Expert Zone reports: “Syllable 0.5.6 has been released. “The full changelog can be found below, but the major highlights of this release are improved Audio/Video support, support for CD writing with Cdrtools 2.1, enhanced POSIX compliance, a large list of kernel enhancements including basic ACPI support and a major new version of the GNU C library.”
Syllable 0.5.6 Released
Submitted by Thom Holwerda 2005-04-19 Syllable, AtheOS 33 Comments
I’d love to see this OS get a few more developers and gain a bit of traction. It’s got lots of potential and would give a nice desktop alternative to the more traditional free software operating systems (Linux, *BSD).
One thing that the Open Source Software model has, which Microsoft and its closed colleagues can never have is diversity (except for the many flavours of XP we are seeing). Thanks to people like the Syllable team, Open Source will continue to exercise this advantage. Kudos!
Syllable is actually a very good example of the advantages of open source, as it was once a one man project called AtheOS by a human coding machine called Kurt Skauen.
The problem was that Skauen got a bad case of burn out and opted to learn to fly instead. The project, which had developed a bit of a following, would have been stone cold dead at that point, if it hadn’t been for the fact that it was GPL. So some of the “followers” picked up the ball, renamed it Syllable and played on.
Yay, open source!
> I’d love to see this OS get a few more developers and gain
> a bit of traction.
If you’re not a developer, you can still contribute in other ways:
– report errors in (or contribute to) the documentation ( http://www.other-space.com/sub/ ),
– contribute to the wiki ( http://www.syllable-wiki.tk/ ) (though I’m not a big fan of wiki’s)
– request or supply a tutorial ( http://www.other-space.com/sub/requests.php )
– install and get to know Syllable, then help other’s do the same ( http://www.syllable.org/forum.php ). Don’t forget to visit the HCL ( http://www.syllable-hardware.info/news.php ) and add/rate how well Syllable works on your hardware.
– Buy a “Premium CD” ( http://www.syllable.org/get.php ).
Sorry, as far as I can tell, this OS doesn’t use a global menu bar and instead relies on the tried-and-true awful Windows way of having floating bars attached to its windows, causing mouse users to be two times slower according to usability tests.
Maybe Windows users and the small niche of hardcore Linux desktop users prefer to mimic Windows’ mistakes forever, but the rest of us want to use something that doesn’t force us to slow down our mouse movements.
I know it’s early in development and i’m inpressed by their level of constant updates but one feature i would love is a more gui centric installation of syllable so it can be more fool proof. I know they (the devs) hear this alot but I would still like to know where on the “todo list” it’s on….
> but one feature i would love is a more gui centric
> installation of syllable so it can be more fool proof.
I think the deal is, right now, Syllable is not ready for consumption by the general public. It’s still under heavy development. Therefore, it’s probably not a good idea to make it too easy-peasy for non-experts to install. That might give the user (during the install) the impression that it’s already supposed to be polished and ready for regular daily use. Same thing applies to the GUI — leave it a little shabby for the moment; then make it smoother and smoother as the underlying OS becomes so.
df, I think Syllable looks more like BeOS (A screenshot of Zeta the succesor of BeOS: http://shots.osdir.com/slideshows/slideshow.php?release=223&slide=8) than Windows.
Sorry, as far as I can tell, this OS doesn’t use a global menu bar and instead relies on the tried-and-true awful Windows way of having floating bars attached to its windows, causing mouse users to be two times slower according to usability tests
Or you could just use the keyboard shortcuts, which are faster and more accurate for that kind of task. I guarantee I can hit Alt-F (or even Ctrl-Esc F, being a BeOS user) faster than you can move your mouse to the File menu and click on it, whether it’s part of a global menu bar or not. And if anyone really cares that much about miliseconds of mouse movement time, they should just learn the bloody keyboard shortcuts.
Of course, there’s the argument that having menu bars attached to windows is a waste of screen real estate. I find it’s the opposite – I can move a window, or hide it, or cover it with another window. I can’t do that with an (always on-top) global menu bar.
I’m glad the developers of Syllable didn’t copy that particular Mac-ism.
Ya know, I was gonna check it out but they have really got to make the booting work better.
They need to make it either easy to boot from GRUB, or make a bootloader of their own that can be loaded into the partition itself and called as a secondary/chain bootloader from the MBR.
Rule #1, if you want people to “play” with your OS, it needs to be able to live with other OS’s on the same system. Any “play” os is going to have cohabitate a system with that users other primary OS.
Han, you’re either looking at a different OS or you’re very confused. Syllable uses Grub; currently, Grub 0.95.
It is a custom version of Grub which includes an AFS driver (the filesystem used by Syllable), but it is Grub. We use Grub to boot the installation CD’s and the LiveCD. You can install Grub into your MBR and use it to boot Syllable and all your other OS’s or you can install Grub into the Syllable partition and then “bootstrap” Grub from your main boot-loader installed in the MBR, which doesn’t have to be Grub. Which is exactly what you’re asking for.
Syllable quite happily lives with any other OS I can think of. Because it uses Grub.
A graphical installer will probably be one of the things we start when we launch into the 0.6.x devlopment series. The current installer isn’t too bad, if a little simple. The trickiest part is installing Grub manually, but we’ll have that sorted soon.
“Sorry, as far as I can tell, this OS doesn’t use a global menu bar and instead relies on the tried-and-true awful Windows way of having floating bars attached to its windows, causing mouse users to be two times slower according to usability tests.
Maybe Windows users and the small niche of hardcore Linux desktop users prefer to mimic Windows’ mistakes forever, but the rest of us want to use something that doesn’t force us to slow down our mouse movements.”
To me a global meni bar is a mistake, more of a waste of space on the screen. I like windows GUI desgin alot more then any of the mac GUIs, but if I’m in a hurry and I will use keyboard shorcuts to get around using the mouse.
Looks good, I’ve been watching this since AtheOS first popped up on the web. At the time, I was still using my Amiga on a daily basis (just now getting back to that infact), and was looking for some sort of Amiga like OS for the PC.
I had fallen in love with BeOS, but there was a lack of software, and no support for DOOM Legacy , so I started to look around.
Not fond of Linux’s method of tackling the GUI arena, I found AtheOS, but it had even less software than Be, so I was stuck with Winblows, and have been ever since. Until I get this of course:
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which works in conjunction with this:
What 1992 Mac or PC has upgrades like that I ask you?
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Well, I’ll rain on your parade. Elbox’s product is like thier prev. product, Shark, a Vaporware. Also, there’s no future in running OS3.9 (at best) because this is the last OS you can run on MC68k, and we’re not even sure if Elbox will be able to run it on ColdFire, and how fast it will be. In the mean time both AmigaOS4 and MorphOS can run OS3.9 software. Faster. With a more decent hardware.
Sorry for Syllabe-guys for this offtopic. 🙂
Yes, sorry, didn’t mean to go off topic, Syllable is freaking cool, thankx for putting in all this hard work!
Maybe Windows users and the small niche of hardcore Linux desktop users prefer to mimic Windows’…
So, about 90% of users then?
Today, nothing gets invented anymore. Why try to search for something better? If it’s good and working in «Windows» it will be cool in other OS too…
It’s more of the same, mabe with little diffrence but still…
The GUI should, someday, be reinvented.
“Maybe Windows users and the small niche of hardcore Linux desktop users prefer to mimic Windows’ mistakes forever, but the rest of us want to use something that doesn’t force us to slow down our mouse movements.”
Why, yet again, is the debate reduced to a global menu bar (usually at the top of the screen like Mac OS) or per-window fixed menu bars (a la Windows, KDE, Gnome, …)?
Surely the ideal behaviour is using a mouse button to open a context-sensitive menu – user’s don’t have to move their mouse at all, and screen estate isn’t wasted: the menu simply pops up where and when it’s required.
Other advantages include being able to adjust the contents of the menu on the object selected; though this has to be used carefully to ensure that a user doesn’t lose familiarity with the menu.
…and no, right-click “Cut/Copy/Paste” menus don’t count. Generally, the whole menu bar (whether it’s global or per-window fixed) could be used, with possibly some cleverness added for manipulating the selected object directly.
The only real push for this in the open source world seems to be within the ROX Desktop:
Andrew, I have been pushing for this in Syllable, too. 🙂
> I have been pushing for this in Syllable, too. 🙂
Cool, good to hear
A screenshot from RISC OS showing how it works (if people can’t imagine it): http://productsdb.riscos.com/admin/images/menu.jpg
An example of how a Gaim conversation window might act like this: http://bleb.org/misc/shot.png
Is there a LiveCD I can boot without making any partition changes to my HD? I’m really not interested in fudging with the MBR since last program did that killed windows.
Hey there, Andrew, are you a fan of both ROX and Lotus Notes? I smell common ground. 🙂 Influences of both are going into Syllable.
Kaj: there are certainly bits of Notes which are good – at least in terms of concept and architecture. However some of the implementation leaves a lot to be desired. Replication in particular is very clever, as is the generic way that mail is implemented using server-to-server (mail.box) and server-to-client replication.
It seems to have a tendency to be used very badly, IME – although as a groupware product I still find it preferable to Outlook which I’m now using in my day job (as long as you can modify your own mail templates ;-))
Well, they will NOT implement a global menubar, simply because the lead developers do not personally like them, so the next best thing would be context menues only.
Why should menus be separated from their application/window (Mac/Amiga style, at the top of screen) ?
mimic: You forget that Windows loves to waste valuable resources to get the job done too. Has Amiga taught you nothing? Has Palm taught you nothing?
I downloaded the ISO and booted from it, but Syllable didn’t find it’s boot device. It printed some stuff from scanning partitions, but didn’t know which device it was booting from. I tried from a SCSI (controller: AH78xx) CD drive and a regular Atapi one. Bummer. I would have liked to check it out.
Nice to see this OS coming along, AtheOS had potential and gald Syllable is keeping it going
On the subject on menus… I’ll take the Amiga’s approach… a global menu bar that only appeared when the right mouse button was depressed (spatial, but without taking up space). Or you could install a commodity (a small plug-in app that modified input device behaviour) to make the menu pop up wherever the mouse was. Combine that with a degree of context sensitivity (which would have to be implemented so as to not break the spatial aspect if possible) and that’d be ideal.
I tend to keep my windows in Windows maximised, so things are in a consistent position anyway (kind of forcing Windows to be spatial)…
Of course, if you took an Amiga-like approach and used a flexible system whereby the end-user could select the way their GUI looked and felt…
For Syllable, I mean. Syllable and Aros.
Time for some fun!
Syllable doesn’t support any SCSI controllers yet so anything attached to your AH78xx won’t work. However it should have worked in your ATAPI drive. How far did it get? Did Grub start? Did Syllable begin to boot? Did it stop with any error messages? If you could provide more information it may be helpful in debugging and fixing the problem. Thanks!