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os108 9.0 Released As One Of The Few Desktop Operating Systems Based On NetBSD

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  • os108 9.0 Released As One Of The Few Desktop Operating Systems Based On NetBSD

    Phoronix: os108 9.0 Released As One Of The Few Desktop Operating Systems Based On NetBSD

    The os108 project is one of the few (or only?) distributions based on NetBSD currently providing a MATE-based desktop experience atop this BSD. The os108 9.0 release is now available that re-bases against the recent NetBSD 9.0 release while continuing to provide its out-of-the-box desktop goodness...

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...SD-9.0-Desktop

  • #2
    For those wondering why they named it that:

    1 and 0 being binary bits when represented 8 bits forms a byte also the distance of Earth from the Sun is about 108 times the diameter of the Sun. hence the name. And logo is called “vyom” meaning ‘Space’
    source: https://os108.org/

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    • #3
      If someone wants BSD on the desktop tell them to buy a Mac!

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      • #4
        cybertraveler yup.. main inspiration for me to name OS108 was bits&bytes sun thing is just fun fact

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Spooktra View Post
          If someone wants BSD on the desktop tell them to buy a Mac!
          And if someone wants Linux on the desktop, tell them to buy Windows. WSL inside!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Spooktra View Post
            If someone wants BSD on the desktop tell them to buy a Mac!
            MarcDriftmeyer, is that you?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Spooktra View Post
              If someone wants BSD on the desktop tell them to buy a Mac!
              I think you missed the memo: the main point is to have an open source desktop.

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              • #8
                DISCLAIMER 0: I know very little about NetBSD and never actually used it.
                DISCLAIMER 1: I spent a grand total of approx. 5 minutes with OS108 so take the following mini-review for what it's worth.

                Ok so out of curiosity, I gave this a a spin in a virtual machine (Virt Manager + KVM on a Ubuntu 19.10 laptop). My honest impression is that I absolutely don't see the point. The installation of this "desktop" OS is an experience by itself. The installer is text-based, but that's OK: just because something is graphical doesn't mean it's automatically user-friendly (and vice versa). However the installation workflow is IMHO utterly broken. Once the copying is finished and the installer says that the OS is ready to boot, the user is actually presented with a menu that is sure to overwhelm and confuse anyone who is not versed in OS and networking technicalities. Even networking is not set up by default with DHCP and the (automated) procedure to activate it will probably not be clear and understandable to Joe User. Also the "desktop" will in fact not boot into graphical mode unless the option to autostart xdm is selected, which assumes that 1) the user bothers looking for it and 2) the user understand that "xdm" means boot into graphics...

                A general impression so far is also that all disk accesses are woefully slow. Granted, it's a VM, but I run Linux and Windows guests on the same machine and their IO performance is orders of magnitude higher. Maybe NetBSD's VirtIO driver just sucks, or maybe it's the filesystem that's terrible. But since it wasn't tested natively, let's not hold that against OS108 just based on this.

                More troublesome is that once the installation is finished for real this time and the system reboots, the user of this "desktop" is greeted with... TWM. No kidding. It's 2020 and the default user interface here is TWM. It actually has an interesting twist too, in that there doesn't seem to be any way to actually log out. There is an option called "shutdown" that, unlike what any reasonable contemporary user would expect, in fact doesn't shut the OS down but means kill the window manager (but leave the X11 session running).

                That is when I noticed in the installation instructions that you have to actually install MATE manually. Very well. I enter the command as described, the installer dumps a lot of low level details that are essentially totally irrelevant to a desktop user's experience, then seemingly hangs. There is no message as to what is happening, no progress bar, no spinning /-\| in the BSD tradition, nothing. Only Virt Manager's performance graph indicates that furious disk IO activity is going on and I can only guess that the package manager is updating its database, or something like that. After a couple of minutes, the installation finally proceeds.

                Once MATE installed as described in the instructions, I restart XDM, log in and am welcomed by... TWM. The antique XDM login screen of course doesn't have any session selector like GDM for example does, but there is a .xinitrc in my user's directory (owned by root, even though I'm not root - God knows when and how it was created) that contains a command to start a MATE session. Incidentally this seems to mean that here, the "desktop" way to select a session is through "vi .xinitrc". Yeah. Not. But regardless, even though I tried several things, I couldn't get it to launch a MATE upon login. It looks like TWM it is.

                I gave up at that point, mostly out of lack of further interest. I simply noticed another chapter in the installation instructions relating to WiFi. Shoud you want to actually use WiFi on this so-called desktop, "all you have to do" (to quote the instructions) is to create a decidedly nontrivial script that sets up wpasupplicant manually... I don't even want to thing of what you have to do if by chance you want to move your laptop between different access points and WLANs.

                I'm not saying that people shouldn't use whichever OS they want. I'm also not saying that there is no place for a BSD-based desktop or even that no-one should elect to use and old-style, no-wayland, no-systemd, pure Unix desktop if they want to. But the point is, for someone who wants that, there are already numerous options ranging from Devuan or Void Linux to the various desktop-oriented FreeBSD distros. NetBSD's main selling point has always been that it supports hardware that other OSes don't, but surely that doesn't really apply to a desktop use case. So that's why I say that I don't see the point of OS108, it doesn't seem to fill any niche that is not already covered, better, by existing FOSS projects.

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                • #9
                  jacob Thanks for review.. I am working on porting GhostBSD gui installer to NetBSD which should make it more user friendly. Currently graphical login manager is slim which i have included in install process.. i will soon upload installation process video for users to see how it goes.

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                  • #10
                    I wish someone would write a modern OS. Not something based on 1970s technology...
                    All UNIX-like operating systems are based on 1970s technology and patched to run on modern computers.

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