Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 4th Jul 2005 19:15 UTC
Editorial There are many 'really alternative' operating systems currently in existence. Most of them are purely for research, personal enjoyment or as a coding sandbox. Some of them, however, want to achieve wider acceptance. Is that goal obtainable, in the current OS climate?
Order by: Score:
Syllable
by Andrew Youll on Mon 4th Jul 2005 19:29 UTC

IMO Syllable is a competitor to Linux, but just like linux Syllable is POSIX compliant, okay maybe not the same level as Linux, but it has a high level of compliance.

This in turn gives them a large application base to tap as long as dependancies can be met.The biggest hurdle with porting apps is the lack of an X11 Server, and the fact there is no Toolkits for Syllable, they are commited to the LibSyllable UI, which is commendable, but having an X11 Server available would make porting apps faster and easier.

Porting Toolkits may not desirable but if they are ported correctly (as in not just a messy hack) they can be just as fast as the native UI.

Syllables "biggest" let down ATM, is its' installation routine, which needs work to make it more user-friendly but that said it is ATM not intended for "General-User" usage.

Next Big OS Won't Be An OS
by enloop on Mon 4th Jul 2005 19:35 UTC

As long as operating systems are concerned about things like file and process management, something like 99 percent of the human race will expct the computers they buy to already have an OS installed. From their perspective, they want the macine to work and the OS is what makes it work. They expect their new car to come with a drivetrain, too, and they are no more likely to shop around for a new drivetrain as they are for a new OS.

Even Linux would be much less successful if it wasn't given away. The folks who use Linux and open source due to ideological conviction are a minority within a minority. If compiling from source or buying it were the only two ways to use Linux, a lot lewer people would be using it.

The next big OS, the one that really competes with Microsoft, will probably not be recognizable as an OS at all. What we think of as an OS will be relegated to the background.

re: amiga & BeOS
by mini-me on Mon 4th Jul 2005 19:37 UTC

Had amiga and BeOS been made part of the open source GPL domain when Commodore and Be went under, those OSes would have survived. The AmigaOS had a HUGE following back in the day! It was competing with Apple and Atari on the graphical user interface front, and it was kicking the boots out of windows.

Also, in regards to Be, it was a killer Media OS back in the day (some would say even now). BUT - what happened?

Both were sold off as assets, and while companies tried to figure out what to do with the assets their marketshare and userbase kept declining to a point where it is today. later on in the game, once open source became popular, clones of the OS (such as AROS, Morphos, AtheOS/Syllable and such) started coming out but they are still not to a point of having recreated an OS that is really 10 years old - much less move on to bigger and better things.

for a new OS to come in an sweep the floor it must have the following qualities:

1. KILLER features, just blow Windows/MacOS/Linux/BSDs out of the water
2. A ton of apps both prepackaged and available in the market
3. Commercial support from companies like Adobe/Macromedia
4. Some level of compatibility with windows binaries
5. An appropriate price point (look at eComStation - $300?! no way!)
6. A big name to back it up and market it - think IBM, Sun, Dell, Gateway

sure if it is bootable off the pc
by dan on Mon 4th Jul 2005 19:37 UTC

sure if it is bootable off the pc

i refuse...
by pelle k on Mon 4th Jul 2005 20:02 UTC

i agree completely with "mini-me" except for windows binary compability! Never!
But, it could be an idea to mimic some often used GTK / QT / win32 API / .NET framework features to make porting appz easier. (why oh why can there be NO standards!! this is killing cross-platform, and they know it)
But one thing is for sure. There can NOT be only one. Scary to think Microsoft will be the ONLY os in a distant future. (sci-fi horror movie).
I dont like linux very much, and probably never will. It started off in the wrong direction.
I really hope haiku, skyos, syllable and/or amigaos/morphos will make it alongside windows, linux/BSD and MacOS in the future.
No high expectations though.

Syllable and SkyOS are pointless...
by Max on Mon 4th Jul 2005 20:02 UTC

Today people expect every OS to provide a software infrastructure that takes decades to create: a full-feauterd desktop enviroment, internet nrowsers, office software etc.
Alternative OSes try to overcome this problem by porting Linuxware but that's a non-solution. The result is that you get second-rate ports that don't feel integrated with the new OS, don't exploit any of its unique features and run much slower (because honestly small hobbiest projects like Syl or SkyOS will never be able to create a kernel that can compete against the Linux kernel): who wants that?
Also Syl and Sky are seriously uninspired. Just generic desktop OSes. They don't offer anything that Windows and OS X don't do 1000 times better.
Maybe there's hope for Haiku if they actually manage to create an elegant, user-friendly and integrated OpenSource OS (i.e. everything that Linux isn't and never will be because of its design philosophy). However it seems that the Haiku crew is also keen on assembling their OS enviroment with Linuxware and that will make Haiku just as hopeless and ugly as Sky and Sy. There is room for at least one other OS: an open-source OS that's strictly NOT LIKE LINUX. But nobody needs generic desktop OSes that run crappy ports of Linux software. And nobody needs another UNIX-like either. Linux totally smokes everyone else in this category. If you follow the Linux philosophy you will always end up as an inferiour clone of the original.

RE: Max
by Thom Holwerda on Mon 4th Jul 2005 20:06 UTC

and run much slower (because honestly small hobbiest projects like Syl or SkyOS will never be able to create a kernel that can compete against the Linux kernel)

You obviously have never really tried Syllable and SkyOS, have you? Both Syllable and SkyOS are very, very fast, very similar to BeOS' speed and responsiveness.

Well
by Legend on Mon 4th Jul 2005 20:06 UTC

Well, in most cases, having truely new features (not yet another detail refined a bit) and compatibility are on different sides.
If Syllable would use an X11 server, it would be more competitive, but could only be innovative in that area in what you can do with X11 (in other words, what you could do on Linux as well)

Still true, all they have to do is build a better operating system and the rest will take care of itself. The cream still rises.

@ legend
by Andrew Youll on Mon 4th Jul 2005 20:18 UTC

It Doesnt necessarily have to be the the GUI runs ontop of the X11 Server, BeOS has an X11 Server that runs as an OS Service, Syllable could use something like this, which wraps X11 to Libsyllable, or they could even re-write LibSyllable to work ontop of X11

hmm
by Legend on Mon 4th Jul 2005 20:23 UTC

The first option might be an idea, the second would probably interesting to port to Linux then! ;)

@Max
by emacs on Mon 4th Jul 2005 20:26 UTC

Also Syl and Sky are seriously uninspired. Just generic desktop OSes. They don't offer anything that Windows and OS X don't do 1000 times better.
Coming at your point from another vantage, a Shiny New OS, like a new word processor, needs to meet some new requirements.
How about an OS that focuses on really clean design and extensive documentation so that it has a less brutal learning curve?

It's a natural monopoly, stupid.
by Anonymous on Mon 4th Jul 2005 20:28 UTC

The OS market is a natural monopoly. The initial development cost is astronomical. It does not matter how many users you have, the effort and cost of development does not change by much. The network effect is predominant (and always underestimated by people). Program A can talk to program B more easily if they are both running on the same platform, using the same data structures, and relying on system calls that behave in the same way. It is easier for programmers to work together if they are all familiar with the same platform. Which makes it cheaper to develop software, which means that more software is developed, which means more users, which means more developers, which feeds the cycle again and again.

The only reason that Linux took off was because it was a clone of Unix and there was an existing library of software and a talent pool to develop for it. Linux is just a continuation of the Unix platform which itself grew because of luck (a new minicomputer platform was created in the 60s and 70s and some OS had to fill the void). The reason that Windows took off is because of luck again (the new PC platform was created and some OS had to fill the void).

The only way that a new OS will become popular is if a whole new computing platform is created. Just targeting an existing platform will not work because, no matter how revolutionary, the new OS will never overcome the network effects of the existing entrenched OS.

Re: Max
by Darius on Mon 4th Jul 2005 20:31 UTC

But nobody needs generic desktop OSes that run crappy ports of Linux software. And nobody needs another UNIX-like either.

I agree with this. If I wanted to run a bunch of Linux apps, I would be running LInux right now. The reason why more of us aren't using Linux is not because there's anything wrong with Linux as an operating system. The sooner somebody can figure that out, the sonner they can become king of the desktop.

Anyway, as far as Macs go, if they manage to keep the price reasonable on the Mactel platform and still allow me to run all of my current hardware/software, I might actually pick one up and give OSX a run for its money.

RE: anonymous
by Thom Holwerda on Mon 4th Jul 2005 20:35 UTC

The only way that a new OS will become popular is if a whole new computing platform is created.

That is a statement I've heard before, however, it needs a footnote. Having a new platform is no guarantee for succes, look at BeOS; a decent enough OS with it's own platform, yet it didn't take off. And no, don't go the easy way by blaming MS; that only came *after* BeOS had left its own platform and jumped to x86.

Very bad article
by DingieM on Mon 4th Jul 2005 20:39 UTC

This is kind of a superfluous article that doesn't go into specific reasons why its considerable hard for alternative OS-es to get a foothold.
Its not about acceptance, its about the need for an OS being actively developed and supported by a company that will get its acceptance.
Just look at the company YellowTAB. With marketing, active development and support they have come where they are now with their ZETA. To be short its the commercial resurrection of BeOS. Its the only way to bring it back. I simply cannot believe the author left this out

Why did Windows get their very large userbase? By bullying their own customers not to deliver alternative OS-es as standard PC's among other bad practices. It didn't get the acceptance because it was good. Its very sad that Microsoft forces their way into the market. They can't stand competition because they know every alternative OS could be superior.

And what about Linux? Well its still a UNIX derivant being ported to x86 hardware. I have been using UNIX systems at work since 1998 and saw (and used a bit) some modern Linux distributions but basically its still a UNIX architecture with those strange naming conventions. The contra-intuitive user interface of UNIX has only been replaced with bloatware like Gnome and KDE. The way I see Linux is that it lacks real invention to improve it drastically and set it apart from other OS-es. This will not improve because no company has taken the initiative to make it a good OS (leightweight, fast, easy, pleasant in use etc.).
Linux isn't widely accepted but has come so far because relatively large companies started to support it like Red Hat etc. And it seems they just follow where Windows is going.

Actually quite a bit worse than Howlerda said
by tony on Mon 4th Jul 2005 20:40 UTC

Remember, a year from now most of will be running desktops that rely heavily on the 3d aspects of Nvidia and ATI cards. Unless they open up their specs or these alternative OSes can get these two guys to port their drivers over, they're going to be languishing bad.

Decisions, decisions
by DingieM on Mon 4th Jul 2005 20:48 UTC

BeOS didn't get off. What is meant by "didn't get off"? Tell the truth and go into detail.
BeOS didn't get a foothold because the company made a bad decision by eventually choosing the wrong market. Together with the fact that Microsoft panicked and forced their customers to not include BeOS as a pre-installed OS, The firm Be went bankrupt. If this had not happend BeOS would have been very widely accepted because it had a wonderful modular architecture that combined the positive features of the Amiga, MacOS, Windows and UNIX.

@ Thom Holwerda
by Anonymous on Mon 4th Jul 2005 20:50 UTC

No, when I wrote computer platform, I didn't mean x86 platform vs. PPC platform. I should have written "computer paradigm" instead. BeOS was was competing on the same desktop PC computer paradigm with Windows, Amiga, OS/2, Apple and others. By now, it's clear that Windows won. An it will stay that way for a long time because of the network effects that dominate the OS business.

I was just pointing out a pattern. When a new computing paradigm is created, there is a period of time where there are several OSs battling for dominance. Once a winner is found, the others quickly die out or become niche players. This is the exact pattern that you would expect in a natural monopoly market.

MICROSOFT MONOPOLY
by Plop Culture on Mon 4th Jul 2005 20:55 UTC

By far the biggest reason the OS market is so locked up is because of the Microsoft monopoly. Small companies can't compete in a market dominated by a monopoly. They should have been broken up!

Re:Syllable
by Dr. Nick Bezroukov on Mon 4th Jul 2005 20:57 UTC

Linux is not POSIX compliant. What are you smoking?

Re:Syllable
by Anonymous on Mon 4th Jul 2005 21:04 UTC

Linux is not POSIX compliant. What are you smoking?

Linux isn't completely POSIX compliant. Linus has said so himself. The reason he gives for this? He won't do silly things to Linux just for a POSIX compliance check box.

Is it nearly fully POSIX compliant? Yep. Not fully, though.

MICROSOFT MONOPOLY
by Plop Culture on Mon 4th Jul 2005 21:05 UTC

Microsoft does not have a natural monopoly. The had to do some very unnatural, and dare I say unethical, things to get it and to keep it. In a real free market BeOS would have been able to get a hold of a portion and their superior OS and would still be around today.

re: Syllable
by Andrew Youll on Mon 4th Jul 2005 21:13 UTC

a multitude of OSes say they're POSIX compliant when they aren't 100% POSIX compliant, SkyOS claims to be POSIX complaint but if you ask further it is said SkyOS is only 90%+ POSIX Compliant, Syllable is said to be ~90/95% POSIX Compliant.

its really just like Browsers claiming to be Standards compliant yet many do not pass the ACID test.

Consoles bundled with OS will rule!
by kanockoman on Mon 4th Jul 2005 21:37 UTC

I believe that once again an all-in-one computer system is able to take over considerable marketshare. In the 80s there were a lot of computers like the Amiga, th C-64 and Atari machines, that came as a box, were cheap and could be used instantly.

If, for example, Sony decided to sell their next Playstation with a full OS and some basic apps, it could change the home computing world. An easy to use OS with a media creation and organisation software bundle like the Apple iLife packet, plus browser and email client and a text-processing or even small office suite is all most people need nowadays.

New alternative OS will not be able to compete on the same commodity hardware PCs with Linux and Windows. But a cheap It-just-works box that is expandable with USB ports can go after the consumer market.

Think TiVO+iLife+KOffice+Playstation. All together in one bundle. The Microsoft approach to the media center PC is half-assed. Putting a PC into the living room and putting some nice apps on the same old windows is not gonna cut it.
Someone should design this box from the ground up. The time is ripe for a new home computer.

Syllable vs SkyOS
by Chisp on Mon 4th Jul 2005 21:44 UTC

I think the marked difference between the two is comminity and developers. I found Syllable to have a small but enthusiastic community while SkyOS has virtually none and is mostly populated by immature little kiddies. I also found Syllable's developers to be open and approachable but SkyOS' developers are very distant. I'd rather be part of an open (in terms of attitude) community. That's why my bet is on Syllable.

The key to the next gen
by Jon Smirl on Mon 4th Jul 2005 21:50 UTC

The only way to get a new monoploy OS is to have a platform shift. An OS is a natural monopoly because of network effects. MS just helped their monoploy mature faster though illegal means.

There have been two platform shifts on the PC:
1) nothing to command line
2) command line to GUI

We should have had a third one:
3) GUI to web app

But Microsoft spent $4B killing Netscape. That prevented the third platform shift and allows Microsoft to continue milking their current monopoly.

Stopping a platform shift is a major crime. It set the whole world back ten years in the forward progress of computing. Think of what would have happen if the gas lighting companies bought all of the electricty startups and stopped the progress of electric technology for fifty years.

The key to the next generation is figuring out a way to restart the conversion to web apps that Microsoft stopped.

Microsoft's plan is to delay the switch to web apps as long as possible, and then when it happens, make sure that they own it. That's why dotNet is so critical to MS - it's their plan to win the next platform shift.

RE: The key to the next gen
by Timerever on Mon 4th Jul 2005 22:18 UTC

When someone comes with the web-app talk I always wonder what are they talking about, it's obvious to me that such thing is nothing but smoke:
- First I can't see how large apps like Photoshop, Illustrator, Cubase and so on can be run as a web-app.
- Second, it would open the door to pay-per-use scheme and that's not something one would wish...
- Third, it makes the unconnected computer useless, just imagine you are doing something you need to deliver fast and suddenly the net connection dies, oh boy, it's laughble!
- Would you give the app host access to your important files?
- Imagine you wanna tag your Mp3, will you upload 10Gb of music just to tag the files? Even if the file is small, what if you are in a slow or congested connection?

To me the Web-Application is something that will never come up. Maybe some simple and expendable things might become web-apps but aside that it's a laughble concept.

Missing some points
by Alwin Henseler on Mon 4th Jul 2005 22:23 UTC

The author mentions commercial (Windows, MacOSX), alternative (Linux, *BSD), and hobby OS'es. He missed a group: those OS'es that result from academic research, university groups that put together something totally different, just for the sake of research. Look around on dedicated OS directories, or Google for specific features, and you'll find there are many, many, many of those (mostly dead/unmaintained, BTW). And there's some programming languages + their development environments, that have moved from running on a host OS to running on bare metal themselves - which makes it an OS (by definition, by replacing an underlying OS with itself).

Most commenters seem to miss another point: what's so important about the DESKTOP? That's only part of the market for computing devices. There's also embedded systems, microcontrollers, and datacenter/supercomputing on the other end. Supercomputers are not a big part of the overal market, but embedded devices ARE. The OS'es that run inside these devices may be invisible to users, but they are there.

Legend wrote: "Well, in most cases, having truely new features (not yet another detail refined a bit) and compatibility are on different sides."

Right on. How long and difficult the road to total world domination is, just depends on how revolutionary, or compatible with existing systems you want to be. Make something 100% compatible with Windows 2000 or XP, and you may be able to take over half the world's desktops tomorrow (and face some lawsuits from MS, probably). Make something revolutionary different and incompatible, and your market will be a niche market at best.

But who cares, you have to start somewhere, right? It just depends on what you want to use that new OS for, and why you're making it. You might aim for 1% of the (huge) desktop market, but why not aim for total domination of a very specific market segment, and see where you can go from there?

If you're thinking about starting (or joining!) any OS project, I suggest you start with those questions first: Why something new? What do you want to archieve with it? Where do you want it to go? What's your personal motivation? What are you getting yourself into, how much work/time do you plan to put into it?

You've made too many assumptions
by Vanders on Mon 4th Jul 2005 22:34 UTC

Sorry Thom but you're wide of the mark on several counts.

Systems like the Amiga or BeOS failed for a number of reasons, but mostly because they were either tied to a minority hardware platform and through sheer poor management. It's fair to say that both were ahead of their time, which was certainly a contributing factor. We'll add NeXT to this list while we're here. Syllable and SkyOS are written for generic Intel PC hardware, and neither are old enough to know if Robert or I will kill either through bad management!

Sure we want to compete with Linux. Linux is a great OS on the server, it's a sucky desktop. I've been running it for over six years on my home PC and several years now in various real-world deployments in a server capacity. Year after year, Linux continues to dissapoint me as a desktop OS. Why shouldn't we compete with that? Saying "You can't compete with Linux!" is just deafeatism. The thing is, Syllable is not out to beat Linux. We want to co-exist with Linux and in doing so, enhance the Open Source ecosystem. Linux can run the servers, Syllable can run the clients. Makes sense to me.

Look, if in two years time us Syllable developers have nothing to show for it but an OS that only us six run and are happy with, well then that's fine with me! I'm sure as hell not going to roll over and pretend that I like using Linux on my desktop though. Why shouldn't we try to improve it? Because we might fail? Piffle.

Some quick points to finish off:

o Robert is a good developer but I don't believe he has the time or the hardware to have written every single driver for SkyOS from scratch. The video drivers are from X & if you asked him, I'd expect the NIC & audio drivers are BSDL.
o The Open Source nature of Syllable has never been in impedement to implementing features. We have a set or core developers and we make the decisions. We have a roadmap and we're following it. To paint Syllable as a band of wishy-washy Open Source developers with no direction who are somehow bogged down with arguments is misleading and dishonest. Just like SkyOS, if we decide a feature must go in it goes in.
o I'm not aware of a single company currently working with SkyOS. We can sign up for the exact same Developer Relations schemes as Robert can. Many companies don't seem to mind that Linux is Open Source, I fail to see how Syllable is any less legitimate in this regard.

Hard is the whole point Thom! What's the point in doing easy? Anyone can do easy!

REACT OS is the only competition for Microsoft !!!!!!
by Eric Martin on Mon 4th Jul 2005 22:35 UTC

I wish some of you would understand this.

For gamers and other windows software users this is really the only answer.

Too bad this project didn't start the time as Linux.

Could you fucking imagina a FREE XP operating sytem thats leaner and faster ?

Thats right . The download is 7 or 8 megs right now .


http://www.reactos.com

RE: Max
by Anonymous Penguin on Mon 4th Jul 2005 22:39 UTC

"There is room for at least one other OS: an open-source OS that's strictly NOT LIKE LINUX."

Dream on. Even if somebody created one today, it could be ready in 10 years (but much more likely never: it would need enormous resources in money and developers)

RE: Syllable vs SkyOS
by Anonymous Penguin on Mon 4th Jul 2005 23:05 UTC

"I think the marked difference between the two is comminity and developers. I found Syllable to have a small but enthusiastic community while SkyOS has virtually none and is mostly populated by immature little kiddies. I also found Syllable's developers to be open and approachable but SkyOS' developers are very distant. I'd rather be part of an open (in terms of attitude) community. That's why my bet is on Syllable."

Exactly! Syllable is much more likely to get the support of the linux community. They are our brothers after all. And what do we have in common with SkyOS? Nothing whatsoever, they behave like a mini Microsoft.

Thoughts about Alt OSs
by identitypi on Mon 4th Jul 2005 23:07 UTC

All it is going to take is one very destructive uber virus and people could easily start looking for computing solutions that do not involve MS Windows.

In nature, homogeneous species are the most susceptible to pandemic threats. The same could be argued in the world of Operating Systems.

Solutions like ReactOS and Cross-Platform Office would probably become most desireable and alternate OSs in general, could be feasible options to avoiding this kind of take down.

Never rule out the improbable.

Building a more pleaseing GUI!!
by David Webb on Mon 4th Jul 2005 23:09 UTC

The gnome versus KDE debate seems to be as endless as OSX vs Windows.Once you get past what I deem the all important basics of relaibility,security and usability you are left with the GUI. Most desktop users are looking for eye candy. Look at all the theming that goes on in the computer world.

Linux,OSX and Windows are all incorporating fancy search engines,can run many good office suite,multimedia programs etcetera.It's all that flash that takes you places. Why else would microsoft be putting so much emphasis on the 3d desktop?

I don't know whats gonna happen with Apple on desktop 3d.I do know that Enlightenment for linux,Sun microsystems Project looking glass(for linux and Solaris) and X.orgs Luminocity are all getting to be good looking new GUI's.

Once you have Developer support and cross platform compatibility you need that hot GUI. The GUI is THE killer app of current and future operating systems.What more can be said but look around for yourselves.

PC-BSD
by Eric Steinberg on Mon 4th Jul 2005 23:14 UTC

I think the next successful OS will be PC-BSD when they release the official version.

It has had much momentum so far and it's only 2 months old, in beta version. I think it's very promissing because their goals are to create the most easy-to-use OS around.

http://www.pcbsd.org/

Mainstream will always go with sucky OSes
by Ronald Vos on Mon 4th Jul 2005 23:18 UTC

I'm quite serious: a superior OS won't become dominant. History teaches us so.

-Once upon a time VMS, a well-designed clean system, competed with UNIX, which was a hack. UNIX came out on top.
-UNIX gradually matured, but then it lost to MS-DOS (which was NOT half as feature-rich).
-You had Macintosh vs DOS+Windows 3.11; one was a lot more used than the other, even though it wasn't very stable or usable.
-Amiga was superior to a lot of platforms, but it lost to the makeshift and by then already legacy laden x86 platform.
-OS/2 Warp owned both Windows and DOS.
-BeOS was nicer than Windows.
-The RiscOS platform was relatively speaking 'better' than the x86 platform as well.

And it's not just that Microsoft was somehow involved in all of them, in the battle of Linux vs BSD, for a long time the BSDs had far superior performance and technology. Guess who won the server market? And truth be told, Linux 2.6 outperformed the BSDs on the last benchmark I've seen from a year ago. But Linux now seems to be a messy hack; Solaris is reported to have a far cleaner and more efficient kernel. Solaris ain't on top.

And it relates to programming languages as well. At one point IBM replaced APL as used language with other languages, although APL meant much higher productivity for those who knew how to use it.
Both Eiffel and Smalltalk offer clean object oriented languages, but for some reason everyone is using that kludge C++ (not to mention how Python and Ruby are still fringe languages).

You just can't win, especially not with a superior OS, it seems.

Simple
by Joe User on Mon 4th Jul 2005 23:24 UTC

Why doesn't a 3rd OS rise? Because if you put the CD-ROM into the computer to try to install it (Linux, Syllable, FreeBSD, etc.), the install doesn't go smoothly, and the person ends up installing Windows because of top hardware detection and ease of install. Too sad.

re: Timerever
by Jon Smirl on Mon 4th Jul 2005 23:28 UTC

- First I can't see how large apps like Photoshop, Illustrator, Cubase and so on can be run as a web-app.
You are assuming the web platform stays like it is. MS is not planning on running their web apps in a browser, they are instead going to use dotNet for their web app run-time.

- Third, it makes the unconnected computer useless, just imagine you are doing something you need to deliver fast and suddenly the net connection dies, oh boy, it's laughble!
I see it did not occur to you to run the client and server for the web app both on the same machine. Just because an app has been partitioned you don't have to have the internet in the middle.

- Would you give the app host access to your important files?
You are still thinking public server. Think private server in your basement or a server at work.

- Imagine you wanna tag your Mp3, will you upload 10Gb of music just to tag the files? Even if the file is small, what if you are in a slow or congested connection?
What about a web app that has two servers, one on the local machine and another on the internet. Your upload would go to the local server first and then slowly stream to the internet server.

To me the Web-Application is something that will never come up. Maybe some simple and expendable things might become web-apps but aside that it's a laughble concept.
You just need a better imagination.

Building Better Mousetrap Isn't Enough
by enloop on Mon 4th Jul 2005 23:48 UTC

Sorry, Sphinx, but the world will not beat a path to your door if you build a better OS. Or, a better anything.

What's "better" is a matter of opinion, of course. But, even if you build something that would draw universal praise, no one will know aout it if you don't market it. If you don't tell people about your new OS and entice them to try it, it will remain unknown.

That's the key to Microsoft's and Apple success: marketing. Whatever your opinion about the technical merits of their products, these companies know how to sell.

Much of the open source community seems pathologically opposed to marketing, but that just condemns their products to oblivion. (Even in the case of Linux, my guess is that the majority of Windows users have never heard of Linux.) No one will use something they've never heard of.

@ Joe User
by Anonymous Penguin on Mon 4th Jul 2005 23:49 UTC

M$? Top hardware detection and ease of install? What a joke.

@John Smirl
by r_a_trip on Mon 4th Jul 2005 23:50 UTC

When one says web-app, it automatically defaults to a publically accessible internet-application. Web simply means internet.

Otherwise it is just the very old and proven concept of client/server application like X11. If it is client/server, running locally, under my control, bring it on.

If it is client/server under control of a faceless megacorporation provider, I'd say shove it. I don't need a new era of the yearly presented and never delivered (MS) hype fix.

Web-application is too much connected to the proprietary paradigm. "The network is the computer" (and my bill for my provided services is your applications plague). No middle man to suck the lifeblood from my bank-account in ever increasing bills for the same mediocre crap-ware.

@ Anonymous Penguin
by Hugo on Tue 5th Jul 2005 00:27 UTC

"M$? Top hardware detection and ease of install? What a joke."

Well at least it detects my Plug and Play monitor just fine, no need to deal with "no screens found" messages and xorg.conf just to get a decent screen resolution and refresh rate.

@ Anonymous Penguin (IP: ---.pool8259.interbusiness.it)
by Joe User on Tue 5th Jul 2005 00:29 UTC

> M$? Top hardware detection and ease of install? What a joke.

I'm serious. Do you have a better example (other than OS X of course)? Linux is one of the worse in terms of hardware detection. You have to configure most hardware manually, when a driver is ever available! Same go for other hobbyist OSes too.

re: r_a_trip
by Jon Smirl on Tue 5th Jul 2005 00:30 UTC

I guess I am using web app in a much more generic way than to mean only public HTML based apps.

The general idea is partitioned apps with client and server pieces. But it is different in that computing can be done on either the client or server. With X apps you don't compute in the display side.

Another difference is peer to peer networking with you in control of the server if you want. The servers are designed with smart hierarchical caching so that they can be used locally off-line and then sync when they can. Servers can talk to other servers too in this model.

Netscape and HTML hosted web apps would have been the Windows 1.0 equivalent. If MS hadn't intervened we'd be getting ready for the 3.0 release and the apps would look more like what I am describing.

It would probably be clearer if I called this network apps. Microsoft is supposed to be working on a next-gen MS Office written in dotNet. Word and Excel are partitioned into client/server pieces. In this model they can give away the client and then sell you a local server or rent you a hosted one. Local mean your personal server or your company's.

It's also interesting to note how grid computing concepts are intertwined with the network app concept.

The bottom line is that the new apps are designed to assume multiple interconnected CPUs (can be simulated by running client/server on same machine) instead of being designed to run on a standalone island of a disconnected PC.

Re: Anonymous Penguin (IP: ---.pool8259.interbusiness.it)
by Joe User on Tue 5th Jul 2005 00:51 UTC

Well at least it detects my Plug and Play monitor just fine, no need to deal with "no screens found" messages and xorg.conf just to get a decent screen resolution and refresh rate.

Same here. Beside the fact that the computer I'm writing this message from is not compatible with Linux for the same reason you describe: X.org doesn't detect my monitor, it doesn't work either with my Intel webcam, my ComOne winmodem , my 1012 HP laser printer, my Plustek 1245U scanner and my firewire iomega Predator CD-RW drive and (I forgot! My Silicon Image Raid controller. So, pretty much of my hardware is not compatible with Linux, so either I buy a new computer and by chance I'll find out that some pieces of hardware work, but anyway, this computer was expensive enough an is like 5 months old, so I wont' throw it away. I still haven't found any fax-modem compatible with Linux. This is my 2nd, and it still doesn't work. So, yes, Linux is horrible for hardware compatibility.

Plan 9
by Alun J. Carr on Tue 5th Jul 2005 01:16 UTC

Why is everyone ignoring Plan 9?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plan_9_from_Bell_Labs

It's mature, it's from Bell Labs, and it sets out to rectify the flaws in Unix -- as identified by the researchers responsible for Unix. It's also Open Source.

RE: Plan 9
by orestes on Tue 5th Jul 2005 01:25 UTC

Why is everyone ignoring Plan 9?

I can just see the Eloi who incessantly moan about how user-hostile Linux is trying to wrap their atrophied little minds around that beautiful beast.

@Legend
by MARCO POLO on Tue 5th Jul 2005 01:28 UTC

X11 is more of an impediment than benefit. X11 makes development take far longer, and destroys 2D performance. RENDER still has a long way to go. Scrolled any images lately? Linux desktop environments are still painfully slow to this day, while Windows, BeOS, and OSX are like a dream.

Re: DingieM
by A. Nony. Mouse on Tue 5th Jul 2005 02:00 UTC

Just look at the company YellowTAB. With marketing, active development and support they have come where they are now with their ZETA. To be short its the commercial resurrection of BeOS

And what planet would this be on?

Linux vs. Windows Hardware Detection.
by Anonymous on Tue 5th Jul 2005 03:42 UTC

Well, I have a fairly new system, it's a MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum Motherboard, AMD64 3500+, with a eVGA 6800GT, audigy 2 Platinum, and a Hauppague WinTV card.

Linux detected EVERYTHING out of the box with the exception of the 6800GT (Only because I'm running Debian, many of the other distros would have detected it right out of the box). My monitor under most distros is also fully detected, again, with Debian I had to tweak the xorg.conf (put in the vertical and horizontal refresh and presto, max refresh rate, etc for my monitor). I also have a webcam (an old Quickcam VC) which I had to compile the driver for. My printer/scanner is a HP PSC 1315v. Works great with the HPLIP drivers.

With Windows.... It didn't detect either of the NICs, (Realtek RTL8169 and Nforce3 10/100). The WinTV card I had to search for the driver, since the driver CD didn't have XP drivers. It didn't detect my video card either (no surprise there, since it's much newer than XP). You pretty much always have to install Chipset drivers. And the printer.... HP printers have the tendency to either work flawlessly (if you're lucky) or be a pain to install on Windows. The monitor, well Windows always limits it to 1600x1200x75hz, even though the monitor will do 1600x1200x85hz. Yes, I can most definitely tell the difference.

So in many ways, Linux does have better hardware detection than windows. IF it is supported in linux, then it almost always is detected and supported right away.

For the person who said that he couldn't ever get a fax/modem working in linux. Try a GOOD modem, like the 3com/USRobotics modems. Not those crappy winmodems. They're not even hardware modems. I haven't ever had a problem with my USRobotics modem.

And as far as the HP 1012 Laser printer not working. It does work, according to linuxprinting.org. Unfortunately due to IP issues, it only prints in 600x600, but it does work.


@ Hugo
by Anonymous Penguin on Tue 5th Jul 2005 04:33 UTC

Try SUSE. It'll behave exactly like Windows: a popup windows will tell you: found new hardware. Do you want to configure it? Or try Kanotix.

@ Joe User
by Anonymous Penguin on Tue 5th Jul 2005 04:36 UTC

"Do you have a better example?"

Yes, SUSE or Kanotix. But with you it is a waste of time: you don't want to believe it.

re A. Nony. Mouse
by the_leander on Tue 5th Jul 2005 05:17 UTC

"And what planet would this be on?"

That would be earth.

YT for all its faults and flaws are actively pushing Zeta out there.

re: amiga & BeOS @ mini-me
by Kancept on Tue 5th Jul 2005 05:30 UTC

"5. An appropriate price point (look at eComStation - $300?! no way!) "

If you think about it though, that's the point of their pricepoint. Noone is gonna willy nilly try OS/2 these days, there are too many other options. So they jack the price out, keep the n00bs out and hit a pricepoint for upgrades that is in the ball park that the current crop of users are used to. They save on support fees, and end users who are used to the system get their upgrades.

I use OS/2 as my main OS still. I enjoy it. Would I recommend it to someone who has never used it? No. There is a curve, there are more viable options for folks, and half of what I own, if not 75% of what I own, you cannot get for it anymore, so they would lose useability that I posses. I have time and money invested in it, and it works. I would recommend to another person to invest it elsewhere. I mean really, who wants to go learn that to change network settings, you need to fire up MPTS (Multi-Protocol Transport System) and then configure TCP/IP in yet another app, then reboot. Noone wants to learn to do that. For me, it's habit.

Things have changed. Their pricepoint is a filter per se. Just my 2 cents...

@ Vanders
by Andrew Youll on Tue 5th Jul 2005 06:09 UTC

Not Necessarily True, Robert does have NDA's with a few Hardware companies, which he is permitted to mention who with but is not allowed to mention what for, Intel®, is one of those companies which SkyOS has an NDA with.

@ Andrew
by Vanders on Tue 5th Jul 2005 06:51 UTC

I'd bet dollars to donuts Robert doesn't have access to anything not already available under those companies Developer Relations schemes. Intel are free 'n easy with their documentation, if you sign up for the DevRel scheme.

If anything at all ...
by Fritz Mock on Tue 5th Jul 2005 07:05 UTC


... no OS has a real chance next to Windows, because 90% of all (home) users take the OS that comes with their box

We know, that we won't find a healthy market regarding OS selection with quite numerous options.

The Mac+OS X is not an exception to the above, but Linux is somehow am exception, since the remaining 10% of users are capable (and willing) to install an OS of their choice.

Regarding buisiness desktops, the situation is similar. The market situation (preinstalled OS) reflects, what customers will buy.

It shouldn't realy make differences for hardware manufacturer's to offer each of their desktops with *any* OS the customer might ask. But that's not even the case, only on a view selected models you can choose Linux.

One might think it costs the hardware vendor more, to develop the diskimages, that get loaded onto the harddisks ... but this argument is nonsense, at least regarding proprietary OS alternatives, they would just have to ask the OS-developer to provide a disk image and they probably would create it happily. For free OS alternatives, they could ask on the projects website.

Maybe the hardware vendor ist not in need to ask for other OS's diskimages, but did those companies/organizations/groups never try to actively push their OS to a larger hardware vendor?
I somehow doubt they did!

Someone following the AMD-Intel case?
I rather believe, it is far to easy for MS to play out their position and convince hardware manufacturers not to offer a good choice of OS's. Just imagine what "gentleman-agreements" MS could have. or even monetry arguments.
(Of course, that's my personal speculation)

Re : why web app?
by Sébastien O. on Tue 5th Jul 2005 07:30 UTC

Uhmm, I'm not convince that we should go to the web app model. Why add another layer? Just so some programmer can say :"we did it"?.
Why does nobody tries to keep things simple? The more layer we have to configure, debug, install, the more problem arise.

@A. Nony. Mouse
by DingieM on Tue 5th Jul 2005 07:44 UTC

At what planet are you?

www.yellowtab.com

RE: Vanders
by Thom Holwerda on Tue 5th Jul 2005 07:56 UTC

The thing is, Syllable is not out to beat Linux. We want to co-exist with Linux and in doing so, enhance the Open Source ecosystem. Linux can run the servers, Syllable can run the clients. Makes sense to me.

Yes, makes sense to us. But how are you going to set Syllable apart? Remember that Linux has got some major investment behind it now; various big-time companies are for instance actively supporting Gnome in order to improve the desktop experience. While I agree with you that desktop Linux is at this point unlikely to suit every user, huge strides have been made in the past, say, 18 months.

Robert is a good developer but I don't believe he has the time or the hardware to have written every single driver for SkyOS from scratch. The video drivers are from X & if you asked him, I'd expect the NIC & audio drivers are BSDL.

Robert has more than once said that he was not happy with Linux/X drivers because they were in his eyes not very good drivers. I see no reason why BSD drivers should be any different. If I'm not mistaken, I indeed believe that Robert has said that SkyOS' drivers were coded from scratch.

The Open Source nature of Syllable has never been in impedement to implementing features. We have a set or core developers and we make the decisions. We have a roadmap and we're following it. To paint Syllable as a band of wishy-washy Open Source developers with no direction who are somehow bogged down with arguments is misleading and dishonest. Just like SkyOS, if we decide a feature must go in it goes in.

I'm not saying that this is holding you back *now*, I was simply saying that Syllable is more vulnerable to this than SkyOS due to Syllable's open-source nature.

I'm not aware of a single company currently working with SkyOS. We can sign up for the exact same Developer Relations schemes as Robert can. Many companies don't seem to mind that Linux is Open Source, I fail to see how Syllable is any less legitimate in this regard.

One company that has already contacted SkyOS to sign an NDA and work on drivers is XGI, and remember, that was six months *before* XGI open-sourced parts of their drivers.

I should've emphasized more that all that I've written is simply theory, not stuff that is per se happening *right now*.

I also want to state that I'm not out to offend you or Robert; the work you guys have done is simply amazing. However, that isn't stopping me from having my doubts about the chances that Syll and SkyOS have.

RE:It's a natural monopoly, stupid.
by The flying boolaboola on Tue 5th Jul 2005 08:13 UTC

The only way that a new OS will become popular is if a whole new computing platform is created. Just targeting an existing platform will not work because, no matter how revolutionary, the new OS will never overcome the network effects of the existing entrenched OS.

Took the words right out of my mouth.

Either your new OS is the same or very similar to existing products and then why bother in the first place, or it's something totally and radically different [which can be a very good thing indeed and probably is what we need - if it's doing the right things].
Only when it's radically different will it be able to generate interest. Then it has to be prepared to be a niche for many years before a sufficiently broad user base adopts it [unless, again, it is so radically different - by being orders of magnitude better - that a lot of users recognize it as a superior experience].

On top of all that, not only are you developing a new operating system, you also want some apps for your OS. Users are quaint that way.
Look at BeOS. Great system, wonderful environment [that itty bit that I saw of it], but no applications. So the problem is not just in the development of the environment, it also needs to be supported by third party developers [Firefox will jump on it, but that's going to be just about the only bunch of guys doing any work on your fancy new OS].

Given all that, there's just too much inertia to be overcome for any new OS to become a player of any significance on the global market.

The only real shot you're going to get at a new OS, something totally new I mean, is when one of the Princes of Saudi Arabia becomes bored out of his skull and doesn't want to build YET another palace or buy YET another stable full of horse but decides to have some guys play with the nifty ones and zeroes to see if He Whose Name We Cannot Mention [because it's Allah *shhhh*] will manifest himself in the space between the electrons somehow.
Or maybe Michael Schumacher wants to give one of his nephews [if he has any] the opportunity to go wide-eyed crazy and develop something he always wanted: an OS that really can run Blazemonger as it should be run.
The only other agency that doesn't care about time, money or talent is a government. And today most governments have other fish to fry. The only governments that will be able to do that are going to be in the low-tech third world, when they make an impact. They will have a talent pool that they don't want to see leaving to the west, the cost will be far less prohibitive and time, for these people, is like water drops in the rain forest. There's always going to be more of it [until El Nino pulls a fast one on that too, but you know what I'm saying: all things being equal]
As it stands you need:
- a big purse
- a large talent pool
- a lot of time
to create something new that people want.
- the purse sees better opportunities of making a return
- the talent isn't going to waste its time on something that'll never take off
- we're living in a quarter-driven world, where managers have a 90 day horizon. Developing a new paradigm from scratch is going to take up a significant part of a whole bunch of people's productive years. If that effort cannot be focused on something that's truly, distinctly new and different, we'll see dinosaurs being cloned before we see a new system.

And then one of you smartasses is going to want to install it on the motherboard of a first-generation HP electronic calculator connected to your sister's bracers, because it'll be a crime by then to spend $100 USD on a computer. But that's a different discussion.

man, that was a boring article
by Anonymous on Tue 5th Jul 2005 08:43 UTC

these OS you named will never get popular. first, they are just another OS, no really new features. second, they are all incompatible to most of the GUI software in the world. without cross-platform support, they will be hobby OSes forever.

I see much more potential in Reactos, Haiku and Hurd.

Now that OS X will run soon on intel, there will be someone who tries to make a OS X clone on basis of GNUstep. but THE commercial succesfull open source OS is and will be Linux/Gnome. It will be an evolution, maybe some day there will be a better kernel than linux or something better than gnome. if you want pushing something better than Gnome/Linux, than do it for the Linux users.

RE: Vanders
by Vanders on Tue 5th Jul 2005 08:45 UTC

But how are you going to set Syllable apart?

By being a decent desktop OS I.e. something Linux is not. Syllable is different because it is a complete OS. We have the advantage of being able to achieve true vertical integration and we can retain tight control over the core of the Operating System. We can set standards and easily see where things need to be improved. Linux & BSD OS's don't have that ability; they bring together a bunch of seperate projects all working seperatly.

Remember that Linux has got some major investment behind it now; various big-time companies are for instance actively supporting Gnome in order to improve the desktop experience.

Microsoft has an investment in Windows; does that make Linux doomed? The same companies who now invest in Linux previously invested in proprietary UNIX. Companies invest, investments change, focus shifts.

While I agree with you that desktop Linux is at this point unlikely to suit every user, huge strides have been made in the past, say, 18 months.

Sorry Thom but I hear this every 12-18 months: "Linux has made huge strides!". Nope. Hang on, let me check...still suckin'. After five or six of these "Huge strides" I still see a klunky, difficult, badly assembled OS that should be humming away in a server room, not on my desktop. "Huge strides" don't cut it.

@vanders
by Anonymous on Tue 5th Jul 2005 09:12 UTC

hi vanders, i really think you are doing great work with syllable, but what i don't understand is that you are developing an OS that only a few users will ever use.

i think clean and userfriendly design is not enough. what should i do with an OS that is perfectly easy to understand and in theory very productive, but has no software? applications are the most important part for the user. without applications, the OS is useless.

i know the argument of native syllable apps, that should use the native widget set, but i still think that syllable need developer tools for cross-platform development and porting of software or an compatibility layer to run linux or windows or OS X applications.

let's go a step back. let's asume you don't care about ported applications and just want to develop the OS with the best and most user friendly interface. i don't see real innovation on this part. and i never read any serious discussion about user experience, usability and innovative interface design on the syllable list.

which takes me to the conclusion, that syllable is just a nice integrated and in some way clean OS, that has no real advantages, only a few applications and will never have a bigger user base.

btw, i installed ubuntu linux on my laptop and it worked out of the box, every little piece of hardware was detected, no problems at all.

One factor not mentioned
by Wesley Parish on Tue 5th Jul 2005 09:22 UTC

Just thought I'd stick my oar in, give my two cents worth (inflation-adjusted, no less), have me say, whatever ...

One point not mentioned, is that as a result of Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP/Perl/etc, there is now a major set of applications around that are not necessarily tied to any one company for survival. It may even be becoming the major set of applications. Consequently any new OS is going to have to take that as a basis - port QT or GTK+ to said new OS, port apps written with such toolkits, and voila, you've got yourself a whole set of apps - and no stranglehold on you the way Microsoft had on IBM's OS/2 2.x or Apple's Macintosh.

The thing now is to work out how best to use all that knowledge and power. When every man and his dog can reuse the source code or at least use it as a reading/reference resource, it's time to explore new frontiers.

If one is to fit a complete Office Suite on a palmtop, doesn't it make sense to find out where you can make "adjustments" to keep the functionality and extend it? Particularly if one wants to get that palmtop to take verbal commands and simultaneously do grammar checks on written documents?

Linux Torvalds is right when he says that the next software frontier is in the applications and that OSes have become pedestrian. With new OSes, the challenge will be to make interfaces such as hearing and the voice, and suchlike, ordinary and boring.

RE: @vanders
by Vanders on Tue 5th Jul 2005 09:37 UTC

applications are the most important part for the user. without applications, the OS is useless.

Syllable is at version 0.5.6a Applications come later. A lot of basic software is already available that you can run on Syllable. A few of us core developers intend to use Syllable as our "primary" OS by the end of the year; it must have some software or we're not going to able to do that!

i don't see real innovation on this part. and i never read any serious discussion about user experience, usability ...on the syllable list.

Either you've not been on the list long or you're reading in digest; we do discuss usability and interface issues. & again, when we're at 0.5.6a usability issues just can't be our #1 priority. We have to make it work first, then we can design the interface.

You're using a top-down approach, we're building Syllable bottom-up. That's all.

innovative interface design

You're thinking of a different OS. Usable doesn't necasarily mean innovative. Invention for inventions sake is pointless and won't make Syllable any more useful.

RE: Vanders
by Thom Holwerda on Tue 5th Jul 2005 09:55 UTC

Sorry Thom but I hear this every 12-18 months: "Linux has made huge strides!". Nope. Hang on, let me check...still suckin'. After five or six of these "Huge strides" I still see a klunky, difficult, badly assembled OS that should be humming away in a server room, not on my desktop. "Huge strides" don't cut it.

I agree with you that Syllable and SkyOS will better be able to deliver a large coherent package in which every part of the OS works together nicely, in contrast to Linux distributors who have to rely on external developing groups. That point is very much valid.

Look, if you'll check my previous articles and comments, then you'll know that I'm very sceptical about Linux being used in a desktop environment. However, I am the first to acknowledge that things are changing. Over the past 18 months, one important new realization that has entered the distributor's minds is that they need to cut down on how many packages they install by default. Distros with a one-app approach are very popular these days, and this approach is now also entering the larger companies; just take a look at SuSE 9.3 from Novell.

It won't take long untill some company will do to Linux what Apple has done with Darwin. All the parts are there, it's just waiting for a company to put it all together into one coherent package in the same way that Apple did.

Microsoft has an investment in Windows; does that make Linux doomed? The same companies who now invest in Linux previously invested in proprietary UNIX.

Yes, but the step from UNIX to Linux is fairly small. Someone said that Linux is only the logical continuation of UNIX.

Indeed, MS invest in Windows; but didn't you just say that Linux doesn't belong on the desktop? Of course Linux is not doomed because of MS; that's because it doesn't pose a real threat to MS (yet).

But to get back to the article: Syllable is trying to achieve the same goal as some Linux distributors: creating an open source desktop operating system. This puts you in direct competition with Linux and the big distributors. Whether desktop Linux is desktop ready or not.

Problem is network effect
by 0845 Number on Tue 5th Jul 2005 10:05 UTC

The internet is an envirment allowing easy co-operation. Networking effects (things become more useful the more people who use them) are more prevalent in these enviroments. This is why there tends to be one winner (in this case, it looks like Linux on the alternate OS side) in a particular area. So SkyOS? It is fighting an uphill battle.

...is HAIKU (and closed source counterpart, Zeta).

Look at that OS. It embraces all the features we want. All the security and all the performances we need.

Haiku/Zeta is the personification of excitement in nowadays computing. IMHO.

Give it a Try.

Where New Operating Systems Do Stand A Chance
by Kramii on Tue 5th Jul 2005 11:29 UTC

At the end of the day, OSs exist for one reason, and one reason only: to support "user services", typically applications. And applications exist for only one reason: to help users get something done.

So, no applications for an OS = OS stands no chance of success.

Which means that a new OS does stand a chance if (1) it hosts existing applications "better" than elsewhere, or (2) it hosts an application or suite of applications that have features that are not available on other OSs, or (3) it is targeted at new markets where the choice of OS is arbitrary.

So, there is no point in going after the same market as the big-guns by offering a new OS which hosts the same old apps for the same old users. Instead, the developers of OSs need to concentrate on niche markets where their OS can host user services that are not well supported by existing OS, and where the existing market share by the big names has little influence on the choice of a new OS.

Such markets might include: Embedded systems, internet-based services, hardware emulation and intelligent boot loaders, application servers and network applicances.

So, with a little imagination, I believe that alternative OSs could thrive.

NO WAY
by osirus on Tue 5th Jul 2005 11:40 UTC

here in asia.... we dont care about any other OS!! even programmers are having a hard time figuring out Linux and now bring in another alt OS... no one will bother!!!! unless of course it looks like "windows" because anyone will always equate computers with MS Windows...

@MARCO POLO
by Legend on Tue 5th Jul 2005 11:55 UTC

It wasn't my point to keep X11 support. I think X11 is a good bit of mess, a point where you could innovate even on the *NIX platforms of today - but it would be of course incompatible and as a result, not adopted.

Re: Linux vs. Windows Hardware Detection.
by Joe User on Tue 5th Jul 2005 12:03 UTC

The monitor, well Windows always limits it to 1600x1200x75hz, even though the monitor will do 1600x1200x85hz. Yes, I can most definitely tell the difference.

I'm really amazed here. On Windows I am using 1280x1024@85Hz here. On Fedora, KDE won't do more than 1024x768@65Hz. This is not only on this computer, actually I have never been able to do more than 65Hz on any box with Linux, and using a monitor at 65Hz is a real pain, sorry.

So in many ways, Linux does have better hardware detection than windows. IF it is supported in linux, then it almost always is detected and supported right away.

No, no, you're inventing here. Have a look at forums about Linux, the most common issues are precisely hardware incompatibility, or unsupported hardware. How come Linux has better hardware detection if many hardware manufacturors design their products precisely for Windows?

<i/>For the person who said that he couldn't ever get a fax/modem working in linux. Try a GOOD modem, like the 3com/USRobotics modems. Not those crappy winmodems. They're not even hardware modems. I haven't ever had a problem with my USRobotics modem.[/i]

How come they're not "good" modems? Your definition of "good" is quite strange. Do you know how I got the winmodem? With a Sony VAIO PCG-F409, and this is not a cheap computer, believe me. Do you think Sony will ship a crappy modem with its laptops? The modem has worked like a charm since 1999, so I fail to understand why it's a crappy modem. For me the culprit is Linux, sorry.

How about all my other list of hardware that I mentioned in a previous post?

RE: Joe User
by Thom Holwerda on Tue 5th Jul 2005 12:12 UTC

For me the culprit is Linux, sorry.

The culprit are the manufacturers of your modem who have made a modem that is dependant on Windows files.

This is not only on this computer, actually I have never been able to do more than 65Hz on any box with Linux, and using a monitor at 65Hz is a real pain, sorry.

You'll have to edit your X config file for that. It's a common problem in Linux, decent monitor/resolution capabilities detection. One of many things that Linux/X/etc developers should put their butts into.

How come Linux has better hardware detection if many hardware manufacturors design their products precisely for Windows?

Please do remember that Windows in itself is fairly bad at hardware detection; you most certainly need to install additional drivers to get everything working correctly when doing a Windows install on a self-built box. Linux is better with this as a standard Linux distro ships with more drivers and thus more HW support *out of the box* than Windows does.

The Whole point of a web app is
by Richard James on Tue 5th Jul 2005 12:31 UTC

That it will work on any computer with a web-browser (according to a set of standards).

Then you don't need to worry about OS monopolies, or problems with binary compatibility, or other porting problems. Of course Microsoft saw this coming and turned the web app into rubbish, just so they could hold onto their sweet monopoly.

And web apps don't need to be client/server they could be donwloadable, just like you can download a webpage to your computer and use it.

...
by Legend on Tue 5th Jul 2005 12:51 UTC

The issue is to a good deal that linux is making it not too easy for the hardware vendors to provide the drivers like they (the vendors) want (when they want ...), that would mean however closed source.
By nearly forcing (it works, but not as well as the open source drivers), well, you see where that gets the hw support for not-as-common hardware.
Apart from legal issues with the gpl, which are a big story, too.

there are a lot of operating systems used by users. . .
by gabi on Tue 5th Jul 2005 13:51 UTC

An OS is a virtual machine in wich develop, so, users has nothing to do with OS's.

a good OS is one in which developers feel good programming their applications, and provices resources uniformly and take care of the hardware and of the system sanity.

so, OS's are for developers and not for users.

based on that, what is the better OS out there?

:-)

The future is bright
by Mario Giammarco on Tue 5th Jul 2005 13:51 UTC

Most OS are not used for the lack of drivers problem. When hardware virtualisation like pacifica (with xen) will be ready I bet there will be an explosion of minor OS.


Only computer enthusiasts and the tech savy...
by Nirodha on Tue 5th Jul 2005 14:29 UTC

really care what OS they are running. The average home user couldn't care less what OS their PC has on it, as long as it works reasonable well. They don't care that OS ??? has this powerful new feature, uses the graphics card for the GUI, stores metadata for the search engine etc etc etc. Most of them don't even know what those terms mean.

Come to think of it, I don't really care much either and I was a programmer for 10+ years. I just want to it work reasonable well and look nice, period.



Re: Plan 9
by Ronald Vos on Tue 5th Jul 2005 14:33 UTC

I'm yet to try it out, but the reason why people would avoid Plan 9 from what I've read, would be that Plan 9 is even more noob-unfriendly than other OSes. It supports mainly *old* Nvidia cards, the filesystem use is harder to understand (being inherently a NFS), and the instructions mention that the install requires some prior experience with UNIX. Multiboot is a hassle and there doesn't seem to be much of a grounds-up tutorial. (not to mention the smaller amount of drivers and apps)

Other than that, it sounds like a fascinating distributed operating system, and I'd like to find the time to try it out.

Gee ...
by omg on Tue 5th Jul 2005 14:39 UTC

I guess there won't be any new spoken languages either. Evolution,

Re: Plan 9
by Ronald Vos on Tue 5th Jul 2005 15:18 UTC

Woa, just read 'Dvorak's Second Opinion' on marketwatch.com of jan 26, about Google hiring one of the guys behind Plan 9, and how this could mean Google pursuing web-apps. Interesting read, I'd post the link if it wasn't a screen-stretcher. It's the first hit when you google for '"plan 9" firefox'

Re: amiga & BeOS
by Anonymous on Tue 5th Jul 2005 17:07 UTC

> Also, in regards to Be, it was a killer Media OS back in the
> day (some would say even now). BUT - what happened?

Er, no? BeOS was marketed as a media OS, but it didn't have much in terms of media software. I suppose one of BeOS's problems was that it was always advertised in terms of things it didn't provide extensively well. Much ado was made about its kits being pervasively multithreaded, but thread creation was really expensive and thus caching schemes were necessary to obtain acceptable performance. The development tools never made debugging multithreaded programs particularly simple, either.
It was portrayed as a media platform despite not attracting meaningful releases by content-creation or consumption ISVs. Its media hardware support could have hardly been described as nascent.

Be's biggest problem was probably wasting so much of its existence trying to be acquired by Apple and then flailing around looking for a niche. At the time, Be's kit APIs were all sorts of less irritating than dealing with C++ frameworks on Windows. Maybe if Be had made more of a concerted effort to attract developers than just giving away the OS to people that subscribed to their developer program, they would have had some more luck.

If you want some interesting education and entertainment...
by Jonathan Thompson on Tue 5th Jul 2005 13:10 UTC

Read the API and programming examples for both BeOS and Syllable, and note just how similar they really are.

Whomever says "BeOS is another Unix/Linux variant" has some weird ideas as to what that really means. However, based on the BeOS API and model of doing things (which, AFAIK, existed before the predecessor of Syllable) it can very reasonably be argued that Syllable is a BeOS derivative or work-alike, or at least an interesting merge between a Unix OS at the lower non-GUI level, and BeOS at the higher GUI/user interface level, with the biggest immediately visible difference being the names of the C++ API classes not having B in front of them. Note that I'm not saying that it's necessarily a bad thing, just that that's what it is. Whether or not that was the original intention (to create something that looks/works very similarly close to BeOS) when things were done is irrelevant.

Re: Max
by Anonymous on Tue 5th Jul 2005 17:12 UTC

> You obviously have never really tried Syllable and SkyOS,
> have you? Both Syllable and SkyOS are very, very fast, very
> similar to BeOS' speed and responsiveness.

Since when was BeOS bandwidth or latency competitive with the Linux kernel, and in what areas? BeOS applications were more responsive than GUI Linux applications because they used threads for performing computations.

Alternative OS
by Andre on Wed 6th Jul 2005 12:40 UTC

Alternative Operating Systems wil not make a change to get to the big crowd, cause the crowd buys a computer, with Windows installed, and most people don't know/care about other Operating Systems ...

So the ones who make alternative operating systems have a smaller target group ... but i don't think the big crowd is the target for alternative operating systems ... a smaller group is ... and if they use and stay using the os ... then i think that is their succes ...

RE: If anything at all ...
by Malachi de AElfweald on Wed 6th Jul 2005 19:56 UTC

no OS has a real chance next to Windows, because 90% of all (home) users take the OS that comes with their box

I only know 2 people who have bought pre-made machines. Most of them build their own, a few have the place they are ordering from build them. As such, only 2 of them had Windows on them when they bought them.

The real key, I think, is slightly different. The only reason my wife isn't willing to switch away from Windows is because the others aren't likely to play the majority of our games. Sure, we could buy a Linux version of some of them, but the realistic expectation is that we wouldn't be able to play most of them. If we could, I could convince her to switch OSs over the weekend.

RE: RE: Joe User
by Malachi de AElfweald on Wed 6th Jul 2005 20:10 UTC

Please do remember that Windows in itself is fairly bad at hardware detection; you most certainly need to install additional drivers to get everything working correctly when doing a Windows install on a self-built box. Linux is better with this as a standard Linux distro ships with more drivers and thus more HW support *out of the box* than Windows does.

Not true. Last time I tried Linux, I had problems with my Creative CD-RW and my ATI All-in-Wonder Rage 128 Pro. Got them both working, after much searching online and ftp and modification.

I have not installed any drivers in Windows in years -- not even the ones that come with the OS. It was true with Windows98, but it hasn't been true for a very long time.

Keep in mind I despise Windows, and don't want to use it -- but Windows does have much better hardware detection. Maybe we need to move more towards something like OpenBoot/OpenFirmware/OpenBIOS so that one non-windows "driver" would work on all the alternative OSs.

RE: RE: Joe User
by Malachi de AElfweald on Wed 6th Jul 2005 20:15 UTC

I have not installed any drivers in Windows in years -- not even the ones that come with the OS. It was true with Windows98, but it hasn't been true for a very long time.

Sorry, typo. should have been:

I have not installed any drivers in Windows in years -- not even the ones that come with the hardware. It was true with Windows98, but it hasn't been true for a very long time.