Week in Review
We've had quite some news items on truly alternative operating systems this week. We'd like to fill the entire site with news about those, but the sad truth is that there simply isn't enough news coming out of that small group of small projects to fill this site.
The week started off with a new release from the ReactOS team, ReactOS 0.3.9. It comes with a hole slew of improvements, mostly quite low-level. Later that day we also saw a new release of BeRTOS, an embedded real-time operating system.
Later this week, RISC OS 5 was spotted running on a BeagleBoard, a machine built around an ARM Cortex-A8 chip. The port was made possible thanks to RISC OS 5 now being "shared source", and will hopefully allow RISC OS on for instance the upcoming flood of ARM-based netbooks. Right now, RISC OS is tied to fairly expensive hardware, and having the possibility to run RISC OS on cheap hardware will really help the platform.
To complete the truly alternative operating system streak, let's move on to AROS. The AROS team finally put out another status update, after a long period of communication silence. Massive progress was still being made, but they just didn't talk about it. The AROS distribution Icaros Desktop released an update which fixes several bugs.
There were also various other new operating system releases. Mandriva 2009 Spring has been released, the NetBSD guys released version 5.0 with massive SMP improvements, and OpenBSD 4.5 was released. Solaris 10 also got updated.
Moving on to the super evil proprietary segment of the market, there was lots of news on Windows 7. For instance, we re-evaluated the goal of Windows XP Mode, coming to the conclusion that it is designed for businesses, and has little to do - seemingly - with moving backwards compatibility into a VM. Microsoft also made the system requirements for Windows 7 known, and released the Windows 7 RC to TechNet and MSDN subscribers.
Apple was also in the news this week. Early in the week, I decided to flog the iPhone-is-not-a-netbook horse again. David wrote a story about the troubles that come with installing and running Mac OS X on a netbook, there were rumours about Apple possibly competing on price, and the company accuses Psystar of withholding information.
The big piece of feel-good news this week was that Linux finally broke the 1% market share barrier on the figures provided by Net Applications. As we all know, those figures are not to be used in an absolute way, but they do indicate trends.
My Take: Koninginnedag
We Dutch people had a bit of a weird week. Thursday was supposed to be a joyous day, as it was Queen's Day. On this day, the entire country is celebrating, going to parties, having fun, going to the "free markets", or whatever other activity thousands of volunteers have been planning all year long.
Sadly, the day was brutally cut short by a crazy maniac who purposefully drove his car straight through a group of people, while trying to hit the bus carrying the Royal Family. While he failed to hit the bus, he did injure 17, and kill 7 - including himself. The entire attack, as well as the events that followed, were broadcast live on national television, as the Queen's visits on Queen's Day always are.
The man was going to be charged with attempted assassination of the Royal Family, as well as the premeditated murder of 6 people. Sadly, he died in the hospital that night, eluding the courts. This also means his true motives remain unknown - he did state to the police, before he died, that it was an intentional attempt to kill the Queen. As it turns out, he recently got fired, and we think something simply snapped.
If you're not Dutch, then it's really had to understand just how much impact something like this has on our country. On Queen's Day, there are no boundaries. Rich, poor, Christian, Muslim, fat, slim, tall, short, white, black, Royal, not-royal - everyone is partying among one another (even the Royals). Mushily, it's called a day of unity. Having something like this happen on a day like this is just devastating. The entire country was in shock. All festivities and activities for the rest of the day were cancelled.
The image that will haunt me forever is of a little 4 year old girl. She had two ponytails with orange decorations and the flag on them. I can see how all excited she must've been for days on end, as her mother had promised she'd see real princesses! Would there be horses? Will they be wearing princess dresses?
Instead, her day ended gruesomely. She was looking around in despair, with her rosy cheeks, tears rolling down her face. My heart just tore itself apart.
I had planned a nice day in Amsterdam, scouring the city with my friends. Right after I saw the events live on television - I'm a die-hard Royalist - I called my friends and said it wouldn't be right to go out partying knowing what had happened.