Happy to see Serenity getting this kind of exposure! Very well-deserved.
But what’s the benefit, really? Using only one CPU core is a huge handicap, it won’t run most software, and the browser sounds limited too. And AFAIK it doesn’t offer anything technically innovative under the hood like a microkernel. (Plus that UI … I know it’s a matter of taste, but to me Windows 95 was a gray-and-pus colored eyesore.)
(I don’t mean to flame, I’m just wondering what the appeal is beyond the wow factor of “someone built an OS from scratch”.)
It’s in the article, right? The guy’s in recovery and needed, or needs, a substitute activity.
I know a bit of how people can do in such a situation, and I’m sure wrangling Linus or anyone else in a bigger project would lead to a relapse. No joke.
Stuff like single-core isn’t a handicap, it’s a good start. Hoping of course the SMP support / scheduler will look like Haiku’s so the desktop remains responsive ;)
Any wow factor beyond the backstory is personal to whoever is into these projects.
Plus, it’s fun. I poked around SerenityOS and tried my hand at fixing a bug or two (no PRs yet, I’m not in the best spot, either, but soon…). It’s just a light-hearted hobby project that can brighten a nerd’s evening like no other.
Its community is really nice, too, nobody well ackshuallies you because your program has so many options it’s intimidating for new users, reviews don’t bring up things like what particular method you use to build your Docker container or whether the way you’ve done something is fashionable in the latest C++ standard.
It may not look like much, but lots of things that start out as fun eventually turn out to be useful through sheer inertia, precisely because people end up doing things that are unthinkable in the real world, like, I dunno, interfaces that you can use on a small screen :-P.
I will almost certainly never run SernetyOS, ReactOS, or Haiku but I’m still happy that the projects exist and I like to see news from them.
There was a period where reasonable people could (and did) make similar criticisms of Linux as an OS. It couldn’t run a lot of the software you needed. To “get things done”, you needed windows. Only enthusiasts could make it work.
I think most people are aware of the dizzying tower of abstraction on which modern development sits. There are pros (scale from a toaster to the cloud! use this library!) and cons (performance! complexity!) to this, but - for some problem domains - cutting that away for a fresh start is a feature not a bug.
If a new OS is going to ever grow up under the heavy canopy of the existing ecosystem, it will look like this at first.
Speaking as someone who wrote a little bit of the libc, I share the frustration it’s not at all original. However, what I do like about it is the heart and spirit of it. Andreas’ enthusiasm is very infectious.
Personally I think the independent browser engine alone makes SerenityOS worthwhile. Creating one is a Herculean task that even enormous corporations will not attempt, but having multiple browser engines is vital for the health of the open web. There are so few browser engines left besides Blink+WebKit that I consider it to be an emergency. SerenityOS’s browser may not be very impressive at the moment, but it could potentially be a starting point for a new competitive browser engine the way that KHTML was the starting point for the current dominant browser engines.
If Servo can somehow survive, I’d consider that to be a better basis for a competitive browser, but if SerenityOS runs well on older / cheaper machines, perhaps a browser based on it could find a niche on low-powered hardware.
And if having an alternate browser engine implementation is worth getting excited about, what other independent implementations of things exist in SerenityOS that merit attention? Maybe I’ll install SerenityOS and investigate.
Eh. It’s not the choices I would have made for a personal project, but given that it started as one dude scratching a personal itch … I’m happy to see it. My own nostalgic itch-scratching would end up looking a lot more like classic Finder on top of Symbolics, but with two kids and such it’ll always be an unrealized daydream. Good on this dude for pushing through and Doing It.