5 Operating Systems Starting 2011 With a Bang

by Paul Rubens

2011 has only just begun, and already there is plenty going on in the world of OS software. From Apple OS X Lion to Microsoft Windows 8, here are the top 5 noteworthy OS developments.

2011 has only just begun, and already there is plenty going on in the world of OS software. From Apple OS X Lion to Microsoft Windows 8, here are the top 5 noteworthy OS developments.

1. Apple OS X Lion: App Store Trademark Troubles

Flushed with the success of the App Store for its mobile iOS operating system, Apple has recently introduced the Mac App Store for its desktop OS X operating system. Its software marketplaces are central to Apple's plan of taking a cut of every application bought to run on its operating systems, and way back in 2008 the company applied for a trademark for the name "App Store."

What's happened since then is that every operating system maker and his dog, from Google to Research In Motion to Microsoft, has decided to set up similar software download emporiums for their OSes, and Microsoft for one is not too keen on the idea of having "App Store" as a trademark.

That's why Microsoft filed a motion last week asking for a summary judgment refusing registration of "App Store" on the grounds that "the combined term 'App Store' is commonly used in the trade, by the general press, by consumers, by Apple's competitors and even by Apple's founder and CEO Steve Jobs, as the generic name for online stores featuring apps ... App store is a generic name that Apple should not be permitted to usurp for its exclusive use."

A tad unfair on Apple, perhaps? After all, until Apple introduced the App Store these sorts of software emporiums were common only in the Linux world, with the predictably un-catchy name of "repositories" or "repos."

2. Microsoft Windows 8: New Apps, New App Store

Hot on the news that Windows 8 will be engineered to run on ARM-based chips as well as the traditional Intel/AMD duopoly comes strong but unconfirmed indication (which basically means rumor) from Windows-watcher Paul Thurrott that Windows 8 will sport an alternative tile-based UI called Mosh. That ties in nicely with the idea of Windows 8 on tablet devices, and it could provide a way of getting the Windows Phone 7 look and feel on an ARM-based tablet device running Windows 8.

Thurrott and fellow Microsoft commentator Mary-Jo Foley also believe Windows 8 will embrace a new "app model," codenamed Jupiter, which will result in Silverlight-based "immersive" applications that are deployed as AppX packages (.appx). These will be made available in a new Windows Marketplace repository or -- if Microsoft's trademark action is successful -- maybe a Windows Marketplace App Store?

3. Novell SUSE Linux: Patent Deal Still on Despite the Germans

Earlier this month, I mentioned that the Open Source Initiative asked the German Bundeskartellamt to look into Novell's sale of a bucket-load of patents to CPTN, a company that's a front for Microsoft, Apple, EMC and Oracle. The sale is part of a deal that involves Attachmate buying Novell, maker of the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server operating system and other open source software.

Since then came news that CPTN had canceled its application to exist as a German business entity, prompting speculation that Microsoft et al. were retreating from the deal. Now it emerges that that is not the case, and the deal is very much still on. Responding from an inquiry by Microsoft blog Techflash, Microsoft explained, "This is a purely procedural step necessary to provide time to allow for review of the proposed transaction."

It looks like this "procedural step" was actually nothing more than a wheeze designed to stop those pesky Germans from holding up the deal.

4. Ubuntu Narwhal: Hedging Its Cloud Bets

Ubuntu has been keen on private cloud technology for some time, and now the Linux server operating system distro's founder, Mark Shuttleworth, has made it clear that the next version of the open source software -- Ubuntu 11.04 Narwhal -- will include two private cloud technologies.

"We will have both OpenStack and Eucalyptus based cloud options in Ubuntu 11.04 in April, and we will have to see how they shake out from a competitive perspective," he said in a video interview on Barton's Blog "The really important thing is that we are starting get some sort of sense of standardization of the infrastructure level of cloud computing, and both Eucalyptus and OpenStack are going to be central to that process."

And whichever one succeeds, Ubuntu will be on board with. Clever chap, that Shuttleworth.

5. Linux Anti-terror Operation? You Couldn't Make It Up ...

The Register reports that a joint operation by the Spanish Guardia Civil and French anti-terrorism forces was given the name Operation Linux, much to the ire of "penguin-loving outfits." It was given the name, apparently, because Spanish security forces use the open source server software, but a Spanish government ministry has since apologized for using the "trade name of some companies and other organizations and the damage it may cause," according to a statement The Register put though Google Translate.

You could see how the next anti-Al-Queda initiative could be called Operation Lion, but if that gets stretched to Operation OS X Lion then Apple might just have something to say about the matter ...

Paul Rubens is a journalist based in Marlow on Thames, England. He has been programming, tinkering and generally sitting in front of computer screens since his first encounter with a DEC PDP-11 in 1979.

Follow ServerWatch on Twitter

This article was originally published on Wednesday Jan 19th 2011
Mobile Site | Full Site