I have just come across an article in LinkedIn titled ” Business After Windows: Why the Microsoft Desktop OS Model is Irretrievably Cracked by SaaS and What the Future Holds” . The article reminded me of an article I had written sometime back in 1995 or 1996, on what the next OS should look like. I have been looking for the article, but it was one written in the early days of internet and the site seems to have totally disappeared.
My vision of the future computers back then, were basically devices that had a basic OS that did not require so much configuration like Windows or the MacOS. In simple forms the computers would be “A device independent workspace”. This work Space would be a computer that was fully functional and the users would arrive with external hard disks or hot plugin drives, which would have all their programs (such as MS Office, Accounting Package, etc, etc) and their personal Data, from documents to photos and music.
The plugging of this device would allow you to use any computer as processing power to run your application, and the OS would handle all the peripheral connections between the device and your programs and data, from printers to scanners.
This would mean that if a hardware failed (apart from your hard drive) you would simply unplug your data drive and plug it into another computer and carry on working. Equally this setup would mean that there was no messing around with having to setup printers, scanners, network connections, etc. All these would be handled by the OS layer in a seamless manner. I cannot imagine the number of hours that are lost per day in each organizations when a printer fails to work with one device or another and when a machine fails with the after maths of having to reconfigure a machine to work the way you had a setup.
Although it has not come to reality in the way I wrote it, it seems that the OS / Data is as moving towards this concept. The web has already taken away the OS dependencies out of the many Software programs we use and our data is more and more cloud based. So I still believe that it won’t be long that an OS layer will provide this independent layer so that Mac & PCs will become nothing more than just a processing unit or a computing workspace.