Is there a good term which distinguishes a general-purpose OS (Unix, Windows, Plan 9, etc) from operating systems like Android, iOS, Windows RT, etc? The term "operating system" is being overloaded to ship systems which are really more of a graphical shell than a classical operating system. The moves to lock down operating systems, ostensibly made for "security" reasons but conveniently centralizing power and authority with the vendor at the same time, are being marketed to consumers as the same kind of product as a conventional operating system while in fact being profoundly different.
@sir Not exactly the same but Cory Doctorow uses the term "General Purpose Computer" to mean the former in practice.
@sir I think it’s just “special purpose” and “general purpose”
@sir Not as such.
Jonathan Zittrain and others have been talking about "generative computing", also "general purpose computing".
There's the "graphical shell" metaphor, as opposed to a command shell (e.g., Bourne/csh), or environments such as TSO/ISPF.
There's the "embedded device" notion, though that's usually even more restrictive than most mobile devices.
The notion of a walled "app store" model seems central to iOS and Android -- if you want software, you've got to go through the device's dedicated source (or expend much effort bypassing it).
The fact that most people really can't manage any computing complexity is an argument in favour. See #TyrannyOfTheMinimumViableUser
@sir Zittrainesque (Cory Doctorow's also beat this drum a lot):
@brad they're nerfing the stuff that tools like Termux relied on in an upcoming release, and they were already very nerfed to be honest. It's designed to keep you out of the stuff your apps are doing
@sir “embedded operating system,” maybe?
@sir I've always used the term Operating Environment to cover something that is more than an operating system. It doesn't imply it's locked down, but it does include the user interface, and desktop.
@sir I think 'walled garden' carries over for a lot of your points, but doesn't describe the system itself, but instead the operating environment.
@sir I don't think one exists outside of "general-purpose OS". We could create a term though. Something like "operating system" for the general-purpose ones and "interactive environment" for the others perhaps?
@sir owned vs rented?
@sir Best things that come to my (tired and worn out) mind are “restricted-purpose operating system” and some incoherent flailing around words like “silo” and “shackled”.
I’m definitely not wordsmithing on all cylinders here.
The social network of the future: No ads, no corporate surveillance, ethical design, and decentralization! Own your data with Mastodon!