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SkyOS Now Runs Linux Binaries Natively 293

Posted by timothy
from the emulation-is-sincere-flattery dept.
Gunder123 writes: "A new (open source in the past, but not anymore) operating system, SkyOS, in its latest version can run Linux binaries unmodified, without the need of a recompilation, enriching its own application base this way. Their Linux emulation layer lies inside the SkyOS kernel, I wonder if there are any GPL violations going on here. Their future plans involve also an emulation layer for Windows applications, pretty much what ReactOS tries to do for the last few years for the WindowsNT model."
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SkyOS Now Runs Linux Binaries Natively

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  • Just wondering why this OS isn't open source anymore...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 18, 2001 @05:07PM (#2448961)
      Open source business plan:

      1. Write free software.
      2. ???
      3. Profit!

    • by albat0r (526414) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @05:21PM (#2449048)
      Taken from and interview on OSnews ( www.osnews.com [osnews.com]), here's the answer to your question:

      Robert Szeleney: Until version 3.0, SkyOS was open source. But now, I don`t want SkyOS to be open source. I put so many work into this project, that I don`t want to give to source away. But I accept project members. If someone want to code for SkyOS he can have source. Also, I accept source codes and bugfixes for SkyOS. I don`t put restrictions for coding style. If someone coded for example a new driver, I will change the code to fit into the whole SkyOS coding style.

      For those who doesn't know, Robert Szeleney is the man behind SkyOS.
      • Do what is right! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kjj (32549)
        Fork the code. Reimplement new fetures. That is what should be done. When people asked about Mozilla reay being open source the response was that you are always able to "do what is right, fork the code" This is the best thing anytime someone trys to take source away mid project. It would be one thing if this was closed from the beginning, but making major license changes like this is asking for trouble and upset developers. OpenSSH vs SHH anyone? Yes thats BSD. People say GPL projects can't be forked but they certainly can be and there are some examples of that as well. I believe OpenRacer vs Tux Racer is one. There was another having to do with file systems. Anyone remember what that one was called?
        • Re:Do what is right! (Score:2, Informative)

          by sydb (176695)
          GFS / OpenGFS
      • So he wants to make money, but he'll kindly let other people do development for him for free!
        what a deal.
        • AFAIK there's no money being made, and there likely won't be any in the near future.
    • by gosand (234100)
      From the author himself, in an interview:

      5. Do you accept help and source code or bug fixes from third parties? Do you put restrictions to third parties regarding coding style etc?

      Robert Szeleney: Until version 3.0, SkyOS was open source. But now, I don`t want SkyOS to be open source. I put so many work into this project, that I don`t want to give to source away. But I accept project members. If someone want to code for SkyOS he can have source. Also, I accept source codes and bugfixes for SkyOS. I don`t put restrictions for coding style. If someone coded for example a new driver, I will change the code to fit into the whole SkyOS coding style.

      gosand [poundingsand.com] (bracing for the "all your base" comments)

    • by fmaxwell (249001)
      I have nothing against open or closed source projects. What bothers me is when open source projects become closed source without the approval of 100% of those who contributed to the development.

      If a developer gives his time because he believes in the principles behind open source, he should not see someone else declare that the project on which he worked is now closed source.

      I do not know if this is the case with SkyOS and do not mean to imply that it is.
  • by kbroom (258296) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @05:01PM (#2448925) Homepage
    from the SkyOS website:

    >Emulation layers
    >
    >Linux
    > 6% of all linux syscalls implemented
    > Support for static linked ELF i386 binaries only

    Well I guess any binary using any of the remaining
    94% system calls will not work... hmmm....
  • by soboroff (91667) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @05:02PM (#2448930)
    "It's already possible to execute linux/i386 compiled programms. Simple linux-native applications like 'Hello World!!!' are running now on SkyOS without compiling!"


    I wonder if it's the spiffy GNU hello.c which includes its own email client.



    Seriously, they only support a very small subset of calls thus far.

  • Say WHAT? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by supabeast! (84658) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @05:03PM (#2448936)
    "Their Linux emulation layer lies inside the SkyOS kernel, I wonder if there are any GPL violations going on here."

    That has to be one of the rudest things that I have seen on Slashdot in years. To suggest that just because some Linux binaries can run on another OS with no evidence is absolutely disgusting.

    Of course, even more disgusting is that Timothy posted it, but I think everyone realizes Slashdot has a pretty fucked up editorial policy so I shall not continue.
    • Hear hear. GPL covers the specific code and binaries; it doesn't cover the ideas or the specific interfaces involved.

      For example, if I write a GPL'd grep with a spiffy new regular expression syntax, that does not in any way preclude someone else from writing the same utilitiy under a closed-source license.

    • Sorry, but I'm forced to agree with this. As far as I can tell this is totally unfounded speculation and very very inappropriate. I'd like to see a retraction of this comment, but I don't expect to...
    • Re:Say WHAT? (Score:3, Insightful)

      The QUESTION is completely appropriate. He didn't say that there IS a GPL violation. He hust wondered if there is one.

      Stealing GPL code is one way to accomplish Linux compatability quickly and painlessly (until you get found out). Hopefully they didn't do it that way, but some businesses have done worse.

      Asking the question may push someone to come up with a way to test the emulation code with reasonable certainty (i.e. testing for a couple of unusual quirks in the GPL code). I think that it's far better to know, one way or the other, than to be wilfully blind to the issue.

      • The QUESTION is completely appropriate. He didn't say that there IS a GPL violation. He hust wondered if there is one.

        No, he did not. I am wondering many things right now, like maybe if you're an idiot. But now since I've written it, I'm not only wondering it, but suggesting it in a public forum, two totally different things....
    • by gblues (90260) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @05:44PM (#2449167)
      Even though editors approve stories, people seem to forget that the part in italics is the words of the submission, not the editor. Yes, the suggestion was rude, but the suggestion came from a slashdot reader, not from the editor(s)!

      Nathan

    • I wonder if there are any GPL violations going on here.

      It seems like a fair question. "I wonder if ..." is a far cry from a "suggest[ion] that...".

      To completely implement a system capable of behaving like Linux without violating the licence would take an enormous amount of work. It certainly IS possible and could be done with a determined effort, but if somebody shows up out of the blue claiming they've done it, I think it is a fair question to wonder if they did it fairly, and if so, how.

      I didn't interpret his statement as alleging a GPL violation. It just does seem surprising that one could do it without an open source licence as a force multiplier. Sometimes things are surprising because they are really high quality work and sometimes they are surprising because they ripped somebody off. It's healthy skepticism to probe which.

  • by rvaniwaa (136502) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @05:04PM (#2448946) Homepage
    From the status page [skyos.org], it says only 6% of all linux syscalls are implemented...
  • I wonder how it's possible to write a "Linux Emulation Layer" without using the Linux source in a way that violates the GPL.
    It has to have some stuff behave exactly the same, or just wouldn't work. And how do you figure this out without looking at the original source?
    • Re:GPL violation (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TheMMaster (527904) <hp AT tmm DOT cx> on Thursday October 18, 2001 @05:09PM (#2448971)
      one of the freedoms is the "freedom to read/modify and learn" from the source. If he is just learning from the source and reimplementing it, there is no problem.
      Is wine in violation with microsoft copyright?
      • Wine was written by people without access to windows source code. SkyOS's linux-emulation layer was written by people with access to linux source code. Therefore, it is far more likely that code was 'borrowed' in writing this emulation layer. Since it's closed source now, and nobody can check for simmilarities, speculation (like "I wonder if..." type statements) about GPL violations is entirely reasonable.
        • Re:GPL violation (Score:5, Insightful)

          by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @05:56PM (#2449226) Homepage
          Wine was written by people without access to windows source code. SkyOS's linux-emulation layer was written by people with access to linux source code. Therefore, it is far more likely that code was 'borrowed' in writing this emulation layer

          That's completely backwards. When writing an emulation layer (I speak from experience...if you ever ran a System V 286 binary on a System V 386 Unix or an SCO Xenix 286 binary on a Systemv V 386 Unix, you were using the emulation layer Darryl Richman, Carl Hensler, and I wrote when we worked at Interactive), you do not want to use actual code from the OS you are emulating. That code doesn't work like your OS works (if it did...you wouldn't need an emulation layer...you'd just need some argument munging and other trivial stuff).

          The hard thing about an emulation layer is finding out just what the thing you are emulating does. An emulation layer has to not just follow the written spec (if there is one), but also has to implement the same bugs as the thing you are emulating, and follow the same choices where there was leeway in the spec, or you might break binary compatibility.

          When emulating something that is open source, like Linux, you have the documentation you need: the source code. You read it to find out what the real behaviour is, and then implement that in a way that fits in with the way your OS works. It simple is almost never going to be faster to rip the actual code and try to use it.

          When emulating a closed source thing like Windows, however, finding out the actual behaviour you need to emulate (remember...gotta match the actual behaviour, not just what the spec says) can take much experimenting and disassembly. It is much more temping (because it can actually save a lot of time), to rip some DLLs from Windows, and cobble together a framework to run them under your system.

          So, just from a "what might developer's do" point of view, it is actually more likely a Windows emulation project would use parts of Windows they should not use than a Linux emulation project would use parts of Linux they should not use.

          • OK, since my post was from a marginally-educated guess standpoint and you sound like you've actually had experience with the topic at hand, I guess I stand corrected.
            But just this once!
            Don't think I'll back down so easy next time! 8-)
    • Re:GPL violation (Score:2, Informative)

      by dzeuthen (246536)
      Well, in fact a number of companies reverse engineered the IBM BIOS in the eighties and thus created the PC clone industry. Reverse engineering on the grounds of interoperability is actually allowed, even though some orgs do not like it.
    • Re:GPL violation (Score:3, Informative)

      by shepd (155729)
      >I wonder how it's possible to write a "Linux Emulation Layer" without using the Linux source in a way that violates the GPL.

      Same way as Compaq did it to "clone" the IBM BIOS. Poke stuff in, see what happens. Read technical manuals deviod of code. Get engineers in that haven't already written GPL code (untainted).

      Running (basic) Linux binaries will be easy in comparison to hacking a copy of a BIOS without any idea of what it does -- or so I'm thinking.
    • WINE for christ's sake. But easier, because you don't have to reverse-engineer the APIs.

      All they have to do is implement the proper syscalls, which are documented in the linux source code. They don't even need source to do this.

      What do you mean 'without looking at the original source'. Anyone is free to look at the linux kernel source, for any reason.
      ANd learn what syscalls are...

      • What do you mean 'without looking at the original source'. Anyone is free to look at the linux kernel source, for any reason. ANd learn what syscalls are...

        With GPL code, you're only free to look at the code if the derivative source is going to be publicly available. You could, however, look at the linux documentation to figure out how stuff works, ad then do your own implementation (but someone else should be doing the docs for you, then).

        You could also look at BSD licensed code that calls the GPL routine to see how it's used. That's legal because you're free to do whatever you want with GPL code. You might, however, run into a technical glitch if it turns out that the BSD code was 'tainted' with GPL code. (this would have the BSD code in probable violation of the GPL license, too - but with less liklihood of a screaming meanie fit on the part of the GPL programmer)

        • Where does it say you cannot LOOK at code and learn from it? Derivative does not mean 'inspired by' or 'made with knowledge gained from'.. it means you took significant enough portions of the original code and added to it.
          But you can LOOK at it to see how the API works all you want.

          I think you are a bit confused.

          If he's doing his own OS, it's not beneficial to use the linux source *anyway*. All he's doing is implementing syscalls.. which simply means making the functionst in his own OS take the same args as the linux ones, in laymans terms. Ripping the guts out of the kernel routines in linux would be almost useless.

          • One of the things it take to prove copyright violaiton is to prove that the person you're accusing probably had access to the original. If a defendant can show that they took precautions to avoid contact with the older code, it becomes harder for the plaintif to prove a violation.

            This is part of what occurred in the IBM/Phoenix trial (as I understand it). Phoenix's ability to prove that they'd taken strong measures to avoid contamination raised the bar for IBM and IBM wasn't able to get over it.

            If you look at the code, you weaken your defences in the case of a (threatened) lawsuit.

    • I wonder how it's possible to write a "Linux Emulation Layer" without using the Linux source in a way that violates the GPL.

      The GPL only restricts the distribution of the original and derivative works (albeit with a very liberal interpretation of "derivative"). There is ZERO restriction on looking at the code and seeing how it works. There is ZERO restriction on 'reverse engineering' it. Writing an Linux emulation layer without violating the GPL would be trivial (but tedious) for anyone familiar with kernel programming.

      It has to have some stuff behave exactly the same, or just wouldn't work.

      Linux is under copyright but it is not under patent. That means that you can legally duplicate how the stuff is done.
  • Why SkyOS? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cDarwin (161053) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @05:06PM (#2448954) Homepage
    I already have an open source OS that runs Linux binaries. I have no interest in another closed source OS that runs windoze binaries. As far as I can tell, the SkyOS web site presents no justification for this OS.


    I'm having a hard enough time getting our office staff to switch to KDE. Why would I want to mess about with SkyOS? Does anyone know?

    • FreeBSD [freebsd.org]? :) [/joke]
    • Re:Why SkyOS? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Innominandum (453982)
      I find the attitude of Slashdot readers perplexing, especially their attitudes toward operating systems that are not Linux. Linux fails as an operating system on many levels. It is open source and free, but its implementation and architecture are very mediocre.

      As long as there is room for a better operating system, people should be making a better operating system.
      • I have zero interest in or use for an OS that is not Free as in speech. And I suspect that many /. users feel the same.

        It's not "attitudes toward operating systems that are not Linux", it's attitudes toward operating systems that are not Free as in speech.

        If you don't like it, don't hang out at a web site that pushes Open Source.

        • Re:Why SkyOS? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Arandir (19206) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @06:24PM (#2449386) Homepage Journal
          ...operating systems that are not Free as in speech.

          It's statements like that which make the rest of the world suspect we are a brainwashed cult just waiting for the Koolaid to arrive.

          The right to free speech is a right that belongs to the speaker, and not to the listener. Linux is a manifestation of Linus Torvald's free speech. SkyOS is a manifestation of its authors' free speech. Any OS is a product of its authors' free speech. You have your own right of free speech but it is not predicated upon the existance of any operating system.

          It would make sense to say that you only want operating systems that are "Free Software", or operating systems that are "Open Source", or operating systems that grant you specific permissions. But to say that you only want operating systems that are "free as in speech" is a non sequitur. It only makes sense if you have undergone the GNU Indoctrination Protocols, as it is not a sensible English phrase.

          (considering that most Slashdot readers are openly hostile toward non-Linux Free Software operating systems, like OpenBSD, I think the original supposition was a correct evaluation of the Slashdot attitudes)
          • Just to nitpick, most Slashdot users:
            1) Don't post to forums
            2) View Slashdot with Internet Explorer
          • Re:Why SkyOS? (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Danse (1026)

            (considering that most Slashdot readers are openly hostile toward non-Linux Free Software operating systems, like OpenBSD, I think the original supposition was a correct evaluation of the Slashdot attitudes)


            Where the heck do you get that from? MOST /. readers? There are probably over half a million /. readers now. do you really think that the majority of them are hostile towards non-Linux OSes? I think there is a rather vocal, but tiny minority that are. I don't think you can find evidence of anything beyond that.

          • "Free as in speech" means "allowed to do whatever you want with it". With Linux (and all GNU software), you are allowed to do (almost) whatever you want with it. This includes being able to modify the code AND the right to sell the software and copies of the software. With closed source software, you are generally not allowed such a luxury.

            The reason this is important is not so much that you or I will modify the code, but that there are people out there that can (And will) do it, if only given the chance. Open Source and Free Software models allow for a greater chance of that working.
            • Re:Why SkyOS? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Arandir (19206) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @07:31PM (#2449665) Homepage Journal
              "Free as in speech" means "allowed to do whatever you want with it".

              Someone should arrest and jail your High School civics teacher for fraud.

              "Free Speech" means speech that is unrestricted. In the context of western civilization is usually refers to the legal right to speak without legal hinderances, particularly with regards to political opinion, though it also covers non-political expressions of a creative, commercial or mundane nature.

              "Free Software" may indeed mean "allowed to do (almost) whatever you want with it". But that is NOT what "Free Speech" means.

              In regards to software, there are two kinds of "speech" available. The first is the "speech" of actually creating the software. The second is the "speech" of modifying and/or redistributing the first kind. The first kind is a legal and unalienable right. Unfortunately, the second is not an unalienable right, but a granted priviledge. Despite the existance of the first ammendment to the US Constitution, you are not allowed to take the political writings of Richard Stallman and modify them for redistribution. You are not allowed to take the New York Times and republish it as the Yonkers Yodeler.

              The right to your own speech is unalienable and protected by law. The right to someone else's speech is not. By equating Free Software with Free Speech, you are asserting that the ability to modify and redistribute someone else's creative works is an unalienable right that should be enforced by law. But that is not how rights work. A right is something that you POSSESS. It is not something that you TAKE from someone else.
              • Free as in speech" means "allowed to do whatever you want with it".
                Someone should arrest and jail your High School civics teacher for fraud.

                [...] "Free Software" may indeed mean "allowed to do (almost) whatever you want with it". But that is NOT what "Free Speech" means.

                I don't want to be a hard-on about this, but he's not talking about "Free Speech." He's talking about "free as in speech," as opposed to "free as in beer." These have (for better or worse) become the preferred similes used to distinguish the two different meanings of the word "free." The phrase "free as in speech" simply means something like libre, involving freedom, as opposed to something like gratis, involving lack of monetary cost.
                • My dictionary has 17 definitions of "free", one of which corresponds to "free as in beer" and one corresponds to "free as in speech". Most of the other fifteen don't correspond to either (free end of a rope, free electron, free verse, etc.).

                  Two group them into broad categories, there are three common meanings: free from obligation (free beer); free from external authority (free speech); and unrestricted or unhindered (free use).
              • In regards to software, there are two kinds of "speech" available. The first is the "speech" of actually creating the software. The second is the "speech" of modifying and/or redistributing the first kind. The first kind is a legal and unalienable right. Unfortunately, the second is not an unalienable right, but a granted priviledge. Despite the existance of the first ammendment to the US Constitution, you are not allowed to take the political writings of Richard Stallman and modify them for redistribution. You are not allowed to take the New York Times and republish it as the Yonkers Yodeler.


                Actually, I believe you are talking about copyright. Copyright is what keeps me from reprinting the NY Times, and I don't believe the Constitution (or its amendments) says ANYTHING about copyright.

                I said allowed to do almost anything with Free Software for a reason. I am not allowed to strip the software of credit from its original creator. There is still a license that one must agree to use with free software... However, I am completely within my right to take any GPL software and charge whatever I want for my service of providing it to you. Try doing THAT with your copy of Windows2000.
                • Section 8, clause 8 of the US constitution [house.gov] reads:

                  "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;"

                  You might wanna read it sometime.

          • > rest of the world suspect we are a brainwashed cult

            Every set of radically new ideas makes the rest of the world worry, and every set of radically new ideas comes with its own set of redefinitions of old worlds.

            > most Slashdot readers are openly hostile toward non-Linux Free Software operating systems

            I haven't seen that on the boards, besides the fact that any means you would have of judging that would be wildly unscientific and inaccurate.
        • >If you don't like it, don't hang out at a web site that pushes Open Source.

          That attitude is more like SHOVING open source.
      • by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Thursday October 18, 2001 @07:13PM (#2449587) Homepage Journal
        I don't have the slightest idea why you got a +5 "insightful" for this very mediocre posting.

        Your posting is mediocre because you provide no justification whatsoever for your claims. For example, you could have said that the Linux SCSI implementation is very poor, or that it's based on the 30-year-old Unix paradigm. And in the case of SCSI, you would have been right, in the case of Unix, you would have had to demonstrate how something else works better, which would not have been easy, and too many people who try only show their lack of grounding in operating systems design. But you didn't even try.

        Bruce

        • in the case of Unix, you would have had to demonstrate how something else works better,

          If Windows was the only operating system in existence today, by your logic, it would be unjustified to say that "Windows fails as an operating system on many levels". The fact that there is nothing that currently works better simply means that new ideas need to be explored. It does NOT mean that the current system is the best possible system.

          Yes, the parent poster's comment was lacking in quality, but that doesn't make the statement incorrect.

        • He got a +5 because this is slashdot. Any post critisizing linux will get a +5. Same as any post praising windows 2000 or XP. Try it sometime (not that you need any more karma).
    • Re:Why SkyOS? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by krogoth (134320)
      No one is forcing you to use it. Why do people always complain when someone decides to write their own OS, or even worse say they should contribute to a more popular project? People who can program are allowed to do whatever they want (prior to certain laws) and release it under whatever license they want, so stop complaining!
      • Re:Why SkyOS? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jeremi (14640)
        Why do people always complain when someone decides to write their own OS, or even worse say they should contribute to a more popular project?


        Honestly, it's because operating systems are like societies. The more time you spend using or developing for operating system A, the less you'll spend using/developing operating system B. Furthermore, every non-mainstream OS's users want to see it get the "critical mass" of users and developers necessary to push it into the mainstream where they it will enjoy the benefits of additional software and support. When they instead see other OS's being used or promoted, they view them (rightly or wrongly) as competition for their own OS/culture. Hence the criticism; they are trying to protect their own interests by deprecating the "competition".

  • by NinjaPablo (246765) <ninjapabloNO@SPAMsmashtech.net> on Thursday October 18, 2001 @05:06PM (#2448956) Homepage Journal
    than any other emulation (other than this is integrated in the kernel)? WINE runs Windows apps and I don't hear many complaints about license violations there.
    • Because with WINE, its developers just CAN'T have borrowed implementation details, since they're not available. Windows is closed source, remember? So, all they have is the various specifications of the API and implementing the Win32 spec is not illegal.
    • If people were ripping off MS source code, MS lawyers would be knocking on the door, and the MS PR hacks would be gleefully spouting off about it all over the place... because they (like everyone else) has access to the source code.

      It's a little bit harder to prove code-stealing without access to the emulation source code, thus the speculative questions.

      If they gave general access to their source code, then it'd be pretty easy to prove the question one way or the other (but then they'd also be halfway to being open-source again, too .. grin).

    • >WINE runs Windows apps and I don't hear many complaints about
      > license violations there.


      yeah, but you don't hear many reports about successfully running the programs, either :)


      (Yes, I know that many do, and I've used it on a few things that surprised me when they work. It still doesn't seem to fall in the category of "generally usuable in the forseeable future")


      hawk

  • Why design a new OS if the whole goal is to run another OS's binaries. I hate to say it, but all these little projects like Sky and others will never have enough software developed for them to actually make them profitable. They're wasting their time, make the OS better and make applications for your OS before emulating everyone else's OS.
    • Back in 1991:

      I hate to say it, but all these little projects like Linux and others will never have enough software developed for them to actually make them profitable.

      Back in 1985:

      I hate to say it, but all these little projects like Windows and others will never have enough software developed for them to actually make them profitable.

      Back in 1983:

      I hate to say it, but all these little projects like Macintosh and others will never have enough software developed for them to actually make them profitable.
  • by ZaneMcAuley (266747) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @05:09PM (#2448968) Homepage Journal
    Solaris 9 (the beta is out) runs linux binaries.

    Pros: its got good backing (who else puts the DOT in dotGone :) )

    Cons: erm.. availability of code
  • by gregwbrooks (512319) <gregb&west-third,com> on Thursday October 18, 2001 @05:10PM (#2448974)
    Just what we need: A geekier alternative to Linux.



    Future conversation...


    Geek acolyte: Whatcha runnin'?

    Elder Geek:I've got SkyOS emulating Slackware, with WINE layered over that so I can use all my l00t wArEz.

    Acolyte:Cool! How'z Mozilla run on it?

    Elder: Still a little buggy -- but imagine a beowulf cluster of these...

  • by CmdrTroll (412504) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @05:17PM (#2449018) Homepage
    My friend worked on the Linux binary compatibility for SCO Unixware a little while back. I asked him about the licensing implications of the effort at the time, and he told me that there were a couple of main points that kept them out of trouble:

    • Limiting the emulation environment to Linux kernel syscalls was very safe legally and quite trivial. Why? You can't copyright or patent an interface. And the Linux syscall interface, while symantically slightly different from other Unices, does essentially the same thing as other Unices. Support for Linux sysctls and other oddball features was not considered, mostly because the only software that used Linux sysctls and other oddball features were the system startup scripts. For the most part, applications used the standard file, process control (fork, exec, getpid, ctime), and socket syscalls, and making a translation layer for those was cake.
    • libc posed a bit of a potential problem because it is GPL. Fortunately, there is nothing keeping SCO or anyone else from bundling GPL software with their product, as long as they ship the source too and don't like closed-source binaries against the GPL libraries. Sun ships 'less' and GNOME with Solaris now, and nobody's talked about suing them for it.
    • Statically linked binaries were ideal. They didn't need libc, the Linux loader, or any supporting files at all to run those things. All they needed was kernel support for Linux ELF files (which are a skewed version of standard ELF - check out the specs sometime). No problem there.

    In all likelihood, the Linux ABI will become a standard for all non-Microsoft x86 operating systems. It is simple and legal to implement, and very robust and powerful.

    -CT

    • In all likelihood, the Linux ABI will become a standard for all non-Microsoft x86 operating systems. It is simple and legal to implement, and very robust and powerful.

      Things definitely are moving in this direction. I just read on the netbsd-discuss mailing list that those folks are considering abandoning the slow BSD-style stack-based kernel calls, in favor of the quick register-based kernel call syntax favored by Linux and Solaris. If they do that, most syscalls will differ only in call number from the ones in Linux.

      -all dead homiez

  • by twilight30 (84644) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @05:20PM (#2449042) Homepage
    the point is, it's *his* waste of time.

    Regardless of the licensing terms, this guy seriously doesn't expect to do anything truly useful with this OS.

    Remember that Torvalds initially didn't use the GPL for the kernel.

    Also note that Caldera has a 'distribution' that doesn't even use the kernel but rather reimplements a 'personality' [caldera.com] -- I mean, even Unisys likes it !(I'm being sarcastic)

    Understand, though, I am not criticising his intent -- he has an itch; he wants to scratch. At least he's pursuing his own muse.

  • btw, if for some odd reason you have want to have a non-Linux OS but want to run Linux binaries on it, FreeBSD does a bang-up job.
  • by JasonFilby (100501) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @05:22PM (#2449053) Homepage
    I just want to point out that ReactOS is NOT just aiming for application compatibility (as is suggested by the submitter). We're also looking to support NT/2K/XP drivers and we're modelling the entire kernel and subsystems around the way NT works. Sure we'll do things differently where there won't be a huge compromise in compatibility and we can make something better.

    - Jason
  • by woggo (11781) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @05:28PM (#2449081) Journal
    "Linux" now runs Linux binaries natively, without even a recompile! It seems that those wacky "Linux" kernel guys have managed to emulate 100% of Linux system calls. It's really slick -- they just run the user-level code in the binaries natively and then dispatch to the right part of the "Linux" kernel when a trap occurs, via an advanced mechanism called the "system call table" which maps Linux system call numbers to "Linux" system calls. Word on the street is that nerds everywhere are ecstatic at being able to run their Linux binaries on their favorite "Linux" system.

    ---

    I guess that running Linux binaries is a pretty good way to get some applications on your hobbyist operating system, but does this young, closed-source OS have anything to offer us besides the retro Amiga-esque GUI and an emulation layer for 6% of Linux system calls?
  • Fucking Retards (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mosch (204) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @05:40PM (#2449146) Homepage
    That's not only wrong and potentially actionable to suggest that SkyOS is a GPL violator, it's fucking stupid.

    Think about how that kind of emulation works, you just do system call translation. What on earth code would you steal? This is code that, by design, HAS to be original.

    Slashdot's editors truly need to be more careful, and they need to issue an apology to SkyOS for making such an irrational accusation.

  • by chrysalis (50680) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @06:32PM (#2449429) Homepage
    Nowadays :
    • Linux runs Linux binaries (wow)
    • SCO runs Linux binaries
    • AIX runs Linux binaries
    • Solaris runs Linux binaries
    • OpenBSD runs Linux binaries
    • NetBSD runs Linux binaries
    • FreeBSD runs Linux binaries
    • Windows runs Linux binaries (LIME project)
    • SkyOS runs Linux binaries

    And all these emulations are very fast, because they are hooks to native OS functions. They aren't 100% emulation, like VMWare. I use Linux binaries daily on OpenBSD and FreeBSD, and I can hardly find any significant slowdown between a native BSD application, and the same application compiled for Linux, and run with emulation.
    So can we imagine that Linux binaries could become a de facto standard for executables?
    We would get something similar to Java, but yet more powerful (no tie to a specific language nor a specific API) . Ok, x86 binaries would only run on x86, but the same binary could run on 95% of the computers, regardless of their operating system. Any sort of application, low-level or high-level. GUI or daemon. And always fast, wrapping native system calls.
    The nasty drawback is that people would release more closed-source software.
    But OTOH, if you can take all your current applications and easily migrate to any operating system by just copying everything, including binaries, you can save a lot of time. You can also develop applications for customers even if you don't run a similar OS.
    Would it be a dream, or a hell?


    • Pedantic mode on (Score:3, Informative)

      by mandolin (7248)
      Windows runs Linux binaries (LIME project)

      That's LINE, http://line.sourceforge.net/

      (Pedantic mode off)

    • Sounds like a dream. If this really works. I'm seeing slight problems, especially with non-unix systems: for example the fact that Windows is still kind of case-insensitive in filenames. And multi-user management, etc. But these are quite minor issues. For something requiring high security you would probably want to choose a native app.

      The nasty drawback is that people would release more closed-source software.

      Not necessarily. Those who write open software would have very little reasons to change their philosophy. There would still be the chance to compile (if possible) to get the best performance.

      The really interesting thing is, if we stress the fact that those apps will run better and faster on Linux. Sadly, I think that's just the reason companie$ will keep this from happening. Platform locking is done even when it's not technically required.

    • >So can we imagine that Linux binaries could become a de facto standard
      >for executables?


      This is likely to be the most important contribution linux makes, though perhaps not at the binary level.


      Unix is defragmenting at the moment, even the versions not using linux binaries. What has been missing is a feasible reference point. With competing Unices, all with pointless differences, no vender could "concede" my moving to a competitor's standard. Linux removes that problems (and in many cases, makes sense to adopt). Still, the benefit of Linux's *existence* gives a common "standard" which the rest can move to while having political cover/saving face . . .


      hawk

  • While I agree that it would be bad if this OS violates the GPL in any way I've gotta say that I sure hope not! In fact, I think the community should be darned excited about this announcement. One of the founding principles of Linux is *choice* -- including the choice to not run Linux at all. I think it's a credit to the sharing spirit of the community that a company is capable of accomplishing this...
  • "I wonder if there are any GPL violations going on here."

    Why not? They've already stole the Windows 95 icons [eugenia.co.uk].

My idea of roughing it turning the air conditioner too low.

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