Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 15th Apr 2013 22:44 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes Almost exactly three years ago, I wrote about why OSNews was no longer OSNews: the alternative operating system scene had died, and OSNews, too, had to go with the times and move towards reporting on a new wave of operating systems - mobile, and all the repercussions that the explosion of smartphones and tablets have caused. Still, I was wondering something today: why aren't we seeing alternative operating systems on mobile?
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RE: Differences
by kjmph on Tue 16th Apr 2013 03:55 UTC in reply to "Differences"
kjmph
Member since:
2009-07-17

Sadly, I think you are right. Although my own alternative OS never got off the ground for x86, I don't have a strong interest to build an OS for mobile. It was easier to target the golden era x86 devices.. They have well understood and common HW implementations. I almost feel like the Linux kernel is at fault, if they had moved to GPLv3 maybe the HW wouldn't be so opaque. However, since it is open enough for vendors to build upon, yet closed enough for vendors to ship, it leaves alternative "OS" design in the realm of custom ROMs.

However, I *am* a Linux kernel engineer by trade, so if I was hired to do an OS, I *would* just use the kernel I know and love. There isn't a strong need to rebuild a kernel anymore. My ideas all played to niche markets, and if I had to market to general users, why would we ever use anything but the Linux kernel (or BSD kernels, for those that know it better)?

I personally think alternative OSes are pandering to remembrance of things past. There is a lot of fun work there, but we won't move to mobile within five years with that mind set.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Differences
by v_bobok on Tue 16th Apr 2013 05:11 in reply to "RE: Differences"
v_bobok Member since:
2008-08-01

There isn't a strong need to rebuild a kernel anymore.


This exactly what's wrong with the world of today. Everything is just Linux, Linux and oh by the way Linux.

No thinking outside the box anymore. Don't make life harder than it already is, just use Linux kernel, right?

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: Differences
by dsmogor on Tue 16th Apr 2013 10:13 in reply to "RE[2]: Differences"
dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

Except Android if quite out of the box Linux.

Edited 2013-04-16 10:13 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Differences
by Alfman on Tue 16th Apr 2013 05:27 in reply to "RE: Differences"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

kjmph,

I agree that there's very little incentive for vendors to take risks with indy operating systems, and linux is obviously good enough for their needs.

It does disturb me a bit that linux has become such a disproportionate monopoly in the open source space though. This is partly because I like to see alternatives have a healthier share of the open source market, and partly because some of the technical decisions were unfortunate. Linux was designed to be a POSIX compliant OS, which it's done an excellent job at, but I'm not such a fan of POSIX itself. I'd have preferred an OS with better interfaces to have moved ahead of the pack, something like plan 9. However in hindsight it's pretty clear that linux gained converts from the sizable unix market owing to POSIX compatibility, so it's not clear to me that anything with alternative interfaces would have had a real chance.

Edited 2013-04-16 05:30 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Differences
by Delgarde on Wed 17th Apr 2013 00:34 in reply to "RE[2]: Differences"
Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

However in hindsight it's pretty clear that linux gained converts from the sizable unix market owing to POSIX compatibility, so it's not clear to me that anything with alternative interfaces would have had a real chance.


People often don't seem to appreciate just how important compatibility is. But it should be obvious that a new OS will struggle to catch on if it can't actually do anything useful, and having access to existing applications makes a big difference.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Differences
by Vanders on Tue 16th Apr 2013 09:35 in reply to "RE: Differences"
Vanders Member since:
2005-07-06

There isn't a strong need to rebuild a kernel anymore. My ideas all played to niche markets, and if I had to market to general users, why would we ever use anything but the Linux kernel (or BSD kernels, for those that know it better)?


Linux is not perfect, and mono-cultures are bad.

There is a lot of fun work there, but we won't move to mobile within five years with that mind set.


Eh? Who is "we"? Most hobbyist Operating Systems are just that: a hobby. You're assigning commercial motives to something that isn't commercial.

Reply Parent Score: 2