Last Build Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2017 07:12:01 GMTCopyright: Copyright 2001-2017, David Adams
Fri, 17 Feb 2017 22:40:04 GMTI'm pretty sure all of you are aware of Advanced Interactive Executive, or AIX, IBM's high-end, professional UNIX operating system. It has been in development since 1986, and is currently at version 7.2, released in 2015. It's one of those operating systems you hear relatively little about here on OSNews, if only because it sits in a part of the market where few of us ever encounter it. Which is why I was pleasantly surprised to learn that AIX hasn't been confined to (relatively) exotic non-x86 hardware such as IBM Power and PowerPC-based systems. During my research into the IBM PS/2, I discovered that IBM released versions of AIX for PS/2 systems. The first release was AIX 1.1 1989, followed by 1.2 in 1990, and the last release, 1.3, in 1992. From the AIX 1.3 PS/2 announcement letter: Performance tuning in AIX PS/2 Operating System Version 1.3 offers increased throughput for Input/Output (I/O) in both raw and block mode, in addition to kernel performance enhancements and smaller size requirements available through the availability of serviceable shared libraries usage in applications written to utilize them. Enhancements have also been made to the pager and swapper areas of memory management that have resulted in performance increases. Improvements in the windowing and Graphical User Interface (GUI) areas are highlighted with the introduction of the X Windowing System V11 R5 from MIT available in AIX PS/2 X-Windows Version 1.3 and AIXwindows Environment for PS/2 Version 1.3 and OSF's Motif 1.1.3 available in AIXwindows Environment for PS/2 Version 1.3 along with AIXwindows Desktop. Support for the IBM Xstation 120 and Xstation 130 is provided in the AIX PS/2 Xstation Manager Version 1.3 Support for XGA-2 provides non-interlaced, high resolution graphics on those displays that support it. The internet is a great thing, and IBM AIX 1.3 for PS/2 can be found on abandonware sites, and there are some repositories with more information. The full AIX 1.3 PS/2, with all the additional packages you had to buy separately, comes in at a whopping 94 1.44 MB floppies. The installation procedure is complex, and I haven't yet been able to get it installed in VirtualBox. I want to give this some visibility, because maybe someone with more experience with AIX can get AIX PS/2 to run inside VirtualBox or some other virtualisation tool.
Thu, 16 Feb 2017 23:09:57 GMTToday marks the fifth release of the ReactOS 0.4.x series, as well as the fifth following the 4 month release cycle started by 0.4.0 itself. Progress has continued steadily, with a great deal of work going on in the background to improve ReactOS' general usability and stability. Many of these improvements were on display at the FOSDEM convention in Brussels that took place on the 4th and 5th of this month. Certainly one of the more notable albeit less visible additions was the incorporation of basic printing support by Colin Finck. At present ReactOS is only capable of sending print commands to a parallel port printer, but this is the first step towards universal support and Colin should be applauded for his effort. It seems ReactOS can run Office 2007 now. That's actually quite neat.
Thu, 16 Feb 2017 23:07:42 GMTToaruOS 1.0 was released 18 days ago, and since then, several bugfix releases have been released. The latest release - the one you want to test - is 1.0.3. ToaruOS is a complete hobby operating system, including a kernel and userspace with many graphical applications. This is the first release considered to be "user-ready", but please keep in mind that ToaruOS is a hobby project and it may not be stable or suitable for any purpose you might have for an operating system. This release represents the culmination of many years of development, research, and learning. IT's a remarkably fun operating system, and runs without any problems in VirtualBox. I've played with it a bit during the day, messing around with the basic but elegantly simple UI, browsing the file system, installing a few packages through the graphical package manager, and playing some Quake. It's rare for hobby operating systems to achieve this level of functionality in a 1.0 release, so colour me pleasantly surprised. ToaruOS's kernel in its current form is 32-bit, non-SMP, monolithic (but modular), and Unix-like. It supports processes, threads, shared memory, files, pipes, TTYs, packet-based IPC, and basic IPv4 networking. Driver modules allow for access to EXT2 and ISO9660 filesystems, PATA and ATAPI disk access for hard drives and CDs, framebuffer support on most virtual machines (as well as bootloader-assisted generic framebuffer support), networking on AMD PCnet FAST, Realtek RTL8139, and Intel PRO/1000-series NICs, PS/2 mice and keyboards, audio on Intel AC'97 chipsets, as well as special support for VirtualBox's guest additions. The userspace includes a dynamic linker, a full-featured compositing windowing system, many Unix-like utilities, a port of Python 3.6 (including many binding libraries for the ToaruOS windowing environment), and several graphical applications (including a package manager). The code's on github.
Thu, 16 Feb 2017 22:59:51 GMTApple is planning to fight proposed electronics "Right to Repair" legislation being considered by the Nebraska state legislature, according to a source within the legislature who is familiar with the bill's path through the statehouse. The legislation would require Apple and other electronics manufacturers to sell repair parts to consumers and independent repair shops, and would require manufacturers to make diagnostic and service manuals available to the public. This is completely normal in the automotive sector, and I see no reason why the tech sector should be any different.
Wed, 15 Feb 2017 21:51:11 GMTToday, after sitting in storage for over 20 years, my brother and I dusted off his old IBM PS/2 Model 50 (8550-021), with the goal of cleaning it up and making sure it still works. It was still working when he stored it, so it should still be okay today (barring any unavoidable degradation caused by the slow march of time). As far as he remembers, it's got DOS installed on its 20MB hard drive (and a bunch of games). I've taken it apart completely so that I can set to cleaning it thoroughly tomorrow. Everything seems to be in relatively pristine condition (save for the case, which is battered in a grungy, industrial kind of way). A visual inspection didn't reveal anything blown or out of the ordinary on the motherboard or HDD/FDD riser cards, and from what I can tell without opening it up, the PSU seems to not feature any blown caps either. Originally, I was planning on just getting some cheap PS/2 keyboard and mouse somewhere (turns out none of us owns any of those any more), but the more I was awestruck by the industrial beauty and elegance of the PS/2 and its modular internals, I felt overcome by a strong urge to do this machine justice - assuming it still works, I'm buying the original PS/2 mouse and IBM Model M keyboard. It's the least I can do. I've also been looking at other ways to expand and upgrade the device (which I'll do only after having confirmed it still works, of course). I've found an AST Advantage/2 RAM expansion/SCSI controller 16-bit MCA card (with 4MB of RAM installed) in an online store, which would be a neat way to add some additional memory to the machine. It's a multifunction MCA card that adds 8 RAM slots and a SCSI interface to the PS/2. I'm not entirely sure how these additional RAM slots work (i.e., does any RAM get added to extended memory?), but for its relatively low price, it seems like an interesting exotic piece of hardware to own either way. There are other, far more substantial upgrades and peripherals I'd like to add to it, such as the IBM 486SLC2-50/25 processor upgrade kit (incredibly rare and prohibitively expensive if you do find one) or a math co-processor (haven't been able to find one, and would be rather useless for running a few DOS games anyway). Additionally, there are rare things like an MCA Sound Blaster or SGI IrisVision (
Wed, 15 Feb 2017 21:50:51 GMTGabe Newell sits perfectly still, leans forward. His hands are laid on his lap. Only his eyes are moving. They shift rapidly from left to right and back again. He's physically here, he's sort of listening, but I'd say he's also somewhere else, mentally untangling the knots of the future. The way he talks bears this out. He's unscripted, exploratory. He ranges far from corporate dogma and empty visionary horseshit. He admits when heâs been wrong in the past, or that he might be wrong right now about one of the biggest gambles of his career. I like this about him: the act of engaging with journalists without a script, enjoying an actual conversation, prodding ideas that might be important outside the confines of a media event. While I wouldn't go as far as putting Gabe Newell on the same pedestal as tech personalities like Bill Gates or Linus Torvalds, I do feel Gabe is a similar sort of person. He worked on the first few releases of Windows at Microsoft, and then, as we all know, founded Valve, one of the most influential gaming - and therefore, technology - companies in the world, responsible for some of the best games of all time, and one of the most successful - if not the most successful - game platforms of all time. While Valve is far from perfect - Half-Life 3, customer service, etc. etc. - I do feel the company has managed to create a great platform with Steam, which, even though it uses DRM, seems to be unobtrusive in its implementation and truly made PC gaming better, if not outright saved it in the face of ever-better consoles.
Wed, 15 Feb 2017 07:54:55 GMTI decided to dig through open source to examine the state of Google's upcoming Andromeda OS. For anyone unfamiliar, Andromeda seems to be the replacement for both Android and Chrome OS (cue endless debates over the semantics of that, and what it all entails). Fuchsia is the actual name of the operating system, while Magenta is the name of the kernel, or more correctly, the microkernel. Many of the architectural design decisions appear to have unsurprisingly been focused on creating a highly scalable platform. It goes without saying that Google isn't trying to hide Fuchsia. People have clearly discovered that Google is replacing Android's Linux kernel. Still, I thought it would be interesting for people to get a better sense of what the OS actually is. This article is only intended to be an overview of the basics, as far as I can comment reasonably competently. (I certainly never took an operating systems class!) What excites me the most about Fuchsia and related projects are the people involved. The pedigree here is astonishing - there are quite a few former Be, Palm, and Apple engineers involved. The linked article contains a good higher-level overview, and I do truly believe it's one of the most exciting projects in the operating systems world right now. What remains to be seen, however, is this: just how serious is this project? The breadth of the project and the people involved seem to suggest this is indeed something quite serious, and all signs point towards it being a future unification and replacement for both Chrome OS and Android, which is quite exciting indeed.
Tue, 14 Feb 2017 22:42:10 GMTBut perhaps the most interesting of these devices, at least from the perspective of mobile enthusiasts, is not a smartphone at all, but a modern version of a classic workhorse of a feature phone, the Nokia 3310. Known primarily for its plentiful battery life and nearly indestructible build, the 3310 was released at the turn of the millennium as a replacement to the also-popular 3210. At just â¬59, this new incarnation seems priced competitively enough to win over nostalgic former owners for use as a second phone. This is amazing. The 3310 is one of the most iconic pieces of technology ever created.
Tue, 14 Feb 2017 22:37:09 GMTProbably you asked yourself at least once, how an Operating System (OS) was written from the ground up? You probably have spent years programming, but still understand operating system as a collection of abstract concepts, not how to implement an operating system in actual code. In your mind, somehow the operating system can magically control the underlying hardware and do what you want through the higher level API of your favorite programming language. You wish to understand the details, but for some reason, it seems too difï¬cult because regardless how much you learn, it is never enough. You may feel that you are missing an important piece of the puzzle, and get stuck. However, deep inside you still want to write an operating system without a crystal clear understanding. After all, you are a software engineer, and an operating system is a software. You should know your software better than anyone else! If that is the case, this book is for you. By going through this book, you will be able to ï¬nd the missing piece that is essential and enable you to implement your operating system, from scratch! A free detailed book about writing your first operating system.
Mon, 13 Feb 2017 22:58:41 GMTThe news is that after 15 years the IMDb is closing down its message boards, but the story is their creation in the first place: a tale of Apache, mod_perl, PostgreSQL, C, and XEMacs, all served up on a BeOS bun in a Bristol-area cafeteria; of missed deadlines, missed opportunities and misplaced innocence given the scale of comments, comment spam and trolling up to that point. Brought to you by Colin M. Strickland, a developer whose CV has long read "you can blame me for the message boards" (and yes, he does go by the initials cms).
Mon, 13 Feb 2017 22:57:41 GMTThe POSIX standard for APIs was developed over 25 years ago. We explored how applications in Android, OS X, and Ubuntu Linux use these interfaces today and found that weaknesses or deficiencies in POSIX have led to divergence in how modern applications use the POSIX APIs. In this article, we present our analysis of over a million applications and show how developers have created workarounds to shortcut POSIX and implement functionality missing from POSIX.
Sat, 11 Feb 2017 11:36:38 GMTA neat piece of computing history - a combination of a hardware dongle and software that lets you run up to System 7 on a NeXT machine (and with some hacking, Mac OS 8). The latest addition to my NeXT/Mac collection, a Daydream ROM box made in about 1993 by Quix Computerware AG. This unit plugged into the host NeXT's DSP port and contained genuine licensed Macintosh LC ROMs. This allowed the NeXT to boot off the ROMs and thus become a Mac. It was the first time Apple licensed Mac ROMs to a 3rd party and also offered the same performance as a Quadra 950 at a much lower price point and that was including the purchase of the NeXT system. It ran up to system 7.5 officially though with a few hacks 8.1 can be made to run. It is not a Mac virtual machine; it actually boots as a Mac. The manual contains more information, and it explains that Daydream installs a secondary kernel that in turn boots the Mac ROM. This in and of itself is quite cool, but as it turns out, that's not where the story ends. People - including some of the original Daydream developers - have hacked this tool to remove the need for the hardware ROM dongle by inserting the ROM directly into the secondary kernel. This means that if you have a 68k NeXT machine, you can boot directly into System 7 or Mac OS 8. Or, more likely, if you have a NeXT emulator such as Previous, you can boot your NeXT emulated machine directly into System 7 or Mac OS 8 (video). Incredibly cool, and I had no idea this existed. While NeXT and Apple people were doing these awesome things, I was still using MS-DOS. Strange realisation.
Fri, 10 Feb 2017 22:15:12 GMTWhen we consider any new features or changes for Steam, our primary goal is to make customers happy. We measure that happiness by how well we are able to connect customers with great content. We've come to realize that in order to serve this goal we needed to move away from a small group of people here at Valve trying to predict which games would appeal to vastly different groups of customers. Thus, over Steam's 13-year history, we have gradually moved from a tightly curated store to a more direct distribution model. In the coming months, we are planning to take the next step in this process by removing the largest remaining obstacle to having a direct path, Greenlight. Our goal is to provide developers and publishers with a more direct publishing path and ultimately connect gamers with even more great content. This is a big step for Steam, and will make it incredibly trivial for developers and publishers alike to publish games on Steam.
Fri, 10 Feb 2017 21:41:31 GMT
Thu, 09 Feb 2017 00:08:48 GMTThis update, 2.1.0 alias Iijoki brings major architectural changes to Sailfish OS by introducing Qt 5.6 UI framework, Bluez5 Bluetooth protocol (ready to be deployed for development purposes), basics for the 64-bit architecture and text selection in browser. Included is also a beta level implementation for Virtual Private Networks (VPN) (please read release notes) and the first version of QML live coding support. In addition, 2.1.0 adds bigger fonts to the UI, improves the use of camera and fixes a number of errors, many of which were reported by our developer community. Maybe I'll get around to updating my Jolla phone and tablet at some point, but I really don't see a reason why. Since I reviewed Sailfish OS and the Jolla phone more than three years ago, nothing has been done to address the elephant in the room. The operating system itself was quite stable, good-looking and full-featured from the beginning, and that has only improved with the constant stream of updates and refinements. However, the application situation is still incredibly dire, and we're all still using the same few applications - updated only very infrequently - that we were using three years ago. Several have even died out. Instead of investing in attracting developers to write Sailfish applications (the three year old promises of support for paid applications still hasn't been fulfilled, for instance), the company got distracted with crazy projects like the tablet, and investing heavily in making Android applications 'run' on Sailfish. While Android applications do 'run', it's still a slow, frustrating, and utterly jarring experience that's a complete and utter waste of resources. Had they spent even half the effort spent on Android application compatibility on attracting native developers, the platform would be in a far better state. Jolla proclaimed they wanted to take over the world, but in doing so, lost touch with the very people they should've continued to focus on: open source/Linux-oriented enthusiasts, former Maemo/N900 users. Not a large group of people, of course, but definitely a big enough - and, more importantly, loyal enough! - group of people to sustain a small, community-focused company. Whatever. Jolla's CEO Sami Pienimäki penned a letter to the community about upcoming developments for the company. There's some stuff in there about Russia and tablet refunds.