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Open Source Operating Systems

A Talk With Syllable OS Lead Developer Kaj de Vos 121

angry tapir writes "I recently had a chance to interview Kaj de Vos, the lead developer of Syllable: An open source desktop operating system that's not based on Linux nor one of the BSDs. There's a write-up of the interview here, which includes some background on the project. I have also posted the full Q&A, which is very long but definitely worth a read."
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A Talk With Syllable OS Lead Developer Kaj de Vos

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  • by JabberWokky ( 19442 ) <slashdot.com@timewarp.org> on Tuesday August 30, 2011 @03:02AM (#37250604) Homepage Journal

    You seem confused. The project releases a matching server that does use Linux as the kernel. The desktop OS does not. It's based on AtheOS, a new OS from scratch with a fair amount of application support built up over the years for a minor OS.

  • by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2011 @03:15AM (#37250670) Homepage Journal
    He actually explains it in TFA, but long story short, he wanted a server OS that was compatible with both software written for Syllable AND the vast body of server oriented software out there for Linux. The only realistic way of doing this was basically customizing a distro.

    He could have gone the Windows or OS X route and basically just layered the server services on top of the kernel as an application, but that would have required re-implementing at least parts of all those services to make them compatible with Syllable. Maybe the maintainers will do that someday, but for the time being their solution allows them to concentrate on further developing the desktop OS while still having a server os that fits into the ecosystem.
  • Re:Why assembly? (Score:5, Informative)

    by XDirtypunkX ( 1290358 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2011 @03:51AM (#37250790)

    To get any boost of performance over C, you have to be an extremely good assembly coder... to get a consistent 3x boost, you are either writing very sloppy C, or you're extremely good at assembly and using a pretty poor compiler/poor compiler settings. It actually takes an amazing amount of effort to beat a compiler these days, because compilers have rules to spot non-obvious stalls and such, where as the human has to rely on analyzing every bit of that by hand.

    Also, a system where every component is 3x faster is still only 3x faster overall, there is no Captain Planet performance magic where by the power of assembly combined you get a 20x speed up... not to mention many desktop operations being IO limited (especially the ones that you actually notice the slow down on) and assembly doesn't magically make that faster.

    Finally, someone did try it - MenuetOS - and they were able to make a quite compact and fast OS. But they also cut out an awful lot of what goes into a modern OS to do so. Syllable itself is not written in assembly like MenuetOS, which was actually the example used above.

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