It operates exclusively in protected mode and features a simple but attractive graphical interface, real preemptive multitasking, and virtual memory. The package includes a small suite of Unix- and DOS-like commands with which most users will be familiar, although Visopsys is not a clone of any existing OS. You can install and demo the distribution on a floppy disk, or on a hard disk partition (it works with GRUB and LILO bootloaders).
Version 0.3 is very much an "under the hood" release. A great deal of work has gone into improving the structure, performance, and stability of the underlying code -- particularly the disk subsystem, with fully asynchronous disk I/O, read-ahead, and caching. That said, some effort has been undertaken to provide additional 'eye candy', and the GUI has improved in various ways which make it more logical and functional.
Additional new features include: The kernel memory footprint has been reduced with the help of a new kernel heap allocation scheme, additional graphic modes/bit depths have been implemented, and all of the kernel ASM code has been rewritten in C for better overall cohesion. Booting from beyond the 1024th hard disk cylinder is now supported, as well as the ability to format FAT12/16/32 filesystems.
The "Disk Manager" (fdisk) now offers most of the features found in other fdisk tools (plus things like copying partitions from one physical disk to another), making Visopsys potentially useful as a PC rescue disk. Expect to see more extensive development of the Disk Manager in future releases, as it aims to become an easy-to-use, free software replacement for partition Magic -- on the strength of Visopsys' small size, floppy disk distribution, and graphical interface.
As always, bug reports and feedback to Andy McLaughlin are appreciated.