Poring over a somewhat thought-provoking note penned by former Apple exec and Be Inc. founder, Jean-Louis Gassée, in which he argues that most operating systems are variants of one (Unix) and that the OS doesn’t really matter — it needs the apps.

He gives us a whistlestop tour of the evolution of OS development. On Apple, he writes:

“The same thing happened at Apple…twice. The Apple ][ OS (or lack thereof, purists will say) couldn’t be brought up to modern standards, so the Macintosh had to be built on a fresh foundation. The original Mac OS foundered on its own beachhead and was replaced by OS X. Based on the Mach kernel, OS X is another Unix derivative, co-authored at CMU by Avie Tevanian. Mr Tevanian improved the system during his tenure as head of software at NeXT and was instrumental in convincing Apple that their purchase of NeXT would breathe new life into the company,” he writes.

Looking at the one non-Unix OS out there, Windows, he argues that this will l/ive on within the PC industry, but won’t stake a claim in the “high-growth Cloud and smartphone segments”.

Apps, he argues, are crucial for smartphone (or tablet) success, and these must deliver positive user experiences and be constructed using best-in-class development tools.

“The App Store genre, invented or not in Cupertino, is now part of that loop, a killer OS component.”

About the Author