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 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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Comment by truckweb
by truckweb on Mon 21st Dec 2009 00:05 UTC
Member since:

Any OS that is used by a tiny amount of users could be called "Hobby". Even more so if it's hard to obtain usable hardware to use the said OS.

Even if you do REAL work with AmigaOS or RISCOS (or whatever OS), the eco-system is so small, that it verge on being irrelevant so hence the "hobby" tag it carries.

Windows, Mac OS and Linux are the market leaders. Everything else is a rounding error.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by truckweb
by judgen on Mon 21st Dec 2009 00:44 in reply to "Comment by truckweb"
judgen Member since:

So marketshare is what defines hobbies for you?
So if collecting coins, stamps and funny hats was the ones with major marketshare/mindshare they would be less of a hobby than lets say collecting plastic cactuses. Or is it in your reasoning that collecting the plastic cactuses are more of a hobby because of the obscurity compared to coin and stamp collecting?

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE: Comment by truckweb
by sorpigal on Mon 21st Dec 2009 02:10 in reply to "Comment by truckweb"
sorpigal Member since:

Once upon a time there was a hobby OS called Linux. You had to download source code from ftp sites and cross compile it to even build the boot floppy!

The big players were a handful of UNIX vendors, Microsoft and Apple. Everything else was a rounding error.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Linux as Hobby OS
by jruschme on Mon 21st Dec 2009 13:28 in reply to "RE: Comment by truckweb"
jruschme Member since:

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.

Reply Parent Score: 1