02 September 2007

Goals

It would probably be a good idea at this point to outline in greater detail what the goals of this little undertaking are. In no particular order:

A Windows 98 alternative. As mentioned on the About page, the primary goal here is to find or develop an operating system for Intel-based machines that are too limited in resources to support Windows XP (or, by extension, Vista) or Canonical’s Xubuntu (or, by extension, Ubuntu).

Windows 98 UI reproduction not a goal. While the goal is to find an OS that is an alternative to Windows 98, reproducing the Windows 98 user interface is not a criterion. I consider it acceptable for the user to have to change the way he or she is used to doing things, in much the same way one would need to adapt to OS X from Windows or vice-versa. By the same token, a solution that resembles Windows 98 or XP (or Mac OS X or OS 9 or any other system for that matter) is fine as well.

Usability. The fact that reproducing the Windows way of doing things is not a goal does not mean that usability is not a goal. Quite the opposite: while the ultimate solution does not need to resemble any popular OS, it must be easy to use by typical computer users. Pushing the envelope to include your grandmother would be great, but I have something closer to my cousins in mind instead as target users.

End-user management. The system needs to be manageable by end-users, not system administrators. It shouldn’t be assumed that the end-user will be satisfied with the applications and configurations that are included in the default distribution/installation. Indeed, this is where a lot of Linux distributions fall short. Many of them essentially place the distribution packager in the role of System Administrator, and that’s not gonna cut it for my purposes.

Stability. It’s gotta be stable enough for everyday use.

At this stage, I don’t want to get into specifics about what particular activities and services the system needs to support. I will merely say that the system should support the kinds of activities and services that are expected from a modern consumer-oriented OS. In reality, it’s going to come down to what I can get away with on the limited hardware.

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