posted by Thom Holwerda on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 14:04 UTC
IconOver the past couple of months, I've been getting a number of emails asking me about SkyOS' status. Since I didn't know anything beyond what's on the SkyOS website, and because, well, I have no affiliation with SkyOS, I couldn't really reply to these emails. However, after yet another email sent to me late last week, I decided to simply... Email Robert Szeleney, the man behind the project.

As some of you might remember, after a long silence from the SkyOS camp, I decided to stir things up a bit about a year ago, which resulted in a reply from Szeleney detailing the hurdles the project was facing - a combination of personal matters and technical issues.

"I have to admit that I underestimated the speed at which new technolgy develops and establishes," Szeleney said a year ago, "And, a while ago I was able to spend more than 6 hours a day developing for SkyOS, for years. Recently, as my first baby was born this of course changed which made the entire developing situation even worth. Again I underestimated a few, personal, real life factors and their impact on developing."

As a result, Szeleney started experimenting with using either the NetBSD or Linux kernel as a base. He created a proof-of-concept where the SkyOS userland and tools were running atop a Linux kernel. "Only the linux kernel will be used. No textmode. From a user point of view no difference should be visible between the current SkyOS kernel or this proof of concept Linux kernel," Szeleny explained last summer, "Based on the results of these proof of concepts (e.g. performance, user experience, etc.) further decisions regarding the SkyOS future can be made."

That's where things went silent again. No more news items on the SkyOS site, no progress reports, and the forums more or less died out, only awakened every now and then by a confused person posting ideas for SkyOS to use. After having received a number of emails in which people asked me what SkyOS' status was (why me? I have no idea), I decided to simply ask Szeleney himself. I of course have his permission to reproduce his answers here.

These days, Szeleney also develops iPhone games, which have become quite successful: Rope'n'Fly, RunStickRun, and Amazing Havoc. "Yes, developing a few games from time to time is a rather funny variation of the day-to-day business," Szeleney wrote in his reply to my email.

Let's get to the meat of the matter, though. What is SkyOS' current status? Is it dead, as some have proclaimed in the SkyOS forums? "The current status as posted on skyos.org didn't change," Szeleney explains, "The project is still on halt with trying to find alternatives (mostly speaking with possible interested people/companies about continuing the development)."

"SkyOS is not dead, but it is currently not developed actively on," he continues, "I don't want to call it dead at all, because once officially declared dead, there will be no motivations/reason for anyone trying to continue the effort at all."

"You know, I had the opinion I informed people quite well and explained the situation in detail on skyos.org. Alternatively people can always contact me, talking about this issue in detail too. As soon as new relevant things happen skyos.org will of course be updated to inform people," he further details, "Let say, SkyOS is in a critical state at this moment, and sound the death knell on it yet would be quite easy, but trying to get it back on track is the real challenge currently, for me or potential new project owners."

So, there you have it, straight from the horse's mouth (which I always find a rather odd phrase, but alas). If you have more questions, or if you're interested in maybe helping out in some way, you can always contact Szeleney directly (his contact information can be found here).

Now, let's hope something can be worked out, because it would be a shame to see all the work gone into SkyOS to be wasted.

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