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close this book Food Composition Data: A User's Perspective (1987)
close this folder Other considerations
close this folder Systems considerations in the design of INFOODS
View the document (introductory text)
View the document Introduction
View the document Staff turnover and system growth
View the document Documentation
View the document The choice of environmental and basic tools
View the document Choices of operating systems
View the document Choice of programming language
View the document User interface
View the document Data representations
View the document System architecture and linkages
View the document Stability
View the document Primitive tool-based systems
View the document Summary
View the document References

Choices of operating systems

Choices of operating systems

In an ideal world, the operating system chosen for any applications system is one that is smart, flexible, and state-of-the-art, and that operates on powerful, inexpensive, widely available hardware. In addition, the operating system must be utterly stable, so applications development does not involve aiming at a moving target. These attributes almost never exist in combination. Advanced and state-of-the-art systems are typically kept that way by continual revision or frequent releases. Each revision will "improve" the environment in ways that more or less significantly undermine existing work. Applications system developers can gain control over such changes by developing and maintaining their own operating systems, but the price for doing so is usually too high. Systems should be selected to reach a reasonable balance between sophistication and modernness on the one hand and stability on the other. Once the selections are made, software design criteria should include the ability to keep the stable interface that endusers will insist upon; for once someone gets used to a system that is even moderately satisfactory it is likely to be strongly preferred to any other, even those that are objectively better. It will be expected that stability will be preserved even when the supporting operating system is changed.