Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 15th May 2010 19:23 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes There's one complaint we here at OSNews get thrown in our faces quite often: what's up with the lack of, you know, operating system news on OSNews? Why so much mobile phone news? Why so much talk of H264, HTML5, and Flash? Where's the juicy news on tomorrow's operating systems? Since it's weekend, I might as well explain why things are the way they are. Hint: it has nothing to do with a lack of willingness.
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Sad, but true
by MissingBeOS on Sat 15th May 2010 19:36 UTC
MissingBeOS
Member since:
2010-01-26

I think that's the one thing that truly bothers me about the OS landscape these days. There just isn't the level of excitement and variety that there was from the mid 90's through 2002-3.

When Be, Inc. closed its doors, that was pretty much "all she wrote" for me. BeOS wasn't perfect, but it probably had the most realistic chance of going somewhere of all of the alternative OSes at the time. BeOS gave me the same feeling of excitement and wonder that I had when I programmed my old A2000.

The hardware of today is almost inconceivably advanced in terms of sheer horsepower compared to any typical system from that time period, and yet ... where the heck is the magic? OSes haven't truly taken advantage of the hardware for a long time. BeOS came pretty close. Yeah, it was a cast iron beeyotch to get the multiprocessing algorithms to work, but wow! When they worked, they worked! ;)

Unfortunately, Thom's hit it on the head. The landscape has become pretty sparse out there. I would love to see Haiku do something. Same for Amiga rising from the ashes yet again. SkyOS, Syllable ... any & all of those quirky, powerful, elegant, quixotic attempts at doing something not only useful but FUN! But, it's not looking that good, at least from the viewpoint of a news site purportedly aimed at OS news.

Love to have us all proven wrong - I'd be tickled pink.

Reply Score: 8

Eugenia liked Beos, Thom likes AmigaOS
by dmantione on Sat 15th May 2010 19:43 UTC
dmantione
Member since:
2005-07-06

... that's a trend that I noticed in recent years. And there is nothing wrong with that, I liked Eugenia's news about all Be related things, and I do like Thom's tracking of the small but alive Amiga world.

Reply Score: 2

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Uh, no, I'm BeOS through and through.

Reply Score: 3

Amix Member since:
2006-10-18

I always wanted to try BeOS. But I never managed to buy any PC hardware. Maybe I should try Haiku sometime ;)

Reply Score: 2

Eddyspeeder Member since:
2006-05-10

Seems a pretty odd excuse to me. BeOS was available for both PC and PowerPC (i.e., Macs). The PowerPC edition was actually available for over 2 years before an x86 release came out in March '98.

Reply Score: 1

Bobthearch Member since:
2006-01-27

That's true. But in real life BeOS PPC actually ran on only a very small selection of Mac and Mac-compatible computers.

And, correct me if I'm wrong, but there were very few programs available for BeOS PPC; most BeOS apps are for the Intel version only.

Installing BeOS PPC was no treat either; the installer was an Apple Extension Panel item that was only compatible with certain versions of MacOS.

Reply Score: 2

bryanv Member since:
2005-08-26

Oh, give me a break.

Installing BeOS on a PPC was a cake-walk.

Most of the PCI-based powermacs (post first-gen 601's up to, but not including the 750 (g3s)) were supported.

The extension was used to kick MacOS out of RAM, flip the PPC into admin mode, and boot BeOS off the disk. Just like BootX did.

installation was a couple of easily understood clicks, a reboot, and a "pick your OS" prompt during boot. Gee, sounds like GRUB or LILO, or ... any other boot manager if you think about it.

There were a few of us who toyed with trying to write an OF loader, but without knowing the exact data structure format passed to the kernel (and we were really close to getting that worked out at one point) there really wasn't much hope in getting it to work.


I had a powermac 7600 with a G3 accelerator card that ran R5 beautifully.

http://www.varnernet.com/~bryan/files/BryanPPC_BeOS.png

Applications were most certainly available. Most commercial apps were cross-platform. Some of them were not. By the end of 1999 it was pretty obvious that Apple was cutting Be out of the picture, and that the future of the OS was x86. Many devs clung to the PPC support, but even Be was getting ready to put it out to pasture before the 'focus shift' happened.

Gosh, the memories. Some days I wish I could go back 10 years, just so I could use BeMail and have real query support in my file manager.

You have no idea how giddy I am that Haiku Alpha 2 boots nicely on my laptop.

Edited 2010-05-17 02:42 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Bobthearch Member since:
2006-01-27

Well, you make it sound easy, much easier than my recalled experiences: Mac computers too old (Performa) or too new (beige G3 or iMac), needing to buy the BeOS Pro disk because none of the free distributions were PPC-capable, having to replace MacOS9 with an older version 8, BeOS only able to boot via the Apple control panel extension...

But, admittedly, it's been a long time. And there very well may have been unknown shortcuts and tricks.

Reply Score: 2

bryanv Member since:
2005-08-26

None of the computers that would run BeOS on PPC came with OS 9 pre-installed.

They all came with (at most) 8.1 or 8.6 (by the time 8.1 was out, the G3 was the top-dog, and it wouldn't boot the BeOS)

So you didn't have to 'go backwards' in OS version unless you upgraded your old Mac's OS. Admittedly something most of us did. Personally, I never ran 9.x on my 7600. It didn't have anything I really needed. 8.6 was plenty for me.

So yeah, you had to have a PCI based PPC prior to the G3 (PPC 750) processor / motherboard designs, and you had to have MacOS between 7.5.3 and 8.6

That's so hard to keep straight.

There was the extension that would boot BeOS during startup, and there was a Launcher application that would do it after MacOS had already loaded.

As for the R5 release: Be, Inc. had pledged support for PPC through the R5 release of BeOS. They never planned on continuing support beyond that release, and all signs (and everything the guys that worked there told me) pointed to PPC being -gone- in the next release. Everything was x86. There were a lot of kernel changes / enhancements waiting for PPC support to be dropped. The PPC release was harder to obtain than it was to actually use, and PE never had a PPC build available.

I can't say I blame them, they were trying to get rid of having to support the PPC.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by mtzmtulivu
by mtzmtulivu on Sat 15th May 2010 19:50 UTC
mtzmtulivu
Member since:
2006-11-14

I was in college a few years ago and a professor once asked how many students were taking a compiler class and no hand was raised. He then went on commenting about the removal of compiler class in core CS curriculum and how the operating system class was on its way out too.

A few months later, i went to a university nearby and i looked at their CS curriculum and operating system was not a required class!!! ..students are graduating with CS degrees without knowing anything about the fundamentals of operating systems and computer languages.

There is no point in teaching OS in undergrad when preferred languages are OS agnostic like java and C# ..only Phd students these days have the time and resources to look into complicated file systems or internals of the modern OS.

The operating system space is a matured space and the world seem to be settling in to the three systems(Macwinilux), nothing new is coming on this front.

Desktop environments have also hit a wall with no where else to go unless they come up with a 3D desktop. The only new addition in recent years is glassy interfaces and wobby windows

What is the future of the general purpose OS?

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by puelocesar on Sat 15th May 2010 23:25 UTC in reply to "Comment by mtzmtulivu"
puelocesar Member since:
2008-10-30

Compilers as optional discipline? WTF??? A CS graduation without compilers is not a CS graduation.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by kaiwai on Sun 16th May 2010 04:45 UTC in reply to "Comment by mtzmtulivu"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

The operating system space is a matured space and the world seem to be settling in to the three systems(Macwinilux), nothing new is coming on this front.


I'd argue it is Macwinnix because although Linux is the most visible *NIX out there, it would also be correct to note that pretty much every 'new' operating system today is a variation of *NIX rather than a totally new idea form the ground up or at least a clone of a not very well known operating system. For some reason, something that confuses me, you never see a group stating the intention on creating a desktop operating system and have it based upon OpenVMS for some reason.

What one ends up having is a variation of *NIX's out there versus Windows rather than a collection of distinctively different operating systems. It is kind of depressing, therefore, that there is this push to keep re-implementing *NIX when there are possibly better operating systems to clone such as Plan9, OpenVMS or maybe a hybrid operating system that takes the best from each operating system which is what appears that DragonFlyBSD has done ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by Neolander on Sun 16th May 2010 08:48 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by mtzmtulivu"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

/begin rant

I'd argue it is Macwinnix because although Linux is the most visible *NIX out there, it would also be correct to note that pretty much every 'new' operating system today is a variation of *NIX rather than a totally new idea form the ground up or at least a clone of a not very well known operating system.

I agree with you. Unix vs VMS's and DOS's ugly grandson is boring. I agree that UNIX was a cool OS back on its days, and certainly still is for servers, but it's not meant to be a desktop operating system nor is not good at it.

UNIX is an OS family where the preferred data type in system calls is char*, which was not designed with multitasking in mind at all, whose standard GUI structure is horrible (a single app can take down everything by crashing), and for which "event-driven", "pop-up threads" and "asynchronous" are scary words which only get rarely used...

Things are no better in the Windows side. Sure, it's finally stable, but
-The kernel is horribly bloated. In fact, the whole OS suffers from an insane bloat level.
-Everything is still pixel-based
-Just every driver installation CD sees some obvious need to reinvent standard controls and break interface consistency
-There's still a lot of silly popups.
-A web browser is used to render every single system windows, in order to justify its infamous presence.
-When you want to install an app, you still have to give full admin rights to an untrusted "setup.exe" program.

And so on... In fact, Windows could be a good OS, provided that it did not bear the Win9x legacy and had a simpler kernel structure. But it does bear this legacy, and unless a complete rewrite occurs someday it will bear it forever.

I know, I know, desktop is not everything. But that's because things are pretty much mature on the server side. Sometimes, we get a new filesystem, yeah. A 10% performance increase. Or a compatibility layer which allows running apps from os Y on top of os Z with "almost no performance loss". And then life goes on. Revolutionary changes in the server area are planned with the advent of distributed operating systems which just about every computer science lab has a team working on. To the contrary, the desktop is still very immature, but does not get attention anymore.

That's why I'm working on a desktop operating system project. I try to prove that some real evolutions are still possible in that area. But it won't be ready tomorrow. And it could never be ready at all, even though articles like this are encouraging me to go further and prove that the desktop still has something to say.

The fact is, at the moment, I've got nothing that's worth showing. Only some written doc (targeted user experience and kernel design) and a code which turns multiboot data into something useful and arch-independent, and which *almost* turns long mode on. Until I get a fully working µkernel, there's nothing interesting here. And until I get some usable GUI running on top of it, there's nothing worth showing here at OSnews.

It'll take a year or two, at least, before I get a stable GUI, if I take the time to write clean code (which I want to do). Hence, at the moment, I can only agree with this article : it's sad that OS development is so out of fashion, especially in the desktop area, and that people now learn C# and Java instead of C++ and C. But well... If you want this to change, change it yourself ;)

/end rant

Edited 2010-05-16 09:03 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by kaiwai on Sun 16th May 2010 11:11 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by mtzmtulivu"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

I agree with you. Unix vs VMS's and DOS's ugly grandson is boring. I agree that UNIX was a cool OS back on its days, and certainly still is for servers, but it's not meant to be a desktop operating system nor is not good at it.


Yeap but it amazes me why we as a people keep gravitating back to UNIX as if it were the pinnacle of perfection when in reality it was a piece of GET (Good Enough Technology) where superior alternatives have been provided since. OpenVMS - why hasn't anyone re-implemented OpenVMS in pure C99? then there is the UNIX route, ok there are some great ideas - so why not embrace Plan9? sure the licence might not be to everyones taste but why hasn't anyone implemented Plan9 in a LGPL and run with many of these ideas that were laid out? it is as almost we have legions of programmers who go into a parking lot looking for a get away car and of all the cars they could take - they choose the lada.

UNIX is an OS family where the preferred data type in system calls is char*, which was not designed with multitasking in mind at all, whose standard GUI structure is horrible (a single app can take down everything by crashing), and for which "event-driven", "pop-up threads" and "asynchronous" are scary words which only get rarely used...


You can multitask in a way, load something and then push it to the background ;) I'd say to be more correct the method of input wasn't conducent to a single end user multitasking - X11 was a nice idea but it was never fully standardised thus you end up with the situation we have today with two desktops that are each horrible in their own unique way.

Things are no better in the Windows side. Sure, it's finally stable, but
-The kernel is horribly bloated. In fact, the whole OS suffers from an insane bloat level.
-Everything is still pixel-based
-Just every driver installation CD sees some obvious need to reinvent standard controls and break interface consistency
-There's still a lot of silly popups.
-A web browser is used to render every single system windows, in order to justify its infamous presence.
-When you want to install an app, you still have to give full admin rights to an untrusted "setup.exe" program.

And so on... In fact, Windows could be a good OS, provided that it did not bear the Win9x legacy and had a simpler kernel structure. But it does bear this legacy, and unless a complete rewrite occurs someday it will bear it forever.


What Microsoft Windows reminds me of is a person who throws things against a wall until they find something that'll stick and then run with it or they have a good idea but never following it through to the logical conclusion. Take the registry, nice idea conceptually but when implemented there were no instructions as so far as how developers should use it and for times when they shouldn't use it. The net result - a good idea that should have worked in principle ends up getting used and abused to the point that it becomes the single vector for legions of people to spew hatred against. An otherwise innocuous operating system feature at the centre of discourse surrounding "what does Windows suck".

As for the res, what Microsoft need to do is provide a single interface for accessing each device. There is should be no reason for Intel or Lenovo to bundle custom interfaces and other widgets with their computers when the bundled interface should work nicely. Same can be said for scanners - there should be no reason for HP to provide a 200MB download just so someone can scan a damn picture - the only thing provided should be 5MB worth of drivers with the functionality being provided by the operating system through a set of built in tools.

Then there is the low levels of the operating system which always seems to me like a knee jerk reaction against UNIX rather than an operating system designed a certain way because it was the superior way of doing something. Decisions being made for political rather than technical decisions, focusing on delivering features rather than asking the question how that particular addition fits into the larger system itself. For example, when ActiveX was posed, why didn't anyone think about the larger implications of such a decision? how about the giving everyone admin privileges in Windows 2000 for the sake of compatibility - why didn't they tell developers during development to test their software with the most restrictive setting so then it would work with Windows 2000 users being setup in limited user mode?

End of the day, however, Microsoft has made their decision and it has little impact upon me given that I am not exposed to using their software other than what I purchase from their MacBU. In the end Mac OS X might not be perfect but at least fundamentally the issues are simply matter of fixing up bugs rather than fundamental structural issues - see Windows and shatter attack.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by righard on Sun 16th May 2010 11:48 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by mtzmtulivu"
righard Member since:
2007-12-26

I don;t know how long you're working one your OS, but if your still struggling with long mode a might suggest doing things the other way around...

First write your OS inside another host OS, it can still be as original and exiting as you want. You can still create your own memory management-, treading- systems etc. But this way you can focus on the exiting parts of an OS instead of writing boring video drivers which probably have become obsolete once you finished them and won't be new and exiting anyway.

Once this is done you can always create a micro kernel that removes the need for a host OS.

This is the way I'm creating my hobby OS.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by Neolander on Sun 16th May 2010 17:47 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by mtzmtulivu"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

I don;t know how long you're working one your OS, but if your still struggling with long mode a might suggest doing things the other way around...

Not "still", actually, the biggest issue so far was about converting multiboot structures to something which better suits my taste ;) And it's close to being done, the code just needs some spring cleaning.

Long mode itself is easy. As the AMD manual says it best, it's just about 3 steps : PAE, LME bit, and paging. The first two are done. The last will be done after being done with the cleanup job. All paging structures are ready, it's just about writing some simple routines to use them...

First write your OS inside another host OS, it can still be as original and exiting as you want. You can still create your own memory management-, treading- systems etc. But this way you can focus on the exiting parts of an OS instead of writing boring video drivers which probably have become obsolete once you finished them and won't be new and exiting anyway.

Once this is done you can always create a micro kernel that removes the need for a host OS.

This is the way I'm creating my hobby OS.

Well, I'm having fun with low-level programming at the moment, and I already went too far to want to go the other way. Moreover, the VGA standards used for text-mode screen manipulation have been around since the 80s and still work with modern video cards, so I don't think that this is much of an issue...

Edited 2010-05-16 17:48 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by ricegf on Sun 16th May 2010 11:49 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by mtzmtulivu"
ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

"UNIX ... was not designed with multitasking in mind at all"

Not sure where you heard this (or maybe the message is getting garbled in transit?). Unix was the unexpected offspring of Multics - both were essentially *mainframe* operating systems that were built from the ground up to not only multitask, but also to handle multiple users as well.

Unix (via its second cousin Linux) scaled down from the big iron to servers, desktops, phones, embedded devices and watches; Windows scaled up from the microcomputer to servers, picking up multitasking (but still not good multi-user) along the way. (Mac OS/X is Unix with a proprietary shell; it could probably scale, too, if Apple let it out of its ivory tower.)

The rest of your rant is pretty much in sync with my 33 years experience, though. (Gads, where did the time go!?!)

Writing a new OS is harder than you think - Gnu Hurd has been in development for 20 years now, and they still don't have a beta release. And that's with backing from a major organization, FSF, where the kernel is a pretty visible initiative.

But please don't let that discourage you. Linus Torvolds was a hobbyist once, too, but I hear his little project - "nothing big and professional like gnu" - has done OK. Yours can, too!

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by Neolander on Sun 16th May 2010 18:08 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by mtzmtulivu"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

"UNIX ... was not designed with multitasking in mind at all"

Not sure where you heard this (or maybe the message is getting garbled in transit?). Unix was the unexpected offspring of Multics - both were essentially *mainframe* operating systems that were built from the ground up to not only multitask, but also to handle multiple users as well.

(as long as many other posts on the subject)

Yes, you're right, I've been going a bit too far in this part of my rant. What I had in mind was that...
1/You can *feel* that the UNIX family targeted people running one single task at a time on a dumb terminal. Example : run a CPU-intensive task in some kind of virtual terminal. Open a new tab or use Ctl+Alt+Fx and log in. Noticed how long it took for the shell to be ready ? Now run another CPU-intensive task in it, and try to open a new tab. Even slower. Notice that if you use an X11-based GUI, the whole UI becomes unresponsive. Try to run the CPU intensive task on the third tab. You can now go and do something else, the computer will be unresponsive to the point where it is unusable now. This was not an issue when people logged on a server with only one session at a time and ran only one program at a time. It's an issue for anything that's GUI-related.
2/Then, think about UNIX's traditional startup process : it runs a script shell, which then sequentially runs several tasks. If those tasks are IO-bound, the CPU will just wait for IO to complete. Many Linux distros are trying to get into parallel startup now, but they then have to get rid of the *huge* pack of script shells that are in use in the UNIX family.

Sure, UNIX knows how to put processes on multiple processors. If you ask for a new thread, it might even create a new one. But it's not optimized for people running multiple tasks, nor it's good at using multiple processes in its own code...

Writing a new OS is harder than you think - Gnu Hurd has been in development for 20 years now, and they still don't have a beta release. And that's with backing from a major organization, FSF, where the kernel is a pretty visible initiative.

But please don't let that discourage you. Linus Torvolds was a hobbyist once, too, but I hear his little project - "nothing big and professional like gnu" - has done OK. Yours can, too!

I know that it's hard. That's why I explained how small my chances of success are, and how long it'll take. After all, it's my third attempt. I already messed up two times. But this time, I have a good feeling. I feel like I have a global vision of what I want to do. I know where I go. I know where the information is. I've got some design doc around. Now it's just a matter of time... And as I said, it'll take at least 2 years till I get some usable GUI code (and probably 2 more years to complete the first GUI program in my roadmap, an IDE for making future development easier ^^)

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by porcel on Sun 16th May 2010 18:30 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by mtzmtulivu"
porcel Member since:
2006-01-28

Good luck, but why is so wrong with every existing IDE out there (Netbeans, KDE4).

If you think that you can do better than the thousands of programmers and researchers working on say, Linux, I am waiting eagerly to see the fruits of your efforts.

But remember, two things. Release early, release often.

Let other people take a look at your grandiose plans. Your wonderful world-changing plans might not as revolutionary or new or even as great as you think them in your head. This is not to discourage you from creating the "next big thing", but being open should keep yourself motivated and intellectually honest as it means that you will be willing to cross-check your design decisions.

Best of luck

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by Neolander on Sun 16th May 2010 19:19 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by mtzmtulivu"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Good luck, but why is so wrong with every existing IDE out there (Netbeans, KDE4).

Nothing at all. It's just that I want something like Delphi on the older windows days : an IDE targeting a specific OS toolkit, and making development for it dead easy. KDevelop and Netbeans are not tools for the same purpose.

If you think that you can do better than the thousands of programmers and researchers working on say, Linux, I am waiting eagerly to see the fruits of your efforts.

Yes, I think I can, but in only some areas. I don't try to compete with them on areas like hardware support, but since I start from scratch, I can avoid some of the mistakes made in Linux's history.

An easy example : as the responsibility gets higher, code should get smaller. That's one of the basic principles to apply when having reliability and security in mind. Now look at the linux kernel and at X11. Do you think that this principle is applied, here ?

But remember, two things. Release early, release often.

If I get a working microkernel, I'll start making a full website on sourceforge, clean up my doc and make it complete enough for everyone, and finally release source code. In meantime, it's just not worth the effort, in my opinion.

Some rambling and design docs about user experience goals and kernel features can be found here :
http://theosperiment.wordpress.com

Let other people take a look at your grandiose plans. Your wonderful world-changing plans might not as revolutionary or new or even as great as you think them in your head.

Probably not. Especially considering my #1 source of inspiration : merciless stealing good ideas from everyone. If you just have a look at Modern Operating Systems, you already find a lot of interesting ideas that aren't currently in use in desktop operating systems, but could do wonders.

I don't plan to change the world at the moment. Just to prove that changing it is doable without being a big corp or a genius ;)

This is not to discourage you from creating the "next big thing", but being open should keep yourself motivated and intellectually honest as it means that you will be willing to cross-check your design decisions.

That's why I opened a blog in fact : when something is misty in my head, writing it and publishing it allows me to keep things clean.

Best of luck

Thanks ;)

Edited 2010-05-16 19:23 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by ricegf on Mon 17th May 2010 10:58 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by mtzmtulivu"
ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

You can *feel* that the UNIX family targeted people running one single task at a time on a dumb terminal. Example : run a CPU-intensive task in some kind of virtual terminal. Open a new tab or use Ctl+Alt+Fx and log in. Noticed how long it took for the shell to be ready ? ... It's an issue for anything that's GUI-related.

OK, I've experienced GUI slowness, and agree that neither Gnome nor KDE are outstanding in prioritizing the GUI over background tasks by default (I know Windows is far worse, but I can't speak to other GUI shells, as I haven't used them). They should do better - although even since early Unix, nice has been available to manually address this.

BUT. Unlike Windows, KDE or Gnome are NOT part of Unix - they are just GUI shells.

Counter-example: Install gnu screen (it's a textual window manager, more or less). Start a CPU-intensive task. Create a new screen. Repeat as long as you like. Performance degrades nicely - I know, because I've used this to run a bazillion cross-compiles simultaneously without any real performance problems.

What's more, I've used this to run a bazillion cross-compiles *on dozens of computers on the local network*. All using nothing more than the command line. I know that Windows can't do this natively (you have to pay for special software); I don't have experience with other OSes in this regard, so I can't say if this is a Windows short-coming or a *nix strength.

My point, though, is that non-optimal GUI responsiveness aside (and the GUI is not the kernel), *nix not only handles multi-processing well from the primitive command line, but even multi-computing.

If you successfully write a new OS, I hope you layer it nicely like *nix rather than create a soup like Windows, so that the GUI shell will be portable. Unlike Microsoft and Apple, us Linux folks LIKE choice.

(I suspect writing a better shell is a LOT harder than it looks. That's why I haven't done it. :-D )


Then, think about UNIX's traditional startup process : it runs a script shell, which then sequentially runs several tasks.


Yes. I can't imagine why you want to multi-task during startup, though. If you have a hardware issue,can you image debugging it in a multi-tasking scenario??? *shudders*

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by Neolander on Mon 17th May 2010 14:39 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by mtzmtulivu"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

"
Then, think about UNIX's traditional startup process : it runs a script shell, which then sequentially runs several tasks.


Yes. I can't imagine why you want to multi-task during startup, though. If you have a hardware issue,can you image debugging it in a multi-tasking scenario??? *shudders*
"
The reason for multitasking the startup process is simple, actually : during startup, there is a lot of IO-bound tasks. Waiting for IO is wasting precious time. Let's suppose that you want to connect to the internet at boot time. Wireless connection + DHCP request and acknowledgement takes, say, 5 seconds. During those 5 seconds, you could have loaded several modules from the HDD.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by WereCatf on Sun 16th May 2010 12:31 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by mtzmtulivu"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

I don't really have much to say about the rest of your comment, but this exerpt baffles me... UNIX and all of its derivates were specifically designed with multi-user environments in mind as they were meant for use in supercomputers.

And you can't really design a multi-user system without designing multitasking along.

which was not designed with multitasking in mind at all

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by vodoomoth on Sun 16th May 2010 14:55 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by mtzmtulivu"
vodoomoth Member since:
2010-03-30


That's why I'm working on a desktop operating system project. I try to prove that some real evolutions are still possible in that area. But it won't be ready tomorrow. And it could never be ready at all, even though articles like this are encouraging me to go further and prove that the desktop still has something to say.

The fact is, at the moment, I've got nothing that's worth showing. Only some written doc (targeted user experience and kernel design) and a code which turns multiboot data into something useful and arch-independent, and which *almost* turns long mode on. Until I get a fully working µkernel, there's nothing interesting here. And until I get some usable GUI running on top of it, there's nothing worth showing here at OSnews.

It'll take a year or two, at least, before I get a stable GUI, if I take the time to write clean code (which I want to do).

@Neolander: I am more than willing to contribute to your project. Do you have a thread on some forum or a Sourceforge page started ?

Unless such a thing exists and I'm not aware of it, I think OSNews should have a forum were topics could be forked from the news. It's quite frustrating (I repeat, "unless it already exists") that comments cannot be posted on articles that are more than five days old. I'm referring specifically to the article where there was a link to Kroc's vision of what the dream OS would be (user and task-centric, no branding, no bloated apps like iTunes; that's IIRC). Back to the topic at hand, the reasons why we don't see the silhouette of a real "revolution" necessarily comprise these two:

1- some paradigms have emerged as the best. Specifically thinking of preemptive CPU time-sharing techniques. Although I recall (probably 4 months max) reading an article about a member of Microsoft's OS core team pointing out the need to rethink how the processor is used (wrt system space and user space) due to old designs applying to more recent multiple-core architectures. I think OS originality comes from design decisions or orientations; the rest is just accessory. None of this exists today: the file system explorers on Windows and Ubuntu look like twins of Finder, with more options, true, but still clones.

2- As I've pointed out in another article about Ubuntu 10.04, all OSes I've tried (all Windows except 7, MacOS 10.5 and 10.6, Linux - at various times in the past 13 years but it's never looked mature enough for my taste, except Kubuntu 10.04) suck and deserve a good "zéro pointé" (meaning zero plus half of zero) spoken out loud and clear for all that's related to speed.

In an OS, speed and user-experience (not the geek, the lay user, like any grandmother) should be the only design concerns. Any current OS on a current machine should ideally start in less than 15 seconds. Applications should launch and be usable in 2 seconds. Just as snappy as uTorrent on Windows or the new Opera 10.53 on MacOSX when loading a page on a good broadband connection. Anything longer than that on today's computers is either badly crafted or inherently flawed design-related (is that correct English ?).

Another thing to avoid as much as possible: drivers... The situation with Windows is just insane and ludicrous: plugging the same USB device in four distinct ports installs the device driver 4 times!

My advice for your project: before heading into code, choose your design goals clearly; in all cases strive to keep things: 1- minimal, 2- extensible and 3- easily configurable by average Joe. There's no point in having 60+ processes (current Vista) when the system has started after 3 minutes+ of painful loading and the user hasn't launched a single program yet. I understand having to wait longer when more options are on, I don't understand having to wait that long when I just want to retrieve some info from some text file or browse the web.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by Neolander on Sun 16th May 2010 19:53 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by mtzmtulivu"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

@Neolander: I am more than willing to contribute to your project. Do you have a thread on some forum or a Sourceforge page started ?

At the moment, I only have a blog ( http://theosperiment.wordpress.com ), which I use when I want to get rid of some confusion in my head : if something is puzzling me, I write an article about it. The act of writing helps me in the task of thinking rigorously and solving design problems.

As I said above, I'll probably open a sourceforge page and make a serious page for my project once I've got a working micro-kernel. I want to do this part alone, because...
1/Writing it is quite a sequential task.
2/It's a personal challenge, to know if I'm ready to go further ;)
3/When writing code, I'll probably make new design decisions as needed. I want to have a complete and stable design doc to release along with my source code. For design doc stability, I'll wait for the kernel to be completed before making an "official" one ^^

2- As I've pointed out in another article about Ubuntu 10.04, all OSes I've tried (all Windows except 7, MacOS 10.5 and 10.6, Linux - at various times in the past 13 years but it's never looked mature enough for my taste, except Kubuntu 10.04) suck and deserve a good "zéro pointé" (meaning zero plus half of zero) spoken out loud and clear for all that's related to speed.

Yes, considering how fast are today's computer, that's extremely funny. I think this comes from ageing code which reaches end of life and gets more and more bloated. You should have a look at Haiku, as an example : it's a young project, and performance is extremely good.

In my opinion...
1/The key to actual speed is clean and lean code which scales well.
2/The key to perceived speed is good priority management (user input management as top priority), always providing some kind of feedback, and keeping the user busy. ^^

In an OS, speed and user-experience (not the geek, the lay user, like any grandmother) should be the only design concerns.

Wrong. In my opinion at least, there's other major issues : reliability, security, and adaptability are among them. Would you like a very fast and very easy to use OS where some random program can steal your e-mail credentials and send them to a big spamming corporation ?

Any current OS on a current machine should ideally start in less than 15 seconds. Applications should launch and be usable in 2 seconds. Just as snappy as uTorrent on Windows or the new Opera 10.53 on MacOSX when loading a page on a good broadband connection. Anything longer than that on today's computers is either badly crafted or inherently flawed design-related (is that correct English ?).

(Won't help you for the English, I'm french ^^)

I mostly agree, but keep thinking about perceived performance too : if you can't make some code faster for some reason, then at least make sure that the user is asked for input as soon as possible and can then do something else while waiting for the task to be completed. This way, perceived loading time and performance will be good, even though there's still some work going on in the background.

I learned it in an ergonomics manual : keeping the user busy is always a good thing (TM) ^^

My advice for your project: before heading into code, choose your design goals clearly; in all cases strive to keep things: 1- minimal, 2- extensible and 3- easily configurable by average Joe.

See blog posts starting with 28/02/2010 ^^
http://theosperiment.wordpress.com/2010/02/28/scope-statement-1-use...

There's no point in having 60+ processes (current Vista) when the system has started after 3 minutes+ of painful loading and the user hasn't launched a single program yet. I understand having to wait longer when more options are on, I don't understand having to wait that long when I just want to retrieve some info from some text file or browse the web.

I agree, again, that things must always be kept clean. Non-mandatory things must be loaded in the background, after the user is logged and gets some usable interface, without interfering with its interactions with said interface. But about processes, I might get a lot though ;) It's an inherent part of my microkernel + isolated design.

Edited 2010-05-16 20:05 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by ricegf on Mon 17th May 2010 11:08 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by mtzmtulivu"
ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

"But about processes, I might get a lot though ;) It's an inherent part of my microkernel + isolated design."

I trust that you've thoroughly studied the original Gnu Hurd design, and clearly understand why that proved impractical. It sounds vaguely like you're heading down the path they started down in 1990. (I was a big fan of the concept - imagine upgrading the kernel without restarting the computer, how... mainframe! - and was disappointed when it failed.)

By the way, have you considered working on the new Hurd instead of your own kernel? Or working on Canonical's new Linux startup manager? Collaboration generally beats the pants off of a lone wolf. I realize it's a trade-off - the lone wolf, even pants-less, is often happier than a pack member, but the pack brings down the big game.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by Neolander on Mon 17th May 2010 14:54 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by mtzmtulivu"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

"But about processes, I might get a lot though ;) It's an inherent part of my microkernel + isolated design."

I trust that you've thoroughly studied the original Gnu Hurd design, and clearly understand why that proved impractical.

No. Got some doc about it ?

By the way, have you considered working on the new Hurd instead of your own kernel?

No. It seems to me that if they got no serious results in so much years, there must be some organisational nightmare around, which I don't want to get into. Moreover, we don't target the same goal : the Hurd team is looking for a cleaner UNIX, which I'd gladly run on my computer instead of Linux if it's finally released with some serious apps running on top of it. I'm trying to make a true GUI-oriented desktop OS (something more in the vein of Haiku, but without the BeOS legacy). Hurd aims at making some next-generation OS. I aim at making a current-gen OS, only one which works better ;)

Or working on Canonical's new Linux startup manager?

No. I'll never, ever, do something for Canonical, given the way Shuttleworth treats his team. And I want to play with various parts of OS development, not just system startup.

Collaboration generally beats the pants off of a lone wolf. I realize it's a trade-off - the lone wolf, even pants-less, is often happier than a pack member, but the pack brings down the big game.

Yup. I consider going in Haiku development if this attempt fails. But at the moment, I'm happy playing with some bleeding-edge code that's fully under my own control. And some experience in low-level programming will be useful if I start contributing to another OS project someday instead.

Edited 2010-05-17 14:57 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by shotsman on Sun 16th May 2010 17:13 UTC in reply to "Comment by mtzmtulivu"
shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

I couldn't agree with you more on this.

I met with a group of Final Year CS students a few months ago. I was interested in the sort of things they were studying.
In return, I told them about my time as an Undergrad between 1972-75. Their mouths collectively dropped open when I told them about the paper I wrote on Operating System Schedulers and Work Queues. And to cap it all, they simply couldn't believe that I was an Engineering student. I was studying Control Eng and in particular Computer Control of systems hence my interest in how the OS worked and things like interrupt latency might affect real time operations.
One took me aside afterwards and said that the work I did would now be considered more of a PHD thing.
The one thing I got from my time with the students was their almost total lack of wanting to find out how/why things worked the way they did.
I suppose this is all down to the Computer market maturing into more of a commodity appliance that it was then.
Sigh.
I'll be glad to retire in 3 years and get on with restoring a few old Motorcycles.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by voidlogic on Sun 16th May 2010 18:45 UTC in reply to "Comment by mtzmtulivu"
voidlogic Member since:
2005-09-03

As a counter example, the school where I received by undgrad degree from a couple of years ago has both operating systems and compilers as required courses. In fact, compilers is the make-break C-S capstone class. There is a also a programming language concepts class which teaches all of the common lang. paradigms, with the primary languages used in other courses being C and Java.

In the region I live this is very much the standard, so becareful generalizing the decline of one C-S program you are familiar with to all. I think you are correct in implying it is a dangerous trend.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by ricegf on Mon 17th May 2010 11:12 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by mtzmtulivu"
ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

Which school? Sounds like their professorial staff is on the ball.

Reply Score: 1

It's still OSnews
by mlankton on Sat 15th May 2010 19:51 UTC
mlankton
Member since:
2009-06-11

My phone is where about half of my internet activity occurs anymore. I am as excited about webOS now as I was about OS X in 2002. Nothing's changed, especially linux, which is essentially the same experience it was 10 years ago.

You're right about the new Amiga btw. Why do I have a bad feeling that the wife and I will be arguing about me purchasing a very expensive toy computer that no one else in the family will find useful?

Reply Score: 5

RE: It's still OSnews
by Amix on Sun 16th May 2010 00:06 UTC in reply to "It's still OSnews"
Amix Member since:
2006-10-18

Amiga or not Amiga ;) This is the reason why I have got myself a macmini g4 and morphos. It looks great and at the same time, I can use my favourite OS, which is MorphOS ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE: It's still OSnews
by Morgan on Sun 16th May 2010 01:32 UTC in reply to "It's still OSnews"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

My phone is where about half of my internet activity occurs anymore.


I think that says a whole lot about the situation. Back in the old days, the internet was a means to an end for us geeks and hackers. We used it as a tool to communicate about and download/upload bits and pieces of our pet OS and app projects. For example, I spent hours on end exploring the inner workings of the BeOS shell and file system features; I didn't even have a working network card in my BeOS machine for a few months. Once I did, I only used the 'net to catch up on email and download more software to play with in my favorite OS.

These days, it is reversed: The computer, its OS and apps are the means to reach the internet, which has become the end. Today, nobody really cares what their computer runs, as long as it gives them a browser. I know Thom hates the term, but today it's all about the cloud and how to reach it, and more and more of the "apps" we use live there.

I miss the days when the journey was many times more rewarding than the destination.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: It's still OSnews
by kaiwai on Sun 16th May 2010 04:58 UTC in reply to "RE: It's still OSnews"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

I think that says a whole lot about the situation. Back in the old days, the internet was a means to an end for us geeks and hackers. We used it as a tool to communicate about and download/upload bits and pieces of our pet OS and app projects. For example, I spent hours on end exploring the inner workings of the BeOS shell and file system features; I didn't even have a working network card in my BeOS machine for a few months. Once I did, I only used the 'net to catch up on email and download more software to play with in my favorite OS.

These days, it is reversed: The computer, its OS and apps are the means to reach the internet, which has become the end. Today, nobody really cares what their computer runs, as long as it gives them a browser. I know Thom hates the term, but today it's all about the cloud and how to reach it, and more and more of the "apps" we use live there.

I miss the days when the journey was many times more rewarding than the destination.


You've hit the nail right on the head - my next door neighbours are in the market of getting a laptop. Their main purpose for the laptop? catching up with friends on email, going on trade me, surfing the internet and maybe some typing for work.

I wouldn't say that the apps reside on the internet as so far as visualising Microsoft Office on the internet but rather that the websites have become applications in themselves which sit side by side in importance to Microsoft Office. Being able to run Microsoft Office for some people is as important as being able to access Facebook.The 'need' for mail application by many people is waining as the online facility are as good as having a locally running application - it was only a couple of years ago I was using Mail to access gmail but now I am just logged into gmail and use it like an offline mail application.

There is still, however, a place for locally stored applications, and people will still be picky about their computers, what runs on them and what is bundled, just like the did years ago. But the change is due to a number of factors - it'll be interesting to see in 5 years time where things turn out at.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: It's still OSnews
by mlankton on Sun 16th May 2010 15:25 UTC in reply to "RE: It's still OSnews"
mlankton Member since:
2009-06-11

I see your point, but here is a different view:

Our phones are now handheld computers. I don't want all my computer use done on my phone, but much of it is easier on the phone than on the computer, because I can do it anywhere I am.

If I like operating systems on computer hardware, it stands to reason that I would appreciate a good phone os. I played with Android for a while and thought that it might turn into not just an alternative to the iPhone, but an iPhone killer. Then I got my hands on webOS.

I used OPENSTEP for years, and gave up a lot for the sake of a superior interface. I feel the same way about webOS. It's just better than the other phone operating systems. It's not perfect, but where it's good it's great. I enjoy using it, and again, I am sacrificing much for a superior interface. I hope that HP throws the money at webOS to allow it to become what it deserves to be.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: It's still OSnews
by ricegf on Mon 17th May 2010 11:18 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: It's still OSnews"
ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

I agree about the elegant webOS UI. I hope HP makes a go of it.

I have the same enthusiasm for Nokia's Maemo. It's just a regular Debian distribution, with a phone app among the usual suspects. I've linked a bluetooth keyboard to my N800, actually, and programmed in Idle exactly as I would on a desktop; I quickly forgot it was a tablet (buggers that the old keyboard wouldn't link to my N900 ;) ).

And I can't help but love a phone that ships with xterm on the default menu. :-D

Maemo 6 is now Meego 1, which will be an rpm distribution. Fortunately I'm not religious in that sense. ;-)

Reply Score: 1

RE: It's still OSnews
by jtfolden on Sun 16th May 2010 02:53 UTC in reply to "It's still OSnews"
jtfolden Member since:
2005-08-12

I'm about the same place you are as far as WebOS, OS X...

I, too, agree about Linux... it seems to have gone nowhere... and I'm still kind of scratching my head that no distribution has really eased and streamlined the app upgrading process.

Reply Score: 0

Thanks Thom
by Bobthearch on Sat 15th May 2010 20:00 UTC
Bobthearch
Member since:
2006-01-27

While I don't agree with everything you've written, it was insightful.

The biggest difference between the 'old' OSNews and the 'new' OSNews wasn't the people in charge or the news items, it was the forums. Much more interactive than simply commenting on news articles, it felt more like a Community back then. The members made their own 'news' by asking questions, helping each other, and sharing experiences.

What I especially enjoyed about the "old days" were the regular announcements from the micro-operating systems. MikeOS, TriangleOS, Visopsys, Qube... news you couldn't get anywhere else.

Is the current state of alternative operating systems as bleak and barren as you say? I hope not.

If the most active area of operating system advancements is cell phones, I don't mind that. But how 'bout some stories about these operating systems? It seems that OSNews primarily covers these companies' lawsuits and hardware releases, but not much at all regarding the actual operating systems.

-----------

Whatever happened to the planned series of interviews? Still in the works?

Reply Score: 5

RE: Thanks Thom
by Beachchairs on Sat 15th May 2010 21:23 UTC in reply to "Thanks Thom"
Beachchairs Member since:
2009-04-10

If the most active area of operating system advancements is cell phones, I don't mind that. But how 'bout some stories about these operating systems? It seems that OSNews primarily covers these companies' lawsuits and hardware releases, but not much at all regarding the actual operating systems.

This. WebOS is talked about like it was the second coming of Jesus, but (as a Blackberry user) I don't really know what was so special about it.

What about doing a smartphone OS rundown?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Thanks Thom
by Thom_Holwerda on Sat 15th May 2010 23:19 UTC in reply to "RE: Thanks Thom"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

What about doing a smartphone OS rundown?


I'd love to. When any of the modern Android phones actually make it to the Dutch market. When the webOS finally arrives on the Dutch market. And, of course, I'd need to have the money. You see, it's not as simple as it seems. We can't snap our fingers and have expensive hardware magically appear on our desks.

It'd be great if I could compare, I don't know, a Nexus One and a Pre Plus to my iPhone 3GS. The thing is - Google, Palm, and my wallet won't let me.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Thanks Thom
by Bobthearch on Sun 16th May 2010 01:31 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Thanks Thom"
Bobthearch Member since:
2006-01-27

Heck, I've had the same cell phone for years, and with no plans to spend money on a new fancier one. So all of the iPhone/SmartPhone/Blackberry/WebOS stuff is rather un-involving.

Are there any emulators, simulators, or demos available for non-owners of gadget phones? Just so we can follow along with the news discussions?

I'm always interested in trying new operating systems, but not at the expense of buying a new computer for each one.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Thanks Thom
by Morgan on Sun 16th May 2010 01:36 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Thanks Thom"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Are there any emulators, simulators, or demos available for non-owners of gadget phones? Just so we can follow along with the news discussions?


I know you can download a live-CD version of Android that runs on x86 machines (and in VirtualBox, of course). I played with it for a bit and it was...interesting. Check with your favorite OS torrent sources.

Don't bother looking for anything like that for the iPhone OS though; in many ways it is the polar opposite of Android.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Thanks Thom
by Beachchairs on Sun 16th May 2010 01:47 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Thanks Thom"
Beachchairs Member since:
2009-04-10

If you download the Blackberry dev tools, you get a Blackberry OS simulator. I don't think it is a 100% full Blackberry OS, and I don't have the tools installed anymore to check.

EDIT: Of course a simulator just won't give you the experience of the actual phone.

Edited 2010-05-16 01:57 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Thanks Thom
by Bobthearch on Sun 16th May 2010 17:18 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Thanks Thom"
Bobthearch Member since:
2006-01-27

Thanks for the tip. I may give that a try.

EDIT: Of course a simulator just won't give you the experience of the actual phone.

Hopefully that's true. I sure as heck don't want a monthly bill, and I definitely prefer my full-sized keyboard and 24" widescreen. ;)

Edited 2010-05-16 17:18 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Thanks Thom
by jptros on Sun 16th May 2010 04:14 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Thanks Thom"
jptros Member since:
2005-08-26

I'd love to. When any of the modern Android phones actually make it to the Dutch market. When the webOS finally arrives on the Dutch market.


Slightly off topic response, but therein lies the problem. I personally am as interested in the these new mobile operating systems as I am a desktop or server operating system but the mobile device market is far from a free one in terms of availability thanks to all of the crooked carriers and their lock-in attempts through contracts and exclusivity agreements with the device manufacturers.

Who knows though, maybe some big mega-corp will buy out OS news one day and companies will start sending you guys free phones and stuff to write about and you can limit comments to 10 per page to increase ad-based revenue on coverage of big release events... oh wait, we have engadget for that -- kidding fellas.

Despite the increasingly lack of OS news, I still find the content you guys produce to be interesting, even the legal rubbish. I think a lot of the legal stuff, boring or not, is important to report on. Most if not all of us here love OS's from big companies or some college students dorm room and this stuff directly affects them and their ability to progress on to bigger things; all of them. Some folks might consider it off topic, I think it's far from it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Thanks Thom
by unbeliever_NL on Sun 16th May 2010 08:39 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Thanks Thom"
unbeliever_NL Member since:
2010-05-16

HTC Desire = Google Nexus One and available in the
Dutch market. Just a thought...

Reply Score: 1

RE: Thanks Thom
by Bobthearch on Sun 16th May 2010 01:17 UTC in reply to "Thanks Thom"
Bobthearch Member since:
2006-01-27

Is the current state of alternative operating systems as bleak and barren as you say? I hope not.


In answer to my own question, I did a few minutes of research to track down some of the independent operating systems, particularly OSes that I'd had success installing and booting in the past. While it's true that many are dead or abandoned, and the others rarely have earth-shattering news, there's still plenty of life left in some corners of the OS world:

MenuetOS, last updated May 15, 2010 with version 0.93s, which added multi-processor support. And yes, it still fits on a single floppy.

KolibriOS, a fork of MenuetOS, was last updated in Dec 2009 and is at version 0.7.7.

MikeOS was last updated on January 12, 2010 and is at version 4.1.

LoseTheOS gets small fixes and updates nearly bi-weekly. Current version, 6.08.

MonaOS was updated in Oct 2009 to version 0.3.0, an update that included an added shell, added programming language, and a new sound player. This update is considered, "the first release of Mona for daily use."

SunriseOS appears to be dead. It had a Geocities website, and apparently never moved to a new host.

TriangleOS. Abandoned(?) since version 0.3.0 that was released in 2003.

FreeDOS files are updated regularly, the latest on April 19, 2010. But there hasn't been a major version release since Sept 2006.

unOS appears to be stalled, with the last version being 0.98. Not sure of that release date, but the website hasn't been updated since April 2009.

Visopsys' last release was the 0.7 Preview on April 2, 2008. It seems that the anticipated final 0.7 never happened.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Thanks Thom
by Morgan on Sun 16th May 2010 01:40 UTC in reply to "RE: Thanks Thom"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

FreeDOS files are updated regularly, the latest on April 19, 2010. But there hasn't been a major version release since Sept 2006.


This doesn't surprise me at all; it is used by a lot of companies and organizations that would otherwise have to depend on a 15-year-old copy of MS-DOS 6.22. Platform stability would be very important. Besides, it's DOS -- not much more to improve upon! ;P

Thank you for the list, by the way. I see several that I've played with too.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Thanks Thom
by BlueofRainbow on Sun 16th May 2010 13:09 UTC in reply to "RE: Thanks Thom"
BlueofRainbow Member since:
2009-01-06

Most of the OSes on this list were covered by OSNews - often in a deep comparison of user experience, features, and of course limitations. Coming to OSNews is how I learned of their existence.

I don't pretend to belong to the geeky crowd enjoying hours of command line sessions to get a distribution "just-right" nor re-compiling stuff to get a desired application fits into my configuration.

Nevertheless, I enjoy experimenting with self-contained OSes - especially if they entirely fit on a bootfloppy or are available as a Live (CD or USB) image.

For this kind of coverage, OSNews will still be what it has always been for me. And, in a few years, the netbooks, smart phones and tablets will likely have their own alternative and hobby OSes worth exploring. By then, and given the close association of these OSes with a network service provider, it is also hoped that it will be possible to do as easily/conveniently as using a bootfloppy, LiveCD or LiveUSB.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Thanks Thom
by Bobthearch on Sun 16th May 2010 16:34 UTC in reply to "Thanks Thom"
Bobthearch Member since:
2006-01-27

Cleaning up the links in the "Operating System" bookmark folder, here are a few more alternative operating systems and their current states of development:

TabOS, last updated in March, 2008.

BlueIllusionOS. A re-start of development was announced in Dec, 2009 but the last download version is dated August, 2008.

NewOS, last version was June 2005.

HelenOS. Not discussed much at OSNews, but is under active development and a new version was released on March 10, 2010.

ZotOS never really got off the ground. Version 2 is the latest, which although not dated I recall from years ago.

CoyoteOS, a continuation or re-boot of EROS, had a news item added most recently in May, 2008.

Whitix was last updated in Dec 2008, although news items were added to the website through Oct, 2009.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Thanks Thom
by Thom_Holwerda on Sun 16th May 2010 16:45 UTC in reply to "RE: Thanks Thom"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

You see my point, right?

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Thanks Thom
by Bobthearch on Sun 16th May 2010 17:05 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Thanks Thom"
Bobthearch Member since:
2006-01-27

Yes. Out of 17 OSes listed, I count only four that are under active development with releases or updates within the last three months. Three more are relatively up-to-date with releases within the last year.

Maybe a flicker of life left?

Of course the small projects always came-and-went fairly quickly. That's the nature of hobbies and one-man projects of any sort. But sadly, there's an absence of new projects taking the place of those that faded away.

Reply Score: 3

I actually LIKE the "new" OSnews.
by madcrow on Sat 15th May 2010 20:17 UTC
madcrow
Member since:
2006-03-13

Many of the topics (like MPEG and H.264 issues) still tie in directly to those of us who DO use Linux or alternative OSes and any alternative OSes that are still under development and showing promise (Haiku and AROS are the big standouts here) still get coverage. It's a good mix of topics and frankly, a whole lot more worthwhile of reading than an endless string of news announcements about glorified Undergrad CS thesis projects that currently amount to little more than bare-metal "Hello world" programs will probably never go anywhere anyway.

Reply Score: 9

Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

I think that’s a very good summation—we’re covering topics that matter to those who use alternative operating systems.

If H.264, Adobe, Apple take hold of the future of technology then there will be no room for alternative operating systems. No foothold for them either. We don’t want that.

I want a future where an Amigan can participate on the most complex HTML5 websites just the same as anybody on OS X or Windows. H.264, Adobe and Apple stand in the way of that.

Reply Score: 4

Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

Again with this FUD. There is nothing stopping developers from implementing h.264 anywhere, the only criteria is that you pay the licensing fee, and that depends on the amount of users who are going to use it. Apple is actually helping alternate operating systems

I'm kind of getting tired of the agenda being pushed here and the spreading of misinformation as fact, or how selective people are with information when when it comes to feeding their agenda.

Having to pay a license fee goes against open source so the minute an application or OS uses h.264 it stops being open source.
With huge projects such as Linux or Firefox why are you willing to pay for less than 1% of the codebase? What if you had to license every piece of software in your distribution?

Reply Score: 1

apoclypse Member since:
2007-02-17

Again open does not equate opensource or free. People have to really start to get that distinction. Something that is fully specced and open for others to implement does not mean its free. Besides the best h.264 encoder on the market (x264) is actually fully opensource. They don't seem to have any issues and the product is used heavily by content producers, because it really is really good at what it does compared to the competition.

Reply Score: 2

v Rename the site to Thom's Soapbox
by nt_jerkface on Sat 15th May 2010 20:18 UTC
Amiga standing up from the ashes?
by Amix on Sat 15th May 2010 20:36 UTC
Amix
Member since:
2006-10-18

I don't understand the anti-Amiga thing. Did Commodore do something wrong? I mean, ever since Commodore got Amiga, there were skeptical feeling around the product since the start. Like someone wanted Amiga dead. It's been haunted by that, but still Amiga have survived Windows 95, Windows XP, Linux, BeOS, MacOSX launches. Why is people so skeptic about Amiga?

For a dead machine, Amiga is surviving.. Just look at Aminet! Gets daily updates, Amigaworld.net gives you latest news, morphzone.org updates the blue side of the amy river and Amiga Future keeps Amigans updated in paper form magazine.

I am very glad that OSNews haven't forgotten Amiga and its importance of the operating system world. I am a mac,pc,amiga user myself but I really appreciate OSNews dedication for giving the world information about what's happening in an unknown-known platform. I really do. Thank you.

Reply Score: 3

No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

The Amiga is dead. Survived Windows 95? It was dead years before. Yes, yes, yes, the fans are still around, worshipping a platform that has nothing but the brand name left intact. Of course people are sceptical.

Reply Score: 1

Amix Member since:
2006-10-18

Ehrm. Amiga have never been dead. You dream its dead, but the fact that companies supports it since dawn of time shows how successfull Amiga have been. No one thinks or beliefs that Windows would have survived like Amiga have.

Acube, Elbox, Hyperion, Genesi+++ is all little known outside of Amigaworld, but they are here and they can survive because AMIGA iS STILL ALIVE! Stop spreading nonsence about that Amiga is dead,.. its wrong information!

Reply Score: 1

Odwalla Member since:
2006-02-01

Ehrm. Amiga have never been dead. You dream its dead, but the fact that companies supports it since dawn of time shows how successfull Amiga have been.


What in the world are you on about? The Amiga died in the late '90s. Production ceased, third party software support, which had been continually declining ended, Commodore went away, and nothing was left but IP sales and broken promises.

No one thinks or beliefs (sic) that Windows would have survived like Amiga have (sic).


Again, what are you on about? Windows goes back to the mid 80s, just like the Amiga. It's common knowledge that Windows is installed on tens of millions of machines worldwide. Amiga OS is installed on what? A few hundred? Maybe a few thousand? Windows survived (whatever you mean by using that term), thrived, and is successful.

Look, the Amiga was great. Over the years I had a 500, a 2000 w/ Video Toaster, a 1200, and a 4000. They were great machines at the time. But, they're gone, dead and buried. There's nothing in WB 4.0 that is so compelling that it would cause me, or the majority of people, to consider trying to find obscure hardware, pay excessive prices, and fiddle about with it all just to use it.

The Amiga's time has come and gone. Even at it's best currently it's an OS and an idea that is out of place in 2010. I look at WB 4.0 and I see WB 3.1. I see 1995. I see concepts and ideas that we've all moved on from. It's not a 2010 computer. It's a nice memory, that's all.

Reply Score: 1

jgagnon Member since:
2008-06-24

In the world of computers, nothing ever really dies... it is reborn with emulation, if nothing else!

People still use and program for Commodore computers daily. Doesn't that still qualify as life?

If significant market share were a requirement of life then there would never be any new projects because they all start out with zero market share.

Reply Score: 1

Hisoka999 Member since:
2009-08-13

May be because the amiga platforms are a dead end?

MorphOS
runs only on half death hardware and you don't know when the day will come and the devs don't want to switch to another hardware platform.

AmigaOS4 is the same as MorphOS only that it gets a new too expensive machine. So there will be nearly no groth in the userbase.

AROS? Aros is unfinished and is lacking in software and drivers so you can not really use it. So as a consequence you don't have a userbase. Another thing is that they try to be a replacement for a dead os(OS3.1) which is in no possible term modern and so not interesting for the majority of users/devs.

Conclusion:
It is nice to see Amiga type operating systems advancing but they don't have any userbase.(together under 10.000 users). Another thing is that all three systems lack in the same areas. They look to much back, compatibility is everything. So you could say that they are half dead. The last thing is that the users are destroying the system with fighting against each other too much.

I hope I am wrong but I don't think so.

Reply Score: 2

Quazatron Member since:
2010-05-15


For a dead machine, Amiga is surviving.. Just look at Aminet! Gets daily updates, Amigaworld.net gives you latest news, morphzone.org updates the blue side of the amy river and Amiga Future keeps Amigans updated in paper form magazine.


World of Spectrum also gets daily updates (and even fresh software!) but I wouldn't count on anyone switching their OS to Sinclair BASIC anytime soon...

Reply Score: 2

AaronD Member since:
2009-08-19

This thread proves Thom's point, doesn't it?

Nobody outside of the hardest core Amigans believe that AmigaOS will ever displace Windows. That doesn't mean that AmigaOS, BSD, Haiku, SkyOS, or any of the other niche operating systems don't have anything to contribue to the big picture of personal computing. Any promising ideas that the small players cook up will quickly be imitated by the big 3 anyway.

My point is that these hobby operating systems give geeks different angles from which to view operating system design. They are a playground in a time when the big operating systems are increasingly set in their ways--because they have to be. Mobile operating systems are exciting for the similar reasons with the added dimension that a new platform is being developed.

We geeks have to stop looking at alternative operating systems through the lens of market viability. So what if they don't make money? There is still value there.

An operating system is not dead as long as there are users and developers that support it. Since when are hobbies supposed to make sense anyway?

Reply Score: 3

Amix Member since:
2006-10-18

You serve a good reply, but then you refer to the OS's which isn't mainstream as hobby OS's. How can you hurt me as a MorphOS user so much?

I use MorphOS for Web, e-mail, irc, msn, ftp... I play games on it, I write documents using Google Docs, I watch 720p movies on my macmini! I can multitask,.. I make web graphics with TvPaint.

MorphOS is not a hobbyst OS. Not for me and my usage! Maybe others uses it as a hobby OS, that doesn't mean it is because the other person doesn't know how to use MorphOS in a serious ways. Yes, the OS have its limitations compared to the big OS'es, but I find it way more comfortable to work with than any other OS's I've tried (never tried BeOS).

Stop treating Amiga, BeOS, SkyOS etc+++ users as dumb people. We use the OS's because they are alive. And yes your right. With more respect, people will have the will to try the small ones maybe. MorphOS needs more developers.. its screaming after that and now it exsists for cheap MacMini G4 hardware. It's never been easier to get a good AmigaOS compatible feeling and yet be able to watch HD content and surf the web faster than on most operating systems ;)

Reply Score: 1

BlueofRainbow Member since:
2009-01-06

This leads to the question - what really defines an hobby OS as opposed to a niche OS or a mainstream OS?

Another interesting definition to clarify is about when a given OS is truly dead.

A number of the great mini/mainframe/workstation OSes of the past can still be experienced but only via an emulator because the underlying hardware has essentially become a museum disply: ITS (PDP-10), RT-11 (PDP-11), RSTSE-11 (PDP-11), Genera (LISP Machine) and many others. Does this mean they are dead?

Similarly for the desktop OSes of the past. Being able to run AmigaOS on an recycled Mac Mini G4 is great. Yet, is there a renewed development of original applications for this OS? Many appear to be ports of existing Linux/Mac/Windows applications.

As an end-user of applications and OSes, I simply wish the geeks to have clear definitions.

Reply Score: 1

shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

Ah The memories.
I still have (on paper tape) the source code to a Video Device driver for RT-11 & RSX-11M/Plus I wish I still had a PDP-11. It is very easy to make home grown interfaces that hook into the UniBus. A few 74 series IC's and you are done but, getting them these days is a problem.
The Q-Bus was more of a problem as it was multiplexed like most modern ones.

Reply Score: 2

AaronD Member since:
2009-08-19

You serve a good reply, but then you refer to the OS's which isn't mainstream as hobby OS's. How can you hurt me as a MorphOS user so much?

I did not intend to offend. I also referred to those OS's as "niche" and "alternative." I didn't want to be repetitive so I was simply using different adjectives.

Indeed, up until 5 years ago I used MOS as my everyday operating system and still own a Pegasos 1 and a Pegasos 2. I know the magic that is MorphOS and I'm glad they are on the move again.

Reply Score: 1

Sabon Member since:
2005-07-06

You can say the same thing about OS/2 (eComStation). They feel the rebirth of OS/2 is at a magical moment for them. Yet when was the last time you saw anything about eComStation in OS/News?

Personally I think it is time to find someone new to run this site. It isn't that news isn't out there. It is that Thom has run out of steam. I know Thom will be mad that I'm saying this but I feel it is true. It is just what he finds interesting isn't interesting anymore … for him.

It work too many hours to even think about it.

Reply Score: 2

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Yet when was the last time you saw anything about eComStation in OS/News?


A few weeks ago?

http://www.osnews.com/story/23198/eComStation_2_0_GA_To_Be_Released...

Oh, and a few days before that?

http://www.osnews.com/story/23180/Rumour_IBM_To_Re-Launch_OS_2

Seriously. And once again, you have not submitted anything to OSNews ever. Wonderful how the people who complain are those who never submitted anything.

Edited 2010-05-17 15:51 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Sabon Member since:
2005-07-06

"Seriously. And once again, you have not submitted anything to OSNews ever. Wonderful how the people who complain are those who never submitted anything."

I had time I would. I already noted that.

Reply Score: 2

Sabon Member since:
2005-07-06

You have a rumor about IBM repurposing OS/2 on top of Linux. That isn't going to happen.

The second thing you had was an extremely short blurb from Serenity Systems.

I do appreciate the two articles. It's a lot more than what is normally here about OS/2. I realize it is for several reasons by React OS has gotten a lot more press here than OS/2.

So … I'll copy and paste some more info from their web page in between calls and pages.

"Why eComStation?

Secure...

There is hardly any computer virus that can cause damage to eComStation. Viruses that end up on an eComStation system are, in almost all cases, completely harmless. As a result you don't need to purchase an expensive anti virus program. (An anti virus program is included though.)
With eComStation you are protected against hackers on the Internet, because most TCP/IP ports are closed by default in eComStation against external attacks. And the integrated firewall can be activated for extra security.
Versatile...

By using the standard integrated script language REXX you can extend the possibilities of eComStation yourself. In this way you can, for instance, extend the context menu for each folder on the Desktop with new functionality.
eComStation can be configured and used the way it suites its user best. Data and program objects, folders and for instance icons, you can change their properties via the graphical desktop to your taste and requirements. The same applies to the way you want to start programs or want to configure the system. The user stays in control of the system and not the other way around.
Powerful...

eComStation performs very well on older, less powerful PCs, and stays pleasantly fast, thanks to optimized memory management and pre-emptive multitasking.
Applications that make use of the multi-threading capabilities of eComStation are far more responsive than applications that can't deal with these special capabilities, like in Windows or Linux. More information
OS/2 (and of course its distribution 'eComStation'), is already a successful and proven operating system for business applications since its availability, not in the least because of its high level of crash protection, stability and flexibility.
Easy...

With eComStation and its Workplace Shell you have, without doubt, the most versatile and user friendly graphical desktop at your fingertips.
In eComStation you accomplish almost everything with 'drag and drop': moving and copying files, programs and even text!, setting the colours and fonts on your desktop, setting the line types and backgrounds of spreadsheets, opening your documents, or creating new documents, etc.
The graphical desktop and all applications recognize the same key combinations everywhere, making the system very easy usable even without mouse!
Within eComStation templates are part of the operating system and thereby not connected to just one specific program. You can use these to quickly create a new file. You can also create new templates of any type you want, without being dependent on a specific application.
An eComStation user stays in control of his system. You decide where programs, drivers and data files will be installed."=

Reply Score: 2

Love this site
by REM2000 on Sat 15th May 2010 20:38 UTC
REM2000
Member since:
2006-07-25

good mix of news and articles, some being really indepth, for example articles about the next filesystem for ubuntu might be Btrfs etc.

I think the site keeps a professional air, yes there are some heated debates but these rarely ever venture into personal attacks, other forums and sites go incredibly one sided where any opinion is met with the same banal comments, i.e. mac articles always being followed by the following comment "They just work", Micro$oft etc.. It's good to see that OSNews really does have a following of people who love technology and do not limit themselves to a particular brand or computer.

I say let the site continue as it is, it's my daily read and it's one of the few sites where a lot of time the comments are more enjoyable than the articles as there is a good depth of knowledge from the commentators.

Reply Score: 7

Complexity
by jessesmith on Sat 15th May 2010 20:48 UTC
jessesmith
Member since:
2010-03-11

I tend to agree that the OS world is forming into a few big camps rather than a bunch of little camps. Probably because making an OS now that'll do everything WinOSXLinux does is a huge task. 15 or 20 years ago, prior to the big Windows push, when DOS was still a common operating system, it was relatively easy for a small team to put together a good enough operating system.

Now, an OS has to be multi-user, multi-tasking, multi-arch with a desktop and web browser to get passing notice. That's a giant task for a small group of developers.

Though I would like to add I think the BSDs shouldn't be counted out. FreeBSD especially (via the PC-BSD project) is a solid system that will probably become steadily more popular.

Reply Score: 4

good old stack level
by another_sam on Sat 15th May 2010 21:07 UTC
another_sam
Member since:
2009-08-19

I rofl'd indeed



I can say there is a new stack level where an increasing and yet significant % of the things are being built upon: the web browser.

so, in that sense, I see the topic shift as a natural effect.

I bookmarked osnews years ago (I did not start to use firefox until 0.9 and from time to time I discover in my folders screenshots of the mozilla suite with the "os" boomark there), and not because of the _os_ news, but because of the high rate of interesting (for my taste) news, no matter the topic. Actually, I did not notice this evolution until I read this post 5 minutes ago.

Reply Score: 2

RE: good old stack level
by WereCatf on Sat 15th May 2010 22:00 UTC in reply to "good old stack level"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

I bookmarked osnews years ago (I did not start to use firefox until 0.9 and from time to time I discover in my folders screenshots of the mozilla suite with the "os" boomark there), and not because of the _os_ news, but because of the high rate of interesting (for my taste) news, no matter the topic

You're not the only one there. I've always loved OSNews because of all the various different topics and its usability. Even though f.ex. patent issues don't really matter that much to me since I live in such a wonderful country I still like to be up-to-date on these matters, and who knows, maybe they will matter to me too in the future?

As such, don't ever take OSNews away from me ;) <3

Reply Score: 5

Nah
by Bully on Sat 15th May 2010 21:16 UTC
Bully
Member since:
2006-04-07

Haiku is making impressive progress.
ReactOS is still being activly developed.
AmigaOS keep trying to make restarts.
Android it thriving on the mobiles.
ChromeOS is still in the pipeline.
And i'm sure i missed some...

Plenty going on here and there, it's not just a Macwinilux world out there.

Reply Score: 7

RE: Nah
by Moochman on Sat 15th May 2010 21:56 UTC in reply to "Nah"
Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

Yes and let us not forget the current cornucopia of smartphone and tablet OSes. That will be the really exciting space in the coming years, and OSNews is perfectly positioned for it.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Nah
by Eddyspeeder on Sun 16th May 2010 18:47 UTC in reply to "RE: Nah"
Eddyspeeder Member since:
2006-05-10

Your post could even be Thom's short answer to the question why OSNews are discussing phones and tablets so much. They run OSes too. And like you said, the progress in interface design is very exciting!

Reply Score: 1

RE: Nah
by woegjiub on Sun 16th May 2010 01:43 UTC in reply to "Nah"
woegjiub Member since:
2008-11-25

I'll give you the first few, as I'm excitedly following ReactOS' development, and I want to hear more about Haiku, but the last two are essentially Linux distributions, as is WebOS.
Certainly, they are more differing than SuSE and Ubuntu, but they use the same fundamental pieces.....
The fact is that it's far too expensive to build an OS from scratch, and it's far easier to roll your own by forking Linux, BSD or something else.

Reply Score: 1

Nice
by zsejk on Sat 15th May 2010 21:16 UTC
zsejk
Member since:
2009-01-20

*snickers*

Thom! That's officially the first article of yours I've thoroughly enjoyed!

:)

Any possible whining by other commenters aside (I've forgone the pleasure of reading the other comments first), the article's mostly true. Macwinilux... I like it!

-zsejk, from Vista (oh the horror!)

Reply Score: 4

OSNews Is Great
by Mapou on Sat 15th May 2010 21:23 UTC
Mapou
Member since:
2006-05-09

I love OSNews because it is informative. If the OS landscape is no longer exciting, it is not the fault of OSNews. Besides, the most exciting thing going on right now is in mobile computing and OSNews is right to cover that segment. The problem is deeper than the lack of new OSes, however. The computer landscape is on the edge of a major transformation, one which will render all current OSes obsolete. The reason is that the industry is about to jump into massive parallelism, something that all current OSes are painfully lousy at.

What is needed is not more OSes but a new software model. Our current Turing-based model simply sucks. It is prone to bugs and was not designed with parallelism in mind. Worst of all is multithreading: it is the work of the devil. The future of parallel computing is non-algorithmic, deterministic, compositional and reactive at the instruction level. Heck, even our processors will need a drastic makeover because they were not designed and optimized for this sort of computing. Once we have the right parallel software model, everybody will build their own OSes, simply by clicking and dragging the desired functionality.

If you are truly interested in the future of computing read Parallel Computing: Why the Future Is Non-Algorithmic.
http://rebelscience.blogspot.com/2008/05/parallel-computing-why-fut... .

Edited 2010-05-15 21:39 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: OSNews Is Great
by vodoomoth on Sun 16th May 2010 15:21 UTC in reply to "OSNews Is Great"
vodoomoth Member since:
2010-03-30

What is needed is not more OSes but a new software model. Our current Turing-based model simply sucks. It is prone to bugs and was not designed with parallelism in mind. Worst of all is multithreading: it is the work of the devil. The future of parallel computing is non-algorithmic, deterministic, compositional and reactive at the instruction level. Heck, even our processors will need a drastic makeover because they were not designed and optimized for this sort of computing. Once we have the right parallel software model, everybody will build their own OSes, simply by clicking and dragging the desired functionality.

If you are truly interested in the future of computing read Parallel Computing: Why the Future Is Non-Algorithmic.

Are you serious ? Do we put the same meaning into "algorithm" ? How can you word "deterministic" with "non-algorithmic" in the same sentence ? So parallel computing will be the "panacée", the Messiah of computing ? to the point of allowing anyone to build their own OS by dragging functionalities ? Wow! And where do those "functionalities" come from ? What's the system that allows the click&drag ? Wouldn't it be a computer of some kind ? Of which model, parallel or non-parallel ? And if parallel, how did it bootstrap if the current model is so sick ?

So instead of changing how OSes are built, we should change the computing paradigm to something that's so magical per se that it would cure all the current diseases of OSes ?

Sorry but this looks like telling stories I daydreamed while under influence in a French-English-alien language mumbo-jumbo mix.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: OSNews Is Great
by Mapou on Sun 16th May 2010 18:30 UTC in reply to "RE: OSNews Is Great"
Mapou Member since:
2006-05-09

If you look carefully, you will notice that computers are already non-algorithmic to a large extent. A computer is not a Turing machine. Multithreading is both non-algorithmic and non-deterministic. Most so-called algorithmic functions in the real world routinely receive new input data while running. This is what destroys the determinism.

The Turing computing model has been a disaster to computing. As a result, we are faced with a nasty problem known as the parallel programming crisis. This is on top of the software reliability and productivity crises that have been wreaking havoc from the beginning. The Turing cult is the problem, not the solution.

And yes, there is a panacea that will cure all programming problems. It will open up computer programming to the masses. We just need to do things right and stop worshiping the Turing machine as God's gift to humanity. The boomer geek generation have shot computing in the foot. They've been doing it wrong from the start. They need to retire and let a new generation have their turn at the wheel.

Read "How to Solve the Parallel Programming Problem" if you're interested in the future of computing.

http://rebelscience.blogspot.com/2008/07/how-to-solve-parallel-prog...

Reply Score: 1

RE: OSNews Is Great
by shotsman on Sun 16th May 2010 18:19 UTC in reply to "OSNews Is Great"
shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

You raise some very interesting points.
I agree with you that the current Von Neiman/Turing models are getting close to their sell by date.
The arrival of massively parallel architectures will require a big change in our thinking. No more per CPU or per MIP licences! Hurrah.

Seriously, I think we will have to get away from the 1's & 0's mentality and embrace things like fuzzy logic systems or even biological computing to get us over the next (or maybe one more generation) big hurdle we face as we try to fulfill the dreams of SF writers of the past.

Think of the Jetsons TV Cartoon series. What sort of computing power would be needed to run such a society? IMHO, it would have to be very different from what we have available today.

Reply Score: 2

RE: OSNews Is Great
by renox on Tue 18th May 2010 23:05 UTC in reply to "OSNews Is Great"
renox Member since:
2005-07-06

Just in case it may help other: don't visit this blog, it's just a waste of time.
Grandiose claims such as re-inventing physic, programming, etc and of course all these claims are empty..

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: OSNews Is Great
by Mapou on Wed 19th May 2010 08:41 UTC in reply to "RE: OSNews Is Great"
Mapou Member since:
2006-05-09

Just in case it may help other: don't visit this blog, it's just a waste of time.
Grandiose claims such as re-inventing physic, programming, etc and of course all these claims are empty..

Your opinion matters because of what, again?

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: OSNews Is Great
by renox on Wed 19th May 2010 15:31 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: OSNews Is Great"
renox Member since:
2005-07-06

Because of the time I wasted reading your blog?

I would advise you to consider this sage advice "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence"..

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: OSNews Is Great
by Sabon on Wed 19th May 2010 15:53 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: OSNews Is Great"
Sabon Member since:
2005-07-06

"Because of the time I wasted reading your blog?

I would advise you to consider this sage advice "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence".."

Ok renox. Then show us your "extraordinary evidence".

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: OSNews Is Great
by renox on Thu 20th May 2010 08:00 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: OSNews Is Great"
renox Member since:
2005-07-06

But I didn't make any extraordinary claim, only that your blog is a waste of time (there are lots of blogs which are a waste of time..), you're the one who is claiming to re-invent physics, programming..

Those are extraordinary claims, no?

Reply Score: 2

Thanks Thom
by jackeebleu on Sat 15th May 2010 21:39 UTC
jackeebleu
Member since:
2006-01-26

That was the best read I've had on your site in a while. Keep up the good work.

Reply Score: 2

The End Of All Things
by mrentropy on Sat 15th May 2010 21:59 UTC
mrentropy
Member since:
2010-05-15

That's the way it goes. Everyone runs on essentially the same hardware (Intel or derivative) and we're all running the same OS'. Computer-wise, we're at an evolutionary dead end. Any changes made now are just improvements to the same old thing.

After a generation or two, if the desktops and laptops are still around, someone will get tired of the status quo. They'll become a rebel and start writing a new operating system and maybe the landscape will get a bit more exciting.

I think one of the things that leads to the current state of being is that computers are ubiquitous. Back in the 70s and 80s, home computers were rare, new, and exciting. College hackers, with mountain men clothes and beards (not "nerds," not yet) spent all their time hacking and coding to see what the hardware could do, how to stick as much code in 4K as they could, to see just how far they could push the system. It was a time that let movies like "Tron" and "Wargames" work because so few people really knew how computers worked.

Now, nobody bothers. Buy more ram, a faster video card, or a faster processor. There's no reason to learn assembly when you've got a plethora of languages at your fingertips. And why try and find out what your video card can do when you can just grab a new one in a couple of weeks? Computers have become boring everyday in your face things.

And it's not like anyone gets encouragement to do so. If you post a news story about a new OS today it'll take less than ten minutes for the comments like, "Why bother? We already have Windows, OS X, and/or Linux! You're wasting your time re-inventing the wheel!" to show up.

Phones, on the other hand, have just left the era where they can only handle phone calls. Now they are hand-held computers that are far handier than a portable laptop or netbook. They killed the PDA because they can do everything a Dell Axim can do, plus send and receive calls.

And just as some people were afraid of using computers ("I'll use the typewriter; I don't want to start World War III by accident!"), some people refuse to use "smartphones" because they don't understand them. I know people who willingly have old, ancient, phones because the only thing they do is make and receive phone calls.

The hardware is new and exciting. There's room to move up. The only real difference is that a phones OS is in the hands of the corporation, not the brilliant and anti-social nerd in moms basement.

Reply Score: 3

it is not only lack of news
by vezhlys on Sat 15th May 2010 22:07 UTC
vezhlys
Member since:
2005-08-19

Yes, it is quite boring in OS and hardware space right now (only one architecture and several major OSes with not such spectacular progress). I always feel sad about that because everything just dies slowly. But I dislike more about current OSnews than just lack of OS news. I really don't feel that geekiness in the news anymore. Maybe there is no need just to have everything perfect. I feel sometimes that you want everything to keep with Windows, Linux, Mac OS X. But as you said you could use QNX for six months long time ago. So it was interesting to explore and find something new. I could use some other alternative OS too. I still can spend a lot of time on configuring *BSD, playing with Haiku or similar OSes. Yes, there are lot of things that doesn't work so seamlessly but still I can enjoy this. It is not a bad thing that something doesn't work automatically. It is even an advantage sometimes. I don't see something like that in OSnews anymore. Osnews opinions often contradicts with mine too (and that opinions sometimes feel unprofessional and not reasoned, it feels like reading somebodies blog). A lot of OS releases just mention some changelog but no reviews exist (the oficial reason often is lack of knowledge about technologies or lack of usage). And so on... However, I still read articles here. There are still a lot interesting information. But yes, it feels much different than lot of years ago. I don't know if it is bad or good just it takes time to adapt.

Edited 2010-05-15 22:09 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Another exception that proves the point...
by bhtooefr on Sat 15th May 2010 22:23 UTC
bhtooefr
Member since:
2009-02-19

eComStation is twitching, too... IIRC, they released 2.0 GA yesterday.

Reply Score: 1

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

eComStation is twitching, too... IIRC, they released 2.0 GA yesterday.


It's not on the eComStation website, which I actually follow. I'm also an eComStation customer, and I've received no email notification of the release. I also did not see anything in our submission queue. I did do a review of eComStation 2.0 RC1 like 3 years ago or something.

Reply Score: 1

bhtooefr Member since:
2009-02-19

Ah. Well, everything I had read said it was planned to be released.

I don't follow OS/2 that closely, though...

Reply Score: 1

frajo Member since:
2007-06-29

"eComStation is twitching, too... IIRC, they released 2.0 GA yesterday.


It's not on the eComStation website, which I actually follow. I'm also an eComStation customer, and I've received no email notification of the release. I also did not see anything in our submission queue. I did do a review of eComStation 2.0 RC1 like 3 years ago or something.
"

You'd have to follow the communication of the community taking place in several mailing lists and Yahoo groups like http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/eComStation/ .


The release of eComStation 2.0 GA took place on the annual European WarpStock meeting, this time in Trier, Germany, on May 14th, 2010, for attendees only. It will be accessible online for subscribers in about a week. Interested non-subscribers should watch the OS/2 pages of mensys.nl.

Edited 2010-05-16 12:07 UTC

Reply Score: 1

I completely disagree Thom
by gedmurphy on Sat 15th May 2010 22:46 UTC
gedmurphy
Member since:
2005-12-23

There's loads going on in the world of operating systems, you just don't follow them any more.

I seem to remember a comment from you recently saying that the only OS you use now is linux.

If you aren't using any alternative OS's or following their progress then you won't be in tune with what's happening in that world

Reply Score: 5

RE: I completely disagree Thom
by Thom_Holwerda on Sat 15th May 2010 23:08 UTC in reply to "I completely disagree Thom"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

There's loads going on in the world of operating systems, you just don't follow them any more.


Like what? And, of course, feel free to submit news or write articles!

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: I completely disagree Thom
by gedmurphy on Sat 15th May 2010 23:27 UTC in reply to "RE: I completely disagree Thom"
gedmurphy Member since:
2005-12-23

Android is huge right now, it's being pushed and pulled in all sorts of different directions and there's some great stories to be had. You need to be mixing in those environments to get the inside information, it's not news that the rest of the internet picks up on. That's what made this site unique.

Haiku is really exciting at the moment, there's cool things happening all the time in that community. I'm sure people would prefer to hear about all the inside little stories that happens in the haiku community instead of Apple patents.

ReactOS is far from the picture you painted. There's tonnes of cool stuff happening in that community, but you either need to be closely following their mailing lists or in their IRC channels to find out about it. If all else fails, then the news letters have good stuff to report on. Again, this is what used to make osnews cool, it had this insider information.

ChromeOS, surely there's stories to be gathered on that, the development model is available to peer into.

WebOS is looking like it might get a push from HP again. Are you saying there's absolutley no news on this?

Granted the Windows Phone 7 is still pretty secretive at the moment, but there are still stories to be had.


I understand all these news stories are hard to come by, but isn't that what journalism is all about? As a news site targeting operating systems, the idea is to get involved and dig out these stories. otherwise you just end up picking up the same news as all the other websites are reporting on, and becoming another slashdot, which is what osnews has sadly become.


When was the last time any osnews editors followed the OS communities at a personal level?

Reply Score: 2

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Android is huge right now


That's great - but not where I live. In The Netherlands, there's like 2 Android phones for sale running 1.5, and that's it. Adding insult to injury is the fact that I live in a small rural community far away from everything.

Haiku is really exciting at the moment, there's cool things happening all the time in that community. I'm sure people would prefer to hear about all the inside little stories that happens in the haiku community instead of Apple patents.


Uh? We report on Haiku all the time.

ChromeOS, surely there's stories to be gathered on that, the development model is available to peer into.


We covered its announcement in quite a lot of detail, but since no release has been made, it's hard for any of us to really dive into this. I'm not going to peer into source code submissions, since I'd not know what to do with them.

WebOS is looking like it might get a push from HP again. Are you saying there's absolutley no news on this?


Have you been reading the same OSNews I have? We've reported LIKE CRAZY on Palm and the webOS. I mean, I got comments asking to tone it down!

Granted the Windows Phone 7 is still pretty secretive at the moment, but there are still stories to be had.


Again - we've reported like crazy on Windows Phone 7! Seriously, which OSNews are you reading?

When was the last time any osnews editors followed the OS communities at a personal level?


Plural? You do realise that effectively, there's just one editor here, right? I've followed all sorts of OS communities at very personal levels, but here's the shocker: there are no OS communities anymore other than the big boring ones.

I keep very close tabs on Haiku and AmigaOS (trust me, I've got really cool stuff coming up from the Amiga world, can't say anything more). That's it. What else am I supposed to follow? The three news items a year from Syllable (which Kaj de Vos writes for us)? ReactOS gets covered too, but since their progress is so slow, what am I supposed to do, cover every icon change?

Some here say there's enough out there, but then fail to give any examples. Really - I would like to believe you, but why, then, isn't our queue filled with this stuff?

Reply Score: 2

woegjiub Member since:
2008-11-25

Instead of complaining that you are unable to attain an android phone, you could always try out the emulator which comes with the SDK (Free, works on the big 3 AFAIK)

Failing that, you could always buy a HTC Desire from ebay, something to spend your tax return on? ;)

Did you report on VirtualBox's latest release, with OSX Guest support?
Virtualisation is a huge part of computing now, just like 'the cloud'.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: I completely disagree Thom
by weckart on Sun 16th May 2010 14:06 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: I completely disagree Thom"
weckart Member since:
2006-01-11

What is this 'tax return' you speak of and how do we non-USians get our hands on it?

Here in Europe a tax return is an invitation to hand over money to the gubmint and not a handout to spend on gadgets

Reply Score: 1

kristoph Member since:
2006-01-01

When you say 'we report on [insert OS here]' you mean you reference a press release or someone else's story.

OSNews was interesting in the past because there was quite in-depth analysis of individual operating systems. Eugenia actually installed various operating systems and talked about their features, their benefits and their shortcomings.

(Yes, she did focus overmuch on something to do with video cameras which no one but Eugenia really understood or cared about but all the other stuff was great ;-)

OSNews needs more of that.

Otherwise it's mostly just links to other sites with the occasional somewhat extremist position piece by Thom.

Really it would be good to get back to operating systems, review them, talk about them, analyze the, critique them ... even mainstream operating systems.

It's not all bad though. Thom does occasionally score a good piece but it's mostly become like Thom's personal blog (and there is really no need to link to the submit rules again Thom).

]{

Reply Score: 2

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

OSNews was interesting in the past because there was quite in-depth analysis of individual operating systems. Eugenia actually installed various operating systems and talked about their features, their benefits and their shortcomings.


I do the exact same thing. I've done them all ove the years, and written about all of them. AmigaOS, MorphOS, Haiku, Zeta (multiple times), QNX, you name it. THe problem, however, is this: we've got them covered. Progress (if at all) is so slow with these operating systems that an article written 2 years ago is still 99% accurate today.

That's the cold and harsh truth some people do not want to see. I see a number of people here claiming there's enough news, yet none of you have ever submitted any such news, and even in this very thread, are unable to point anything out.

Really it would be good to get back to operating systems


*sigh*

Like which? THAT is the problem. Not a lack of willingness.

(and there is really no need to link to the submit rules again Thom)


Yes, there is. OSNews is open. You can submit whatever you want, and as long as it meets our basic standards, we'll publish it. Again - people say there's lots of news, but yet, don't submit anything.

Prove me wrong.

Edited 2010-05-16 09:39 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: I completely disagree Thom
by Bully on Sun 16th May 2010 10:13 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: I completely disagree Thom"
Bully Member since:
2006-04-07

The thing is, people come to new sites to read news, not to submit it.
I guess it must be somthing of a pasion to want to (re)search and write articles.
It's definatly not something each reader is going to want to do.

Reply Score: 2

parrotjoe Member since:
2005-07-06

This may sound a little OT, but it goes directly to the beginning of Thom's article regarding the previous explosion of OS's, versions, etc. I remember Eugenia had a famous hard drive that had...what was it...eight OS's on it? Maybe I'm even being conservative. And, as I recall, Bootman for BeOS was the bootloader! That drive should be enshrined!! :-)

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: I completely disagree Thom
by edwinr on Sun 16th May 2010 08:54 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: I completely disagree Thom"
edwinr Member since:
2010-05-16

In The Netherlands, there's like 2 Android phones for sale running 1.5, and that's it.

Come on, that's just not true. There are lots of Android phones you can buy in the Netherlands. At the very least you can buy them online, but I've seen them in other stores as well.

For example:

HTC Legend (2.1)
HTC Desire (2.1)
Motorola Milestone (2.0)
HTC Tattoo (1.6)
Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 (1.6)
HTC Hero (1.5, supposed to get an update)
Samsung Galaxy Spica i5700 (1.5, supposed to get an update)
Samsung Galaxy i7500 (1.5, don't know if it will get an update)
LG GW620 (1.5)

And there are are some other phones like the Nexus One or Acer Liquid you can get in some Dutch online stores, although I don't know if they are officially supposed to be sold here.

Reply Score: 1

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Come on, that's just not true. There are lots of Android phones you can buy in the Netherlands.


I know, but I was trying to highlight the issue of availability on a more general note. Sure, I'd love to review Android and webOS, but who's going to give me ~1200 EUR to buy those phones?

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: I completely disagree Thom
by edwinr on Sun 16th May 2010 10:19 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: I completely disagree Thom"
edwinr Member since:
2010-05-16

Sure, I'd love to review Android and webOS, but who's going to give me ~1200 EUR to buy those phones?

I did not to say you should buy them all, just that they are available.

What you said earlier just sounded like it was impossible to buy an Android phone in the Netherlands with anything newer than version 1.5 and that there are only 2.

Edited 2010-05-16 10:19 UTC

Reply Score: 1

shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

HP has a number of O/S's in its portfolio.

Apart from HP/UX & the benefits from their purchase of Palm, they have Open/VMS & the Tandem Non Stop O/S as well, not forgetting Tru64.

We all seem for forget that IBM has Z/OS & OS/400 (or whatever it is called this week) in its stable as well as AIX.

There are lots of Operating Systems around that just won't run on an Intel X86 system.
Personally, I think that X86 is an evolutionary dead end like the Lemur family of mammals but I'm biased as I cut my O/S teeth on PDP-11's & VAX's. In some ways I'm sad that Itanium is dying a slow and inevitable death.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: I completely disagree Thom
by reez on Mon 17th May 2010 19:47 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: I completely disagree Thom"
reez Member since:
2006-06-28

HP has a number of O/S's in its portfolio.

Apart from HP/UX & the benefits from their purchase of Palm, they have Open/VMS & the Tandem Non Stop O/S as well, not forgetting Tru64.

We all seem for forget that IBM has Z/OS & OS/400 (or whatever it is called this week) in its stable as well as AIX.

And there is anything newsworthy?
Aren't they just making their stuff more stable, adding support for Itanium and new hardware? I am not following them actively, but to me it looks like the OSs do mostly care about stability and therefore they don't create anything newsworthy. I could be wrong, as I am not very interested into this system. Like you already wrote, it's not x86-Stuff.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: I completely disagree Thom
by Nitrodist on Sun 16th May 2010 00:33 UTC in reply to "RE: I completely disagree Thom"
Nitrodist Member since:
2010-04-09

I can think of two interesting projects off the top of my head. I am sure there is a bunch more stuff going on out there.

The first one is GNU Hurd which has been including monthly updates on its website for some time now. Im sure you are going to dismiss this project as it has been in development for a very long time, but the fact remains this is an interesting OS project that gets no coverage here.

As an added extra there is ArchHurd which is marching along steadily.

The second project I can think of is QubesOS, which the developers describe as a Xen distribution with very unique GUI virtualization infrastructure. This project barely got a mention on OSnews and was merely linked to with no discussion on the news column.

In my opinion the news column on the side of the page gives only passing recognition to many of the projects out there.

Reply Score: 2

And some of us come here...
by mrhasbean on Sat 15th May 2010 23:17 UTC
mrhasbean
Member since:
2006-04-03

...just for the sport ;)

Seriously though. I don't think there's anything wrong with reporting on the things we see here. Sometimes the quantity of articles that support Thom's views on things compared with alternative views gets a little like sand under your fingernails, but reporting on WebOS, Android, iPhone OS and Windows Phone 7 is still reporting on OS's. The site isn't Dekstop OSNews after all.

As for the html / h.264 etc stuff, well that's relevant to all OS's anyway, so there's no reason we can't stretch the definition to include them. Surely if the survey companies can choose to leave mobile phones out of the mobile electronic device market then we can choose to include web stuff in the OS market. ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE: And some of us come here...
by Thom_Holwerda on Sat 15th May 2010 23:20 UTC in reply to "And some of us come here..."
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Sometimes the quantity of articles that support Thom's views on things compared with alternative views gets a little like sand under your fingernails


http://www.osnews.com/submit

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: And some of us come here...
by brynet on Sat 15th May 2010 23:33 UTC in reply to "RE: And some of us come here..."
brynet Member since:
2010-03-02

Aren't you the one getting paid to entertain us, Thom?

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: And some of us come here...
by Kroc on Sun 16th May 2010 10:24 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: And some of us come here..."
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

Nobody gets paid except the hosts and possibly the server admin. The editors are all volunteers. Anybody can volunteer if they can stick to it, just get in regular chats with editors over e-mail/IM, contribute, and have a passion for what you do. That’s all I did.

Reply Score: 1

mrhasbean Member since:
2006-04-03

"Sometimes the quantity of articles that support Thom's views on things compared with alternative views gets a little like sand under your fingernails


http://www.osnews.com/submit
"

Tried that - had no joy...

Reply Score: 3

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Tried that - had no joy...


Ah yes, you submitted something once. About an MMORPG. On 04/21/2010 01:48:57 PM, to be exact.

Since we report on MMORPGs all the time, it must have been a real surprise for you to see that turned down.

Reply Score: 1

Princess Bride
by milocaruso on Sat 15th May 2010 23:39 UTC
milocaruso
Member since:
2010-05-15

I love your site and agree with the whole needing to change to stay relevant. Not sure about the Priness Bride lift though ;)

Reply Score: 1

Did you read my mind?
by Anonymous Penguin on Sat 15th May 2010 23:46 UTC
Anonymous Penguin
Member since:
2005-07-06

Did you read my mind?:D
Actually I have had this kind of thoughts going through my mind quite often of late.
And for me it isn't even Windows, OS X and Linux any longer. Linux is becoming the toy OS for me: far too many issues, especially with graphics drivers, far too many distros, far too many releases...but not enough quality apps. Besides it is too much Ubuntu and too little of the others: who remembers the beautiful, shiny SUSE boxes? 5 CDS, 2 DVDs, two large manuals...that wasn't just a Linux distro, it was a monument to operating systems!
And then you could find Red Hat boxes, Mandrake ones in shops: all quite impressive. Everybody, including myself, believed desktop Linux had a glorious future... Who believes that any longer? Maybe one percent of computer users.
As to minor operating systems, like Sky OS, they literally promised the earth: they were going to take the world over. I supported them financially, but I knew it was going to be a failure. How much money and devs do you need in order to develop a modern OS, supporting a zillion of different hardware combinations and having a reasonable number of decent applications? But they (Sky OS) had only one dictator and a handful of helpers!

Reply Score: 5

RE: Did you read my mind?
by Bobthearch on Sun 16th May 2010 00:59 UTC in reply to "Did you read my mind?"
Bobthearch Member since:
2006-01-27

Linux is becoming the toy OS for me: far too many issues, especially with graphics drivers, far too many distros, far too many releases...but not enough quality apps. Besides it is too much Ubuntu and too little of the others: who remembers the beautiful, shiny SUSE boxes? 5 CDS, 2 DVDs, two large manuals...that wasn't just a Linux distro, it was a monument to operating systems!
And then you could find Red Hat boxes, Mandrake ones in shops: all quite impressive. Everybody, including myself, believed desktop Linux had a glorious future... Who believes that any longer? Maybe one percent of computer users.


I think the Year of the Desktop Linux was in ca. 2001-2003. if you blinked or were late to the scene, you missed it. Linux retail boxes in all the stores, Linux distros were having IPOs like real companies, the first pre-installed Linux computers, television commercials, media attention...
RedHat, Suse, Mandrake, Slackware, Suse, Lindows...

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Did you read my mind?
by Anonymous Penguin on Sun 16th May 2010 03:02 UTC in reply to "RE: Did you read my mind?"
Anonymous Penguin Member since:
2005-07-06


I think the Year of the Desktop Linux was in ca. 2001-2003. if you blinked or were late to the scene, you missed it. Linux retail boxes in all the stores, Linux distros were having IPOs like real companies, the first pre-installed Linux computers, television commercials, media attention...
RedHat, Suse, Mandrake, Slackware, Suse, Lindows...


I agree, absolutely. I lived that era, it was glorious.

Reply Score: 2

jaklumen
Member since:
2010-02-09

while back in my day (yes, I'm only 25, but still)

Yes, I'm nitpicking.

Yes, I know other techs talk in ageist tones, such as Bill Gates saying this to Steven Levy (author of "Hackers"): “When I was young, I didn’t know any old people. When we did the microprocessor revolution, there was nobody old, nobody. It’s weird how old this industry has become.”

But it's still pretty damned arrogant. I've got 10 years on you, Thom, so I remember about that much more, and how things changed drastically even since my own time, such as the death of the bulletin board system, and the death of do-it-yourself hardware at the electronics level. These were the days when computer enthusiasts were simply called "nerds" with all the derision that was implied, and not "geeks".

So really, that phrase could have been struck from the article, IMHO. There are already plenty of reminders about the seeming lack of social ineptness that grows the further people delve into engineering and science; the more they deal with things and not people. Gary Trudeau is suggesting MIT students still stink in his recent comic strips (yes, within the past few days), and it was Levy who wrote in "Hackers" that Richard Greenblatt was the inspiration for the term "milliblatt" (by Greenblatt's colleagues) to measure such stink. That was back in 1984!

Reading the rest of Levy's article, the gist seems to say that the successful hackers basically grew up, took a bath, got some image consulting (and I've heard stories from a MS employee about how it's likely Melinda that dresses Bill for success) and put on some good clothes, and basically sold out. And if not, well, they either decided to just have fun (like Steve Wozniak) or they went bitter. And I doubt it's as old as my parents and the hippie generation becoming yippies and yuppies-- I'm sure the pattern has been kicking around all of human history for centuries.

Right now society at large is settling and doing a lot of nostalgia. It will pass, eventually, as it always has.

Reply Score: 2

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

"When I was young, I didn’t know any old people. When we did the microprocessor revolution, there was nobody old, nobody. It’s weird how old this industry has become.”

For one, this is horseshit but this attitude probably explains why DOS and Windows sucked so bad. Funny how much things improved in Windows when the old guys (Cutlers team) came on board.
This whole "young vs old" is getting pretty tired though. Age is a physical reality, "old" is a state of mind. Many people of a young age are old and many people of an advanced are are not.

Reply Score: 2

Nitrodist
Member since:
2010-04-09

Most of the recent articles I read here feel like they are taken from Ars Technica. Perhaps one of the problems OSnews faces is a lack of variety in its sources.

Maybe OSnes needs to engage more with the OS projects it wishes to cover. I am sure they would be supportive.

I see Thom direct allot of people to the Submit News feature. I would be interested in submitting the occasional article to OSnews but I am more of a hobbyist and don't have the low level understanding of these projects. I am concerned I would include errors or show misunderstanding in what I wrote.

Reply Score: 1

jaklumen Member since:
2010-02-09

I would be interested in submitting the occasional article to OSnews but I am more of a hobbyist and don't have the low level understanding of these projects. I am concerned I would include errors or show misunderstanding in what I wrote.

That's basically why I don't submit anything. Several people assure me my writing skills are very good (and it's served me well in other areas), but I don't believe I have enough tech skills or cred to write anything of sufficient interest.

Reply Score: 1

Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

I’m sure either of you could write better than I do. Confidence is what you need, not skill. Skill will always improve over time, you just have to throw yourself into it.

We would still appreciate just links from the fringes of the Internet that we would miss on mainstream sites. But for writing, don’t try be all things to all people. Find the thing you know about, the OS/technology you are passionate about, and write about it. I know that anybody who sufficiently cares about something in the technology landscape can go off on a diatribe at the drop of a hat—it matters to them.

I don’t think it’s all that effective for people to only send us links about things they don’t really know about (it’s appreciated of course), but if each person writes about their own thing, that will prove more effective. Worry about your one thing, and let everybody else worry about their things.

Reply Score: 2

Define 'Took off'...
by Odwalla on Sun 16th May 2010 01:07 UTC
Odwalla
Member since:
2006-02-01

OSNews, however, didn't really take off until Eugenia took over in 2001


If you call spending all of her free time swearing at posters, berating them for not having the exact same opinions as herself, deleting comments out of spite, and constantly flying off the handle when people dared to disagree with her 'taking off', I guess you're right. She was more of a detriment than a benefit and this site didn't really find its stride until she stepped down, found non-OS pursuits, and faded away.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Define 'Took off'...
by fretinator on Sun 16th May 2010 04:27 UTC in reply to "Define 'Took off'..."
fretinator Member since:
2005-07-06

Yes, she's opinionated, but when I had trouble with the video card under Linux, she was very helpful, sending me directions to get direct rendering working. We all have flaws, don't be so quick to write people off.

Reply Score: 3

You're doing a great job
by ozonehole on Sun 16th May 2010 01:24 UTC
ozonehole
Member since:
2006-01-07

Thom, just want to say, you're doing a great job. I greatly appreciate the coverage you've given to H264, HTML5, the patent wars, etc. Don't let the naysayers get to you. Some people just love to whine, but they have nothing to contribute themselves. How many of the whiners have ever made a news submission to OSNews?

The one suggestion I'd like to make: the "minor news" you've put on the right-hand column, I think should be incorporated with the rest of the news. I bet a lot of people don't read it because it's relegated to "minor". However, it's often as interesting as the major stories. Today's story about "Btrfs Possibly Default System Next Ubuntu Release" is a good example - look at how many comments it's drawn. It's difficult to judge which issues your readers will think are major and which are minor - I say just throw the lot together and let your audience sort it out.

Again, this is not a criticism, just a suggestion.

Edited 2010-05-16 01:32 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Excellent post
by eisenawesome on Sun 16th May 2010 01:35 UTC
eisenawesome
Member since:
2010-05-16

Seriously man, great post.

Reply Score: 1

Yes!
by computrius on Sun 16th May 2010 02:37 UTC
computrius
Member since:
2006-03-26

You have just described in your article exactly what I have been thinking for years. So much new stuff, yet absolutely no progress or innovation. Almost seems like we are even going backward sometimes.

Edited 2010-05-16 02:38 UTC

Reply Score: 2

It's all about the embedded OS's
by RichterKuato on Sun 16th May 2010 03:16 UTC
RichterKuato
Member since:
2010-05-14

I think it's just the fact that Desktop OS's are dieing but embedded/mobile OS's are starting to be born more and more these days.

We got BlackBerry OS, iPhoneOS, Android, WebOS, Chrome OS, Windows Phone 7, Meego, Tivo's OS, Ruku's OS, Boxee's OS etc.. Everyone wants to come out with their own unique OS. Several of them are based on linux and there are even a bunch of mutant versions of Android being created.

Hopefully this time everyone won't standardize on any device or platform but instead every device will be more interoperable.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by graigsmith
by graigsmith on Sun 16th May 2010 03:50 UTC
graigsmith
Member since:
2006-04-05

i found the news as of late interesting. phone operating systems are interesting.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by fernandotcl
by fernandotcl on Sun 16th May 2010 04:46 UTC
fernandotcl
Member since:
2007-08-12

The fact that we've settled with a few platforms doesn't mean there's no innovation. Quite the contrary, actually. Heck, if you subscribe to any source of news like the LKML, the distro's planets, BSD blogs, etc., you'll have plenty to report on every day, more than ever.

This complaint about lack of inspiration in the OS field is very amateurish. Where are the reviews about interesting new stuff in the OSS world? Things you have broad access to. Let's name some of the most relevant recent technologies: systemd, GCD in FBSD, new filesystems (brtfs and friends), Debian kFreeBSD. Have you reviewed those technologies? Have you actually tested them? Benchmarked? Where's your article about those technologies? Aren't those things the very core of operating systems? Why do you chose to neglect those technologies?

I'm sick of this. All I see in this site is links to Ars Technica or some other tech site about interesting technologies. Like a damn news aggregator. The editorials suck. I find more technical insight in general computing news sites.

There are lengthy articles here. Lengthy articles about computer user interfaces. That's how deep your articles go. Fitt's law. Great. That's exactly what I look for when I type "operating system news" in Google.

The truth is, you as a team make no effort to bring high quality news, investigative articles about new technologies. You make a 5 part article about interface design but you can't make the effort to write a review of a technique that doesn't involve icons and widgets.

Long gone are the days when you installed an operating system and had a completely different experience. Nowadays we don't need to create things from scratch anymore, we can build on and optimize an existing base. All your experience with QNX and BeOS means nothing because reviews of operating system topics don't have anything to do with fancy icons anymore.

You think there are no longer news about operating systems because you don't know what an operating system is.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by fernandotcl
by Nitrodist on Sun 16th May 2010 04:59 UTC in reply to "Comment by fernandotcl"
Nitrodist Member since:
2010-04-09

Dear OSnews: I Have Some Concerns

The site I have come to know and like seems less and less interested in actual OS news.

I agree with much of fernandotcl has to say. Much the content on OSnews seems to come straight from Ars Technica or other tech sites I frequent. It does me no good to read them again here.

I wonder if the lack of OS news is due to the staff not having an interest in the lower level stuff. All the interesting development news gets passed over.

Edited 2010-05-16 05:02 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by fernandotcl
by Thom_Holwerda on Sun 16th May 2010 09:35 UTC in reply to "Comment by fernandotcl"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

The truth is, you as a team make no effort to bring high quality news, investigative articles about new technologies.


There is no team. There is just me. That's the cold and harsh truth. I work my ass off trying to fill this site every day, and this is the kind of tone I can expect from people like you, who have never lifted a single goddamn finger to even submit a link?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by fernandotcl
by vodoomoth on Sun 16th May 2010 17:04 UTC in reply to "Comment by fernandotcl"
vodoomoth Member since:
2010-03-30

The fact that we've settled with a few platforms doesn't mean there's no innovation. Quite the contrary, actually. Heck, if you subscribe to any source of news like the LKML, the distro's planets, BSD blogs, etc., you'll have plenty to report on every day, more than ever.

This complaint about lack of inspiration in the OS field is very amateurish. Where are the reviews about interesting new stuff in the OSS world? Things you have broad access to. Let's name some of the most relevant recent technologies: systemd, GCD in FBSD, new filesystems (brtfs and friends), Debian kFreeBSD. Have you reviewed those technologies? Have you actually tested them? Benchmarked? Where's your article about those technologies? Aren't those things the very core of operating systems? Why do you chose to neglect those technologies?

I'm sick of this. All I see in this site is links to Ars Technica or some other tech site about interesting technologies. Like a damn news aggregator. The editorials suck. I find more technical insight in general computing news sites.

There are lengthy articles here. Lengthy articles about computer user interfaces. That's how deep your articles go. Fitt's law. Great. That's exactly what I look for when I type "operating system news" in Google.

The truth is, you as a team make no effort to bring high quality news, investigative articles about new technologies. You make a 5 part article about interface design but you can't make the effort to write a review of a technique that doesn't involve icons and widgets.

Long gone are the days when you installed an operating system and had a completely different experience. Nowadays we don't need to create things from scratch anymore, we can build on and optimize an existing base. All your experience with QNX and BeOS means nothing because reviews of operating system topics don't have anything to do with fancy icons anymore.

You think there are no longer news about operating systems because you don't know what an operating system is.

This is just loathable derogatory talking. I don't know what dayjob Thom has, but I sure wouldn't have the time, as a volunteer, to do what he does. I'm a new comer to this site, not more than 4 months, and I didn't know of Kroc until the end of march with his "Solaris No Longer Free" article. Same thing about Eugenia with "Why Our Civilization's Video Art and Culture is Threatened by the MPEG-LA".

If you think that the people reporting news are so incompetent, what are you still doing on the site?

This is a news site. I stumbled upon it probably after a google search, I stayed mainly for ameliorating my English; the OS news, H264, patents, and all other things are added benefits. I am still wondering how Thom learned the language, and I've learnt much from the articles and the two podcasts I've listened to earlier today.

I am expecting a news site like OSNews to tell me what happens and link to the more detailed pages. I am not expecting the editors or contributors to install each software update or each OS, test it and say what you can and cannot do with it. Eugenia posted an article of that kind about Ubuntu, which prompted me to install it although I thought years ago that I would probably never install Linux again. It's fine that she did, but I wasn't expecting it.

I have seen the article about btrfs this week. I've also seen the article about systemd, the linked article by the guy developing it and the reply from the guy who maintains Upstart. I've read the article about scaraOS, which is even more niched than any other OS mentioned here because only it has only one developer and NO user. And I downloaded the source code, which IIRC uses git as version control. I've seen articles about BeRTOS and other OSes. There are news about smaller OSes. Not enough for the tastes of some but there are.

The question here is not that the editors aren't monitoring all OSes tidbits. If any reader has some news, he/she can either submit it or inform osnews, I guess there's a contact email. But people rarely do. Whining is so much easier. I accept it. But dragging others' work in the mud is unacceptable.

Sorry, but with that comment of yours, the only impression I can possibly have is that you sucked.

Good job Thom, Kroc, Eugenia, and all others that I don't know about yet. Not all that appears in my RSS Feeds under Opera is interesting to me, but I take what is or might be and I leave the rest.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by fernandotcl
by Thom_Holwerda on Sun 16th May 2010 17:23 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by fernandotcl"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I am still wondering how Thom learned the language


Being Dutch helps. Since no one in their right mind would learn Dutch (other than native speakers) we are forced to adapt. In The Netherlands, everyone starts learning Foreign at a very young age (I spoke my first relatively competent English when I was like 7 or 8). On top of that, contrary to e.g. the Germans or the French, we don't use voice-overs with content in Foreign; we use subtitles for everything.

And, well, I learnt English in school too - starting when I was 9 years old. In high school I learnt English, French, German, Latin, and Greek. That also helps.

To finish it all off - I study English and translation studies at university ;) .

Reply Score: 1

Hello, Solaris?
by fuzzyping on Sun 16th May 2010 05:31 UTC
fuzzyping
Member since:
2006-11-01

I can't believe there are over 70 comments in here and not a single person has mentioned Solaris or OpenSolaris. This is very indicative of a desktop-centric crowd. Personally I still consider myself a BSD-first proponent, but you can't deny or overstate the contributions that Solaris (Sun, R.I.P.) have made to the *nix community.

Macwinilux, my ass. You're just not trying.

Reply Score: 3

I approve of this message :-)
by Eugenia on Sun 16th May 2010 06:37 UTC
Eugenia
Member since:
2005-06-28

Well said Thom, what you wrote there is exactly as it is. The interesting OS times have past. The sh*t now happens in the mobile and web browser areas. I wish it was 1982-2002 still, when all the interesting desktop OSes were created, but these times are gone. OSes are now commodities, and people have decided on just 3. Same thing will happen to smartphones eventually too. Only 2-3 platforms will survive there too.

Reply Score: 5

RE: I approve of this message :-)
by massysett on Sun 16th May 2010 23:44 UTC in reply to "I approve of this message :-)"
massysett Member since:
2007-12-04

The interesting OS times have past. The sh*t now happens in the mobile and web browser areas.


So phones don't run operating systems?

That's what I don't understand about Thom's entire rant. Does think iPhone and Android and Blackberry and iPad devices do not run operating systems? Or does he think that the techniques that mobile devices use to do so much with relatively slow processors and limited RAM is not interesting? Does he think that the way these mobile devices have dumped the WIMP interface that he finds so boring in macwinlinux is not interesting?

Sure there is not much innovation on the desktop. That's because we have settled on something that works and that people understand. There is lots of innovation happening in mobile operating systems. It seems the issue is that Thom does not think these are "real" operating systems.

Thom is stuck in the past. There is nothing wrong with that. I use Unix on my desktop precisely because Unix is ancient. I like awk. But unlike Thom I don't sit around and complain about interesting times being over when the reality is that he is simply ignoring all the interesting things.

Reply Score: 1

Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

>So phones don't run operating systems?

What part of "mobile" don't you understand? Of course and they are OSes, and this is where attention is right now. But when we talk about OSes and OSNews, we mostly talk about desktop OSes, because the mobile OSes are at least one level more abstracted towards their users and developers than desktop OSes are.

Reply Score: 1

Wonderful!
by fraterf93 on Sun 16th May 2010 07:24 UTC
fraterf93
Member since:
2009-04-23

Well Thom, I usually hate everything you write (which is about 80% of this site). This article was probably the best thing I've read by you ever.

Reply Score: 2

The patents news is great
by ciaran on Sun 16th May 2010 08:47 UTC
ciaran
Member since:
2006-11-27

I've only become a regular reader in the past year. I came for the patents news, and stayed for the patents news.

It's something that affects us. As Stallman says, you can ignore politics, but politics won't ignore you. My background is that I'm a developer, but I moved into policy work in 2004 when I realised that software patents are our biggest impediment, not lack of developrs.

Reply Score: 2

New Idea (?) of MoBo's Linux
by P2O2 on Sun 16th May 2010 10:08 UTC
P2O2
Member since:
2010-05-16

Hi,

I've bought recently new MoBo ASRock M3A785GM-LE/128M. It has all components for basic hardware. I run Debian 5.04 x64 with recompiled kernel for Desktop version and all sorts of x64 apps (ONLY, no x86 emulation).

The idea came when I read a lot on this type of AMD MoBo series. They are equipped with h/w to which there are drivers. This MoBos are produced by many manufacturers and their next versions are compatible with previous models. I run basic x64 Debian with gtk/qt4 pool of x64 apps in Fluxbox WM.

I think we - users and manufacturers - have reached the point where any Linux operating system's distro for every MoBo line (line of products) of similar products is possible and worthwhile.

I see GNU/Linux AMD785G+SB710 Chipset distro. Do you? Not ___universal___ SuSE, Debian, Ubuntu, Slackware, RedHat, etc. All rights reserved. :-)

Regards

Reply Score: 1

Commercial Operating Systems
by simonm on Sun 16th May 2010 13:05 UTC
simonm
Member since:
2010-05-16

I would be interested in seeing articles about what developments are happening in the commercial OSes like MVS, OS/400, AIX, HP-UX, OpenVMS, HP/MPE etc.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Commercial Operating Systems
by David on Sun 16th May 2010 16:27 UTC in reply to "Commercial Operating Systems"
David Member since:
1997-10-01

We do our best, there, but the development cycles are really long in that world, so it's a long wait between updates. When you notice something, please submit a link to us, and we'll try to gather what information we can.

Reply Score: 2

Money, money... anyone?
by dionicio on Sun 16th May 2010 13:10 UTC
dionicio
Member since:
2006-07-12

In the old days we used to say our kids:

You have to make this world a better one.

Now we say our kids (in many ways):

You have to make lots of money.

So, we are going to see less and less
REAL geeks, cientists, saints, heroes
an all that creepy bunch of "loosers".

Reply Score: 2

RE: Money, money... anyone?
by Kroc on Sun 16th May 2010 14:22 UTC in reply to "Money, money... anyone?"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

When you don’t create things, you become defined by your tastes rather than ability. Your tastes only narrow and exclude people. so create.

_Why the Lucky Stiff

Reply Score: 1

Too hard, too expensive.
by mkone on Sun 16th May 2010 15:35 UTC
mkone
Member since:
2006-03-14

The problem is that it has become too hard for a single geek or a small group of geeks to create a system from scratch. The innovation now mostly has to come in the established OSes. So instead of geeks reading about new innovative systems, we read about new innovative figures.

But I cannot see a new operating system being created now that will compete with the established ones (Mac, win, Linux, Solaris and BSD), aside someone with insanely deep pockets (an Oracle or a Google) putting 2 billion dollars into creating a brand new OS. small OSes will continue to be created, but will not get the sufficient critical mass to become useful, self sustaining systems, at least not for PCs.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Too hard, too expensive.
by WereCatf on Sun 16th May 2010 15:52 UTC in reply to "Too hard, too expensive."
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

The problem is that it has become too hard for a single geek or a small group of geeks to create a system from scratch. The innovation now mostly has to come in the established OSes. So instead of geeks reading about new innovative systems, we read about new innovative figures.

I see two problems which are almost insurmountable nowadays: the amount of hardware for which there are no open specifications and no standard way of accessing the resources of it (this one is a BIG issue and usually the biggest one of them all. God I wish there was a standard way of using the hardware and not everyone implemented a proprietary solution every single god damn time a new thing comes to market), and the amount of standards one has to support. Especially web browsers are a good example of this: even a basic browser could require up to millions lines of code to be useable by today's standards. That's just simply way too much for any small group to handle.

Reply Score: 2

OK folks, it's not that hard
by chandler on Sun 16th May 2010 15:47 UTC
chandler
Member since:
2006-08-29

Thom has said multiple times here that he publishes reader submissions that are written in the appropriate format. After reading this article and the comments I submitted a news item about the new LLVM C++ library and it was published in less than a day.

If you want to see something you found interesting on OSNews, try it yourself. I did and it worked. If you don't try and still complain you are just being lazy.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by Michael Oliveira
by Michael Oliveira on Sun 16th May 2010 17:14 UTC
Michael Oliveira
Member since:
2005-07-07

Where is in the world the Haiku R1 Alpha 2 Review?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Michael Oliveira
by Thom_Holwerda on Sun 16th May 2010 17:17 UTC in reply to "Comment by Michael Oliveira"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Where is in the world the Haiku R1 Alpha 2 Review?


Sorry, no spare cash for a spare hard drive at this point. It'll have to wait.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Michael Oliveira
by chandler on Sun 16th May 2010 20:42 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Michael Oliveira"
chandler Member since:
2006-08-29

Why not throw it on a flash drive or SD card? Even 2GB would work at a minimum though 4GB would be better.

Reply Score: 1

Cry me a river...
by porcel on Sun 16th May 2010 18:34 UTC
porcel
Member since:
2006-01-28

Those that say that Linux hasn´t changed dramatically in the last 10 years were not around ten years ago or are very forgetful.

Polish and user experience is the hardest part of any operating system and that is what we are now focusing on. Technology is useless if an average user cannot make good use of it.

Millions of linux power phones, tvs, servers and desktops, each with very different requirements and yet one kernel that powers them all.

Do you people follow the kernel´s development or have any clue how dramatically Linux has changed in the last 10 years?

Really.

It´s so easy to say: why don´t we do something totally ground-breaking while being unaware that new ground is being broken every single day with every single commit.

Reply Score: 3

"syllable is dead"
by cipri on Sun 16th May 2010 19:25 UTC
cipri
Member since:
2007-02-15

"syllable is dead" (quoting tom).

I was all the time asking myself if it's just me who has the impression makes very little, (till no real progress). Once I told Kaj, that I have the impression that syllable is stagnating, he said, that in fact, syllable is very successul, because he can see it on the download statistics :-).

They are not 100% dead, but, since more developers didn't have the same opinion as kaj, they have choosen to go, because kaj is something like "the king of syllable", considering himself a "co-leader". Vanders seems to be somehow absent (without having kaj under control), even he is officially the leader.
(not to mention, that that kaj is not a c++ developer, just ask him about the last c++ application he wrote ;) ).
I suppose, this happens, when a non-(c++)-developer, takes control over the leader-ship of an operating system.

I'm sure kaj, even today, will tell you that they are vey succesfull :-)
(even in the changelog of the last year, you find mostly just minor improvements). It's more than 1 year since syllable 0.6.6. was released, I'm curious when 0.6.7 will be released, and how big the changelog will be :-).
(I think the bad periode of syllable has began with the intruduction of syllable server, which is based on linux, this is what other syllable developers told me too).

I'm glad, that my impression about the current state of syllable, seems to be shared by tom too.

I'm thinking: "syllable is dead, and kaj has killed it".

Reply Score: 1

Bring back the old looks!
by stereotype on Sun 16th May 2010 20:12 UTC
stereotype
Member since:
2007-04-06

... miss the old looks of this website... it was very unique, plus it had a very "8-bit" feel to it... this new "clean" look is nothing but plain boring and run of the mill... bring it back!

Reply Score: 2

jaco
Member since:
2009-12-27

You say (among other things):

The KDE guys spent years and years creating this amazing platform called KDE4, but since they lack any form of end-user imagination, couldn't do anything with it other than recreate KDE 3.5, only with less features and higher hardware requirements.

This is absolutely ridiculous. On the contrary, when KDE4 first started, most people (including myself) criticized it because it was a rewrite of something which worked well, KDE 3.5, instead of an evolution. KDE4 has almost nothing to do with KDE 3.5.

KDE4 brings a large amount of new stuff. Not only new features, but new concepts too. A couple of examples: an innovative data storage backend (Akonadi) or the concept of a semantic desktop (Nepomuk), which is something many people are researching in universities, and KDE4 implemented (maybe for the first time? Can't confirm this).

I think when someone knows nothing (or not much) about something, it's better for him to do some research before talking.

By the way, all this if we want to include KDE (or other desktop environments) in the "OS" arena...
I wouldn't do that, but if you do, I don't see why not include Android, WebOS, Moblin (now MeeGo) and others. Those devices (hence those operating environments) are changing the way we use the Internet, there's a lot of research (and, unfortunately, patents) going on there, and you still see nothing happening...

Since I'm not a OS enthusiast per se, I'm sure to miss a lot of other interesting stuff going on in the OS world.

JMTC

Reply Score: 1

saimon69
Member since:
2008-10-26

Well, i read about how the communication skills of AROS are - to get to the juice - quite bad; problem is that being AROS promotion mostly a volunteer-driven effort the real life goes through and make feel its weight; The main outer voices of the community like Paolo Besser have jobs and wife and family to take care; Paul J.Beel took a sabbatical from the AROS show, i am pretty busy with my new job and too tired at the end of the day to tinker properly , Steve Jones and Phoenixkonsole are trying to improve their visibility in tha main channels including youtube, but other less known AROS bloggers might not have the time to communicate... so to everybody external to the usual AROS forum, the amiga communities and communication channels might seems nothing is going on, instead a new distro (AROS broadway) is taking off soon, new ports, the gallium 3d bounty is covering more hardware, booting from USB stick... yes, i understand what do you mean about; in part is also about a common tradition of disliking news in the amiga community - widespread among all amiga and like flavors, due to past disillusions; i might try to improve this from my own side posting a reference to my personal blog articles (when they are ready), i already submit news here when those are important, and am also busy in trying to find a way to promote AROS outsude the usual amiga circles to hobbyists that might find it interesting to power their projects and to tinker easier and more deeper than is actually possible with other operating systems....

Reply Score: 1

irbis
Member since:
2005-07-08

First of all, I have no problems with maybe slightly changing OSnews focus, as long as the news are interesting and somehow related to operating systems and computing in general.

Anyway, I think that people tend to pay (too much) attention mostly to desktop-related things, which I sometimes find a bit superficial. People, especially end users, tend to forget that there's much more to operating systems than just the desktop environments and their looks.

Even if the news story is something very trivial, like a story about the default Ubuntu colors, it will get many reads and comments. But what about more technical OS stuff (kernel design, inner differences between operating systems, file systems etc.), maybe not directly visible to an average desktop user? There have been lots of such news on Osnews too, but I think there could perhaps be more (even though such news might not be as popular as "news" about the default Ubuntu colors...).

For example, operating system security is an ever more important subject in this networked world that we are living in, with many interesting news all the time. Personally I'd much rather read news on such subjects than, say, some unhappy people endlessly complaining about the default colours that Ubuntu may be using instead of their personal fav colours..

Anyway, I also apologize that I haven't been able to submit as many IT news stories to OSnews as I did earlier.

Reply Score: 2

So, what's so great about BeOS?
by eco2geek on Mon 17th May 2010 01:17 UTC
eco2geek
Member since:
2009-09-23

(And, by extension, Haiku? I'm posting this from alpha 2. Navigating the UI takes a bit of getting used to.)

Why do you like BeOS so much? If you were going to try to convince someone to switch to it, what reasons would you give? If someone told you they were thinking about reviewing it, but had little or no prior experience with it, what would you tell them to look for?

Reply Score: 1

MissingBeOS Member since:
2010-01-26

Hmmm ... where to begin? ;)

Speed. Great big gobs of freakin' flames coming out of the CPU speed, on really minimum hardware. (yes, some of that was just the perception - see next point.)

Responsiveness. No hourglass icon for the mouse; no need. Launch a program, and if it didn't immediately spring to life, you could still click on other things and have them respond. It used to be a main demo to open a ridiculous number of video clips, all playing at the same time, dragging the windows around and not see a dropped frame. The mouse and system remained fluid and responsive throughout.

64 bit journaling filesystem. You rapidly grew to love being able to add custom metafile tags to your files, and to do live queries on them. BeMail was wonderful for that.

Multitasking. Ok, WinXP, OSX, Vista, Win7 all multitask. However, I'll submit that none of them did it to the sheer, low-level extent that BeOS did. Everything was threaded. Granted, this made programming much more of a challenge than in other environments, but, wow! The results!

Multiprocessing. BeOS understood, recognized & used every scrap of processing power you could throw at it, and was always willing to use more. During bootup, it would recognize additional processors and spin itself off to boot even faster. I loved the original "Blinkinlights" on the BeBox, showing you the processor loads. The software version was cool, too.

GoBe Productive. Professional office suite that had a very cool wordprocessor. You could have more than one window open on the same document, looking at different sections. As you made changes in one, they would be reflected in the other. Moving graphics around with the text flowing in response was pretty cool. The only thing in recent memory that reminds me of it is the Pages program on the Apple iPad.

The list goes on ... POSIX compliance; command line windows; installing new drivers by dragging them to the appropriate folder - no need to reboot ...

If you can get Haiku to run on your equipment, it's worth your time to try it out and see how things might have been.

Now, before anyone jumps up & down and starts going "But, but, but! What about XYZ?" Yeah, I know. BeOS had problems. So what? It was a blast to use, and if the corporate climate at the time wasn't so ridiculously stacked against Be, Inc., things might have worked out better than they did. Not being able to get a hardware manufacturer to install it, even as a dual-boot option, was the biggest stumbling block that those fun-loving guys from Redmond managed to trip up the competition with. The whole Microsoft antitrust case was aimed in the wrong direction.

Too late for any of that to make a shred of difference now.

Reply Score: 1

Small OSes are dead anyway...
by Coxy on Mon 17th May 2010 12:57 UTC
Coxy
Member since:
2006-07-01

...like bedroom computer game writers.

People need to just accept that writing an OS isn't something you do in your spare time anymore. It needs a whole team and cash.

I checked out countless links to OS's in these comments - most I have never heard of... looking at them I can see why - there's even the OS named after some geeks would-be girlfriend: HelenOS. Anyone here who ever thought that would be going anywhere should crawl out from under that rock they have been living under.

Desktop, taskbar, rubbish bin icon, "my computer icon", clock on the right hand side... they all look like a widnows 3.1 - but badly done. No one is ever going to use them. Around about release 0.0.3 (Alpha RC3) (after 10 years) the developer realises it too and gives up.

I've seen Flash based OS's/interfaces that can do more than most of these alternative OS can after years of developement.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Small OSes are dead anyway...
by jermar on Mon 17th May 2010 13:26 UTC in reply to "Small OSes are dead anyway..."
jermar Member since:
2006-06-12

I checked out countless links to OS's in these comments - most I have never heard of... looking at them I can see why - there's even the OS named after some geeks would-be girlfriend: HelenOS. Anyone here who ever thought that would be going anywhere should crawl out from under that rock they have been living under

Frankly, even the HelenOS developers do not date girls called HelenOS - that would be too wicked. I suggest you go and read the HelenOS FAQ to learn more about the origin of the name and the OS itself.

You should also not judge the OS based on its name or the screenshot. It only shows how clueless you are about the stuff which really matters when it comes to OS design.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Small OSes are dead anyway...
by Coxy on Mon 17th May 2010 13:35 UTC in reply to "RE: Small OSes are dead anyway..."
Coxy Member since:
2006-07-01

To be frank, I couldn't give a 5h!t about os design. I'm a designer/illustrator, not a programmer.

'You should also not judge the OS based on its name or the screenshot. It only shows how clueless you are about the stuff which really matters when it comes to OS design.'

Why not? Everyone else outside of geekdom will. The fact that these OS's are now no longer developed only shows how clueless they were about the stuff which really matters when it comes to an OS - the users and their perception of the OS.

'...I suggest you go and read the HelenOS FAQ to learn more about the origin of the name and the OS itself.'

Sorry but do you expect any mass used OS to have a manual that actually gets read? hahah.... I'm not interested in using something called HelenOS, and shant be reading the manual.

Edited 2010-05-17 13:36 UTC

Reply Score: 2

jermar Member since:
2006-06-12


'You should also not judge the OS based on its name or the screenshot. It only shows how clueless you are about the stuff which really matters when it comes to OS design.'

Why not? Everyone else outside of geekdom will. The fact that these OS's are now no longer developed only shows how clueless they were about the stuff which really matters when it comes to an OS - the users and their perception of the OS.

Sorry, but HelenOS has been actively developed for the past nine years and the current development activities on it are quite intensive. You may be a bit disappointed from your "visual" point of view, but let's face it, does your favorite flash "OS" run on 7 different processor architectures?

I can assure you that from the perspective of an (alternative) operating system, there are more important things than what wallpaper/icon to use. Moreover, there are plenty of systems that don't have any wallpaper or GUI, HelenOS being one of them. Simply put, the visual side may be a non-goal. If you want to see some nice pictures, there are better things to look at than screenshots of running OSes.

What bothers me is that forums are full of comments that reduce a complete OS into a screenshot and then draw conclusions from it. That is like making a picture of a car and then discussing the qualities of its engine based on the picture.


'...I suggest you go and read the HelenOS FAQ to learn more about the origin of the name and the OS itself.'

Sorry but do you expect any mass used OS to have a manual that actually gets read? hahah.... I'm not interested in using something called HelenOS, and shant be reading the manual.

[/q]
I expect people to do their homework before they start blathering about things they don't understand, which could be accomplished by at least reading the info on our home page and the FAQ.

Reply Score: 1

Coxy Member since:
2006-07-01

'I expect people to do their homework before they start blathering about things they don't understand, which could be accomplished by at least reading the info on our home page and the FAQ.'

Well if I do my home work it's no longer something I don't understand, isn't it? Also you should try doing the same. Before you start "blathering" on about design, do your homework and find out what design is - icons, wallpaper and screenshots it 'aint.

Reply Score: 2

Generalizations
by smoke.tetsu on Tue 18th May 2010 07:21 UTC
smoke.tetsu
Member since:
2010-05-18

"show any die-hard Mac fan a screenshot of Mac OS X 10.2 and it will take him a while to realise it's not Snow Leopard."

I sure as hell can tell within a second! I can especially tell the difference between earlier versions and later revisions as aqua has evolved a lot since then. Especially with that extreme example!

It's these kind of broad generalizations that lower the credibility of this article for me. This article reads less like an article and more like an angry forum posting complete with insulting the reader with the aforementioned generalizations.

Although I do agree that it's unfortunate that there's not as much going on with the alternative OS scene anymore. I kind of feel like alternative OS' have always been more of an ideal and a nice thought than anything practical. Something to experiment with when you have some free time but then go back to your workhorse to get real stuff done. Perhaps that's even true for the developers as well and they don't have as much time for hobby OS' anymore especially in this economy. ;)

Reply Score: 1

and more ...
by Sabon on Tue 18th May 2010 19:54 UTC
Sabon
Member since:
2005-07-06

Features of eComStation

Graphical User Interface

Object oriented Graphical User Interface
All icons in the folders and on the eCS Desktop are called "Objects" in eCS terminology. An object is not just a picture but actually the real file on the hard disk or a dynamic representation of it. In fact, an object is nothing else than a connection between data and a certain action. When you double click on a spreadsheet file then it is, for instance, opened in a spreadsheet program which is associated with that file. But at the same time also other programs might be associated with your spreadsheet file. In eCS objects are organized in so called "Classes", just like the fauna is organized into classes based on the properties of certain groups of animals. Actually a class in OS/2 and eCS is a way of organizing objects based upon their behaviour and layout. All objects of the same class have identical properties. When the class is derived from a higher class, these objects get ('inherit') the properties of that higher class. That's why a program object doesn't behave the same as a folder object, but both have an icon by which you can recognize the object.

Because in eCS everything is based on objects and the variable properties of those, we speak of an "Object oriented" graphical desktop. Whenever you want to change the properties of an object, you simply click on it with the right mouse button and select "Properties" from the context menu. The window with the coloured tabs that will pop up gives you a lot of possibilities to alter properties or to add new properties to the object.

Drag and drop

Drag and drop is very important for an efficient use of the system in a graphical working environment. Better than in any other operating system you can use drag and drop without limits within eComStation. Within eComStation every action you can think of can be done by using drag and drop. Some examples:

document open, create, copy, move, delete ...
open a web site in your browser
give a window another background colour
change the font of text
change the colour scheme of your Desktop
improve and underline cells within spreadsheets
copy text, save, move...
change the country settings for your system
compose MP3 play lists
change context menus of objects and define file associations
So called 'Palettes' are typical for eComStation. These can be described as containers containing objects from which you can transfer the characteristics to other objects just by using drag and drop. Out of the box eComStation contains a number of standard Palettes, but a user may also create new Palettes. See the picture below for some examples of eComStation Palettes.

(Click for larger image)
Templates

Templates are typical WorkPlace Shell objects by which the user can easily create new objects by using drag and drop. You can use templates to create data files (e.g. a standard letter), but also to create program objects, new palettes or any kind of other object.


(Click for larger image)
Templates are both elegant and logical within the 'data-centric' oriented desktop of eComStation. In contrast to most (office) applications for Windows, templates are not limited to only one specific application within eComStation, but are available system wide and to all programs. eComStation delivers a large range of standard templates for about every application, but the user can make new template objects without restrictions as well.

Command Line Interface (CLI)

CMD.EXE
Some people don't fancy graphical user interfaces and prefer to use the operating system by typing commands, because this might give more options in some cases or just because it is a lot faster and allows using command scripts (batch files).

eComStation has this option as well of course, and more, you can even modify eComStation in a way that the graphical user interface is deactivated (temporarily) and work with only a command prompt to control the system. On RAM memory constrained systems this is quite often a very useful option.

The default command line interface of eComStation, abbreviated to CLI , is the so called command processor 'CMD.EXE'. You can run this in a window as well as in a full screen session, just which you prefer. This program has its limitations though, especially when you compare it to some CLIs that are in use on Linux.


(Click for larger image)
Fortunately there is a good alternative for CMD.EXE, called '4OS2', by which eComStation users can also enjoy the pure power of a good command shell, like Linux users. You can download '4OS2' for free at JP Software - Downloads.

Scripting

REXX
The programming language REXX is included in eComStation. This language existed before eComStation itself and is also available on other platforms like AIX, Windows, Linux and on IBM mainframes. The real power of REXX shows by its ease of use on one side and by its range of very powerful programming language options on the other side. REXX is extremely useful to automate certain tasks by using simple text, called a script, but you can use REXX also for complex, extensive programs with a graphical user interface.

WPS integration

The possibilities of REXX are nowhere used better than with eComStation. 'REXX/2' is extended with a lot of special functions with which the properties of WorkPlace Shell objects can be fully used and controlled.
As an example, the following REXX function creates a folder on the eCS Desktop with the name "OS/2 users group" including the settings that it should contain small icons which are organized in multiple columns. The "F" option tells REXX that the command should not be executed if the folder already exists.
RC=SysCreateObject('WPFolder', ,
'OS/2 users group', '', ,ICONVIEW=FLOWED,MIN, ,F)

Extensive REXX documentation is standard with eComStation!
eComStation kernel

Multi-tasking
eComStation uses, like Unix, so called 'pre-emptive' multitasking, which gives the user the opportunity to execute multiple different tasks at the same time on the PC. Within eComStation it is also possible to adjust the multitasking by setting various parameters to values which match the specific application requirements.

Multi-threading

In contrast to for instance Linux, eComStation offers standard support for 'multi-threading'. Multithreading is a very efficient way of using computer resources for a single application (process), by executing multiple application sub-tasks simultaneously. Multi-threaded programs are mostly showing a very good responsiveness.

Reply Score: 2

Sabon
Member since:
2005-07-06

There are a lot more ways to customize OS/2 (eComStation) than Windows. Each window can have its own back ground be it a color or gradient or picture. You can adjust window borders, changing colors or width.

Sorry but I just don't have time to go into all of it. OS/2 is a lot more powerful and flexible than it appears just looking at it in the beginning.

Yes it is kind of ugly out of the box. My opinion of course. You can adjust it to look really nice though. It's just up to you.

It's also amazing how many more programs you can run at one time on OS/2 compared to Windows. I'm talking about hundreds of programs if you have the RAM and disk space (swap drive). It's takes far less RAM per program for OS/2 when the programmer takes advantage of OS/2 libraries.

I'm no expert. I'm just a fan just like anyone who likes Windows or Mac or Linux or Amiga or BeOS/Haiku, etc.

Reply Score: 2

I didn't know Gnome...
by panickedthumb on Thu 20th May 2010 19:56 UTC
panickedthumb
Member since:
2007-01-04

...was 30 minutes from here! I need to head over to Bland and visit.

Let me tell you though, it really does live up to its name. Bland County is about as boring as a county can be.

Reply Score: 1