Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 20th Jan 2014 11:16 UTC, submitted by andymc
OSNews, Generic OSes

We report regularly about Visopsys - one of the few hobby operating systems that survived where virtually all the others (SkyOS, Syllable, etc.) died out. They've got a new website, which seems like a nice occasion to give it some attention again.

The bulk of Visopsys is a fully multitasking, 100% protected mode, virtual-memory, massively-monolithic-style kernel. Added to this is a bare-bones C library and a minimal suite of applications - together comprising a small but reasonably functional operating system which can operate natively in either graphical or text modes. Though it's been in continuous development for a number of years, realistically the target audience remains limited to operating system enthusiasts, students, and assorted other sensation seekers.

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RE[3]: Comment by charlieg
by Brendan on Mon 20th Jan 2014 14:36 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by charlieg"
Brendan
Member since:
2005-11-16

Hi,

Sometimes I ask myself why some developers who are expert enough to create an OS can't start writing useful things for Linux that only a small fraction can do it: OpenCL acceleration of apps, OpenGL Shaders, Graphics drivers, vector graphics rendering library, optimization, refactoring of huge and badly architectured apps, ...


Why did the Wright brothers waste their time creating their own/new type of vehicle from scratch, when they could've just improved an existing truck design?

- Brendan

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[4]: Comment by charlieg
by boulabiar on Mon 20th Jan 2014 15:59 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by charlieg"
boulabiar Member since:
2009-04-18

an OS is way way way way more difficult than a vehicle.
13 millions lines of Code for Linux, thousands of devices and drivers, hundreds of badly designed hw but obliged to support, hardware itself moving so so fast into new architectures (HSA ?), ...

The golden days when someone could stay few weeks in his room them come out with an OS are over.

In the other side, the gap between open source systems and proprietary ones are becoming more and more wide.
Adobe software started to be accelerated using OpenCL/CUDA/HSA ... Graphics drivers still not very well supported like in closed systems...

BTW, for the usefulness of "a life", I mesure that by how many other lifes it impacts. If you make the life of millions easier, then you have succeeded in your life. I don't mesure that by how much it has helped me only improve.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[5]: Comment by charlieg
by olafg on Mon 20th Jan 2014 16:16 in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by charlieg"
olafg Member since:
2010-05-27

an OS is way way way way more difficult than a vehicle.
13 millions lines of Code for Linux, thousands of devices and drivers, hundreds of badly designed hw but obliged to support, hardware itself moving so so fast into new architectures (HSA ?), ...


I don't disagree, but if you limit yourself to Intel cpus with integrated graphics then it most certainly is doable now that they publish both drivers and documentation for their GPUs. Nothing wrong by defining a narrow range of hardware to support.

What do you need to create a basic diskless OS?
- basic ethernet (you can borrow this from another open source os)
- basic usb drivers for mouse/keyboard/flash (you can borrow this)
- basic graphics buffer (you can make a simple framebuffer for a start)

You could use BareMetal OS as a starting point.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[5]: Comment by charlieg
by Athlander on Mon 20th Jan 2014 16:46 in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by charlieg"
Athlander Member since:
2008-03-10


BTW, for the usefulness of "a life", I mesure that by how many other lifes it impacts. If you make the life of millions easier, then you have succeeded in your life. I don't mesure that by how much it has helped me only improve.


I think that's quite a disturbing philosophy.

Reply Parent Score: 9

RE[5]: Comment by charlieg
by thegman on Mon 20th Jan 2014 22:36 in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by charlieg"
thegman Member since:
2007-01-30

an OS is way way way way more difficult than a vehicle.
13 millions lines of Code for Linux, thousands of devices and drivers, hundreds of badly designed hw but obliged to support, hardware itself moving so so fast into new architectures (HSA ?), ...

The golden days when someone could stay few weeks in his room them come out with an OS are over.



I have to disagree on both points:

1) 'OS is more difficult that vehicle', no, some OS are simple, some vehicles are simple, some OS are complicated, some vehicles are complicated. Generally, they're as complicated as you want to make them.

2) The days of making an OS in a couple of weeks are over? No, only if you want to consider an OS to be what the big players want you to think it is. An OS does not need to have thousands of drivers to be useful, only to support thousands of different types of hardware. Target specific hardware, don't overcomplicate, and making an OS is as simple (or as hard!) as it ever was.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[5]: Comment by charlieg
by Brendan on Tue 21st Jan 2014 03:39 in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by charlieg"
Brendan Member since:
2005-11-16

Hi,

an OS is way way way way more difficult than a vehicle.


I wouldn't know - I've never built a vehicle.

13 millions lines of Code for Linux, thousands of devices and drivers, hundreds of badly designed hw but obliged to support, hardware itself moving so so fast into new architectures (HSA ?), ...


An OS doesn't necessarily need to support more than 1 architecture. Device drivers are also mostly optional; in that (assuming 80x86) you can get a long way with generic "frame buffer" video, no sound, standard AHCI and/or ATA drivers, a few drivers for the most common (wired) ethernet cards, 3 USB controller drivers, USB mouse, USB keyboard and USB flash.

The golden days when someone could stay few weeks in his room them come out with an OS are over.


Initial knowledge, quality and features of the OS and level of hardware support all vary significantly; so time to implement also varies significantly. At one extreme something similar to DOS could probably be slapped together in 1 month, and at the other extreme no OS is ever "finished" (there's always more work you can do, even if you're Microsoft).

In the other side, the gap between open source systems and proprietary ones are becoming more and more wide.
Adobe software started to be accelerated using OpenCL/CUDA/HSA ... Graphics drivers still not very well supported like in closed systems...


Not really. E.g. Linux is able to work extremely well if you choose your hardware with a little care. The progress its made in the last 10 years has reduced the gap by a lot.

BTW, for the usefulness of "a life", I mesure that by how many other lifes it impacts. If you make the life of millions easier, then you have succeeded in your life. I don't mesure that by how much it has helped me only improve.


Every day I make the lives of over 7 billion people easier (by trying not to murder them).

- Brendan

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[5]: Comment by charlieg
by unclefester on Tue 21st Jan 2014 11:43 in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by charlieg"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

an OS is way way way way more difficult than a vehicle.


Total and utter bollocks. A modern car is the culmination of 125 years combined automotive industry experience. It takes several thousand engineers 3-7 years and about $2-3billion to develop a "new" car model. However the "new" model is usually nothing more than a very minor iteration of an earlier design using existing technology ("a dot point release"). Every single component ("subroutine") of a car from the windscreen to the door mirrors to the airbags has in turn taken the suppliers decades of engineering expertise and millions (billions) of dollars to develop. Even a minor design change such as a new grille and bumpers ("a code patch") can easily cost $50million to implement.

In other words it takes thousands of engineers and costs $billions just to produce a "dot point release" of a Ford, VW or Mercedes.

Edited 2014-01-21 11:49 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: Comment by charlieg
by unclefester on Wed 22nd Jan 2014 08:35 in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by charlieg"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

an OS is way way way way more difficult than a vehicle.
13 millions lines of Code for Linux, thousands of devices and drivers, hundreds of badly designed hw but obliged to support, hardware itself moving so so fast into new architectures (HSA ?), ...

The golden days when someone could stay few weeks in his room them come out with an OS are over.


13 million lines of code divided by 100 programmers = 13,000 lines each. This is hardly a monumental task. David Cutler only used a small team to create Windows NT.

A modern PC OS only needs to support one architecture: AMD64.

Hardware vendors write most of the drivers and provide documentation for Windows.

Reply Parent Score: 2