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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RE: The Wintel Inquisition
by cpiral on Wed 23rd Dec 2009 03:01 UTC in reply to "The Wintel Inquisition"
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Close and closer.
A hobby OS (or cult) becomes an OS (or religion)
when the ratio of end-user-to-developer is large, that is when the kernel is rarely called. End users read religion man(1). Developers users read cult man(5) (system calls).

For example, an embedded OS has, by form, more end users
than developer users. The embedded OS status is thus another good indicator of the less-than-hobby class of OS.

There are other contexts besides religion and OSs that classify based on the end-user-to-developer ratio. At first the dinosaur computer had no OS, and all users were developers--it was a hobby of sorts. Nowadays an OOP programmer manual commonly terms "user" the user of a developed API (say a developed file.h), as opposed to the developer of the API. Obviously now the application is classed by how many other people use the application, in other words, the ratio of end-users-to-developer(s) is large.
An OS is just a big (harware) API made up of a number of little APIs (depending on the design goals). When its end-users-to-developers ratio is large, as Thom suggests, it's less a hobby.

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