is the center of personal computing. There is some truth in this: Great advances have been made in getting technology into the home sector, but it is foolish to think that it should stop with a single (or even multiple) personal machines in the house. In coming years, more services will be automated and centrally controlled via independent yet cooperating systems, all operating within the context of a larger system, whether that is the house, a...

Opening Ports in XP Service Pack 2

If you're getting ready to update to the Windows XP Service Pack 2, Microsoft has just released a guide on application compatibility. If you're concerned about which applications you might have problems with, it's worth a look. For most home users, installing and running with Windows XP Service Pack 2 is not a problem. However, some Internet applications may need specific ports opened in the new Windows Firewall. Last week we showed how to tell the firewall about new applications, but sometimes you also need to specify additional ports. In our example here, we are going to open ports for...

What is XP 64 Bit Edition?

Microsoft is making a version of this operating system for those running x86-64 processors. Currently, that means anyone running the AMD Athlon64/FX/Opteron (hence the "extended" wording in the name). The short version of the name implies the likes of the 386 moving x86 to 32bit from 16bit, and the first 8086 used in the original IBM PCs extending the original architecture from 8bit to 16bit. AMD increased the size of the registers, added a few instructions, and kept its binary compatibility with all previous x86 programs. The real XP 64 Bit Edition is meant for Intel's Itanium, running the IA-64...

Windows XP 64-bit, a virtual minefield?

Granted, you’ll have to give it to Microsoft for often being overly optimistic about their accomplishments. As honestly what other company would be pitching a product that’s been delayed by almost two years and features nothing new but for 64-bit support like it is a quantum leap from the 32-bit version of Windows XP? In truth the 64-bit version of Windows XP is far from that, at best it is a Windows kernel with 64-bit extensions that works on a handful of systems with a very specific hardware configuration, or to be specific on hardware that has working 64-bit drivers....

Windows XP X64 goes gold

MICROSOFT HAS released the final version of Windows XP 64 to manufacturing, meaning that those with machines that have 64-32 bit processors in from AMD and latterly Intel can now see what the extra addressing brings to the party. No doubt people can also look forward to future service pack releases from Microsoft, but we mustn't be too churlish about this, even though the OS is long delayed. Only the most absurdly cynical would suggest that it's been delayed because Intel was hurriedly racing to catch up and make its chips similar enough to AMD64 processors to run the OS....

Java bug could hit PC operating systems

The discovery of a serious software bug has simultaneously opened a variety of desktop computers to potential attack. The flaw has been found in Java, which works on a variety of computer operating systems – from Microsoft’s Windows to free software Linux – which means any worm which exploits it could hit a variety of computer platforms. The flaw is rated "highly critical" by the computer security firm Secunia and some experts believe it could lead to the development of a cross-platform computer worm. The bug was discovered in the Java Plugin - a software package that lets small programs...

Future of operating systems: simplicity

Today's operating systems are conceptually upside-down. They developed the hard way, gradually struggling upwards from the machinery (processors, memory, disks and displays) toward the user. In the future, operating systems and information management tools will grow top-down. Computing power should make life simpler, not weigh you down with fancy features. Computing power should unify your life online, help you pull threads together -- not add more virtual shoe boxes for information to get lost in. I have time for one screen in my life. I need to be able to tune in one single information structure and know that my...

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A History of Apple's Operating Systems

Mac OS X is a unique operating system in that it represents a rather successful coming together of paradigms, ideologies, and technologies that have usually resisted each other in the past. It is a result of the trials and tribulations of Apple and NeXT, as well as their user and developer communities. Mac OS X is perhaps one of the best examples of how a capable system can result through the direct or indirect efforts of corporations, academic and research communities, the Open Source and Free Software movements, and even individuals. Apple has been around since 1976, and many accounts...

Users cling to old Microsoft operating systems

Microsoft can stop selling older operating systems, and it can even stop supporting them, but that doesn't mean that customers won't still use them. Even though Microsoft said this week that it will stop distributing Windows 98 at the end of this month, a new study shows that a substantial number of businesses, both large and small, are still using it. The study, released this week by technology consultant AssetMetrix, found that more than 80 percent of companies still have some machines using Windows 95 or Windows 98. Of those companies still using the older operating systems, an average of...