Over the last few month I though a lot about the future of desktop operating systems and how a perfect desktop operating should look like in my opinion.
After discussing this stuff with friends I decided to blog about the ideas. Please post your comments and ideas.
This is strictly from a user point of view. So this is not about technologies but about user experience.
Lots of this stuff is already possible in recent linux distributions. But it is not enabled by default, requires a lot of technical understanding or even custom scripting. I think all this functionality should be available and enabled by default so that an average user can use this without much learning. No difficult system administration should be needed.
Part 1 – Documents
Document and file handling is more or less the same as 25 years ago.
I store my personal documents and files on my pc in a document folder. Organized in subfolders.
What I expect from a 2008 desktop operating system is:
- document folder in my home directory. Not readable for other users.
- fulltext search on all documents
- tagging, rating, commenting of the documents
- different semantic views on the file. For example show all files of project X
- export. It should be possible to export and archive specific tagged files to a dvd with on click. for example all holiday pictures.
- encrypted. the document folder should be encrypted by default
- very sensible files should additionally encrypt-able. This should work easy without complicated key management.
- compression. rarely used files should be compressed automatically to safe storage. decompress should work transparently. The user don´t have to care.
- accessible from remote. If I have only my mobile phone with me I still want to access all my documents. Access should also be possible from an internet cafe from the other side of the world. Strong encryption and authentication, of course.
- backup. automatic backups to a different harddisk, fileserver or webservice. No setup or configuration of backup software should be needed. Old backups are automatically deleted if the harddisc gets full.
- versioned – all files are revision controlled. I can always go back to an older version of a document. Old revisions are automatically deleted if the harddisc gets full. So no system administration is needed. Accessible view a user friendly GUI and the filedialog. So now svn commands please.
- sync with other computers – I want to sync all files or a part of the files to a second pc or a notebook. The files a synchronized automatically later if the pc are in the same network again.
- share with other people – I can mark files or folders and share them with specific friends. This should be easy. Without knowledge of network infrastructure.
- extensible – if the harddisk is full you can buy an additional one and have a more space without much configuration.