operating system standards, cont. (38)

Fri, 14 Apr 89 22:45:44 EDT

Humanist Mailing List, Vol. 2, No. 839. Friday, 14 Apr 1989.

Date: Fri, 14 Apr 89 15:19:09 EDT
From: Geoff Rockwell <rockwell@utorgpu>
Subject: Standards

Richard L. Goerwitz has drawn our attention to the fact that the Mac system
is not multitasking. If one wants a true multitasking multilingual system
(with the source code) one should not consider a Mac. While there are rumors
about a future operating system with Unix under the hood I doubt Apple will
ever surrender the source code. I also doubt NeXT will make theirs available
to anyone who is not willing to surrender children as hostages. That leaves
other brands of Unix or OS/2.

The question of the future of multitasking environments is not the same
as the question of the future of multilingual computing. Do we need true
multitasking? I'm not opposed to it if it is affordable, but I don't see it
as essential to multilingual work. Nor do I think possession of source code
the most important criterion for choosing a system. I suspect there are
exceptional applications where multitasking, multiprocessing and available
source code are necessary and I look forward to seeing them.

Richard reminds us to try to be objective. He is right about the temptation
to consider only what one knows important. There are, however, users whose
enthusiasm for a particular system is based on experience with others.
Enthusiasts are also likely to think their enthusiasm is backed by
understanding. While I had hoped to keep my enthusiasms in check I have yet
to be convinced that the Mac is not the most promising platform for
multilingual computing.

Geoffrey Rockwell rockwell@gpu.utcs.utoron