Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 5th Jul 2007 09:19 UTC
Original OSNews Interviews After interviewing Axel Dorfler yesterday, in this second installment of Five Questions, we interview Robert Szeleney, the main driving force behind SkyOS. SkyOS has been in development since the late '90s, but for the past few years, it has seen rapid development. Read on for Robert's answers to the Five Questions.
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Looking forward.
by Laurence on Thu 5th Jul 2007 09:42 UTC
Laurence
Member since:
2007-03-26

Although I can only speak for myself, I do find SkyOS to be one of the most exciting (and prettiest*) new OSs in development. I particularly looking forward to the media centre side of the OS being completed.

I wish Robert and all the rest of the SkyOS team the best of success (hopefully the Live CD will bring new fans to their camp)

*I know looks aren't the be all and end all, but it's always a nice bonus

Reply Score: 4

RE: Looking forward.
by PJBonoVox on Thu 5th Jul 2007 10:11 UTC in reply to "Looking forward."
PJBonoVox Member since:
2006-08-14

You definitely speak for yourself on the prettiest part (yuck @ the default theme), but I agree that it's exciting. I can't wait to see where it ends up.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Looking forward.
by Abaddon on Thu 5th Jul 2007 13:02 UTC in reply to "RE: Looking forward."
Abaddon Member since:
2006-06-23

It will end up as expensive OS without many useful apps. It will send it to an early grave.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Looking forward.
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 5th Jul 2007 13:32 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Looking forward."
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

It will send it to an early grave.

Early? SkyOS is more than 10 years old.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Looking forward.
by predictor on Thu 5th Jul 2007 14:00 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Looking forward."
predictor Member since:
2006-11-30

Sixth question (this is meant well - I'm a big SkyOS fan)

** Why on earth not a dual license instead of the insane closed source approach? **

I truly believe that SkyOS would stand a better chance than, say, Haiku at surviving as an "alternative" OS and at attracting developers if it was open, at least having an open "community" version which would include the kernel and drivers, but zero or few apps (I'm sure there are other commerical models, including service, etc)

Edited 2007-07-05 14:11

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Looking forward.
by Almafeta on Thu 5th Jul 2007 14:17 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Looking forward."
Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

As an open source application, SkyOS made less headway than even ReactOS.

As a closed source application, SkyOS has made more headway than that last four owners of Amiga combined.

Additionally, open-source inevitably means fragmentation, as forks lead to very similar but still incompatible versions of what otherwise would have been the same system.

Edited 2007-07-05 14:17

Reply Score: 5

RE[6]: Looking forward.
by predictor on Thu 5th Jul 2007 14:32 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Looking forward."
predictor Member since:
2006-11-30

"As an open source application, SkyOS made less headway than even ReactOS. As a closed source application, SkyOS has made more headway than that last four owners of Amiga combined. "

That's because it was open source only EARLY in the process. In the same spirit, I can claim that Linux made less headway when it was closed (the first five months or so), and a LOT of headway when it was opened.

"Additionally, open-source inevitably means fragmentation, as forks lead to very similar but still incompatible versions of what otherwise would have been the same system."

Inevitably? Despite popular belief, there is only ONE Linux kernel, for instance (but many distributions - a different thing)

ReactOS and Haiku are not fragmented, and they have even designed rules to prevent it in the future.

If you really would like to prevent distributions and forks, then it's a matter of license design (don't know why you would want that - forks still means stuff gets done)

See? Your logic makes no sense.

Reply Score: 5

RE[5]: Looking forward.
by TBPrince on Thu 5th Jul 2007 16:10 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Looking forward."
TBPrince Member since:
2005-07-06

** Why on earth not a dual license instead of the insane closed source approach? **

I'm surprised that open-sourcing is not the key to solve people's starvation too...

Reply Score: 4

RE[6]: Looking forward.
by predictor on Thu 5th Jul 2007 16:29 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Looking forward."
predictor Member since:
2006-11-30

"I'm surprised that open-sourcing is not the key to solve people's starvation too..."

Generalization is a common logical fallacy, TBPrince. Don't do that.

Reply Score: 5

RE[6]: Looking forward.
by Anonymous Penguin on Thu 5th Jul 2007 22:45 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Looking forward."
Anonymous Penguin Member since:
2005-07-06

No, but it could help saving governments's money and educate people.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Looking forward.
by Laurence on Thu 5th Jul 2007 13:59 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Looking forward."
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

"

It will end up as expensive OS without many useful apps. It will send it to an early grave.
"

I think that's more than just a little presumptuous especially given that at the moment it's one of the cheapest commercial OSs.

It would have been nice if you went into a little more detail to explain why you're predicting it such a demise.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Looking forward.
by Anonymous Penguin on Thu 5th Jul 2007 22:38 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Looking forward."
Anonymous Penguin Member since:
2005-07-06

I think that's more than just a little presumptuous especially given that at the moment it's one of the cheapest commercial OSs


People only buy Windows (except when they pirate it, and except when they get it with a new computer: they still pay for it, but they are not fully aware) and, very occasionally, OS X updates.
They expect to get every other OS for free. And let's be honest, sometimes they get something really good for free. Take Debian as an example, which supports 11 Architectures, with over 20,000 applications available for each one.
Concluding: even 30 is a lot for people who aren't used to pay, especially considering that SkyOS is bound to have few apps and limited hardware support.

Edited 2007-07-05 22:40

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Looking forward.
by fretinator on Thu 5th Jul 2007 20:45 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Looking forward."
fretinator Member since:
2005-07-06

It will end up as expensive OS without many useful apps. It will send it to an early grave.


As my momma used to say, if you don't have anything good to say, post it in a forum!
;}

Reply Score: 4

SkyOS Problems
by sirhomer on Thu 5th Jul 2007 14:33 UTC
sirhomer
Member since:
2007-01-03

SkyOS has some major problems and I wish Robert would actually admit it. It's not fair to people because unlike most software, there is no "try before you buy". I think this is by design, because if he would let people try his OS first I doubt many people would pay up. The beta forums are riddled with people who can't even get SkyOS to boot.

Reply Score: 5

RE: SkyOS Problems
by predictor on Thu 5th Jul 2007 14:40 UTC in reply to "SkyOS Problems"
predictor Member since:
2006-11-30

"The beta forums are riddled with people who can't even get SkyOS to boot."

Right.

I have the same problem with Haiku. But with Haiku and a bit of patience, I could actually go in, debug the damn thing and figure out what's wrong. Because I have the source.

I'm not sure SkyOS has serious "by design" flaws, but without the source, it's really hard to tell.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: SkyOS Problems
by bryanv on Thu 5th Jul 2007 14:45 UTC in reply to "RE: SkyOS Problems"
bryanv Member since:
2005-08-26

And without the source, there's no way I'm ever going to back an alternative OS. We've all seen what happens when the $$ runs out. No more OS.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: SkyOS Problems
by KenJackson on Fri 6th Jul 2007 11:09 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: SkyOS Problems"
KenJackson Member since:
2005-07-18

This is a good point, and often repeated.

But consider this: there are already free software OS choices that are superior to Windows, and yet Windows still commands the lion's share of desktops. This says to me that some people will only be comfortable with a closed-source, commercial OS. For generic PC hardware they currently only have one choice.

It would be refreshing to have some competition in the category of closed-source commercial OSes. It might also hasten the day when the average user understands that computer and Windows are not synonyms. Regardless of whether open or closed, no one is going to take SkyOS seriously until it is solid, but that's expected. I wish SkyOS well. I hope it gets to the point that it is a solid alternative for some.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: SkyOS Problems
by predictor on Sat 7th Jul 2007 12:58 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: SkyOS Problems"
predictor Member since:
2006-11-30

"This says to me that some people will only be comfortable with a closed-source, commercial OS"

That logic is flawed. These "some" people generally don't have a real choice. They buy a computer, and Windoze is pre-installed.

Let's hope Dell succeeds with their alternative.

Reply Score: 2

RE: SkyOS Problems
by mallard on Thu 5th Jul 2007 17:08 UTC in reply to "SkyOS Problems"
mallard Member since:
2006-01-06

Forums are an inherently flawed way of judging the quality of anything. Nobody goes into a forum to say how great something is, they just go for help for their problems.
Thus, any forum will be "riddled" with people reporting problems, because thats what the forum is for.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: SkyOS Problems
by sirhomer on Thu 5th Jul 2007 17:14 UTC in reply to "RE: SkyOS Problems"
sirhomer Member since:
2007-01-03

SkyOS pretty much doesn't run on anything but virtualized hardware. At least I've never been able get it to boot on the 20 or so computers I've tried it on. Any bug reports that I've submitted got ignored or "resolved" but not actually fixed. This is unacceptable for a "commerical" product.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: SkyOS Problems
by Almafeta on Thu 5th Jul 2007 17:24 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: SkyOS Problems"
Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

Ironically, I can only get it to run on real hardware, not virtualized.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: SkyOS Problems
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 5th Jul 2007 17:28 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: SkyOS Problems"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

SkyOS pretty much doesn't run on anything but virtualized hardware. At least I've never been able get it to boot on the 20 or so computers I've tried it on. Any bug reports that I've submitted got ignored or "resolved" but not actually fixed. This is unacceptable for a "commerical" product.

I highly doubt this statement.

I have been active in the SkyOS community for *years*, since the 2.x days, so I kind of know what I'm talking about. I'm not nearly as active as I used to be (I pop into irc every now and then, only).

You can blame Robert and his team of a lot of things that at least *I* would have done differently, but you can *not* claim that Robert does not listen to bug reports, or that he is unwilling to help. I have installed a gazillion million copies of SkyOS since I first laid my eyes upon it, and if it failed somewhere along the way, Robert was *always* willing to help.

Heck, right *now*, he is helping me with an issue concerning the Intel i810 video chipset (SkyOS fails to boot on these chipsets). He is currently making a floppy boot image for me, so that I can get SkyOS installed.

As en ex-active SkyOS community member, and an active Haiku contributor, I have seen, in both communities, a lot of people who come barging into irc or a forum, saying something along the lines of "SkyOS/Haiku won't boot, help me now.", without providing any debug information, hardware information, or whatever. These kind of people usually fail to contribute in any meaningful way in the troubleshoot/bugfixing process. These processes are a two-way street, sirhomer. If you fail to realise that, you'll never get SkyOS to boot on anything.

Edited 2007-07-05 17:28

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: SkyOS Problems
by sirhomer on Thu 5th Jul 2007 18:52 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: SkyOS Problems"
sirhomer Member since:
2007-01-03

Well Thom Holwerda, may I mention that you are Thom Holwerda. You are pretty much free advertising for Robert, of course he's going to build custom kernels for you. I wonder why instead of compiling kernels for people why doesn't he just fix the main release, especially considering that he said there will be a release today.

Reply Score: 4

RE[5]: SkyOS Problems
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 5th Jul 2007 19:08 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: SkyOS Problems"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Well Thom Holwerda, may I mention that you are Thom Holwerda. You are pretty much free advertising for Robert, of course he's going to build custom kernels for you. I wonder why instead of compiling kernels for people why doesn't he just fix the main release, especially considering that he said there will be a release today.

He helped me as well as others even before I even became part of the OSN team; I only joined OSN two years ago, and before that, I was a nobody like everybody else (I still am, by the way). He still jumped through hoops, whether he was helping me, or someone else.

Look, I've had my share of disagreements with the SkyOS team, but please don't spread nonsense like Robert doesn't help. It's just nonsense.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: SkyOS Problems
by sirhomer on Thu 5th Jul 2007 19:21 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: SkyOS Problems"
sirhomer Member since:
2007-01-03

I am not saying he doesn't help. I'm saying that even after ten years of development SkyOS can't even boot on a large assortment of computers. Robert talks about stuff like running media centers and nex-gen video games on SkyOS - but if I can't boot into the damn thing, what good is that? Talk about flawed priorities. And he doesn't keep to his word. Sure he helped you. I'm not denying that. But instead of releasing a new version of SkyOS today like he promised.

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: SkyOS Problems
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 5th Jul 2007 19:35 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: SkyOS Problems"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I'm saying that even after ten years of development SkyOS can't even boot on a large assortment of computers.

Do you even have the slightest idea of how much work it actually is to get a kernel to boot? How many kernels have you written lately that boot on as many x86 machines as Windows and/or Linux? Remember, the core OS itself is a one-man show, you can't expect miracles. Do you want me to detail how much work I need to go through *every* time I want to load a Linux distribution on my bog-standard Athlon PC? I need to pass certain kernel paramaters and even then it's a hit and miss situation.

And Linux has been in development a whole lot longer than SkyOS, by a whole lot more people and companies!

This looks like a classic case of xyz-doesn't-boot-on-my-config-and-now-I'm-pissed-off. But, how many debug logs [1] have you sent to Robert? Did you give him any information at all that could help him in fixing your bug? Have you tried using slightly different configurations, passing kernel parameters [2], to try to pinpoint the problem?

[1] http://www.skyos.org/?q=node/487 (heh I wrote this guide years ago)
[2] http://www.skyos.org/?q=node/491

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: SkyOS Problems
by Soulbender on Fri 6th Jul 2007 07:07 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: SkyOS Problems"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

"I'm saying that even after ten years of development SkyOS can't even boot on a large assortment of computers."

So, people with an actual brain investigates this *before* buying it thus avoiding being angry at SkyOS for their own failure to be informed consumers.

"Talk about flawed priorities"

His project, his priorities.

"And he doesn't keep to his word. Sure he helped you. I'm not denying that. But instead of releasing a new version of SkyOS today like he promised."

Do you have any actually tangible proof to back your accusations up?

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: SkyOS Problems
by hollovoid on Thu 5th Jul 2007 20:33 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: SkyOS Problems"
hollovoid Member since:
2005-09-21

got some links to some of these bug reports? and 20+ computers? I dont think so. I have had one computer that didnt boot skyos so far, and that was fixed in the next release.. hell I have actually had the Debian installer fail to run or lock up on more computers than the skyos installer.. it happens, but it seems kinda silly to knock a OS still under development for bugs and incompatabilities.. if you dont like the possibility of problems then dont use pre release. If you wanna be helped, then help them determine your problem.

damn its like people believe beta and alpha are just launch codes to thier new dream OS world where bugs go away with a tiki torch and some OFF.

Reply Score: 2

What Robert does?
by AndrewZ on Thu 5th Jul 2007 14:49 UTC
AndrewZ
Member since:
2005-11-15

Does Robert code on SkyOS full time or is this an after-hours hobby?

Reply Score: 1

RE: What Robert does?
by zizban on Thu 5th Jul 2007 15:30 UTC in reply to "What Robert does?"
zizban Member since:
2005-07-06

Hobby. Robert has a full time day job.

Reply Score: 3

Profiler vs. Dtrace?
by Jondice on Thu 5th Jul 2007 15:52 UTC
Jondice
Member since:
2006-09-20

How do the two compare? It would seem like a dtrace app could do all this and more, but I'm not that experienced with Dtrace.

Reply Score: 1

Losers
by WiggetyWhack on Thu 5th Jul 2007 16:33 UTC
WiggetyWhack
Member since:
2007-06-30

You all bitching that SkyOS isn't "Free" or "Open Source" are simply a bunch of losers. If you simply look at the forum, you can get a free subscription by simply contributing something, whether some code, some documentation, or whateverthehell.

Simply put, if you want to be a whiner/complainer, you either pay up, or you actually do something for the project. Either way, both situations help the project go forward.

Reply Score: 5

Whiners!
by stodge on Thu 5th Jul 2007 19:33 UTC
stodge
Member since:
2005-09-08

Good god, what a bunch of whiners. This mentality that all software should be open source is painful and degrade from these forums. If you don't like a product because it's closed source, look elsewhere.

I have no interest in SkyOS for now; it doesn't offer me anything. I'm stuck with WinXP due to digital recording and games. Maybe I'll look again in 5 years who knows. I agree it's fairly ugly, but that'll no doubt change.

Reply Score: 5

SkyOS Beta Build 6753 Live CD
by jello on Thu 5th Jul 2007 20:23 UTC
jello
Member since:
2006-08-08

After changing my computer many moons ago the new beta build is the first SkyOS beta cd that boots.

For a one man show I can only say: "Good job!"


The hardware is a Turion 64x2 with 2 gig of ram and nvidia ToGo-6150 chipset/graphic.
The things that don't work are: networking (suppose the nvidia chipset is to new), thouchpad (but a usb trackball works great).
And of course not implemented stuff like wifi (iss fails to start too).

But I'm ok with that, because to date there is not even one Linux distro that works 100% out of the box either.

Robert, thank you for SkyOS.
Please keep working on it.

Reply Score: 2

My $.02 worth.
by adamk on Thu 5th Jul 2007 20:55 UTC
adamk
Member since:
2005-07-08

I really liked SkyOS at one point. I tested it on multiple machines, created detailed bug reports, and ran numerous test kernels that Robert sent to me to resolve some of the biggest problems I encountered.

And while I still do like SkyOS, I just don't have that time and patience any more. If I could actually use SkyOS in a day-to-day environment, I'd be more than willing to continue testing it. But with the migration to a new computer, SkyOS no longer supports *any* of my networking, sound, or video components. IMAP e-mail in thunderbird is (or at least was) broken. I went so far as to create an account for Robert on one of the imap mail servers I have access to. But without that basic functionality, I can't regularly use SkyOS for actual *work* and have lost interest in testing each new release to see what hardware of mine has become supported and what bugs of mine have been resolved. Too many times, nothing had changed.

As for the closed source vs. open source debate. I couldn't really care. What I do care about is what happens to the operating system once Robert gets bored or just becomes incapable of continuing his work. This is a question that I've never actually gotten a response to. *That* would have been a better question for this interview :-)

Adam

Reply Score: 3

RE: My $.02 worth.
by predictor on Thu 5th Jul 2007 21:16 UTC in reply to "My $.02 worth."
predictor Member since:
2006-11-30

"As for the closed source vs. open source debate. I couldn't really care. What I do care about is what happens to the operating system once Robert gets bored or just becomes incapable of continuing his work."

In which case you SHOULD care about the closed vs. open source debate after all, since then it would not likely be a one-man show anymore.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: My $.02 worth.
by adamk on Thu 5th Jul 2007 21:36 UTC in reply to "RE: My $.02 worth."
adamk Member since:
2005-07-08

Being open source does not guarantee that any project will continue after the primary developer(s) stop working on it.

In addition, being closed source does not guarantee that a project will die if the primary developer(s) stop working on it.

So I still don't care about the open source vs closed source debate.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: My $.02 worth.
by predictor on Thu 5th Jul 2007 22:48 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: My $.02 worth."
predictor Member since:
2006-11-30

"Being open source does not guarantee that any project will continue after the primary developer(s) stop working on it."

But you would have to agree it vastly improves the chances, no?


"In addition, being closed source does not guarantee that a project will die if the primary developer(s) stop working on it. "

But you would have to agree it vastly improves the chances, no?


"So I still don't care about the open source vs closed source debate."

Sorry. Your logic makes no sense.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: My $.02 worth.
by Almafeta on Thu 5th Jul 2007 22:55 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: My $.02 worth."
Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

No; no; and no.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: My $.02 worth.
by adamk on Thu 5th Jul 2007 23:40 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: My $.02 worth."
adamk Member since:
2005-07-08

You're missing the point.

What I care about is the fact that there appears to be no plan in place for Robert's eventual inability to continue working on SkyOS. Open sourcing SkyOS now is one (possible) solution. There are others.

Adam

Reply Score: 1

Closed source VS open source on SkyOS
by Haicube on Sat 7th Jul 2007 13:06 UTC
Haicube
Member since:
2005-08-06

Like someone said earlier on. What's interesting is what happens if Robert gets tired of coding.

Either way, looking at, for instance, Haiku. We can simply note that Haiku is Open Source and that doesn't stop the debate anyway. Now there are people on a regular basis (and not to mention has been) who keep saying that it's the wrong license, and it should be GPL or it should be bla bla.

The license debate has gone way too far. IF the fact that SkyOS is closed source is the reason why you don't wanna use the product, then there seems to be a lot of products out there that you miss out on. If it's philosophy, then stick to Linux and let the rest of us who are not zeals stop hearing the license crap thank you very much.

Robert, I haven't tried your OS, but I do enjoy watching the demovids every now and then. Maybe when you reach an even more mature stage and open up for new customers I'll buy a copy, no matter OSS or Proprietary!

Reply Score: 1