I agree with your assessment re operating systems. Most operating systems are similar because they are tasked at the most fundamental level to do the same basic things: make it possible for software to exploit hardware. As Jim most concisely mentioned an operating system is really just a virtualizer. Now, this doesn't mean that an OS can't be built with massive parallelism and distribution in mind as well as the ability to take better care of itself (read homeostatic). Maybe we should encourage Jim to think seriously about targeting his creativity and intellect on the future of operating systems in the connected world.