Brussels / 1 & 2 February 2020


Generation gaps

For as long as computers have been around, roughly every 10-15 years, the whole industry underwent a reset and reinvented itself anew… until the early 1990s, when somehow, the industry skipped a generation. Instead, it looked backwards, and adopted an older model of computing. The cost has been very high and is holding back the development of the entire field.

This talk looks at how we turned to the past instead of the future, what we missed out on as a result, and how to move forward. It follows on from the above proposal, but takes a different tack and should stand alone. It looks at where personal computers might have – but didn’t – go in the 1980s and 1990s. At a sampling of advanced OS technologies that never caught on – Plan 9, Inferno, Taos, Oberon – and the cool stuff we lost out on as a result.

It will end with trying to identify the next such generation gap, and why we should consider starting afresh rather than adapting current tech for the next gen.


Photo of Liam Proven Liam Proven