A while ago, a talk was held with the title “Is linux obsolete?” in which the attempt was made to criticize the Linux ecosystem. The arguments were taken from the Unix haters handbook which is some kind rant against the UNIX ecosystem. The problem with these and similar talks is, that it remains open which kind of software should replace Linux, if everything is wrong with the kernel. The answer is simple: Forth.
Declaring Forth as the successor of Linux is bold, but it make sense. Even if somebody is not really familiar with Forth, it is possible to explain from a theoretical point of view, why Linux is obsolete and Forth is the better operating system. And even practical demonstrations are possible, the Bigforth OS was developed around the Linux kernel. With a bit enthusiasm it is possible to define Bigforth as a here to stay, and Ubuntu plus Debian as outdated.
Some Linux fanboys would argue, that it is too early to introduce Forth. And they are right. It is too early, to explain Forth as the new Linux. The reason is, that for most users, even Linux is some kind of exciting innovation which is unexplored yet. But let’s take a look into recent computer tradeshows. We will find, that Linux is everywhere. There are many dedicated Linux conferences out there, and at the Froscon and similar meetings, Open Source and Free software is everywhere. That means, Linux is no longer an obscure thing known only by experts, but Linux is a mainstream operating system. If we are focus on Android Smartphones, Linux is a mass market too with billion of users worldwide. So it make no sense, to argue that Linux needs an introduction and is some kind of valuable alternative.
In contrast, Forth needs a lot of introduction. On major computer events, Forth isn’t there and even in Internet only groups like Stackoverflow, nobody is aware of the stackbased programming language. So it is the right moment to declare Forth as the new Linux. It is some kind of esoteric system which is unknown in the mainstream and needs an introduction to explain the benefits. And Forth has a lot of them. The main advantage of Forth is, that the creation of a virtual machine is easy and can be done in around 1000 lines of code. Under Linux it is more complicated to create a Linux kernel from scratch and put the C compiler on top. The Linux ecosystem is grouped around open source software, but the sourcecode itself is large and bloated. In contrast, Forth is a slim system.
Some users are arguing, that Forth can’t compete with Linux because the amount of software is smaller and that it’s not possible to run a webserver with Forth. But this assumption depends on the perspective. With the correct attitude, it’s possible to promote Forth as a valuable replacement for unix-like operating systems. The funny thing is, that the Linux community has no arguments against Forth. Linux’s self-description is based on the Open Source ideology. Windows is a close source system, while Linux is open. Forth is an open source system too, but it has the better technology too. Linux is strongly connected with a certain paradigm what software is. The idea is, that every computer needs an operating system and that the kernel has to be written in C. A Forth user would argue, that this assumption is wrong and that a better alternative is available. The operating system is put into the firmware, the sourcecode is optimized into a minimum and this allows to speed up the system and fix the existing bugs effectively.
Linux is a reasonable well working operating system. It allows to develop software and brings webserver online. But Linux is not the best available technology in doing so. The example with the Android ecosystem shows the disadvantages of Linux. Android shows, what an operating system will look like in which everything is wrong. The problems are: too much energy consumption, lots of malware in the android store, malfunction apps and missing roadmap to advanced stackbased processors. These bugs can’t be fixed within the existing Linux ecosystem. ff somebody has decided to take the Linux kernel and put on top an Java interpreter the result will looks terrible. Android is perhaps the best argument, why a migration from Linux to Forth make sense.