"File types"

Mark Tapley mtapley at swri.edu
Wed Aug 30 13:01:11 CDT 2006


At 12:03 -0500 8/29/06, Don wrote:
>IMO, this was a mistake.  It forces the OS to know too much
>about the applications that run on it -- instead of being a
>resource manager.  I.e. it should implement mechanisms, not
>policy.

	There is at least one reason this may not be a mistake in all 
contexts. If the OS knows something about the files, and about the 
applications available, it can help me out by connecting the two (or 
by notifying me that the needed application is not available). That 
allows me to double-click on a .jpeg file and have a jpeg viewer 
launched automatically by the OS to open that file.
	The alternative is of course for me to find my own jpeg 
viewer, launch it, and then open the same file. The advantages here 
are that I'll get the *right* jpeg viewer, the OS can be much 
simpler, and the file can be smaller and named with greater 
flexibility.
	File type information could be imbedded in the name (.3), in 
a "file information" block a la MacOS-Classic, or inside the file 
itself. I can even imagine an OS with a "guess-the-application" 
facility, which is actually an application itself that guesses which 
other application to launch and pass the file to based solely on the 
file's content or context (though I can imagine that facility failing 
from time to time).
	I think any of these strategies could (and do?) work. I'm not 
sure that selecting one over the other is a mistake, just a choice 
adapting the OS to a different function. Some rely more on the user's 
input, some take more machine resources and are less transportable.
-- 
					- Mark
					Cell Phone:	210-379-4635
			                office:		210-522-6025



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