OS News Archive

FreeVMS 0.01 & MenuetOS 0.61 Released

The VMS (Virtual Memory System) operating system is available only on VAX and Alpha processors, and in spite of its undeniable qualities, its future seems uncertain. The FreeVMS project tends to the coding of an operating system under the GPL licence according to the specifications of the VMS systems. This operating system will function at least on i386 architecture, PPC, Sparc and Alpha processors. It is developed using the C language and it consists of a POSIX kernel and a DCL command line interpreter. In other news, MenuetOS 0.61 was released just a couple of days ago.

The Next Computer Interface

"The desktop metaphor was a brilliant innovation--30 years ago. Now it's an unmanageable mess, and the search is on for a better way to handle information. If you have ever forgotten what you named a file or which folder you put it in, you probably will agree that it's time for a change. The desktop metaphor is decades old, arising from early-1970s work at Xerox's fabled Palo Alto Research Center, and was never intended to address today's computing needs. TechReview searches for our next computer Interface.

The OS Manifesto

"They say that motorcycle riders go through three stages: fear, over-confidence, and finally respectful care. The same stages apply to OS programmers. Motorcyclists in the over-confident stage may be injured or killed. Programmers can create a subtle defect that is fantastically expensive to remove." Read the OS Manifesto at Byte.

KernelTrap Interviews Neal Walfield

This week, KernelTrap spoke with Neal Walfield of the GNU/Hurd development team. From their project FAQ, "'Hurd', as an acronym, stands for `Hird of Unix-Replacing Daemons'. Hird, in turn, stands for `Hurd of Interfaces Representing Depth'. The Hurd is a radical departure from UNIX. A unique and interesting approach to solving many of the problems found in current operating systems. While it's not yet production grade, it's evolved enough to be quite usable.

PetrOS to Add BeOS Compatibility Layer

Peter Tattam from Trumpet Software and also the creator of PetrOS wrote in to tell us that " we are exploring the possibility of providing a BeOS layer to PetrOS. This is consistent with our philosophy of providing multiple API support in the OS. I am in discussions with the OpenBeOS group to determine the feasibility of getting OpenBeOS to run in PetrOS. This would involve us writing a BeOS compatible kernel driver, and supporting ELF format executables in addition to the current PE format executables.We will continue our development on the Win32 layer at the same time with a goal of being able to seamlessly run BeOS and Win32 applications on the same desktop." OSNews recently hosted an interview with Peter regarding PetrOS.

Remembering GeOS and RiscOS

Once upon a time, there was this nice operating system, called GeOS. It first ran on a C64, but it was later ported to Macs and PCs. Today, the OS lives a new life under the name New Deal Office (additional screenshot). Another OS from the same era, RiscOS, is still developed today by its parent company and it is currently in version 4. The OS also runs quite fast under PC emulation as well as in a native RISC PC. These articles can prove a good and interesting read for the weekend, especially for younger readers who did not experience the computer offerings of the '80s.

MenuetOS 0.59 Released

A new version of the interesting 100% in x86 assembly operating system, MenuetOS, was released today. The new version brings Voodoo VESA support (which was the most requested feature) and a simple Linux emulation layer. The whole OS (and all of its applications) fits in a 1.44 floppy disk, so there is no need for partitioning your hard drive if you want to try out MenuetOS. Recently, OSNews hosted an exclusive interview with Ville Turjanmaa, the MenuetOS creator.

Introducing the FreeMiNT for Atari Computers

Adam Klobukowski wrote in to say: "Most of you think that Atari computers are dead. In fact they are, but they are still some survivors. FreeMiNT is an Open Source operating system for 16/32 bit Ataris: ATARI ST/STE/MEGA ST/Mega STE/TT/Falcon 030, and clones: Hades/Medusa/Milan. It is under continuous developent and last stable version (1.15.12) was relased about a month ago. Developers are busy working on 1.16. FreeMiNT offers preempative multitasking, memory protection (on 020+ processors), loadable filesystems (VFAT, Minix, Ext2), shared libraries and easy TCP/IP networking. The main FreeMiNT distribution is called SpareMiNT and is based on RPM. Because over the years FreeMint (formerly known as MiNT) developement was a bit messy it is coverend by few diffrent software linceses, but mainly by GNU GPL. There is also a standard C library implementation (libc) called MiNTLib (and is covered by GNU GPL and LGPL). The main future goals of FreeMINT are: adding better shared library support along with ELF support and virtual memory support."

Debian GNU/Hurd CD release ‘G1’

The good folks over at Debian have released the first alpha CD distribution 'G1' of Debian GNU/Hurd. This release consists of three CDs, but only the first one is necessary to get a usable system running. They have a page with install information that you'll definitely want to read before trying it out. (Hint: Don't forget to run /native-install and reboot, then repeat, or you'll be stuck in single-user mode.) The primary download site at gnu.org is often busy, so try one of the GNU mirrors or this temporary mirror if you have trouble getting in. We had fun installing and playing around with the Hurd on a spare machine. As they warn, this is still very raw and experimental, but this kinder, gentler release finally makes the Hurd more accessible to the non-diehard crowd. See the GNU Hurd main website for more project information and history.

Introducing the VinuxOS

The second version of a new operating system, VinuxOS, is published By SoftMed Inc, a mix between DOS and Unix. Currently the web site's OS is in portoquese only. The OS is written in C and assembler for the x86. It currently only works in Real mode and without multitasking.

Qube 2p Released With DOS and Windows Support

Qube 2p by InteractiveStudio was released on September 19th, and it is the same as Qube but by supporting two platforms this time. There is Qube for Windows and Qube for MS-DOS. Qube for Windows runs under DirectX and all applications or libraries are compatible with DOS version. Michal Stencl, the Qube developer, says that "It took some time for the Windows port, because of some incompatibility of Microsoft Visual C++ with GNUC. But now, Qube for Windows supports Windows2000/NT/98/ME without problems. You need to have already installed DirectX to run Qube for Windows." The SDK for Qube will be released imidiately after the release of the Linux version. Michal has to be sure first of clear out any compatibility problems with all versions so the developers will be free to copy their applications from System to System and run unmodified. Qube 3p will be available for three platforms soon - Linux, Windows and DOS with LAN support, not just modem. You can also refer to our exclusive interivew we held with Michal a month ago regarding this Qube project.

Operating Systems Scene Back to Full Activity

The release of WindowsXP does not seem to discourage the coders around the world to code the operating system of their dreams. Lots of new, simple and complex, embedded and desktop OSes grow like mushrooms very often these days. Not all of the OSes we found by searching the web are active, but we will link to the ones with more activity.

Introducing the Rebol IOS

Rebol is a very interesting internet-oriented programming language (for example, you can create a brand new instant messaging application with only 5k of source code) but they are now extending their language even more. From the Rebol web site: "REBOL/IOS is an enabling technology, consisting of protocols, concepts, APIs, hierarchies, modules, security models and algorithms etc.  REBOL/IOS (Internet Operating System) is not a traditional computer operating system. It is an Internet-wide operating system, providing Internet-wide services and a common framework for distributed, platform-independent applications. IOS is to the Internet what an OS is to a PC. IOS does not replace existing operating systems, but augments them, providing some OS-like services across networks. Products using IOS still need an operating system (or at least some BIOS or other kernel) on whatever machine they run on. IOS is independent of the OS in the sense that it is a separate layer, i.e. it can run on any OS and thus any type of machine, all the way down to hand-held devices with minimal kernels."

First Operating Engine Without a Kernel

Unununium 111 is a completely new approach to OS developement. Using 100% x86 assembly code and the VoiD architecture, the system is completely hot-pluggable to any system and without a kernel of its own which makes it extremely dynamic. The unununium project is an effort at creating a highly dynamic environment, that can be molded into various systems capable of sharing parts, thus simplifying and reducing the time needed to develop many closely related, but not identical, specialized operating systems. Their goal is to develop a set of tools with related documentation that other projects will be able to use.

VMware Launches VMware Workstation 3.0 Beta

VMWare today announced the availability of a Beta release of VMware Workstation 3.0, the latest generation of its award-winning desktop software for technical professionals. Workstation 3.0 delivers significant performance and usability improvements over previous releases, the company says. Workstation 3.0 provides support for the latest operating systems including WindowsXP and the latest Linux distributions, supports additional peripheral devices, and provides significant enhancements in networking and better overall performance. VMware will ship Workstation 3.0 in the fourth quarter of 2001. New features include: Host and guest OS support for WindowsXP Pro and Home Edition, USB device support, DVD-ROM support, CD-R/RW support, CD-ROM ISO image support, generic SCSI device support -- makes devices available directly to the guest OS, large virtual disk support, now up to 128 GB per IDE virtual disk and 256 GB per SCSI virtual disk, improved CPU, networking, disk and interactive performance, completely new Windows style user interface (Windows host version), built-in NAT for easy connection to networks, more flexible and easier to configure virtual networking, improved support for laptops and more. Our Take: No word for BeOS support as a Guest OS. Update: I downloaded the latest beta version and BeOS loads this time, without crashing. While it is loading very fast in the beginning, when it is going to graphics mode, because the VMWare virtual graphics device does not expose the VESA standard, the performance falls so much that hits the disk pretty hard. Normal BeOS boot time is 12 seconds when launched natively, under VMWare it takes up to 5 minutes on a dual Celeron 533 under Win2000 and of course it is so slow (please remember that all this slowness is just because of the unsuported gfx subsystem that makes the rest of the launching process and the OS to be unresponsive) that it is completely unusable. Screenshot here.

Miscellaneous OS-Related News

The new AMD CPUs won't be specified by its clock speed anymore. Future Athlons will be specified by 'MODEL' numbers not by Mhz. For instance, a Palomino-Athlon that runs at 1.4 GHz will be MODEL 1600, because AMD considers Palomino 1.4 GHz to be at least as fast as a Pentium 4 1.6 GHz. The printing on the chip will be 'A1600 .....', even though its a 1400 MHz part only, Tom's Hardware is reporting.
An interesting interview with the Sun developers who are working on Gnome for Solaris 9, can be found here.
A new version of KDE's Office, KOffice ver 1.1, was made available for download yesterday.
And speaking about office suites, Gobe Software today announced Gobe Productive 3 for the Windows and Linux OSes, and that it will be available this fall. The app will be selling for $124.95 USD, while existing BeOS users will be able to upgrade for less than $40. Gobe will also be introducing the Family License scheme, allowing owners to install Gobe Productive on every computer in their home, as well on one computer where they work.
In the meantime, Apacabar emailed us with more information about their BeOS sellout: "This offer is exclusively available from the retailers called SoftLine in France for everybody interested in the world. As our webmaster is on holidays, the web site has not been updated with new prices. Meanwhile, we suggest you to order quickly by email, by contacting Mr Sylvain Todeschini who's in charge of International Sales".
An interesting clarification (Editor's note: and also an affirmation of my personal opinion as to why Palm purchased Be's IP) is now clear: Palm bought Be for the (brilliant indeed) engineering force and not so much for the BeOS/BeIA technology (some elements from the Be technology may appear in the new PalmOS though). The interview is with the David Nagel, the CEO of the new software subsidiary that Palm will be creating after the Be engineers join them (and where Steve Sakoman will be the CTO).
Also, a very interesting chat topic regarding multithreading being BeOS' sore spot (a result from BeOS messaging system) has popped up. If you are a BeOS developer, it is a must read.