Let's say, in a perfect world where everything is possible. What features would you like to have in your operating system, IDE, Compiler or computer in general.

of course everybody wants reduced boot times and super faaaaaast processors, anything else? I personally really would like to have human language recognition.

the question may sound a bit silly, but if you don't have a long distance goal you also don't know where to go now.

+1  A: 

I would certainly love if I didn't have to re install my graphic drivers every time the kernel gets updated.

Eric Hogue
+5  A: 

What I'd love? A way to step "backwards" when debugging. That would be awesome.

Rob Rolnick
Didn't I see a Java IDE that offered this? Within reason, of course.
Marcus Downing
s/would be/was/. Turbo Debugger could do that almost twenty years ago.
Sherm Pendley
It's pretty easy to do this in a machine-level debugger. It's less easy in source-level debuggers, where a single "step" might update hundreds of objects internal state.
Mark Bessey
It's particularly easy for virtual machines. The OCaml debugger has been able to do it for a while. GDB can do it now too, for machine code.
Michael E
+3  A: 

I want a better way to organize my stuff. The concept of files and folders dates back decades to when you interacted with a central server through a teletype. It's time for something better.

Kyle Cronin
But what? Seriously. I mean you could organize things by "workspaces" but then you might want to sub-organize the workspace... then you're right back to the folder/sub-folder concept.
Context sensitivity, filtering, and search go a long ways. Context sensitivity being that I go to iTunes when looking for music, Mail for my email, etc. Filtering to do a lightning-fast grep on all the files/records, and search for the more complicated queries.
Kyle Cronin
That way everything can be stored in one giant pool and accessed based on what I'm looking for. If my entire operating system worked like iTunes or Mail I wouldn't have to worry about organizing my stuff ever again.
Kyle Cronin
+2  A: 
  • Keyboard commands for everything
  • 'Instant on' sleep/hibernation capability
  • Good support for multiple monitors and large monitors (basically Ultramon and WinSplit Revolution built in)
Chris Upchurch

Practical highres 3D monitors

+1  A: 

Uh...people...The obvious answer: Matrix-style brain jacks.

Ben Collins
+1  A: 

Everything has to be scriptable!

A stronger connection between "back-end" and "front-end". For example, macros at the OS level to allow me to record any interaction with any application (ties into the "keyboard commands for everything" comment). If the macro was actually just scripting language calls to the application's API then all the better.

Michael Hinds
I agree ties in with the "keyboard commands for everything" comment...

My #1 missing OS feature is a 2 part whammy:

1) Hierarchical Task Manager: Instead of managing a long, 1 level list of running applications, give me the ability to nest multiple apps into my own defined "application groups" and switch between them. I know this can be done with virtual desktops, but none do it right. I don't need entirely exclusive desktop "spaces", I just want the power to organize my running apps/documents/browsers into defined groups.

2) The ability to freeze/persist the entire state of individual applications (or application groups) and restore them at a later time. Why must I shut down the 15 different running applications I need every time I reboot and then have to waste time starting them all back up again? Why must I shut down all the apps related to my 'web dev' working mode every time I want to play a game or switch to an entirely different mode of work.

Matias Nino
+1  A: 

True security.

I want to be able to run any program I download off the Internet and not have to worry about it being a virus. I want an operating system that has defined security so well that there doesn't need to be anti-virus or firewalls anymore.

Sandboxing is the key, but also fine level security. For example by default, a program should only receive keyboard or mouse input when it is in focus. A program, should never be able to change its own window state. A program cannot write or read from disk until told so by the user. A program cannot take a screen shot of your desktop. A program has no network access. A program has no hardware access. A program has limited memory and CPU usage.

Secure computing by default

Whenever you run or install anything, it should never "hook" into the OS. It should never replace a core function of the OS, this includes drivers.

The user should be able to control the OS at all times, and the OS in turn should be able to control all programs at all times. This way when a program fails, it doesn't crash the entire computer. The OS should never say "well, the program used our API improperly, therefore all we could do is crash".

+1 for outlining good security best practices for OS's
+1  A: 

I'd like to have a computer be able to read my current cognitive state wirelessly and predict in a non-deterministic way what I need in order to achieve the state of Nirvana and then deliver that experience instanteously.

(This is a bit geeky and has been played out in various films from Wall*E and Vanilla Sky to the Matrix and eXistenZ in varying degrees)

JB King
In other words, a computer that can read my mind and does exactly what I want it to do with minimal effort from me. Gosh, I'm lazy.
You are kind of glossing over a few points in my reply like the "what I want it to do" isn't really correct as I'm asking for what to do to get to Nirvana which may or may not exist for one, but also what would our minds do if stimulated in such a manner: Do we break from reality?
JB King

I would like an operating system without the bloat. Windows XP ships with tons of bloat by default... I went from about a 50-60s boot time to a 20-30s, after getting rid of all the stuff I don't need that is enabled by default(this is without using something like nLite too). Not to mention my laptop actually runs super zippy now, and actually makes games playable that previously wouldn't even run. I was super surprised that spore and doom3 were playable..

Linux is no better at this either, I have a default Ubuntu install with dual-booting and it takes about a minute. I don't do too many "demanding" tasks with Linux but the boot time shows that their are many services and things running that are simply unnecessary.

If the "killer-apps" ran on dos or win98 I'd switch back in a minute.

We have such an OS, it's called OpenBSD... (at least it is bloat-free for now)

Collab work. Share a window and work on it. Open a Word doc directly from the cloud and save it there in one step. Drag n drop a window from your computer to your coworker's computer. The window continue to run on your computer, but is shown on your coworker or both worker's computer.

Multiplelogin: the taskbar is organised by username and program/browsers are under it. Some usernames for work, some usernames for home. That way I could have two gmail open with two logins. Same for local apps.