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Alternative operating system of the day: LoseThos. It was written from scratch over nine years, runs on a PC (in ring 0), and has a just-in-time compiler for a vaguely C-like language it uses; the inspirations were the Commodore 64 (whose flat memory map and easy accessibility to the bare metal made it eminently hackable) and the voice of God speaking to its creator (who, by his own admission, is schizophrenic) through random number generators.
There's a MetaFilter thread about it, which the creator has joined (under the name “losethos”), weighing in with technical descriptions of its implementation, justifications for design decisions (in which the kinds of insights about “elegance” and solutions which “smell right” that seasoned programmers have and quasi-theological justifications based on mystical revelation are often inextricably intertwined) and stream-of-consciousness revelations from the God who speaks through random numbers. A few choice quotes:
I wanted to make a souped-up, modern 64-bit, C64 so teenagers could do what I did in high school. I had the book Mapping the C64 and I had hours of fun poking and proding around with all the internals of the operationg system for cheap thrills. I wanted to let people control the hardware directly. I wanted something simple, to get your head around. LoseThos is two orders of magnitude simpler than Linux. LoseThos is 135,000 lines of code including my compiler. It is 100% self contained and complete. When I got Linux, I was disappointed because I thought "open source" meant I would have fun messing with the code. Linux tries to support so many architectures and has a main frame operating system, that it's too complex. LoseThos is way way way simpler. Plus it has many innovative ideas. It is not ASCII source code, for example.
Photorealism is graphic and panders to base nature of humans. 640x480 is innocent. How many of you are horrified by modern games, longing for a more innocent time?As well as numerous revelations from God (whose favourite animals are apparently bears and elephants, and whose favourite band is The Beatles):
The hardest thing in evolution was getting monkey mothers to hold their babies for nursing.
God's favorite thing on TV is soap operas. Read the Bible. ROFLMAO. God likes the Beverly Hillbillies. God said Shakespeare had a vile heart. He said Christian rock was "musical privation". Good word. I like the word "Ambrosial". Go look it up. :-) I'm smug.
Remember BeOS, the super-nifty object-oriented operating system of the 1990s? Well, BeOS itself may be no more (apparently Palm bought it and then proceeded to not do much with it), but there is now an open-source BeOS-influenced OS named Haiku, which appears reasonably functional. There are images downloadable which you can play with in VMWare Player or similar. There's an article about it here.
After some 15 years of development, the first program has run on the GNU Hurd, the earth-shatteringly nifty microkernel that will form the heart of the free-software-based GNU operating system and lead it into a shining future. Which means that we can soon expect to see GNU casting off the imperfect compromise that is the "Linux" kernel and assuming its rightful mantle of glory. Either that or a few wild-eyed, bearded GNU zealots and OS theoreticians vocally adopting the Hurd while the rest of the world says "yeah, whatever" and keeps using Linux (which, after all, is good enough and well-supported).
Or maybe none of the above; perhaps the Amiga will come back and dominate the OS world instead or something; who knows?
This looks fairly nifty: Unununium, a thoroughly modular operating system, following the principle that the utility of a system is proportional to the number of connections possible between its components. It's implemented in Python (the kernel contains a Python interpreter), consists of small pieces, loosely joined, and also aims to be completely persistent (so that the machine's state is retained when it is powered off). And, of course, probably won't take the world by storm, though could well become the next Oberon. (via gimbo)
And the latest entry in the annals of hobby operating systems: MenuetOS, an OS whose main feature is that it's written entirely in assembly language. The product of an intrepid cabal of European hackers/masochists, it has a GUI that looks sort of like Windows XP would look if it didn't have proper widgets and was limited to one pixel font, and all the apps anyone in the target audience would need (i.e., it has an IRC client, a NNTP newsreader, MP3 playing/streaming capabilities, a chess client and a Doom-style 3D engine demo), and fits onto a single floppy.
Contiki, a modern multitasking OS/GUI/web browser which runs on an unmodified Commodore 64 (and doesn't need any helper software on another machine either). And they've ported it to a number of other 8-bit platforms, such as the Nintendo Entertainment System, the Apple ][ and the VIC-20. (Wait a minute, VIC-20???) (via Slashdot)
Some enthusiastic teenagers have decided to create an open-source Windows-compatible OS from the ground up. So far they have a web page and a request for startup/shutdown graphics. No word on actual code yet, but this looks set to follow kick-ass vaporware Freedows into the realm of penguinhead legend.
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