Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 17th Sep 2012 16:56 UTC, submitted by Andy McLaughlin
OSNews, Generic OSes "Visopsys (VISual OPerating SYStem) is an alternative operating system for PC-compatible computers, developed almost exclusively by one person, Andy McLaughlin, since its inception in 1997. Andy is a 30-something programmer from Canada, who, via Boston and San Jose ended up in London, UK, where he spends much of his spare time developing Visopsys. We had the great fortune to catch up with Andy via email and ask him questions about Visopsys, why he started the project in the first place, and where is it going in the future."
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RE: The hardest part
by demetrioussharpe on Wed 19th Sep 2012 00:10 UTC in reply to "The hardest part"
demetrioussharpe
Member since:
2009-01-09

What we need is some kind of universal driver standard that can be shared across all operating systems. Ideally this would be in source form and the layer could be optimised away by the compiler. This way a driver wouldn't be written for "Windows X" but instead for the "2012 PC driver standard". The OS would implement the standard and immediately support numerous compatible hardware devices. It's a pipe dream though. For it's part, MS would never participate, and their cooperation would be pretty much mandatory.


This has already been tried; it's called UDI (Uniform Driver Interface). Unfortunately, it's exceptionally hard to get everyone on board with such an effort. The open source community largely ignored it, because it allowed the proliferation of binary drivers to continue. None of the other OS vendors had any incentive to participate in it because they don't have a problem getting manufacturers to create drivers for them. It's a shame, because there's also a reference implementation available, but no one seems to care. Perhaps all of the hobby OS's should work to create drivers for this API to allow driver sharing. If you'd like to check UDI out, here're a few links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniform_Driver_Interface
http://www.projectudi.org/
http://projectudi.sourceforge.net/

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: The hardest part
by Alfman on Wed 19th Sep 2012 00:45 in reply to "RE: The hardest part"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

demetrioussharpe,

Thank you for the links. UDI had been mentioned already, and as far as I can tell it fell into obscurity a decade ago for the political reasons that have already been mentioned. It was a good idea but I don't think it wasn't a complete solution either, only targeting system devices like network and block devices. I couldn't find anything in UDI for webcams, scanners, or even mice.

To those of you who may be questioning why bother talking about this when the chance of adoption is next to none, well...I'm an os-dever at heart, I fantasize about how things should be. I suspect it's the same thing that drives people like Visopsys's creator.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: The hardest part
by demetrioussharpe on Wed 19th Sep 2012 03:11 in reply to "RE[2]: The hardest part"
demetrioussharpe Member since:
2009-01-09

demetrioussharpe,

Thank you for the links. UDI had been mentioned already, and as far as I can tell it fell into obscurity a decade ago for the political reasons that have already been mentioned. It was a good idea but I don't think it wasn't a complete solution either, only targeting system devices like network and block devices. I couldn't find anything in UDI for webcams, scanners, or even mice.

To those of you who may be questioning why bother talking about this when the chance of adoption is next to none, well...I'm an os-dever at heart, I fantasize about how things should be. I suspect it's the same thing that drives people like Visopsys's creator.


You're welcome. I'll say this, though: since UDI is defunct, there's room for someone(s) to pick up the project & create a standard for the rest of the types of devices. Going forward, this could be a worthy API for the hobby OS community to pick up & work on as an overall solution to this problem, since this will be the main showstopper that'll stop most hobby OSes from going mainstream. Just because Linux & the other main open source OSes didn't pick it up, doesn't mean that it wouldn't be a boon for other groups. In fact, this might actually level the playing field for the other OSes, since Linux seems to get most of the open source OS developer talent.

Reply Parent Score: 1