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Do operating systems still matter?

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OS

Stephen O’Grady: “In the kind of world that many of us project, one with the cloud a first class platform option, it’s worth asking the question: would operating systems (still) matter?”

I asked a similar question on a panel about operating systems last week at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit. As Stephen rightly points out, developer platforms of choice are moving up the stack and have been for some time. If you’re writing an application at the level of Java or PHP, what difference does it make what operating system is running underneath?

Indeed, as fellow Redmonker Michael Coté separately observed, developers tend to have increasingly less allegiance to the operating system than to other platform technologies. If developers affiliate more with platforms like Java or PHP than, say, Linux or Windows, are operating systems becoming largely invisible infrastructure, much as hardware has become largely invisible infrastructure over the past decade? (Think about it: When’s the last time you wrote an application to the processor architecture?)

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