This Visopsys 0.61 maintenance release adds Disk Manager support for resizing NTFS filesystems and arbitrary partitions, purely unprivileged user-space processes, I/O port permissions and protection, IDE block mode I/O, Linux swap detection and clobber, improved atomic kernel locks, many C library additions, a calendar program, and bugfixes.
Visopsys 0.61 Released
About The Author
Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker.
Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli
2006-01-27 8:10 pmTrollstoi
Hmmm, 99% CPU usage and Blue Screen?
Are you sure it wasn’t a Windows cd?
2006-01-28 3:24 pmandymc
Hi all, it’s Andy the main Visopsys developer.
I’ve never tested on Qemu before now but today I installed it and debugged this problem (hang in the mouse driver). I have a source code patch if anyone wants it (email email@example.com), otherwise here’s an ISO image that should work with Qemu 0.8.0:
I guess I’ll add Qemu to my testing regimen
OK, what does it take for an alernative OS to gain traction in the non-desktop or desktop space? The question is are there ideas left that are outside of the mainstream mainstream desktop paradigm or the server paradigm? Or are we limited by the physicality of the hardware?
Just look at Gnome or KDE. They are going nowhere as far as mainstream usage. As long as they continue on their windows cloning paradigm then they’ll be stuck in hobbyist 2.5% share.
I guess the real question is – are there UI paradigms in research or out there in the wild that can actually shake things up. Note: a UI paradigm doesn’t necessarily have to be gui/desktop.
2006-01-27 6:44 pmLiNuCe
I don’t think the developer of Visopsys targets mainstream (desktop) usage : Visopsys is probably a hobbyist project (at least for now ?) to learn and apply his knowledge to real world. Nothing less, nothing more.
Edited 2006-01-27 18:45
2006-01-27 7:15 pmLumbergh
That’s cool. I understand as a techno/programmer and not a fanboy that we shouldn’t discourage hardcore OS engineers from doing what they want.
I was just curious (in a general kind of way) where is the innovation. Not that I know what or where it is or if it is even possible at the kernel level.
In fact, as far as I’m concerned, the kernel is irrelevant. torvalds has always stated that everything interesting is in user-space.
So the question remains, is there innovation possible in ring-0?
2006-01-27 7:31 pmRonald Vos
Innovation possible in ring0?
If you mean kernelspace, there’s plenty of potential innovation. The groundwork determines how easy it is to write stuff in ring 3 that works well/safely/efficiently. It makes a world of difference if you build a SSI kernel or microkernel in that respect.
Unununium, if it ever advances past the ‘good idea but no implementation’ stadium would be a significant advance and a paradigm breaker.
OSes like Visopsys which are admittedly hobbyist in nature don’t have much innovation potential, except in terms of their API and the interface that’s tacked on.
Speaking of interfaces..ION, Mezzo and Lookingglass come to mind
2006-01-27 6:46 pmThawkTH
—-Somewhat off-topic reply—-
Well, I’ve been trying to see all I can of KDE 4. I know it’s extremely early in development, but it does seem very far from the windows cloning paradigm. I agree that KDE3 has a strong windowsish feel to it.
I never felt Gnome was much like windows at all – I felt it was far more like Mac OS (particularly pre-osx) but that’s just me – I’ve limited experience with Mac OS and Gnome in general.
Anyway, It’s incredibly hard to find a cohesive roundup of what KDE4 is, entails, and hopefully will be. Screenshots are impossible to come by, afaik – I think every one I’ve found is more of a concept. From what I have seen, however, it will be a signifigant break from the previous GUIs. I believe that not only will KDE4 be a major leap forward for UI’s in general, but also a strong leg up for alternative OS’s.
While I agree KDE is a GUI/Desktop in part, I think the fact that the way the user interacts with the computer will change is exciting…
—End Off Topic Reply—
On a more on-topic note, Visopsys is amazing to me. That this one developer can accomplish all of this primarily on his own is a testament to what one’s passion can amount to.
2006-01-27 7:29 pmyanik
As long as they continue on their windows cloning paradigm then they’ll be stuck in hobbyist 2.5% share.
Look at OSX, the UI is quite different from Windows, yet they still have about the same % of the market linux have, 2-3%.
2006-01-27 7:36 pmhustomte
A somewhat different UI (not a paradigm, different is a better word) is Ion: http://www.modeemi.fi/~tuomov/ion/
On the OS side, there is still room for a clean implementation of transparent (and easy to use) distributed systems on the OS level. Especially OS support for distributed debugging is an aspect that is seriouly lacking in any kind of distributed system today (be it OS or middleware based).
So, I’d say a POSIX compliant OS that has support for good debugging of distributed applications on a very low level, with clear detail, will gain a lot of interest. At least in the scientific community I’d guess.
Edited 2006-01-27 19:37
2006-01-27 8:55 pmAlwin
“OK, what does it take for an alernative OS to gain traction in the non-desktop or desktop space?”
I think ‘world domination’ days are over for any new OS in development. Existing OS’es are good enough for many purposes, and most users don’t like change. So what would a new OS need to make a breakthrough?
a) Not ‘better than existing’, but ‘a number of times better’, or even ‘orders of magnitude better’ than existing OS’es in one or more aspects. While not easy, looking at the state of current OS’es, I think this is still very much possible. Popular OS’es today aren’t past early childhood when it comes to technological foundations. Possible improvements: written in a safe language vs. the ubiquitous (but unsafe) C, verified code vs. test suites and beta-releases, 10x smaller footprint with the same functionality, a vastly more productive UI, you name it. Still lots of possibilities.
b) Forget about ‘the desktop’. Better pick some niche market (ultra-reliable / handheld gaming / massively parallel computing / extremely easy to learn/educational), and see where you can go from there. As a wise person once said: “a 1000 mile journey starts with a single step”.
“Just look at Gnome or KDE. They are going nowhere as far as mainstream usage. As long as they continue on their windows cloning paradigm then they’ll be stuck in hobbyist 2.5% share.”
You haven’t been looking close enough. Desktop Linux is moving very fast these days, just not as fast as some might want. From a hobbyist *nix clone it became suitable as network server OS, now it’s eating its way into the corporate world and some government use. Desktops like Gnome and KDE are improving quickly, and after corporate desktops, the average Joe’s is next. Just wait and see. I don’t have any illusions about Linux (or anything else) replacing Windows, but at least end-users will have some choice again (see Firefox vs. IE for example). And choice = good.
While I can understand that some may feel my post was somewhat off-topic, I was only trying to answer the parent’s question to the best of my ability. While I am sure there are many new UI ideas coming down the pipe, KDE4 is what I’ve looked into the most and feel I can talk about the most. Yeah, It’s also what I’m most excited about. I didn’t try to “hijack” the thread or cause a flame war, I only felt I might have an answer to a question.
Why was I modded down? Because someone felt it was too off topic? Because someone didn’t like my answer, or felt I had some other motive besides answering his question?
2006-01-27 6:59 pmEugenia Loli
Off topic. Just because someone started an off topic discussion doesn’t mean that you should reply to it. It’s in our rules page.
This is a cool little OS. Since the release of Mactel they could save themselves some driver development time by confining it to the Mactel platform.
When I look at the Visopsys screenshots I get get turned off by the Windows theme although I respect the work the author has done to get there. I would like to at least to see newer GUIs as sharp as say BeOS but it goes deeper than that.
On the theme of breaking through with new UI ideas, I very much doubt any new OS built with C/C++/C# is going to be so very different from others, the language holds the creators back too much. First the classes have to be designed and built to put together the basic components needed to build anything and C/C++ is single threaded to the bone. GUIs and their apps need to be built in languages that are more supportive of concurrency and that needs to be in the language as a 1st class entity, not tacked on by building in threads objects later. In effect, the event queue that most GUI kits build on top of C/C++ is already in the parallel languages and done much better.
When I compare the APIs of BeOS, Win32, MacOS, Java, and others I see alot of similarities but no consistant clear path as to how these things should be built. Why do apps that look incredibly simple in the developer sample folders require so much house keeping code to make them work properly. Hence why we see so few apps on OSes for which there is less traction whether commercial or open source.
The line that I am thinking along is to take plain C with simple classes and add concurrency by adding signal ports to each class that makes it into a process or module with live signals that really acts like a physical object. Creating hierarchies of these is pretty straight forward too. This language already exists in the chip design space and is called Verilog and another called VHDL but these are not C like enough and are too big. They do have concurrency as 1st class though and creating communicating hardware hierarchies is easy in these languages. Ironically Verilog is moving towards C by adding much of the old C language datatypes. By starting the other way around and taking a simplified C++ and adding the parallel capabilities of Verilog I think we would have a par language that would make building much more interesting OSes and GUIs a charm.
There is another problem and that is the whole file system issue of multiple references and broken symlinks. Filesystems need to support the notion that a file contents is separate from the place that you view it ie it is viewed through a reference and that allows multiple views/references that are all equal. Once you have that type of file system the file system hierarchy can then be exploited to build the components into bigger things. An app is then equivalent to a folder of components and refs to other smaller nested parts. So a scrollbar for instance is simply a sub folder in the OS path, and has refs to more subparts plus a process-class-module that describes how it communicates with other parts. Now the hierarchy of a program construction follows the same hierarchy as the directory objects it is built from very similar to the way chip designs are built. Ofcourse this would be initially quite slow but caching would hide delays after some use.
thinking out loud
It seems it is not possible to boot the Visopsys 0.61 ISO image under QEmu 0.8.0. I have tried with the Visopsys 0.6 ISO image and I got the same results : 99% of CPU usage and a blue screen  which stays as long as I don’t close QEmu. Sad, but I was just curious.
Edited 2006-01-27 18:34