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    (very subjective thoughts, hopefully not too off-topic. I think that this is the right community though)

    I think the appearance of new “Hobby OSs” is one of the nicest things to happen in the recent years. There was a bit of a drought, as some projects slowly died. That’s not to say there aren’t any, there certainly are quite a few that made constant progress over all these years.

    However things like developing an OS mostly for fun is something that seems to be lacking lately. A part of that also seems to be that doing some things just for fun became harder in the mainstream world, if you wanna call it like that. Doing an app just for fun and distribute it to people is quite a hassle. One needs to pay certain fees for distribution, potentially even get a specific device to program, there’s usually quite a few things involved to keep things working, both on newer phones and not too rarely certain rules change.

    Overall things seem to move faster and the time for projects to be obsolete (unusable or close to) when doing nothing seems to speed up, in some fields more than other.

    Maybe it’s just my perception, but also it feels as if the willingness or let’s say the motivation to do a bigger project as a hobby in the free time goes down. A lot of the time people only do so if compensated (thanks to Patreon, etc. this is easily possible though), or if it at least makes well on the resume.

    Please don’t get me wrong. I certainly have no intention to tell people with their free time and completely understand things cost money. Please don’t take this as a criticism.

    What I am getting to is that with the growth of the amount of people being in IT it seems that - for the lack of a better word - the percentage of people doing “silly little things” is going down, especially when they can not be achieved within a few days.

    I have been wondering why this is. To me a lot of it feels like an increase of “wanting to feel professional” (again, no criticism!), even when not acting so. Maybe it’s also a general society or psychology topic. Maybe it’s how time is given a value and with such projects that are somewhere between work (with effort, like programming) and hobby, which for most people is a clearer categorization thing when watching a show on Netflix, playing a video game or listening to music hobbies taking effort make people more feel like they didn’t spend their time productively, nor considering it time to relax.

    A lot of that I perceive as “taking fun out of computing” so to say. But OS development projects like these, just like the tildeverse make me feel like a lot of it is returning after it was partly lost or at least not perceived by me.

    Curious on whether I am the only person seeing it like that or if you have different views on this.

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      I too am happy to see these projects again, as hobby OS dev has always been a favourite interest of mine. But I do find it rather depressing that they all seem to be just yet another UNIXalike, rather than any sort of attempt to do something new, or even something else old that was abandoned.

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        … the percentage of people doing “silly little things” is going down, especially when they can not be achieved within a few days. I have been wondering why this is. To me a lot of it feels like an increase of “wanting to feel professional”

        Yes, I agree with the sentiment. I think that the invention and the spread of internet in the mainstream has been a double edged sword. On one hand, it is so much easier now to learn how to do things and to make your creations accessible to the world. On the other hand, this benefit applies to everyone, not just to you, so you suddenly find yourself “competing” with a horde of amateurs and hobbyists just like you.

        Because if we’re honest, very few people want to make and do things in perfect isolation. There is not always a desire for a monetary reward, but I think that in the overwhelming amount of cases there is a desire for some kind of recognition from peers or others inside or outside the current social circle. But in this new era the bar to get that recognition is getting higher and higher. Not only the quality of the work rises, but also the expectation of what proper recognition is rises. I might be looking back with nostalgia, but I like to think that 50 years ago, if your mother had some skill in knitting sweaters, her skill would be recognized and valued in her family/village/street. So if she was able to impress 20 people, she would gain some real status and respect. If you were to try to get the same level of respect these days, you would need at least a couple of thousand followers on youtube/instagram/pinterest/whatever. Ideally you should also make some nice extra cash on the side by selling the the designs, or the sweaters themselves on etsy, or create tutorials on youtube, or..

        So the bar is much higher now and distractions are plentiful. So not as much people bother anymore. But that is relatively speaking. I think that in absolute numbers there are still way more people doing interesting stuff. They just get drowned out. But I don’t have any research to back that up.

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          That’s very insightful. So far I took that more as effects of walled gardens, and raising the bar by complexity, the wanting to feel professional (not doing “hacky” things out of love - despite the whole “Do you have passion for X?” at many job ads).

          But sure, when you look for online likes, comments, stars and subscribers things are seen differently. And those measures typically don’t convey much. GitHub stars do oftentimes not even convey user base or general interest (readme-only repos with thousands of stars because it was posted on some news page, never even started out implementation). They mostly tell how many people have somewhat actively seen a headline or similar.

          And of course the attention span and new things popping up, together with the “newer is always better” assumption one has a hard time.

          The thing with research might turn out hard or at least I don’t know what the right approach is. A longer time ago I actually got interested in different ways of measuring impact of technologies (different kinds of, purely economical for example). The background was that things like measured programming language popularities seemed off, when looking at how they are perceived online, compared to when you looked into the real world.

          A lot of these are community and philosophy based. To stay with programming language popularity. A project with excellent documentation, clear guides, its own widely used communication channels tend to have a lot fewer questions on Stack Overflow, etc. A language that is often taught at university, has been hyped, etc. has more. Also the more centralized a community is the fewer post you’ll find with largely the same content.

          This doesn’t make a huge difference in the large, especially when putting in more factors, you still get a picture, but when it comes to finding patterns it is very easy to only end up with researching a specific subset, which might be interesting, but also might lead to in a way self-confirming assumptions. Or in other words, it’s hard to specify parameters and indicator to research without accidentally fooling yourself.

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          Personally, I disagree. I would conjecture that there are actually more people doing “silly little things” (including the “bigger projects”) than “before”, but there are also many times more people now doing things “for money/popularity” than “before”. It’s just that as a result, those in the first group lost visibility among the second group — esp. compared to the “before” times, when I believe the second group was basically an empty set.

          As a quick example off the top of my head, I’d recommend taking a look at the Nim Conf 2020 presentations. Having attended this online conference, personally I was absolutely amazed how one after another of those were in my opinion quite sizeable “silly little things”. Those specific examples might not be OS-grade projects, but then there’s https://www.redox-os.org/, there’s https://genodians.org/, there’s https://www.haiku-os.org/, there’s https://github.com/akkartik/mu

          I mean, to see that nerd craziness is alive and well, just take a look at https://hackaday.com/blog!

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            Thank you for the shout out to Mu! @reezer, Mu in particular is all about rarely requiring upgrades and never going obsolete. It achieves this by avoiding closed platforms, only relying on widely available PC hardware (any x86 processor of the last 20 years), and radically minimizing dependencies.

            My goal is a small subculture of programmers where the unit of collaboration is a full stack from the bootloader up, with the whole thing able to fit in one person’s head, and with guardrails (strong types, tests) throughout that help newcomers import the stack into their heads. Where everybody’s computer is unique and sovereign (think Starship Enterprise) rather than forced to look and work like everybody else’s (think the Borg). Fragmentation is a good thing, it makes our society more anti-fragile.

            I’ve been working on Mu for 5 years in my free time, through periods when that was just 1 hour a day and yet I didn’t lose steam. I don’t expect ever to get paid for it, and the goal above resonates enough with me that I expect to work on it indefinitely.

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              Just wanna say that despite Mu not being a tool I particularly want to use yet, I do read all your stuff about it that I encounter, and I’m very glad you’re out there doing it. And I’m certainly not alone.

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              Thank you for your response. You give great examples. I actually meant to give them as well. Just to clarify. For me Redox would be part of that new wave (maybe even the start of it), while Haiku is a project that had continuous progress, but is one of the old surviving ones, just like Genode.

              AROS is another example for an old project.

              What I meant with things that died during that period was for example Syllable and some projects of similar philosophy.

              I also agree with the sentiment that there is more people, but it doesn’t feel like it grew in proportion (that’s what I meant with percentage). But it feels like it is changing, which I really like. It feels like a drought being over. The Haiku community also had ups and downs.

              But I also don’t think it’s just operating systems. That’s why I mentioned the Fediverse. A completely different thing seems to be the open source game scene, which also feels like it’s growing again, insanely so. Especially when looking at purely open source games, which feel like they have massive growth now.

              However, I still have some worries about the closed platform topic, making it harder. Tablets and phones are becoming the dominant “personal computers” (as in things you play games on, do online shopping, communicate). And they are very closed. If you in the late 90s or early 2000s wanted to install an alternative OS on your average personal computer you could, even on your non-average sometimes. For your average smartphone or tablet that’s a lot less likely and unlike back then the drive (at large, with some exceptions) seems to go into things being even more shut off, giving less room to play.

              I don’t know that area, but it seems similar things are true for video game consoles. Less homebrew, and at least I did not hear about OSs being ported there, which seems a bit odd, given that by all that I know the hardware seems to be closer now to your average desktop computer.

              I did not know about Mu. Also I will take a look at the Nim Conf. So thanks for that as well!

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                Not much of a metric, but I guess you could try and graph the announcements on the OSDev.org forum thread year by year and see if there’s anything to read from them. Though on a glance, I’d say they’re probably too sparse to warrant any kind of trendline (but IANAStatistician). And the first one is 2007 anyway, so still no way to compare to “the late 90s or early 2000s”.

                Yeah, I also kinda lament the closing of the platforms; but on the other hand, Raspberry Pi, ARM, RISC-V, PinePhone, LineageOS… honestly, I think I’m currently more concerned about Firefox losing to Chrome and a possible monoculture here. Truth said, whether I like it and admit it to myself or not, the browsers are probably in a way the de facto OS now.

                And as to Fediverse and in general non-OS exciting things, there’s so many of them… for starters just the (for me) unexpected recent bloom of programming languages (Go, Rust, Zig, Nim, but also Janet, Jai, Red, etc. etc. etc.); but also IPFS, dat/hyper, etc. etc; then Nix/NixOS; then just around the corner an IMO potential revolution with https://github.com/enso-org/enso; as you say with games there’s Unity, Godot, the venerable RPGMaker, there’s itch.io; dunno, for me there’s constantly so many exciting things that I often can’t focus exactly because there’s so many things I’d love to play with… but then even as a kid I remember elders saying “you should focus on one thing and not constantly change your interests”, so it’s not that it’s something new…

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              I wonder how virtualization improvements over time might have also driven some of this?

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              I don’t see the point in making a new operating system if it has no novel features and so much legacy baggage.

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                Personal interest and desire to learn internals. Then you share it because you are proud of what you made.

                I don’t see why people make this comment so frequently. It’s better to do something you’re interested in than stare at the wall.

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                  So don’t 🤷‍♀️ The author does, so they do it