As previously reported on OSNews, Visopsys is a kernel and operating system for PC compatible computers. It has been in development since late 1997. The kernel is small, fast, and open source. Check inside for more info and a screenshot. It operates exclusively in protected mode and features a simple but attractive graphical interface, real preemptive multitasking, and virtual memory. The package includes a small suite of Unix- and DOS-like commands with which most users will be familiar, although Visopsys is not a clone of any existing OS. You can install and demo the distribution on a floppy disk, or on a hard disk partition (it works with GRUB and LILO bootloaders).
Version 0.3 is very much an “under the hood” release. A great deal of work has gone into improving the structure, performance, and stability of the underlying code — particularly the disk subsystem, with fully asynchronous disk I/O, read-ahead, and caching. That said, some effort has been undertaken to provide additional ‘eye candy’, and the GUI has improved in various ways which make it more logical and functional.
Additional new features include: The kernel memory footprint has been reduced with the help of a new kernel heap allocation scheme, additional graphic modes/bit depths have been implemented, and all of the kernel ASM code has been rewritten in C for better overall cohesion. Booting from beyond the 1024th hard disk cylinder is now supported, as well as the ability to format FAT12/16/32 filesystems.
The “Disk Manager” (fdisk) now offers most of the features found in other fdisk tools (plus things like copying partitions from one physical disk to another), making Visopsys potentially useful as a PC rescue disk. Expect to see more extensive development of the Disk Manager in future releases, as it aims to become an easy-to-use, free software replacement for partition Magic — on the strength of Visopsys’ small size, floppy disk distribution, and graphical interface.
As always, bug reports and feedback to Andy McLaughlin are appreciated.
Do anybody know, under which license are the libraries?
At the mainpage of the Visopsys-Homepeage there stand “The source code is available under the terms of the GNU General Public License.”
But if _all_ (with the widget-libraries and all other) under the GPL is, then it is not possible for companies and private people to create close-source programs for Visopsys. And it is not possible to create OpenSource-programs, which are uncompatible to the GPL for this.
Remember, that the GPLd Linux is only the Kernel. XFree86 is under the XFree/MIT-License. And the Windget-Toolkits are mostly under LGPL (GTK+, GNOME, Fox-Toolkit, FLTK, etc). Only Qt is under the GPL. But for other OpenSource-programs, Qt is licensed under the QPL, too. And for Closed-Source projects Trolltech sold special commercial licenses.
So, a completly GPLd Operating System, makes no sense.
And my question again:
Do anybody know if the Libraries of Visopsys are under the GPL or under an other license (like LGPL) ?
How is it FUD? If all the system libraries are gpl then how does that affect user apps?
The GPL affects programs differently depending on how they are used by said programs.
A well written library can be simply ‘used’ by an application. Dynamically linked. The GPL does not ‘infect’ said application in this instance.
If said application requires in-depth access to a library, basically using library code in said application, it is then statically linked and would also be required to be GPL because it is incorporating the code of a GPL library.
The GPL is not nearly as viral as people give it credit for. It simply prevents you from ripping other peoples code and obscuring said code to your own benefit. It does not prevent you from building on top of other peoples applications.
Charlie, please go re-read the GPL & LGPL. When linking to a GPL library, wether you use static or shared linking “the combination of the two is legally speaking a combined work, a derivative of the original library. The ordinary General Public License therefore permits such linking only if the entire combination fits its criteria of freedom. The Lesser General Public License permits more lax criteria for linking other code with the library.” LGPL, preamble. See http://www.gnu.org/licenses/lgpl.html
The GNU Readline library is an example of a GPL library, which is generally used a shared object. If your code uses GNU Readline, your code must also be GPL’d.
Now back on topic, Visopsys looks a lot like SkyOS did a few years ago. The feature set seems a little jumbled to me (Preemptive multitasking, paging and a GUI but no proper IPC, PCI or dynamic library support) The features that are missing would seem to make the features that are working just that little bit harder to implement than they should be.
> A well written library can be simply ‘used’ by an
> application. Dynamically linked.
This is be true for the LGPL, but not for the GPL.
Thats the reason why the LGPL was created.
If you change code of a LGPLd part, it must been LGPL, too.
But if you link dynamacally to a LGPLd library, you can choose a license for your program, what ever you want.
But if you link to a GPLd library dynamally, your program must GPL, too (or GPL-compatible).
The other possibility is, to set libraries under the GPL with special exceptions, like the GNU Classpath (http://www.classpath.org) project do it.
If I was the author of this project, I’d be pissed that nobody makes any comments on the technical merits of it.
I’d actually like to know a bit about the threading model, POSIX compliance, maybe a nice ANSI C compiler availability… am I asking too much?
Also, I read that the kernel memory footprint has been reduced. Nice, but what exactly does this mean, in figures? I.E, how embeddable is it?
Is this another hobby O/S, designed for embedded use, or build for commerical use?
and boots like a rocket even from pc. ‘ve tested the pre release of it and found it very nice to use.
what the heck are some of you babbling about GPL and sort? Your sorrows one wants to have indeed.
Does anyone ever think of porting a clean and clear X just like the one Im seeing on this desktop to GNUU/Linux?
I mean, with the whole undertalk about X11 and stuff.. I guess it could be less tricky and painful to port such an X stuff like this rather than re-define de X Window System..
Am I crazy?
So Charlie, who looks like the fool now?
>FUD, FUD, and then some more FUD.
>Go and actually read the GPL and understand it before >spouting complete rubbish on how it affects other >software.
Charlie, are you going to apologise or not to the original poster?
Hello, this is Andy. Thought I’d write back this time and try to answer some of the questions in one go.
GPL: Everything in the package is currently GPL. As the sole copyright owner, I can assure everyone that I have no intention of suing anyone for linking against my libraries. I’m the only one that has that right, so the GPL doesn’t affect anything at all unless I’m willing to sue you over it. I’d be happy to give indemnity in writing to anyone who’s worried, and I will probably make the libraries LGPL in future to allay any concerns. That said, most of the code, including the GUI widget code, is in the kernel (I know that makes the microkernel fan’s hair stand on end) and you access all that via system calls; thus there’s no linking issue. An FSF fanatic I am not.
Feature set: It mostly just evolves, since each new part tends to suggest other parts. For example, though there is no generic IPC infrastructure yet, the GUI code does use ‘window event streams’ that are read by the application — similar to an IPC mechanism. The features at the top of the agenda for future releases are: CDROM/ISOFS support, GUI widgetry, more disk/filesystem functionality for the Disk Manager program, and basic networking. Ports of Newlib, GCC and assorted GNU software have been started.
POSIX: Not particularly. Keep in mind that to a certain extent, POSIX defines UNIX. Which Visopsys is not. That said, a basic sort of POSIX compatibility/emulation is necessary for porting UNIX applications, and things are evolving in that direction.
Memory usage: It varies. In graphics modes it all depends on your screen resolution, number of open windows and whatnot. A good guideline in graphics mode is ~15-20M for system memory. In text mode it’s much less. Email me if you’d like some exact numbers.
Anyway, thanks to everyone for the feedback so far. Feel free to contact me if you have specific questions (see article for address).
and OS/2 isn’t UNIX; either.
So, can you tell us a bit about the availability of dev tools?
If you don’t intend to keep it GPL, why not just change it to BSD license so that it’ll truly be free rather than trapped?
because releasing the code under the BSD licence is like working for others without pay.