Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 20th Dec 2009 21:22 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes I just stumbled upon an interesting forum thread over at AmigaWorld.net. The thread details whether or not AmigaOS and MorphOS should be called "hobby operating systems", and what kind of criteria should be applied. This sounded like an interesting point of discussion for OSNews.
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Linux as Hobby OS
by jruschme on Mon 21st Dec 2009 13:28 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by truckweb"
jruschme
Member since:
2007-07-19

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

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

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

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

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