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Re: Why Images Bother People (or, at least me)

Brent Fulgham wrote:
> This reminds me of an interesting question raised in Raskin's 
 > "The Human Interface."  Why on earth doesn't the
 > operating system consist of an image that can be saved
 > when you "shut down" and loaded when you "start up",
 > so that your boot time is as minimal as just mmapping
 > the image back into memory?

"Hibernate saves your desktop state with all open files and documents as 
you left them, and then it powers down your computer. Because Windows XP 
systems detect when batteries are nearing depletion, laptop systems will 
enter Hibernate mode to preserve data before the battery fails. If the 
system is in Standby when the battery is running low, Windows XP will 
wake the system, preserve your data, and then enter Hibernate mode 
before the batteries fail. Waking your computer from Hibernate mode is 
much quicker than a fresh startup, and Windows XP wakes from Hibernate 
faster than any earlier version of Windows."


But desktop software and operating systems are just not properly written 
to run at weeks at a time. You need to reboot to get the system back to 
a "clean state". And in fact you actually need to re-install the 
operating system once in a while to really clean out your state. This is 
part of what makes me nervous about the "image" concept. When the 
abstractions start breaking I need my data to be explicitly separate 
from the corrupted environment. Traditional environments start from this 
separation and try to emulate unification (e.g. IDEs that help you to 
avoid dealing with file managers) whereas image based systems start from 
unification and help you implement separation through import and export.

  Paul Prescod