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DR FlexOS? 2013 = PC death+year of Linux "tablet" desktop? (Miscellaneous)

posted by Arjay(R), 02.02.2013, 12:45
(edited by Arjay on 02.02.2013, 13:12)

> Hi, I just stumbled at some information about something called FlexOS.
I had heard of FlexOS but am not that familiar. It's existance interests me though in the evolution of operating systems and the various temporary side paths that occur like this.

> What I can make out is that it was a successor to DR Concurrent DOS.
I've a love hate relationship with Wikipedia.... but "according" to the Wikipedia Multiuser (Concurrent 286) DOS article: "These same limitations affected FlexOS 286 version 1.0, a derivation of Concurrent DOS 286."
The way I read that and the FlexOS article is they sort of brother/sister products which share a lot of common code base but were marketed for different uses.

Currently there is a dead link in the Multiuser Wikipedia page to a 2006 Les Bell technical article called "CP/M and Derivatives" which article appears to have been removed from the website. Unfortunately it was stored as a NSF (Lotus Notes File) which for anyone familiar with Notes can be described as almost one way data storage... so although a 2010 cache of is available via Archive.ORG the article appears to NOT be available.

It seems that it only recently disappeared offline? as the interesting website by Herbert R. Johnson has a link to Les Bell's article from Herb's 2011 article "CP/M and Digital Research Inc. (DRI)".

> It was a multiuser (? - at least it had a login facility)/multitasking OS
Yup, I agree appears to have been from what I've read.

> It came with GUI: X/GEM
Ah yes that takes me back. I remember using it around 1987/1988 on an Amstrad 1512 which I had access to and GEM was much better than Windows at that time. (I uninstalled Windows on my first PC to free up space!)

> Does anyone know what happened with FlexOS and why did it fail (if it did)?
> Was it ever offered as an OS for PCs or was limited only to industrial
> applications?
Looks like it merged with MultiDOS to me? We need to do more reading....

> The list of features is impressive for the time (1986).
Yes and No. Yes, in the PC world at the time but No when you consider the Amiga launched in 1985 and the Archimedes in 1987, when you compare against them it makes you realise how behind PC's were.

Which has made me think more about the future or lack there of for our beloved traditional PC. I find the world is a funny place in that things often go fall circle in popularity and FlexOS has reminded me of just that, e.g.
Unix - CPM - DOS - Windows - Linux (Unix!)
Mainframes - midrange - PC's - Distributed cloud computing (= mainframes!)

Indeed in the early 1990's when it came to upgrading from my (Acorn) BBC Micro model B, I decided to ignore my Amiga/Archimedes friends and went down the unfashionable PC route for one simple reason, it was obvious the PC which I had first met in 1985 had won as the business office machine and I wanted to go into I.T - even back then I knew the PC's days were limited but I never thought that PC's would last for as long as they have. Still like most here I've have spent years evolving and upgrading along with PC's but also still keeping close to the continued expansion of the ARM architecture which was designed on the BBC B (and originally called "Acorn RISC Machine") which has now gained massive market share from PC's, to the point that this year PC's were finally recognised to be obsolete, e.g.
PC sales fall for first time in over a decade, PC sales fall 6.4% in Q4, worse than expected, PCs hit hard as mobiles and tablets overtake iPlayer viewing etc.

I'm afraid as much as I have nostalgia for PC's, we've gone full circle with hardware and their demise is going to continue to obviously happen hence why my recent new PC wasn't a PC! I feel anyone who believes tablets are a temporary thing is very much mistaken. I guess it could finally be argued that (2012) 2013 is finally the year of the Linux Desktop only it's the Linux Desktop on a ARM based tablet and NOT an Intel PC running Windows 8. I do however wonder what Windows 9 will bring and suspect that it won't be long before a new GUI via "revised" Windows 10 running some "revised" Intel hardware will come into existance. A bit like when Microsoft suddendly had to play catch up with Netscape and the Internet. I think we are kind of at that Windows 95 to Windows XP stage at the moment where the world has changed and several companies have just woken up to it the hard way.

Regardless IMHO I think the PC we've all loved is now finally dead (RIP) :-(


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