Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Programming IT Technology

Peter Tattam Of The PetrOS Project Talks To OSNews 198

Posted by timothy
from the rock dept.
Eugenia writes: "Trumpet Software is mostly known for their Internet communications software package, Trumpet Winsock, which has been adopted by the Internet world back in 1995, at the times where Windows 3.1 and Win95 did not come as standard with full internet connetion capabilities. But the main product these days for Trumpet Software is PetrOS, a 32-bit Operating System, which has the goal to be compatible by all means (binary and API compatible) with Microsoft Windows. OSNews is interviewing the main architect behind the project, Peter Tattam, who talks in depth about PetrOS, and also there is shown an early screenshot of the PetrOS GUI, which is still under heavy development." And it's been (not surprizingly) under heavy development for a while. Building a Windows-compatible OS from scratch surely isn't easy, but from this interview (including screenshots) they're having quite a go of it.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Peter Tattam Of The PetrOS Project Talks To OSNews

Comments Filter:
  • Gee, wouldn't it be funny if they ended up making a better version of Windows than Microsoft?

  • by The Wing Lover (106357) <awh@awh.org> on Monday September 10, 2001 @04:23PM (#2274961) Homepage
    It's an interesting goal and everything, but it's a moving target, as far as I can tell.

    Every few months I get a new copy of the MSDN library (basically documentation for all Microsoft's APIs), and every time it's a bit different from the one before.

    Of course I don't want to tell anyone how to spend their time, but if it were me, I'd spend my energy on building something new, rather than just trying to be compatible with something that'll just be obsolete by the time I'm done anyway.
    • by bloggins02 (468782) on Monday September 10, 2001 @04:55PM (#2275152)
      This may be true to an extent, but if it were always true, then everytime there was a new version of Windows, notepad.exe would have to be recompiled!

      If they stick with providing compatibility for the core Win32API they have a good chance of being able to run most of the programs that are written to run on multiple MS OSes in the first place. Examples are IE, Office, and most of the Windows Accessories and Games that MS doesn't recompile to use new features everytime the API changes.

      I question their decision to leave out driver compatibility. In my opinion, that is key to gaining acceptance of a clone OS.
      • ...they have a good chance of being able to run most of the programs that are written to run on multiple MS OSes in the first place. Examples are IE, Office, and most of the Windows Accessories and Games that MS doesn't recompile to use new features everytime the API changes.

        OK, so I'm a manager at company X. Do I want to deploy Windows, with corporate support from the well-known M$? Or do I want to use a look-alike OS, WindowsLight if you will, written by some has-been's of the internet revolution who say their project will run "most" windows apps?

        Linux offers a lot that windows can't. What does PetrOS offer? A fast startup time and low memory usage aren't enough for most people to buy a new OS.

        And why the fsck are they using Pascal?!!! Would it have been that hard to port the old winsock code over to cpp?
        And source will be open to "select partners" only? Sorry, peter, but fuck shared source.

        I'm not trying to troll here; I read the interview and a bit from the PetrOS official site and I just can't take this too seriously.
        • And why the fsck are they using Pascal?!!! Would it have been that hard to port the old winsock code over to cpp?

          C++ isn't the beginning and end of computer science. It isn't even a particularly good language - for any purpose. Pascal is a perfectly reasonable choice of a language to write an OS in. OK, it wouldn't be my choice either - but it's what, for example, MacOS used to be written in. Any programming team is going to be most productive in the language they're most familiar with. If they go for Pascal, fine, that won't kill the project.

          And source will be open to "select partners" only? Sorry, peter, but fuck shared source.

          H'mmm... yeah... well there I do agree with you. Suppose I want to use a Win32 application but I don't want to run Win32. I can run Linux + WINE, and if it busts in some way that's critical to my application, I've got the source so I might be able to fix it; and I've got a critical mass of a community out there so there's a good chance someone else knows how to fix it.

          Or I can go PetrOS, and I won't have the source or the community, and even if I did have the community they won't have the source so they won't know how to fix it. Shared Source will kill this project.

        • Linux offers a lot that windows can't. What does PetrOS offer? A fast startup time and low memory usage aren't enough for most people to buy a new OS.

          How about a OS to run in a VMWare style emulator that can be tossed in with SuSE Pro 8.x that allows Windows programs (read: Age of Empires II) to be run. SuSE pays $5 per copy (or some such amount, since it's "free" for Trumpet), and users get a usable Windows box.

          This isn't to say Wine or other efforts aren't worthy, just that this is an alternate "run legacy apps layer" that is very promising.

          Also, several years ago, my Dad needed a copy of DOS... it was for a terminal computer that sat in the corner of his office doing a single task. Guess what? DOS was unavailable. I FedExed him one set of 5 1/4" disks, they were bad, and I sent him another - those were good. He was willing to pay $100 for a copy of DOS (the program was ancient, and didn't load under Win95. If I was at the keyboard, I might have been able to configure it to, but I wasn't). This *does* fill a niche for all those 286s running PFS in churches and back rooms. And yes, they do exist.

          --
          Evan

    • but if it were me, I'd spend my energy on building something new, rather than just trying to be compatible with something that'll just be obsolete by the time I'm done anyway.

      Linus could have said the same thing to himself in 1991. UNIX at the time, as most people seem to forget these days, was in a downward slide that started in the mid 1980s.
      • Linus could have said the same thing to himself in 1991. UNIX at the time, as most people seem to forget these days, was in a downward slide that started in the mid 1980s.

        Linus made a difference by making his OS open source.

        To quote the PetrOS FAQ [petros-project.com]:
        We are open to selected developers or OEMs having access to source code under suitable licensing conditions. Some selected parts of the user layers will be open sourced.

        This is not an open source operating system.
        This is a tiny windows compatibility layer on top of a small kernel written in Object Pascal.
    • who says its a moving target? for example, for pure business compatibility, you dont need o match Office 2000, you just need to replicate Office 97. Office 97 runs fine on Windows 98 SE. So, aim for compatibility with Windows 98 SE, and encourage people to reuse their old Office 97 CD's.

      its only a moving target if you want to keep up with the Gateses. But it need not be that way.
      • But if someone you do business with sends you a bunch of Office 2000 files, can Office 97 or a clone of same handle the O2K files, or do you have to go buy Office 2000 to be able to continue to do business with the other party?
      • an excellent point.

        most businesses are running on 98 still. I was working for the government of Canada a little while ago: they had a site license for Win95B. I kid you not.

        a lot of their computers had Win98 on them, with OEM licenses. however, any blank computers that came in got 95B.

        businesses don't like reinvesting in infrastructure every year or two. Infrastructure is something you buy and it stays there for a long time. You don't see Amtrak laying new railways every year or two, for example.

        Operating systems are infrastructure. Gates appears to have forgotten that.

  • ...and you aren't running Linux or another proven OS, then why not just use Windows? Sheesh, looks like a business plan shakier than VA Linux's
    • Not everyone who wants a cheaper (free?) Windows compatible OS has the option of running a pirated copy of Windows. This would be good for large companies who shell out untold millions on Windows licenses to be "compatible" with everyone else. Switching to something like this could save them alot of money, which would clearly go to Trumpet. Seems good to me.
    • A good reason to want a "windoze-compatible" thing would be, for example, the absence of an exclusive bootloader license for the OEM : this way, dual boot PCs could be sold by OEM without fear of losing their windoze PC markwetshare. In addition, that's a good point against some Redmond company's leverage on its monopole.
  • It'd be nice to see how Wine and PetrOS duke it out. YES, I am aware that PetrOS is a standalone OS, BUT they are trying to accomplish the same thing, namely the implementation, from scratch, of the windows api.

    Thank GOD they don't implement the kernel at the same. One step at a time. :) They'll either swap ideas or learn from each other's mistakes

  • by XBL (305578)
    This could turn out to be a reincarnation of the IBM/Compaq scenario of the 80s.

    Yet, I wonder which one is technically farther along, PetrOS or WINE?
    • Yet, I wonder which one is technically farther along, PetrOS or WINE?

      Well WINE is obviously. I can run Counter-Stike under wine. PetrOS can run a test application.
  • From the FAQ:

    PETROS® is written using an in-house Object Pascal compiler. This enables us to generate machine code with roughly the same efficiency as C or C++, but with very strict type checking. The language is compatible with Borland Delphi Pascal allowing code to be interchanged with many of the existing applications that Trumpet has developed to date.


    Aiiiiiieeeieieieieie!
    • No kidding...Christ, I nearly choked when I read that. Haven't they read Brian Kernighan's article [lysator.liu.se], or at least The Jargon File [tuxedo.org]? I mean, geez, I don't know if I would trust an OS written by someone who hadn't at least read the Jargon File...

      (Joke! Joke! My precious karma...meltinnnnnnnnng...)

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 10, 2001 @04:48PM (#2275118)
        If you read the article, you would notice that they're using Borland's Object Pascal. Go ahead, everyone, read the Brian Kernighan article. Then go and look at the Object Pascal language reference. Go ahead...I'll wait.

        Notice anything? Like how almost EVERY SINGLE objection he raised is NOT APPLICABLE to Object Pascal?

        Object Pascal should be called "Sensible Pascal". It allows you to break all of the rules, just as C does. It just makes you jump through a few hoops to do it. That way you generally know what you're doing isn't such a great idea.

        Pointer arithmetic? OP allows it. It's dangerous though...inexperienced programmers can blow themselves up pretty easily doing it. So...they make you do some castings to get around it. Good idea? Bad idea? Depends on what you're trying to accomplish.

        I'm sure all the hard-core hackers here will laugh and snort and generally dismiss anything I say about OP, but those people aren't who OP is aimed it.

        OP is aimed at programmers who WANT strong type checking and WANT the safety net the Pascal language provides and WANT a language that allows rapid object-oriented development in a language that is easy to read and understand.

        C lends itself to fast, loose code, but is hard to learn and tends to be rather terse to read. It's definately not for learnin'!

        OP allows the newbie to step in and test the waters with simple language specific things. However, as you become more comfortable with the language, you can EASILY do just about everything C allows you to do.

        The learning curve is a gentle slope, and doesn't have any unexpected drop-offs where the language fails you.

        Anyone that dismisses OP out of hand hasn't used it. Anyone that has used a recent OP doesn't use C anymore if they can help it.
        • Borland Object Pascal doesn't allow pointer arithmetic without casts.
          • Borland Object Pascal doesn't allow pointer arithmetic without casts.

            Not entirely true.

            Pointers to bytes and chars may be manipulated with simple arithmetic.

            Other types of pointers can be incremented/decremented by the size of the structure being pointed to with the Inc() and Dec() procedures.
        • If you read the article, you would notice that they're using Borland's Object Pascal

          Actually,

          11. What language is PETROS® written in?

          PETROS® is written using an in-house Object Pascal compiler. This enables us to generate machine code with roughly the same efficiency as C or C++, but with very strict type checking. The language is compatible with Borland Delphi Pascal allowing code to be interchanged with many of the existing applications that Trumpet has developed to date.


          this doesn't invalidate anything else you said though, I just wanted to point out that they are NOT using Borland's Pascal, but something compatible with it.
      • Good grief, that Brian Kernighan article is probably older than you are. It applies to Wirth's original definition of Pascal in the 1970s, not successors to the language. Heck, who would listen to C or C++ criticism from twenty years ago? (Note than C wasn't even standardized twenty years ago!)
  • by FFFish (7567) on Monday September 10, 2001 @04:28PM (#2274992) Homepage
    I can't imagine why anyone would try to base a company on cloning Windows. So I read the interview.

    A) Cheap alternative for desktop users -- users say "they wished they had something better without having to pay big big bucks." Win2k is, what, perhaps $200. PetrOS will have to sell for $50 or less, then.

    And it'll be obsolete the moment MS changes an API. Or the moment MS makes MSIE crash when it detects PetrOS.

    B) Embedded market -- er, no. The embedded market wants Linux, QNX, EPOC and other OSes. They're either free, hard realtime, or extremely small.

    C) Servers -- er, no. If you want cheap, then you choose a BSD or Linux. If you want to be able to blame someone, you choose MS. You don't go out and buy some $50 clone of MS.

    D) Clustering -- er, no. Not unless you're just goofing around. Kind of money invested in building a cluster, you don't go pick up a $50 clone of Windows to run it!

    While this is a pretty cool project, I simply can't see that it's a profitable one...
    • D) Clustering -- er, no. Not unless you're just goofing around. Kind of money invested in building a cluster, you don't go pick up a $50 clone of Windows to run it!


      You think small, cheap, affordable clustering technology is only useful to businesses that have money?

      That's pretty snobby. EXPAND YOUR WORLDVIEW, monkey!
      • You think small, cheap, affordable clustering technology is only useful to businesses that have money?

        No, it's useful to companies without a lot of money as well. I imagine they will be using Beowulf or Mosix, though, as the cost for standard software with lots of drivers and available programmers and administrators is $0.00. Heck, even big companies like Shell use Beowulf and Mosix.
    • E) Pissed-off OEMs that are sick of M$'s influence and demands on their products

      and

      F) Pissed-off gov't offices willing to learn something slightly different and tired of licensing issues/overpriced upgrades

      There's room for anything new in this world, so long as it provides a real change.
      • or:

        G) Refurbished/Used PC Auctioneers whe want to save a few bucks. They won't have to ship OS-less computers, they just slap the "compatible" PETROS on the Pentium-90 and sell it for $100, and then let the buyer upgrade themselves to Windows if they want it.
      • E) -- no. MS will drop their product price or, more likely, offer a reduced-functionality Windows at the same price-point.

        F) -- no. That falls under the (C) category: either you purchase MS, with the intent of having someone to blame when things go wrong; or go with Linux, with the intent of saving money.
    • this rings a bell (Score:2, Informative)

      by uebernewby (149493)
      A) Cheap alternative for desktop users -- users say "they wished they had something better without having to pay big big bucks." Win2k is, what, perhaps $200. PetrOS will have to sell for $50 or less, then.

      And it'll be obsolete the moment MS changes an API. Or the moment MS makes MSIE crash when it detects PetrOS.


      you're right. (cough) DR-DOS. (cough)
      • you're right. (cough) DR-DOS. (cough)

        Perhaps he figures Caldera will buy it. After all, they'll buy the rights to any software as long as it has no apparent future.

    • B) Embedded market -- er, no. The embedded market wants Linux, QNX, EPOC and other OSes. They're either free, hard realtime, or extremely small

      Actually, there is quite a market for a small, embeddable OS with a Win32 API. Check out 'ETS' by Phar Lap (now Venturcom), at http://www.vci.com/products/vci_products/ets/ets_o verview.html
    • A) Cheap alternative for desktop users ... PetrOS will have to sell for $50 or less, then.

      It does [petros-project.com]. They've released version 1.01 and they're selling it for $50 a copy. Whether it's going to be profitable has yet to be seen.

    • Doesn't Microsoft have a tendency to write license terms that prohibit running their software on non-Microsoft platforms? IOW, I bet you can't run the Windows MSIE legally without a Windows license.

  • I can't help but wonder how much this would cost to develop. I'm talking aobut things such as a programmer's time(if they're paying themselves or getting paid), hardware, power, a structure to house this development, and of course coffee, etc. Could anyone give me a better idea about the team size, location, etc.?

    This is great stuff and I would like to learn more about the scarifices made by this team.

  • by Ridge2001 (306010) on Monday September 10, 2001 @04:31PM (#2275004)
    From the article:
    The fundamental design concept behind PetrOS is that "small is beautiful".
    Then why are they copying Windows?
  • I hope this guy isn't planning on supporting the wife and kids with this thing.

    I can't even fathom trying to go up against a company that has a 15-20 year headstart and literaly billions of dollars worth of resources.

    sure, it sounds like a neat project, but doesn't sound like a good business strategy imho
  • I wonder why... (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by 1010011010 (53039)
    ...they chose to use a diaphragm for their logo... hmm...
  • Trumpet was nice. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Neck_of_the_Woods (305788) on Monday September 10, 2001 @04:31PM (#2275007) Journal
    You know back in the day....well not that far back Trumpet was the best connect software rolling around. What did you have maybe 2 or 3 that did anything worth talking about, that you configure and get working with any consistancy? Cammilion and Trumpet where the best, please correct me if I am wrong, and Cam was sad.

    Interesting enough with the os that would be compat with winOS that is free. It would seem that the linux community would have done this years ago if for nothing else to put a funnel on the venture capital. If Linux had become 100% comp with windows software, via a deamon or what have you....things could and would be very different in many ways. Then again part of problem with windows is the software, so Linux would end up bringing bugs in...it is kind of catch 22 sale to the devil....
  • What use does this have if in a couple of years no one is using the old code base? It would seem that implementing NT device driver support in the kernel would be vital to this project taking of.

    Or am I missing something?
  • Dead on arrival (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Phaid (938) on Monday September 10, 2001 @04:35PM (#2275036) Homepage
    I can't decide if this is the work of a sincere person who is sadly deluded, or a marketing ploy to flog a few more dollars out of investors. It's hard enough getting your foot in the door with a pure desktop operating system that is better than Windows (BeOS, OS/2), much less one whose entire goal is to play catch-up to Windows itself. There is nothing here to appeal to people who already know and like Windows, and it's certainly not going to appeal to people who don't like windows either.

    Beyond that, the technical feasibility of it is questionable. Microsoft is well known for making its Win32 API, filesystems, etc, moving targets. It's taken the Wine and NTFS teams a long time to get where they have, and even then they're pretty far from complete compatibility. What makes these guys think they're going to get any closer?

    Oh well. I guess it goes to show you, there's always someone trying to ice skate uphill.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Next thing you know someone will be trying to implement the x86 architecture cheaper and better than Intel!
    • Re:Dead on arrival (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cavemanf16 (303184)
      Are you kidding? I'm not saying that they don't have one huge hill to climb here, but here's my take on the whole OS market right now:

      1. I am thinking of starting a custom computer building shop, partly just so I can have my own company, partly to help make some close friends make the right decisions when purchasing new PC hardware and software. After looking online, it is quite apparent that after a monitor, the Windows OS would be the next most expensive component of a custom built computer (not one built by Dell, Gateway or any Windows reseller, mind you).
      2. I could put Linux or any other free OS on the system, but most everyone I know with money to drop on a custom built system by yours truly, also doesn't want a new OS to try and learn. They want good old Windows familiarity, and the ability to play games and media software that works on their current system.
      3. An alternative Windows OS that may not have all the media bells and whistles of Win2k or WinXP would be great! Not only could I make sure to only install the freeware and OSS apps that my friend's would need (stuff like WinAmp, free email clients, ZoneAlarm, etc), but I also wouldn't have to charge them $200+ for the OS just because I was a small time computer builder.

      So yes, I think this OS has promise, just make sure it's fully compatible with today's media that's built for MS Windows.

    • There is nothing here to appeal to people who already know and like Windows.

      Humorous yet serious point: don't be too quick to equate those who know windows with those who like it. I know windows, and have a long list of things windows could easily do much better if only it had a little competition.

      and it's certainly not going to appeal to people who don't like windows either.

      You don't offer any support for this statement. I'll just go down as saying that I disagree.

    • It's taken the Wine and NTFS teams a long time to get where they have, and even then they're pretty far from complete compatibility. What makes these guys think they're going to get any closer?


      Actually, I'm glad to see another effort out there. If they do make more progress than the Wine project has, perhaps they can provide some information that would improve Wine. It's really hard to write "compatible" APIs when there's all kinds of undocumented "features" that need to be emulated in order to make things work. If PetraOS has a better chance of figuring some of this stuff out, and if they use a "Clean Room" approach, they can certainly lend support to the Wine project.

  • If this OS is targeted for servers and embedded devices as the interview points out, I'd give it a go. There are tons of extras heaped on NT that I'd love to get dump. Perhaps it will take a page from the Mandrake install and allow us to install only the components we need through an EASY interface...
  • .. under PetrOS as they all use undocumented APIs. Lots of them. So Trumpet will either have to reverse engineer core DLLs (which may bring MS lawers upon their as*es) or limit this new OS to documented APIs only (which is obviously a poor choice).
    • Can anyone provide pointers to actual documented examples of the oft-rumored secret APIs, and any cases where MS applications used them? Or is this an "urban legend" sort of situation?

      Thanks in advance.


      • I think you are referring to the "z" classes? the layer ontop of which win32 resides? It's been a few years, but that was the rumor anyway..

      • I know this is ancient stuff, but anyway...

        In early versions of MS-DOS, everything related to TSRs was undocumented. People knew however that it was possible, because many standard DOS utilities (PRINT, KEYB) operated that way.

        So programmers started to disassemble those programs, and they figured some of the rules out. They could make a program go resident -- but they couldn't make it stable. People liked those TSRs, so Microsoft was pretty much required to document the functions in the next release.

      • There has been a whole string of books published since the early 90's with the titles "Undocumented DOS", "Undocumented Windows", etc...

        See Undocumented Windows [amazon.com]

        I am only really familiar with "Undocumented Windows", but it goes into detail about some of the "reserved" API hooks Microsoft used in its own applications around the Windows 3.1/3.11 days.

        Microsoft used these undocumented API features during the early days of Microsoft Word and Excel to crush and consume most of its word processing/office suite competitors. Remember Lotus 1 2 3, Wordperfect, Quattro Pro? In part, they died the death of Microsoft's hidden API.
      • From a first glance, 50-70% of these functions are documented, while the rest of them (having rather self-explanatory names) are not. Same applies to user32.dll and other core DLLs.
      • "Windows NT/2000 Native API Reference" - Gary Nebbett.

        Many Win32 functions are just wrappers around the almost completely undocumented native API. This book outlines the Native API function by function.

      • by Philbert Desenex (219355) on Monday September 10, 2001 @07:00PM (#2275636) Homepage

        The "secret APIs" are not a rumor. Notice the dates on these references, the secret APIs have been in NT all along.

        • Using the NT API for file I/O [osr.com]
        • Inside the Native API [sysinternals.com]
        • Do you need source? [usenix.org] - go down the page about a third of the way: The conclusion was that Vogels's group used source code only as documentation (there is no other documentation for NT), examples, and to understand the behavior of NT. It turned out to be useful for debugging, and it led to the discovery of interesting APIs that are not documented or available in Win32.
        • Inside Windows NT Disk Defragmenting [winntmag.com] - MSFT gave one company access to the defragmenting APIs, and never bothered to document them to anyone else.


        MSFT hasn't hesitated to use the secret APIs either. From the July 10 InternetWeek [internetwk.com]: Microsoft has historically achieved market dominance by controlling APIs and forcing competitors to write software to Microsoft's APIs, then changing the APIs. "Instead of satisfying their own customers' demand, competitors are busy catching up with Microsoft," said IDC analyst Dan Kusnetzky.


        From the October 8, 1998 NY Times [nytimes.com]: And Microsoft, the people added, did what it has always denied it does -- used access to its technology as a powerful lever in business negotiations, by offering Netscape preferential access to the Windows "application program interfaces," or A.P.I.'s, the links that enable other companies' programs to run smoothly on the Windows operating system. By turning down the deal, Netscape, they say, would not have that preferred access to Microsoft technology -- a threat that Microsoft fiercely denies making.


        Think about it - can you, using only Win32, write all of the stuff that MSFT provides with NT/W2k? No. Clearly, MSFT keeps APIs to themselves. MSFT wants to allow itself the latitude to write faster, more functional programs than the ordinary developers can write. MSFT has proven time and time again that it will use secret APIs to its own advantage, or to the advantage of selected partners (Executive Software, for example). This practice is certainly bad for the consumer. Secret APIs raise the cost of entry into the NT system software market, which will keep out competitors, raise prices, and reduce choice.

        • Example of APIs you are talking about ..

          "NtCreateFile()"

          Damn, do you really expect MS to have people use these APIs ?
          Do you believe MS products do use NtCreateFile() directly or thru corresponding wrapper ?

          "write all of the stuff that MSFT provides with NT/W2k? "

          What stuff ?
          What are you talking about.
          MS is known to introduce new APIs ( common controls) by releasing them with new MS Office products, to be sure, questionable practice but far from what you accusing them of.
          • Stop trivializing the problem, Shill-boy [hethmon.com]. Of course I expect MSFT to have people use the APIs. MSFT programmers have to use them to do things like write the POSIX subsystem, write the login system.

            Of course, if what you shill I mean say is true, then MSFT is keeping the native API under wraps because it's so crappy. That's not true, of course: there's some things you can do in the native API that you can't do in Win32. You can't clone a processes address space in Win32, so you can't emulate the Unix fork() system call in Win32. The POSIX subsystem does emulate fork(), so MSFT does use the native API.

            But go on, tell me how to emulate fork() using Win32 calls. Tell me how to do things like write my own login service. Tell me how to cancel an outstanding asynchronous I/O request in Win32. Tell me how to do disk defragmentation using Win32 calls. Tell me how to write an IFS using Win32: I want to put my Solaris UFS disks on my W2K box so I can get rid of this expensive Sun hardware.

            Really, you should read the URLs I put in my article. You don't have to believe me, you can believe Open Systems Resources [osr.com], you can believe Mark Rossinovich [sysinternals.com]. Read the references I put in my last article before shilling further [channel4000.com], and please, back away from the crack pipe.

      • It is mostly urban legend.
        There were some cases of MS not being completely honest about aspects of their APIs but this happens to many companies ( and more often can be explained by miscommunication and general mess than malignancy.)

        In any case, the mischief implied by people who refer to "hidden and dangerous APIs" is nothing but "urban legend".
  • by vor (142690) on Monday September 10, 2001 @04:37PM (#2275055)
    Sure sounds like a good idea reading about it but it's totally unpractical. He wants to aim for the desktop, which means he's gonna have to go for the average user. Since windows comes "free" on all mainstream PCs today, the average user will never ever have the need to run a windows clone.

    Sure, us geeky people will have fun messing around with it, but we already have our joys in running unixes.
  • Great (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ogerman (136333)
    Just what we need.. another Windows. But on a more serious note, there's virtually no way that a single company can write a perfect replacement for Windows itself. It's just too large a task and Windows is a wavering and fast moving target anyways. Have these people been asleep during the whole beginning of the Open Source revolution? You can't fight Microsoft on their own turf, but you can undermine it. If they were smart, they'd join up with the Wine people and build a business around that instead. Use a business model similar to Transgaming, except for ordinary / custom applications that people want / need to hold on to as they transition to Linux / BSD.
  • by micromoog (206608) on Monday September 10, 2001 @04:39PM (#2275067)
    486 DX processor.
    2MB System RAM (4MB recommended).
    At least 2MB Hard drive space.
    This struck me as funny. I understand the point they're trying to make, but does this mean I'd better go out and get that 2MB upgrade I've been looking at for the past ten years for the 486DX I intend to run this on?
  • quotes... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hobbex (41473) on Monday September 10, 2001 @04:41PM (#2275080)
    "We're well aware of the dominance by the key player in this market - we just want to coexist, not supplant." - Peter Tattam

    "I once preached peaceful coexistence with Windows. You may laugh at my expense -- I deserve it." - Jean-Louis Gassée

    "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
    • On the other hand, Peter Tattam is the only one of the three to have operated a successful software company, and he did so by producing a product which coexisted with Windows.
      • by jimhill (7277) on Monday September 10, 2001 @05:12PM (#2275241) Homepage
        Of course, you could argue that his company's product didn't coexist with Windows so much as it provided a functionality that only a few people needed...until the Web came, and then everyone needed it, Microsoft folded it into Windows, and Trumpet was thrown out like a sorority girl the morning after a good party.
        • Well, maybe you could, but I certainly wouldn't because it might weaken my point :)

          All I'm saying is that we're comparing the business accumen of two men, one of whom has been, however briefly, the head of a successful company, and one of whom has not. I'm not going to dismiss the former simply on the word of the latter.

    • One writes software because of a desire to solve a particular problem.

      If the problem goes away, then it's entirely reasonable that the solution no longer has a market.

      We might as well bemoan the loss of buggy whip manufacturers with the advent of the car.

      Or passenger trains with the advent of the Airplane.

      Or commercial Unix makers like SCO with the advent of Linux.

      • It's not the software that is the problem. It is the bussiness model of trying to make a commericial operating system to coexist with windows.
        Offtopic: Passenger trains are only dead in America, and I think it has more to do with the car than the airplane (and of course America's large size).
  • by MSBob (307239) on Monday September 10, 2001 @04:53PM (#2275141)
    Whoa! This guy has guts. Not only is he trying to battle William Gates III he's also named Bill's OS after himself! Even Bill Gates himself wasn't arrogant enough to instill a "BillOS" upon us! Sheesh.
  • ..It show really well what this click through licenses are worth.

    The difference being: if you violate Microsofts one - they will sue a jail you (if it was some copyright protection one)

    But if THEY violate YOURS: they will sue YOU again, since this license ain't worth crap in court.

    So no matter what you do - those who lined establishment and law firms with money (that YOU paid them, for products, to start with) - you are fucked, screwed and ain't worth shit.

    Sad.

  • This project is quite interesting, to say the least, but I found it even more interesting that they are writing it in Object Pascal:

    11. What language is PETROS® written in?

    PETROS® is written using an in-house Object Pascal compiler. This enables us to generate machine code with roughly the same efficiency as C or C++, but with very strict type checking. The language is compatible with Borland Delphi Pascal allowing code to be interchanged with many of the existing applications that Trumpet has developed to date.

    Also, they aren't planning on opening the code to everyone, so I'm not sure what incentive anyone would have to purchase this OS over a true MS one which it is trying to duplicate. Oh well, my $0.02.

    Revelations 0:0 - The beginning of the end.
  • by Junks Jerzey (54586) on Monday September 10, 2001 @05:09PM (#2275225)
    The two primary objections I see here could both have been raised when Linus decided to write a UNIX clone in 1991:

    1. "Nobody could possibly write his own UNIX kernel! It's too huge of a system!"

    2. "UNIX has been dying since the mid 1980s. Who would want to start writing a system that will be dead on arrival?"
    • I think you're quite right. The following observation struck me:

      2. "UNIX has been dying since the mid 1980s. Who would want to start writing a system that will be dead on arrival?"

      It seems to me that we expect software to modernize much faster than it actually does. I think it's quite likely NT will be around (and big) in 20 years, while much better software architectures will be hanging on the fringes.

      As of today, the newest Microsoft home user OS released still has DOS inside. And how old is that?

      Maybe the problem is that no one tries to send a life raft to the poor people trapped in an old OS. Everybody says: Come swim to my new, fancy one, or fuck off. The result is that the old OS lives on.

      If Trumpet don't need money fast and have a few years to get the bugs out, they just might build the life raft many Windows users are hoping for. The Windows API isn't changing THAT fast; if you catch up to it as it was 6 years ago, you're doing great! (Very few people dare write programs that break in Win95. I expect it will be 10 years before a significant number of Windows binaries won't run on XP.) I'm not saying compatability will be easy; just that they have plenty of time to do it.

      Of couse, I don't expect them to succeed. Trumpet are greedy bastards, they'll run out of money soon, and their closed-source code will just vanish. Whatever. I'm much more interested in WINE anyway, who don't need to write new device drivers (the real eternal uphill battle) and don't need to worry about running out of corporate money. Sure, it seems they're moving forward at a snail's pace, but if in 3 years WINE runs everything that you can run on Win95, it will still be the #1 reason why people will be comfortable switching to Linux.

  • I can see many embedded folks who require a W*n compatable OS, but want better company to work with. Not just for price, but service. Often time an embedded product will be spected with a W*n requirement fro the customer to support some legacy application. I just released a project that runs in a DOS box under Win3.1 as an embedded system. I'll let you guess how much support we got from M$
  • Negative Feedback (Score:2, Insightful)

    by atathert (127489)
    Perhaps it is more a case of the following. The best way to motivate a great many geeks is to say that something cannot be done. There are so many negative comments here saying it is impossible, making it all the more fun (challenging) to work on. How many times has it been said that it is impossible to build a tranistor smaller than "X", only to have it happen a short time later.


    It definitely will be difficult, but there's nothing wrong with "fighting the good fight"

  • These guys are going for full compatability with win32 binaries. With all this experience with hacking away at them, could the knowledge they gain be wrpaed into the wine project? I know it wouldn't be the profit minded thing to do, but if the OS goes flop as most people here seem to think so, then why couldn't it be spread around?

    P.S. - I'm all for this project. Complete compatability with win32 binaries is a great edge. A fast stable OS that still can run ALL of your programs? Why not?
  • Finally an OS that can be usefull. Maybe I'll try it when the GUI is ready.


  • To my amazement, nowhere in their FAQ are the questions "Why the hell would anyone want to pay for Windows, never mind a compatible OS" or "Do you plan on being 'bug' and 'Security Flaw' compatible?"
  • by divert (188449)
    hmm.. didn't some people try this a couple years back with DR-DOS and PC-DOS... It didn't seem to work then. .what makes them think it will work now? MS has the market cornered.. they are the first OS most people see.. until you can get PC sellers to start shipping other OSes.. it'll be a losing battle..
  • Some of you aren't getting the idea. I've read numerous comments of, the api changes day to day to day. What your not getting is, how many development shops change their app each time the win api's change? few to none. I can take my old copy of office that was intended for windows 95 and it will install on WinME and run just fine. All they have to do is clone the win api today. That would mean most of the windows apps written BEFORE TODAY would run on that OS TODAY. That in itself if a massive accomplishment. Wine is great, but for the new user just breaking the microsoft shackles would have a choice. Yes, that choice wouldn't be a *BSD or a Linux distro, but it would be something other than Microsoft. You know what? Once somebody does something once, and they like it. Their more willing to do it again. Granted this isn't an OpenSource effort, but it will benefit OpenSource in the end.
    Just my 1-cent
  • by gig (78408) on Monday September 10, 2001 @07:55PM (#2275797)
    What's the minimum software that you'd have to replace in order to de-Microsoft a typical PC?

    I don't think the average frustrated Windows user wants to stop running IE and MS Office. You don't have to replace those. Users probably like most of their other applications, too. What most people want to stop is that the whole shooting match is dependent on Microsoft Windows. It gets better, or it gets worse, according to Microsoft. Any security in Windows is always open to Microsoft's applications. Features come and go and are reliable or unreliable based mainly on who is currently having their air supply cut off, etc. It's a drag.

    One of the nice things about switching from using Windows full-time to using a Mac full-time is that suddenly Microsoft is just another software company. Replacing the core of Windows with something non-Microsoft could give Windows users that feeling that they can really hold Microsoft accountable for their dirty tricks and just switch off the Microsoft software if they want to, without losing their computer's functionality and capabilities. At least you could close IE when you wanted to, and run an Adobe or other app on a non-Microsoft foundation, perhaps with better performance as well.

    Imagine a Windows software installer that you run, and after a reboot, the computer functions in basically the same manner, except that it can function with all of the Microsoft apps shut off. They are running a non-MS kernel and certain systems that are acting as a traffic cop or conscience for Windows. You can run IE or any MS app, but they are in their own processes and effectively being contained from any scripting mischief or whatever.

    Wouldn't this be a good way for the Linux kernel to get onto more machines full-time? If it could replace the NT kernel and the user could still keep their apps at least ... a huge selling point. People can write to other API's later as time goes on, like Apple moving to the Cocoa API by just putting it out there, and developers can adopt it as they please. In the meantime, people still have a lot of Win32 apps that they want to use on their PC's, and Carbon apps on their Macs. If somebody wants to replace Windows with Linux in great numbers then getting the Win32 API going might be just as important to their vision of Linux as having the Carbon API and the Classic environment is on Mac OS X. Computers exist to run the apps that are on them RIGHT NOW. To be able to switch to Linux and still use all those old Netscape and SmartSuite and DOS game discs you have from 1997 might be cool for some people. Also, the Enhanced CD's in people's music collections have Mac versions and PC versions. The PC versions are Windows versions. If Linux were to replace Windows tomorrow, then adding support for those CD's would be a priority. Whatever replaces Windows (if anything) would probably have to make that level of commitment to the PC platform's non-Unix past, so why not just enable the stuff to be run natively?

    These guys at Trumpet don't seem to look at it as OS and applications and who owns what. If you think of the user's PC, the Trumpet core OS product was replaced by yet another Microsoft core OS product. Now Trumpet is working on new core OS products that replace some of Microsoft's at the user's discretion. Even if they only replace the functionality of Windows 95, then that gives them an instant application base that is very large. Also, they would give Windows developers a reason to stick to core Win32 stuff and make good cross-platform code in order to run in both places, even just for the principle. If you are making subnotebooks or something, why make one with Pocket Windows when you could make a Microsoft-free Windows95-compatible Pentium-class subnotebook that runs real Windows and DOS apps (not all of them, but LOTS) with excellent performance? There are interesting things going on when you can get the Win32 application base or a subset of it without having to build your business on Microsoft.
  • It isn't free, or very usable as a desktop OS, but as proof that building a Win32-compatable OS is possible, check out 'ETS', at http://www.vci.com/products/vci_products/ets/ets_o verview.html

    It's an embedded, real-time OS that provides a portion of the Win32 API: kernel, filesystem, winsock, etc (no GUI, though). It's a good, inexpensive little embeddable RTOS.
  • by stikves (127823) on Monday September 10, 2001 @08:00PM (#2275808) Homepage
    I will not be a troll, but i'll be a little bit bitter :)


    Well there is long-lasting wine project that is capable of running windows apps. It has been developed for many years, but we're still far from running "most" windows apps on linux.


    Here is a list from their "competitors" page [winehq.com]:

    • SolarMoon: site now blank
    • Windows Replacement Project: I could not access their site
    • Freedows: preliminary code no longer available
    • ReactOS: preliminary code
    • WinFree: dicontinued
    • Wabi: sun's binary interface. site now registered by microsoft!
    • AllOS: no longer interested in windows compatibility

    These are the dead or very slow projects. The statistics can be wrong, but usually this is not the case.


    There are also "alive" projects. One is twin, but it's slow. Another is odin which was former OS/2-WIN code. But I do not know much about that one.


    'nuff said.

  • I've been following this project with interest for the past year or so. Even had some suggestions via the PETRos discussion groups. I would welcome (and pay for) a small, fast and stable OS on both the desktop and as a server that would run all the Windows apps that my users insist they must have. The lower cost and lower hardware requirements could be very significant in the educational and non-profit markets. And, yes, the linux/WINE option would of course remain on the table. But more choices are always better...
  • It just so happens that my real first name (and internet no-no but this is important) happens to coincide exatly with the name of the OS in question in the above slashdot story. Does this mean I have to pay royalty fees everytime I need to submit a university thesis for publication? Seing my name trademarked was rather shocking... and I think my own time to realise just how far this crazy game has gone....
  • If this project is ever completed, and there is enough money left over to do some really good marketing, these guys have a real chance.

    I was at the bookstore the other day(I go there a lot), and for the first time ever I saw someone else looking at the Linux books. I noticed he was holding a "Linux for Dummies"(or linux for complete idiots of whatever) book, so I asked him if/why he was giving Linux a try. His answer? Windows XP!

    Yes, Joe Blow (aka Joe Sixpack) was giving Linux a try because Windows XP pricing, licensing, forced registration, etc was plain ridiculous, he said.

    This Joe Sixpack may have been a bit more computer saavy than average, but not much. He's mostly just a gamer, and he was impressed with the game selection on Linux now so wanted to try it out. He plans to hold onto win98 to play games for a while, but he DOES NOT want to buy XP.

    A cheap, windows compatible OS would be a good alternative for this guy and many others.

"Marriage is low down, but you spend the rest of your life paying for it." -- Baskins

Working...