Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 20th Dec 2009 21:22 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes I just stumbled upon an interesting forum thread over at AmigaWorld.net. The thread details whether or not AmigaOS and MorphOS should be called "hobby operating systems", and what kind of criteria should be applied. This sounded like an interesting point of discussion for OSNews.
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Interesting
by roger_ramjet on Sun 20th Dec 2009 21:36 UTC
roger_ramjet
Member since:
2007-04-30

Thanks for this interesting article.

I would have to say a hobby operating system would be an OS that is not used for commercial purposes or have a commercial backing.

I did a small website on Aros for a uni assignment i classified it as a hobby OS.

It is not designed by a commercial entity and its not used to make profit.

Sure Linux is open source but it has commercial backing and is used to make profit too.

Something Like AROS or MenuetOS is defintiely hobby because its designed with love and used with love ONLY.

(At this stage any way)

Perhaps i'm wrong though. Frying Pan CD burning software is for sale on AROS.

H'mmm im having a hard time classifying now.
Looking forward to comments.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Interesting
by AmigaRobbo on Sun 20th Dec 2009 21:55 UTC in reply to "Interesting"
AmigaRobbo Member since:
2005-11-15

You mention Frying Pan is a retail price,Amiga OS4.1 is itself a commercial production:-

http://www.acube-systems.biz/index.php?page=software&pid=1

I'd still call it a 'hobby' OS, I find it fun to tinker with, I can do (almost) everything with it that I want to do in OSX or Windows, so it's usable.

Still by the definition of a OS that in itself you like to play around with, in itself, not the applications available for it, would that make many Linux a hobby OS for people who like learn about PC/Linux, and the exact same distro not a hobby OS for people who just get on with the business of Surfing the interwebs and mail etc?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Interesting
by sorpigal on Sun 20th Dec 2009 22:14 UTC in reply to "Interesting"
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

Commercial backing is not such a good distinction, IMO. Linux was being called a hobby OS in some press up into 2002 IIRC.

The real measurement should be whether or not the OS is of interest for production work, no matter what the kind. It's harder to judge, sure, but if the OS is generally intended for and used for real work, as opposed to just for tinkering with the OS itself, then it's no longer a hobby OS.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Interesting
by strcpy on Sun 20th Dec 2009 22:26 UTC in reply to "RE: Interesting"
strcpy Member since:
2009-05-20

Linux was being called a hobby OS in some press up into 2002 IIRC.


Yeah and nowadays you hear often Linux people using the term when describing other open source operating systems. As Linux is now, you know, big boy stuff. What goes around, comes around.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Interesting
by bhtooefr on Sun 20th Dec 2009 23:02 UTC in reply to "RE: Interesting"
bhtooefr Member since:
2009-02-19

And, the RISCOS Ltd. branch of RISC OS wouldn't be a hobby OS, under that commercial distinction.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Interesting
by WorknMan on Sun 20th Dec 2009 23:45 UTC in reply to "RE: Interesting"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

The real measurement should be whether or not the OS is of interest for production work, no matter what the kind. It's harder to judge, sure, but if the OS is generally intended for and used for real work, as opposed to just for tinkering with the OS itself, then it's no longer a hobby OS.


Yes, I agree with this interpretation. When trying to determine whether an OS is a hobby OS or not, the real test is this - do you use it to do useful stuff outside of tinkering (browsing the web, sending/receiving email, gaming, etc), or do you just 'play' with it?

That being said, what is a hobby OS for some will not be for others. For example, in my case, Linux at home is a hobby OS, cuz I usually just install it to play around with it, whereas I get actual work done with Windows. That doesn't mean I *couldn't* do more with Linux at home... I just choose not to. By contrast, I actually use Unix/Linux to get real work done while at work, because the company I work for runs server apps on these operating systems that I need to interract with.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Interesting
by roger_ramjet on Mon 21st Dec 2009 00:44 UTC in reply to "RE: Interesting"
roger_ramjet Member since:
2007-04-30

"The real measurement should be whether or not the OS is of interest for production work"

I think this hits the nail right on the head.
No single person/group or organization could classify an OS themselves.

It comes down to what its used for.

Thanks for this.
Great !

Reply Score: 1

Comment by mrAmiga500
by mrAmiga500 on Sun 20th Dec 2009 22:18 UTC
mrAmiga500
Member since:
2009-03-20

I'd say your classification system is correct.

For the Amiga OS, I'd say WB 1.3 to 3.1 were not "hobby operating systems" because at the time of release they had millions of users and were used in many professional applications. Even though Amiga OS 4.1 is "more advanced", I'd classify it more as a hobby OS - running only on "hobby hardware" by very few users.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by mrAmiga500
by AmigaRobbo on Sun 20th Dec 2009 22:46 UTC in reply to "Comment by mrAmiga500"
AmigaRobbo Member since:
2005-11-15

I'd also say (again) that back in the day Windows 98 wasn't a Hobby OS, used by millions etc. but now if you get someone using it for the lulz, then it's a hobby OS.


But then I don't find anything especially degratory about the term hobby OS.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by mrAmiga500
by David on Mon 21st Dec 2009 00:01 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by mrAmiga500"
David Member since:
1997-10-01

Restoring a 1967 Corvette is a hobby, and being a classic Corvette aficionado is a hobby, but there's certainly nobody who's ashamed to be seen driving a 1967 Corvette around.

(Of course, it always comes back to car analogies)

But I think this is an apt comparison. A valuable classic car may not be as practical, reliable, technologically advanced, or efficient as a late model Honda Accord. But that doesn't mean there's no point in owning one, and in fact, putting a lot of time into it. People who tinker with "hobby" OSes derive a lot of pleasure from it, and they learn a lot. Just because their pet OSes aren't Honda Accords doesn't mean we should denigrate them.

Reply Score: 3

Hobby
by strcpy on Sun 20th Dec 2009 22:21 UTC
strcpy
Member since:
2009-05-20

I don't know if it just me, but I find the term "hobby OS" to have negative connotations.

It is like a "hobby OS" can not be a "real OS". "Real men" use "real OSes" in "real production". Often I hear trolls using the term when describing something they've never even tried.

In many cases something like "research OS" would be more polite and even often more accurate. Is something like MINIX or Plan9 really a "hobby OS", despite of the great legacy and strong influence?

Edited 2009-12-20 22:23 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Hobby
by jokkel on Mon 21st Dec 2009 10:17 UTC in reply to "Hobby"
jokkel Member since:
2008-07-07

I also think that research OSs are absent in this classification. AROS even has this as part of it's name.

Reply Score: 1

Hobby OS
by zizban on Sun 20th Dec 2009 22:28 UTC
zizban
Member since:
2005-07-06

I wouldn't say MorphOS or AmigaOS are hobby OSes. They are niche OSes. They have a niche to fill.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Hobby OS
by itomato on Sun 20th Dec 2009 22:45 UTC in reply to "Hobby OS"
itomato Member since:
2006-05-18

I wouldn't say MorphOS or AmigaOS are hobby OSes. They are niche OSes. They have a niche to fill.
=

Which is the niche defined by hobbyists with Amigas and OS-compatible hardware, which is a niche unto itself.

Windows 7 was a "hobby" OS for a while, as was Mac OS 10.6.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by truckweb
by truckweb on Mon 21st Dec 2009 00:05 UTC
truckweb
Member since:
2005-07-06

Any OS that is used by a tiny amount of users could be called "Hobby". Even more so if it's hard to obtain usable hardware to use the said OS.

Even if you do REAL work with AmigaOS or RISCOS (or whatever OS), the eco-system is so small, that it verge on being irrelevant so hence the "hobby" tag it carries.

Windows, Mac OS and Linux are the market leaders. Everything else is a rounding error.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by truckweb
by judgen on Mon 21st Dec 2009 00:44 UTC in reply to "Comment by truckweb"
judgen Member since:
2006-07-12

So marketshare is what defines hobbies for you?
So if collecting coins, stamps and funny hats was the ones with major marketshare/mindshare they would be less of a hobby than lets say collecting plastic cactuses. Or is it in your reasoning that collecting the plastic cactuses are more of a hobby because of the obscurity compared to coin and stamp collecting?

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by truckweb
by sorpigal on Mon 21st Dec 2009 02:10 UTC in reply to "Comment by truckweb"
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

Once upon a time there was a hobby OS called Linux. You had to download source code from ftp sites and cross compile it to even build the boot floppy!

The big players were a handful of UNIX vendors, Microsoft and Apple. Everything else was a rounding error.

Reply Score: 2

Linux as Hobby OS
by jruschme on Mon 21st Dec 2009 13:28 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by truckweb"
jruschme Member since:
2007-07-19

Using Thom's definitions, it is a little hard to place early versions of Linux. On one hand, it was a pure hobby OS, comparable to ReactOS. On the other hand, its relationship to Unix was more like that of Haiku to BeOS.

In the early 1990s, the OS landscape was much more fragmented. Home users primarily ran a mix of MS-DOS, early Microsoft Windows and a variety of 8-bit micro operating systems with the classic MacOS being more the domain of visual arts professionals. Home Unix was something of the geek Holy Grail and usually took the form of proprietary variants on surplus hardware (3b1, anyone?), expensive x86 ports (Xenix) or affordable clones (Minix, Coherent).

Linus created Linux while searching for that holy grail and its early success is a testament to the depth of the need it filled. What we think of now as the BSDs also came out of this same search and its fulfillment. Arguably, had Bill Jolitz handled the early days of 386BSD better, there might not have even been a Linux.

The lesson in this may be that part of what takes a Hobby OS to the next level is that it fulfills a desire of a larger community which is not met effectively or economically by the larger industry.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Linux as Hobby OS
by sbergman27 on Mon 21st Dec 2009 15:47 UTC in reply to "Linux as Hobby OS"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

...proprietary variants on surplus hardware (3b1, anyone?),

The ultra-silent PC crowd, who can't abide the regular fans and power supplies that the rest of us use, ought to have a look at this:

http://tinyurl.com/ydblzms

(The PC7300 model later became the 3B1.)

I supported many a 3B2 back in the day... but I've only ever seen one of these things.

Edited 2009-12-21 15:47 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Who's the hobbyst?
by avih on Mon 21st Dec 2009 00:13 UTC
avih
Member since:
2006-03-16

I think that by definition, a hobby OS is not defined by how the users relate to it, but rather by the developer[s] relation to it. If they develop it as a hobby, a hobby OS it is. If, OTOH, it's developed as a commercial product, it ain't a hobby OS by definition IMO, as simple/crude/naive as it might be. It might be a bad OS, but it won't be a hobby OS.

So.. what was the article about?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Who's the hobbyst?
by roger_ramjet on Mon 21st Dec 2009 00:50 UTC in reply to "Who's the hobbyst?"
roger_ramjet Member since:
2007-04-30

I think looking at it from the developers point of view is not 100% correct.

I will go a step further than my earlier post that it is the users view.

I think the hobby distinction comes from the way somebody INTERACTS with the OS.

to the developer it may be a hobby OS.
To somebody at home it may be their livelihood.


My final definition is a hobby OS is an operating system that is interacted with by somebody for the purposes of their hobby.

Reply Score: 1

siraf72
Member since:
2006-02-22

Long winded but there you go. Alternatively, an OS with a cult following? or would that include us Mac users?

Reply Score: 1

shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

On the other hand, how many Mac OSX users tinker with the OS at all?
Very few in my experience.
I do but I've been tinkering with Operating Systems since around 1980 when I wrote my first device driver for RSX-11M.

Reply Score: 2

siraf72 Member since:
2006-02-22

I know quite a few actually (including myself). ... but i know alot more that don't!

Reply Score: 1

The Wintel Inquisition
by BigBentheAussie on Mon 21st Dec 2009 06:45 UTC
BigBentheAussie
Member since:
2008-03-29

I believe it is clearly a matter of the size of the user base.

When does a cult become a religion?
When does a hobby OS become a professional OS?

The perception from the mainstream is what defines the term ***for the mainstream***.

A person inside the cult will consider it a religion to lend credence to his faith.
The mainstream religions will consider a smaller following a cult as they believe only their faith has any credence.
Where you sit and what your sensibilities are determines what you will apply the term to.

If something is a fringe religion someone in a mainstream religion might call it a cult. If something is a fringe OS someone using a mainstream OS might call it a hobby OS.

Reply Score: 1

RE: The Wintel Inquisition
by cpiral on Wed 23rd Dec 2009 03:01 UTC in reply to "The Wintel Inquisition"
cpiral Member since:
2006-04-19

Close and closer.
A hobby OS (or cult) becomes an OS (or religion)
when the ratio of end-user-to-developer is large, that is when the kernel is rarely called. End users read religion man(1). Developers users read cult man(5) (system calls).

For example, an embedded OS has, by form, more end users
than developer users. The embedded OS status is thus another good indicator of the less-than-hobby class of OS.

There are other contexts besides religion and OSs that classify based on the end-user-to-developer ratio. At first the dinosaur computer had no OS, and all users were developers--it was a hobby of sorts. Nowadays an OOP programmer manual commonly terms "user" the user of a developed API (say a developed file.h), as opposed to the developer of the API. Obviously now the application is classed by how many other people use the application, in other words, the ratio of end-users-to-developer(s) is large.
An OS is just a big (harware) API made up of a number of little APIs (depending on the design goals). When its end-users-to-developers ratio is large, as Thom suggests, it's less a hobby.

Reply Score: 1

99 Problems
by tony on Mon 21st Dec 2009 07:40 UTC
tony
Member since:
2005-07-06

If you're having internal problems I feel bad for you son, I got 99 problems but a hobby ain't one.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by Raffaele
by Raffaele on Tue 22nd Dec 2009 09:06 UTC
Raffaele
Member since:
2005-11-12

I don't know why Thom Holwerda when talking of Amiga points always on totally un-relevant things and aspects of this platform.

The discussion about if Amiga is to be called or not an "hobby OS" was born in our community and just one of the various folklore-costume trivia discussion that born in Amiga any day.

And perhaps Mr. Holwerda you must update your knowledge of actual AmigaOS situation:

[quote]
It also eliminates a lot of those silly discussions about "my pet operating system does everything I need" vs. "it can't even do Flash!".
[/quote]

If this last humor word was intended to be referred to Amiga then I inform you that AmigaOS now runs Flash with Gnash and MorphOS runs Flash with SWFDec plug-in integrated into OWB web-browser release for MorphOS.

And this is another advance for this platform, and another step to fill the gap between us and other -so called- "mainstream" OSes.

Why don't you cover these advancements in Amiga with your articles rather than continuously point on Amiga folklore aspects and silly news?

Edited 2009-12-22 09:12 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Seth Quarrier
Member since:
2005-11-13

I think that if someone has an Alpha on their desktop running VMS, that would definitely qualify as a hobby OS. DOS on the desktop would also probably qualify. Both of these systems, however, have very non-hobby uses. A system like QNX also has hobby and non-hobby faces. When you try to load Vista into your coffee machine that also would count ;) Perhaps in a cosmic sense, a hobby OS is an OS that has no niche in which it isn't competitive outside of the fun and challenge of using it. Having said that long live the hobby OS, and my personal opinion is that any system that qualifies should get top billing on OSNews, there are plenty of dedicated sites for the big guys.

Reply Score: 2

Hobby-developer OS
by reez on Tue 22nd Dec 2009 21:19 UTC
reez
Member since:
2006-06-28

For me a hobby OS has always been an OS, which is developed just for fun or to learn and not for money or a specific reason (like implementing a specific feature). Something, like MenuetOS or MikeOS to name two examples.

I wouldn't call QNX, ReactOS, DragonFly BSD and other special/niche operating systems or OSs with a low usage share a 'Hobby OS'.

(GNU)Linux for example maybe started as hobby OS.

I've always used the hobby prefix as a way of describing it is developed by volunteers, who don't get paid, do not provide support and are not interested in doing so. They do not plan to get big market share overall or in their specific niche.

Reply Score: 1

linux a hobby os?
by cagwait on Wed 23rd Dec 2009 09:07 UTC
cagwait
Member since:
2009-12-23

Nice article. Well in general i would not consider linux now a hobby os. But there are certain distributions which may have been started out as one mans hobby. 'Puppy Linux' would would be a good example of this and having just recently downloaded it and tried it for the first time, very impressive.

Reply Score: 1