Tecnologies:AROS:Anubis OS: Anubis, son of AROS and the “leap” legend

[Edit: sorry to have taken so long in publishing this since the italian version: been busy in my job and in real life.]

I would have liked to start this thread with some mythological tone, such as Conan the barbarian and similars, talking about heirs to the throne, heritages, traditions and other stuff like that: i sincerely admit i was tempted to do so.

I will instead start talking about a day, three weeks ago, when Michal Schulz posted a link on the #aros channel on IRC: this link.

It is nonetheless that the sourceforge page of what has announced this week from Damocles as Anubis OS, the latest incarnation inspired by Amiga OS, based on a Linux kernel and with a Graphic subsystem that, according to the Anubis mailing list, should be based on xcb,xlib and a mix of Glib/Gtk and Zune. Further details have been explained here.

In short, is their intention to do with Amiga OS what has been done from Apple in OS X: somebody already uised the term “carbonize”.

From what both Michal and m0ns00n (Hogne Titlestad) told me, the main reason that make them start the project has been an essential steadfastness from other AROS developers towards more innovative goals: Damocles already complained about the conservative approach of many of the core developers. as i wrote here.
So, Michal, together with m0ns00n and Damocles started to define the base functionalities and requirements of Arix. Michal will begin tu put full steam on it once the Efika port will be done; task that is bringing along the comppletion of the USB mass-storage bounty, another important requirement.

In a following IRC chat session, Michal told me how Amiga OS seems to have an history of lost opportunities, both for management and markerting mistakes, but also for ego trips and “balcanization” of the resources. He thinks at ARIX (sorry i dont like the name Anubis OS too much) as the Amiga OS that should have been, with resource tracking, protected memory and all those features that first Amiga OS then AROS were unable/unwilling to develop for the known reasons.

Michal is a pragmatic person and for him the usual debate about whether if you use a POSIX kernel in an Amiga OS that ceases to be an Amiga OS is or not is over: he decided that it is and, i hope, wil prove it quite good in the future.

Anyway, has to be known that Anubis OS cannot be considered an AROS fork: technically AFAIK a fork happens when a project is duplicated and modified but, being Anubis based in a different kernel, figures as an indipendent project.

The announcement was taken not too good from the amiga boards: for the aforementioned reasons above and for the cronical lack of development that is afflicting all incarnations of Amiga OSes, a heavy FUD cloud spreaded around, like has rarely been seen before. The maini nconcern among other amiga users is the runaway of the already few developers towards a system that might not even reach an usable state, and the progressive death of the already existing systems.

Luckilly, open source projects hardly die: they might become unmantained until somebody else starts again to take care of it or integrates the code in their own project; luckilly for AROS this fate looks far from happening: the project look active as ever so far, and hoping this state will last.

And, like to show that AROS, despite the imminent departure of “Doctor” Schulz and the announced “pregnancy” (kitty is a female cat :P) is still vital, let’s talk about the so-far spiritual heeir of the Doctor: Stanislaw Sszymczyk that, according to its job for the self-compilation bounty, now almost [edit: no more almost: done!!!] finished has achieved considerable result, such as:
– non dynamic port of the latest versions of python and perl;
– self-compilation at first in RAM, then under SFS of AROS in AROS;
– extension of the POSIX layer compatibility adding instructions such as vfork(), wait() and waitpd();
– DOS.library modification in order to allow soft-links;
Beside that, sszy also standardised the development packages in the variuous port of AROS under GCC 4.2.2 and included their compilation in the AROS build system in order to have a system of compilers and cross-compilers built for all targets.

Furthermore, Stanislaw gave a look to the sources of Netsurf and OWB; beside some minor issues, the browser can be ported quite easily starting from the OS4 port if the GUI was not a ReAction one; so Stanislaw is looking for someone (looks like o1i might help, and i want to mention ShinkurO due to its experience on workarounds for the zune bugs) to help hm in doing a zune GUI for it.
The OWB port looks a bit more complicated due to the fact that the Gladelib port is required under AROS and so far sszy was unable to do the port.

Another important update comes from the API completion report: Krzysztof Smiechowicz completed its review job that kept him busy since last april; according to its data the completion level of AROS is around 80%. This report is also the ground for a concrete roadmap to follow so that a version 1.0 of AROS will be available in a more human timelapse.

And is also a good step that finally in the mailing list somebody is starting to talk about the strong need for documentation. Krisztof Smiechowicz has already started in adding documentation on the ABI v1 here and hopefully some more important documentations will continue to come soon.

At last look also that somebody will finally take care of the printer.device in a laid back timing; about me i was looking and sent cdocumentation to the guy interrested to help himin the development, included the old Ghostscript port on AROS now no longer working [edit: seems a new port is on the way]; lets hope to see something soon.

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Diary: Technologies: AROS: Opinion: Alternative OS HELPS Open Source, and Linux too.

[Warning: this topic has been left open for whoever likes to add contributions to it]

It’s my intention to start DIGG the english section, maybe will help to spread my opinions and make something more happen…Last Saturday I found a link in linux.com pointing at this article on pingdom about the ten most interesting alternative Operating systems in the future: as you can see, at the first, sixth and seventh place we have three Amiga OS-like systems: AOS4.1, MorphOS and AROS;

Beside that, something make me feel perplexed; i already mentioned it in this blog, but guess the time is come to talk about it again.

It is interesting see as still many modern Amiga and Morphos Users consider AROS a kind of resource waste, even despite aprts of AROS code got used for a variable amount of time both in MorphOS and in the new Amiga OS 4, not to mention AfAOS.

And instead is interesting to look as other alternative systems, as Haiku and ReactOS, beside their own problems are getting more aknowledged outside their original niche: it is quite understandable why: both are a valid and open alternative to their closed source counterpart and both are much more user-friendly than even a nowadays linux: beside the old rust between ReactOS and the Wine team for an unfounded topic, the environments are much more peaceful than the “holy wars-ridden” Amiga OSes territories.

And full rivers of words have been written, even in amiga forums, in how AROS allegedly denaturated the original Amiga OS philosophy and look and feel taking ideas from some linux and windows user interface guidelines: then, looking a bit closer in os 4.1, some similar things happened even there but nobody still noticed it, just add a ReAction wrapper and everything is accepted…

But today i dont want to rant about the usual Amigaland mess.

I guess is pretty clear that all the hype around free software has become more than a philosophy: Since money started to run around Linux in the server market the free software transformed itself in a political matter, with internal fights and different — sometimes opposite — ways to look at the open source: form the Stallmanian obsession for the purism to the Novell conduct, all surrounded by ego trips and currents: just think at how Kernel programmers are criticizing Canonical for not contributing enough to the Kernel (despite the fact that Canonical is working to improve the final experience for the user and in the desktop development); by the way the programmer criticizing Canonical is working for Novell, and Novell is considered as a Betrayer for their agreements with Microsoft on some patents that MS might decide to enforce against Linux.

By the way, speaking of zealotry, is not known to everybody that last January 23rd 2008 Stallm,an itself has “excommunicated” [EDIT: ok, that is a big word, just removed aros from the link list] AROS because of its requirement of using proprietary roms in UAE and about the recommendation to find them through the purchase of the Amiga Forever package: here is the original mail from AAron Digulla as appeared in the Developer Mailing list:

Hello,
Richard Stallman just let me know that they deleted the link to AROS ontheir link page (http://www.gnu.org/links/links.html) after I had alonger discussion with him.

The reason is that they only want “free operating systems that have a*policy* not to include, or *recommend*, non-free software.”

In our case, we recommend the use of “Amiga Forever” which is non-freesoftware (it contains the Amiga Kickstart ROMs) onhttp://aros.sourceforge.net/documentation/users/applications/euae.phpwhich means we are in violation of the GNU philosophy.

I had a longer discussion trying to figure out what is going on and thenet result is that we’re in a similar situation as Linux which can runMAME but Linux doesn’t advertise MAME but we do. I’m not sure if itwould be worth the effort to delete this page or to move it into theE-UAE package. It feels hypocritical to me to behave as if we didn’trecommend UAE while we do recommend it for stuff that doesn’t run onAROS itself.

Richard, of course, has a very strong opinion about this and I guess youcan’t change the world unless you are ready not to make concessions.

So if that topic comes up on AROS-exec or anywhere else, keep a coolhead, don’t flame Richard or the GNU guys, handle this professionally.I’m not very happy with the decision but OTOH, I doubt that we have manyvisitors coming from gnu.org (especially since only two other OSs arelisted there) and no one will probably even notice the change.

Furthermore, Michael Battilana from Cloanto is actively supporting theAmiga community and us, so I think recommending his product is the leastwe should do.

And, if we see it with a cold mind, is just a taste of the aforementioned politics.[EDIT: Thank God, the community does not consider follow GNU guidelines strictly a priority nor is important for AROS cause so far things have been handled professionally and business went on as usual].

Sometimes i also have the sensation that several people in the Linux community thinks that developing alternative open source operating systems might be considered a theft of resoueces from what looks like is been decided to be a full focus on linux and other linux-like ooperating systems and distros. The comments in the Pingdom thread gives quite a good overview on the general opinion, defining alternative systems as “Windows 9x bad copies” (even the Amiga Oses:P).

Many of those that wrote the comments by the way, comes from new generation computer users, grown up with windows or linux and of course ignoring or considering obsolete other operating systems before; it is clear as they don’t see any need or reason for something different: i might say they don’t know there might be something different.

And so they not even understand as the simple existence of other operating systems in the open source universe is important: so as AROS and other alternative systems are using and re-implementing code from linux so the opposite – linux using code from Aros and other alternative systems – might happen and sometimes is happening; in example ReactOS adn Wine exchange code between themselves for a better Windows compatibility and even Amiga OSes got benefits from Linux code: the old ixemul the newer CigWin, most recently even Netsurf, a browser born in RiscOS and ported even on linux under GTK; linux can also benefit using in its code – when the license allows it – code from ports under AROs and other alternate systems. The existence itself of other options “non-linux” beside linux and its distros is a basic part of that “freedom of choice” professed by advocates and one of the essential characteristics of the Open Source philosophy: every one choose its “weapon”, the one that fits best with its own modus operandi and how to deal with computing.

Also, the know-how of different people turn out to be good for the operating systems technical exchange.

I already mentioned in past the Kickstart Replacement Bounty phase I and wrote about the assignment to Bheron.

That is all that is shown in the bounty description under the power2people web site: i admit that surely does not look exhaustive. This because, according to one of the developers, the feature showing the bounty assigned coder bio has not yet been implemented.

So, through the comments to the assignment in aros-exec at last it has been possible to know the identity of Bheron. Its real name is Gregory John Casamento and this is the bio from the aros-exec comments:

I’ve been doing software development for about 18 years. I’m currently an independent contractor.. I own a small company called Open Logic Corporation (not the one at openlogic.com, they took my name 6 months after I got it).I’m currently the chief maintainer of an FSF project called GNUstep, you may have heard of it. ;)I’ve done everything from C, Objective-C, C++, Assembly on x86 and 68k, etc etc. I was a proud Amiga owner when I was younger and did a lot of C programming on it before Commodore went away.I’m glad for the opportunity to help AROS out. πŸ™‚

So looks like he is got a great resumee and reliable competences; i put in the links its personal blog in order to follow its progresses on the bounty, if he decides to talk about it.

I will keep this article open in order to add any further precisation and comments to come.

Technologies:AROS: Going at a higher level of involvement

Well not one of my deepest posts today, more kind of a maintenance one…

Contributing to an open source project is – or at least should be – also a social moment: several people work together in their own free time to a common interest and a common goal. Things might be a bit more complicated when all the working people is scattered around several thousand miles between americas, europe and australia.

Let’s tell the truth: if internet did not existed, probably not even open source communities might have been existed, or maybe not so much of itΒ  and widespreaded as they are now.

The working and cooperation instruments are surely less evolved than the ones that can be found in a professional working environment, well not true: i used svn and vim in a recent task at work, and used eclipse in another; anyway, usualy many communication problems got solved through mailing list, instant messenging and IRC.

Despite IRC is considered “out” from new generations, is still a very useful and interesting instrument for group chat and talking.

i mention IRC because in the latest two weeks had occasion to find the “IRCous” skills of pidgin, my default messenger and miranda, the backup one; therefore i have been able to connect quite regularly in the official AROS channel; there “i seen things you humans cannot imagine”, if i want to be geeky and cite Blade Runner…:)

It is quite exciting to talk directly with someof the most important AROS system and software developers such as Michal Schulz, Maag^da, Stanislaw Szymczyk and the others.

See Maag^da introduce its new Autodoc for AROS, having Szymczyk and Schulz talk “live” about the latest developments in their own bounties (congratulations, Stanislaw: the bounty is almost done!) and exchange with them ideas and opinions – despite is not a new thing anymore and despite i haven’t been an avid IRC user but just a casual user before – is a step forward from being a simple forum lurker and an avid news reader: it makes you “be there” and get some job done actively.

I just downloaded LUA for windows and started to give a first look in SDLBasic, knowing the latter attempts of Mazze in porting it under AROS (with no avail at the moment). I also collected some ideas for some script applications i would like to do, not world changing utilities but still something…

[edit: i gave a first look at the zulu documentation: the lua/mui interaction look quite basic and low level, i sincerely hope to understand something on it; by the way, considered that i have to start from scratch, hope that in the next future will get i better…]

I am also trying to understand how to build some window themes, once i will find the way to make my virtual aros-box communicate with the network.