SkyOS Archive

Last SkyOS 5.0 beta released for free

This is surprising.

We suggest using VMWare Player (Windows/Linux) or VMWare Fusion (MacOS) to run the Live CD or install the beta. Install SkyOS to your harddisk or run the Live CD natively on your own risk!

To run SkyOS in VMWare just:

  • create a new virtual machine and point it to the ISO image you downloaded
  • give it at least 2GB of RAM
  • use a virtual IDE harddisk (we don't suggest using a physical partition in order to prevent possible data loss)
  • optionally Install SkyOS from the running Live CD to get all available applications and utilities

SkyOS was quite prominent on OSNews between 2003-2008 - it was coded virtually entirely by Austrian Robert Szeleney in his free time. It achieved a relatively usable state on the desktop - especially considering it was a one man project - but it did suffer from what I call the 'ooh shiney!'-syndrome - it was a hobby project for Szeleney, and as such, focus tended to shift around quite often, depending on whatever he wanted to work on at that time.

SkyOS originally started out as a mere bootloader, but eventually expanded into becoming an entire operating system. In the early days - up until version 4.x - SkyOS was freely available, but it wasn't open source (I believe the 1.x versions may have been, though, I can't recall). After that, Szeleney started charging a small fee for access to the SkyOS 5 beta, which some considered controversial. The SkyOS 5.0 release cycle started with its first alpha release in December 2003, and ended with the release of beta build 6947 in August 2008 - a final release never materialised.

The project seemed to fizzle out, but Szeleney did experiment with using third party kernels, like a BSD kernel or a Linux kernel. That was the last we heard of it - and earlier this year, the website went dark.

So, it's quite a surprise to see that over the weekend, Szeleney has made the last beta release of SkyOS 5.0 - build 6947 - available for free. I somehow doubt we'll see development pick up again, but it's nice to have the latest release out in the open for everyone to play with.

SkyOS website finally fizzles out

The SkyOS website went offline last week following the expiration of its domain name. SkyOS was a thing way, way back in the day, but fizzled out due to disinterest from its lead (and only) developer. It's definitively gone now - I used to have virtually every release from 2.x onwards on discs here, but I threw them all out a few years ago. If you're feeling nostalgic, peruse our SkyOS news archive.

Szeleney: “SkyOS Is Not Dead”

Over the past couple of months, I've been getting a number of emails asking me about SkyOS' status. Since I didn't know anything beyond what's on the SkyOS website, and because, well, I have no affiliation with SkyOS, I couldn't really reply to these emails. However, after yet another email sent to me late last week, I decided to simply... Email Robert Szeleney, the man behind the project.

SkyOS/Linux Progress Report

Not too long ago, Robert Szeleney put the development of SkyOS on a temporary hold. The challenges in keeping up with the ever-changing world of hardware support were simply too big to continue SkyOS then-current development model. As a result, Szeleney recently came up with the idea of using a Linux or NetBSD kernel as the base for SkyOS. Well, we've got a progress report on that one, and in true Szeleney fashion, a lot of work has already been done.

SkyOS Experiments with Linux, NetBSD Kernels as Base

The future of SkyOS, the closed-source alternative operating system, had been hanging by a thread for a long time now. Barely any releases, until they came to a grinding halt altogether and Robert Szeleney explained he was pondering the future of SkyOS, and where to take it from here. One of the main problems was a lack of driver support which really made development difficult. Well, this is a problem Szeleney might be able to fix.

Szeleney Gives Update on SkyOS Status

Robert Szeleny has given a short update on the status of SkyOS. "For the last weeks and as it looks like quite a few more weeks I'm in contact with a lot of people talking about their ideas to continue SkyOS development. Unfortunately many people completely underestimate the amount of work required to manage a development team for SkyOS, either an open or closed source version, or completely lack vision and or motivation and or seriousness. Anyway, I'm still reading through my inbox hoping to get in contact with people with real motives and knowledge being able to bring SkyOS to the next level."

SkyOS’ Future Still Uncertain

At the end of January this year, I wrote a rather harsh, but honest article on the state of SkyOS. I was very worried that the closed-source operating system, for which users have to pay in order to beta test it, would never reach a final version, something that was promised to the people paying the price. This feeling was strengthened by a lack of updates; we were five months without news, six months without a release, and 8 months without a changelog update. My article got the ball rolling, but now that we're five weeks down the road, is that ball still rolling?

SkyOS: Chasing Butterflies (UPDATED)

SkyOS has always been criticised for the fact that you have to pay for it in order to beta test it. I personally never saw a problem with this construction, especially since the price included a full copy of SkyOS 5 (they dropped the five) once it was completed. However, as of late, it has become increasingly clear that there may never be anything like a final version - or another test release for that matter. Update: In the comments, Robert Szeleney explained the current SkyOS situation in more detail. For future readers who find this article via a search engine, I've attached Robert's comment to the actual story for completeness' sake. The reply can also be found on the SkyOS website.

SkyOS Gets ‘Crossbar’

Everyone's favourite perpetual beta operating system, SkyOS, has introduced a concept of an interesting new feature, whose inspiration came from a feature on the Playstation 3. The feature is kind of like an always-accessible (even during the boot process) version of Front Row, which you can access using a mouse gesture or a shortcut. It then allows you to access and play all your media files. "So whenever you want to quickly listen to music you don't have to open a dedicated music player. Simply enter crossbar, select your song and return to the desktop. Crossbar has been designed to make this as fast and as straight forward as possible." Click read more for a video.

SkyOS Adds Native Mail Client

"We are proud to announce that the next version of SkyOS will ship with a new Mail client. In contrast to the already available Mozilla Thunderbird mail client, the new Mail application completely integrates with SkyOS. For instance, all mails are stored as separate files with various attributes attach to it. So you can easily and quickly find every mail using the SkyOS Viewer and its query system."

SkyOS Gets New Theme Engine, Updated Viewer, More

SkyOS has received a few updates. First, the new theme engine makes it possible to completely theme SkyOS, without having to write even a single line of code. Furthermore, with only minor changes, WindowBlinds and MS Visual Style (WindowsXP or Vista) themes can be converted to the SkyOS theme format. Additionally, the Viewer (file browsing application) has a new feature called 'NavigationView', which makes it possible to possible to navigate to your devices and manage files easier and faster.

SkyOS Beta 6796 Released

SkyOS Beta 6796 has been released. "This build features a complete new multimedia framework (the ISS), automatic file type sniffing, a new Media Center, new Panel, updated Viewer, new Application Manager and various other applications using the new C++ API. Furthermore: 28 additional API Classes, new and updated libraries, customizable WindUI theme, 220+ fixed bugs including critical boot bug fixes."

SkyOS Gets a New Viewer

SkyOS has received an update to the Viewer application (system file browser). Many changes have been implemented, including a tabbed interface, universal drag-and-drop, and many others. Head on over to the SkyOS website to see a video of the new Viewer features in action. Thanks to the recently implemented Profiler, an interesting system bottleneck has been identified and fixed in SkyOS. This has allowed for increased performance across many functions within SkyOS.

SkyOS Beta Build-6753 Available

SkyOS Beta build 6753 has been released. The installation procedure is now provided through a Live CD session thanks to BranchFS. This build includes the new C++ API, which makes development much easier. It also comes with three new services (PowerMonitor, SpellChecker and Registrar) and support for 45 more ATA/SATA chipsets. It also offers initial support for GNU classpath, Kaffe and Wine.

SkyOS Gets New C++ API, LiveCD Status Update

After months of work, there is now a new complete C++ API for SkyOS, which replaces the old C API. The C++ API consists of more than 150 classes, including support for thread and process information, full GUI support, and gesture support, to name a few. Additionally, news about the LiveCD and some of the technology behind it has been updated, including a few screenshots of the LiveCD in action.