The Secret World of Alternative Operating Systems

Posted by  | Sunday, May 15, 2011

It’s rare that someone undertakes a project to write a completely new x86-based operating system from scratch and sell it as closed source, proprietary software. But that’s exactly what happened with SkyOS, which began as a simple bootloader program by Robert Szeleney in 1996. Over the next 8 years, Szeleney transformed it into a full-blown graphical OS with its own file system and API. He aimed to sell it and launched a paid beta program in 2004. Around 2008, updates began to dry up due to changes in Szeleney’s life. Currently, development for SkyOS is on hold as Szeleney ponders the fate of what he has created.

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22 Comments For This Post

  1. Laurențiu Roman Says:

    I actually did know about SkyOS, eComStation, ReactOS and Haiku. For the iterested nostalgics there actually is a BeOS like window decoration for KDE. I even tried to have the KDE window manager be default under Gnome just to have that window decoration. It did work for two or so boots but then it failed. Then i tried to use a less demanding window manager that supports such a theme but haven't found one yet. Last one i tried was sawfish, an older Gnome window manager that was replaced by Metacity.

  2. fritz Says:

    Robert Szeleney's ego is even bigger than his OS dreams………seems to be another failure. Haiku is quite a neat project, as is ReactOS, but very few have the staying power to continue. However, with new changes in Linux desktops (see below), one never knows.

  3. Muay Thai Says:

    Where can I download this version of sawfish you are talking about? Muay Thai Combinations | Muay Thai Kick | Martial Arts for Children

  4. @kravinstructor Says:

    I love Linux for teaching and I hate Linux for my day to day operations, it is still clunky at the desktop level, even with my quad core machine and a graphics card (GTX 460) that needs it's own air conditioner.

  5. Dragos Says:

    Missing the excellent Oberon / Bluebottle ( from ETH Zurich (creators of Pascal / Modula).

  6. Collins Says:

    Does anybody (be it business or individual) actually use eComStation other than for practical use?

  7. Collins Says:

    I mean "Does anybody (be it business or individual) actually use eComStation for practical purposes, other than experimenting with alternative operating systems? "

  8. OverAndOut Says:

    Yes, our company uses eComStation as the OS for our thru-hole component insertion machines. Originally based on OS2 we found it more cost effective to move to eComStation vs. redeveloping all of our code to move to Windows.

  9. Grub Says:

    Disappointed not to see Plan 9 – 🙂

  10. Sterling Camden Says:

    Don't feel bad, they didn't even mention the BSDs.

  11. LauRoman Says:

    Compared to those presented above. Linuxen and BSDs are quite mainstream. And so is Plan 9 in the field it was designed for.

  12. Benj Edwards Says:

    Actually, there's 1,140 words spread over 20 paragraphs here, which is a lot more information than you'll find in a feature on your average news website. When you read one of my slideshows, I like to think you get your time's worth.

  13. Eric Says:

    That's worth 2 pages at most. I was interested in this article but to be honest hate this slide show business to the point that I'm not even going to bother.

  14. Jared Newman Says:

    Heaven forbid you support the hard work that went into this feature with a few extra clicks.

  15. Neil Says:

    No RISCOS for the ARM chipset from the now defunct UK's Acrorn Computers, who span out the globaly dominating ARM chipset maker.

    I'm sure set-top box maker Pace own's the rights

  16. Malcolm Says:

    Compared to the above, Risc OS installations are plentiful. Admittedly not many people outside the UK know or care about Risc OS, but there are some.

  17. t4tmike Says:

    A good read, & a welcome break from these/those endless OS pizzn' matches some folks dwell in-
    This interesting, thanks for putting it out here for us !!- T Mike

  18. fritz Says:

    Linux is abominable, and I've been a faithful Debian, Slackware, and Red Hat user for many years. GNOME 3 and KDE4 are atrocious in look and feel. Mark Shuttleworth (sp?) destroyed Ubuntu: he might as well field it to pre-schoolers who'll like the pretty Unity display. It's a return to the old, I'm afraid, where the only way, and always certainly the best way, to get things done is via the command line. Bring on xterm with ksh, csh, or bash, and let's get back to work. If I want a "pretty" desktop (that always works), I'll buy a Mac!

  19. pbaker Says:

    Perhaps GNOME3 KDE4 is "horrible", at least for you, but that does not mean that you have the right to judge in this way. If you want to use a good and stable desktop system, and you prefer the MacOS desktop, then you do not have the slightest idea of desktop systems. By the way: The MacOS system is a clone of the standard Linux system and the desktop system is one of many thousands of desktop systems out there. The Panther Desktop Theme (one of Apple's desktop systems) runs on any Linux without crashing, believe me. Oh, and Apple has upgraded from Motorola Apple chip systems to the usual slow and overpriced Intel-chip systems. With the current Mac is a simple Intel home computer with a Linux system and an Apple-made desktop system similar to GNOME/KDE. So, what do you think now, you "expert"?

  20. cj-sacto Says:

    Why wasn't Amiga included? (Originally a Commodore product.) I just learned about it recently, but it appears to be an ongoing project. It can be purchased or distributions can be downloaded for free. There are even variations on it.,, They even sell tablets, notebooks, and new computers with Amiga, much like Linux.

  21. Louis Vuitton Says:

    yed reading This is truly a great read for me. I have bookmarked it

  22. kevin Says:

    i actually bought breadbox ensemble for use on dr-dos and it is actually 69.95 at this point.