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Original question: Ask L: OpenBSD, what is it good for?

With Apple dropping the ball with Yosemite, I am keeping an eye out for alternatives. I’m hoping someone will pick up that ball and provide the world with an easy-to-use, “intelligently designed”, innovative, secure operating system that is performant and doesn’t kill your laptop’s battery life.

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    I don’t think there’s been any real innovation in desktop design. Any attempts at making something not like Windows 95 have been harshly received.

    It gets more stagnant the lower you go. Nothing really majorly different than Unix. Unix is good, but improvements on the model like Plan 9 never went anywhere and drastically different ones never really happened or died off.

    But on topic: I like OpenBSD better than Linux, but OS X is a very nice OS with a good GUI and core OS. OpenBSD lacks some niceties like virtualization though. Don’t underestimate Windows either - it gets better every release IMHO, and it’s my daily driver on my X201.

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      To be honest, the only people innovating on the desktop (with any clout) are Microsoft and Apple. Everybody else is polishing Unix in one way or another, but not really adding anything particularly new, because anything seriously resembling new is anathema to the Unix faithful. What they like is incremental improvements that don’t require them to change how they work. Now there’s nothing wrong with polishing Unix, we’re stuck with it for a lot of tasks for a long time to come, so we want the best Unix we can get, but it sure would be nice to see some seriously fresh ideas.

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        I won’t say that they’re innovating so much as trying to keep past innovations alive, but Haiku is neither a unix, nor Apple nor MS. If they get some traction, it should become a platform for further innovation.

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          BeOS was always cool, Haiku is just bringing it back. Maybe they can add some innovations of their own?

          What I don’t get is that microkernels were supposedly a failure. BeOS was incredibly performant, especially on an SMP system, and OS X and arguably Windows today are microkernels.

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            As far as I know, you haven’t actually mentioned any microkernels. If I’m recalling correctly, BeOS was monolithic, and Darwin and Windows are both hybrids. As long as your device drivers are in kernelspace, they’re not micros.

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              OS X is Mach and I’ve always heard of BeOS described as a microkernel. NT is iffier, but it has many microkernel like attributes (drivers can come back after a crash)

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          Yeah, like Unity DE (which is great BTW, now that the wrinkles have been worked out).

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            Canonical are not innovating with Unity on Ubuntu? I don’t know about that .. the last time I tried Ubuntu, I was kind of impressed with how much they’d tried to innovate around the idea of integrating desktop/search ..

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              Well, it still has the windows paradigm and stuff, but there definitely is a lot of innovation in there as well.

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            an easy-to-use, “intelligently designed”

            Are you confusing the OS with the desktop environment?

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              Are you confusing the OS with the desktop environment?

              I hear you, however the term, in its colloquial use (i.e. by Apple, Microsoft, their users, and others), oftentimes encompasses desktop environments as well to refer to a “complete package”. That is the sense that I was using it.

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                Thank you, great point. (Edit: I updated the question.)

                I guess with Apple dropping the ball with Yosemite, I am keeping an eye out for alternatives. I’m hoping someone will pick up that ball and provide the world with an easy-to-use, “intelligently designed”, innovative, secure operating system that is performant and doesn’t kill your laptop’s battery life.

                Who is truly innovating in desktop Operating Systems these days, in other words?

                I keep seeing good things about OpenBSD pop up every now and then, so I was curious. Sorry for the poorly phrased original question.

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                  I guess with Apple dropping the ball with Yosemite, I am keeping an eye out for alternatives.

                  I keep hearing about apple “dropping the ball”. Yes, I too have had some problems/bugs with yosemite. I recall a few buggy early releases of previous version of OSX too though, and to my vague recollection some of those even had fewer new features.

                  I am not discounting doom and gloom. However, I personally find the OSX experience still rather far ahead of other current options on the laptop.

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                Who’s innovating? Just about everyone it seems – see recent iterations of Mac OS X, Windows 8, GNOME 3.x, etc. Innovation everywhere!

                Though whether or not any of these innovations are improvements is a decidedly different matter…

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                  Check whether enlightenment works on openBSD. If yes, use it (I, however, will still struggle with myself, my reliance on the AUR, and thoughts about how nixos could be the best thing since named pipes).

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                    You have a choice of: enlightenment-0.17.6v1 or enlightenment-1.0.9p4 in OpenBSD