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 Post subject: Why is SkyOS closed... really?
PostPosted: June 26th, 2006, 9:12 pm 
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Why is SkyOS closed-source? The two reasons given in the "Basic Questions" FAQ aren't at all satisfactory.
Quote:
3. Is SkyOS open-source?
No. SkyOS is a closed source operating system. The creators have chosen to keep the source closed because this would ensure that they would keep control. Also, this prevents forking and splintering.

Why would they be unable to maintain control if the devs released the code? It's not like they'd have to take
community input. They'd still be allowed to charge for it, and they could leverage that by offering official support (Like manuals and tech suport) alongside the OS when they sell it.

They express concern that SkyOS would get forked if the code was open. Hell, forking happens more often if the code *isn't* GPL. Just
look at the BSDs and Unices. Emacs forked like hell before it was GPL... then, when it finally got a license, the forks from before remained, but no more emerged. Forks only tend to occur when a project is in serious need of life-support. To borrow an example from the Ubuntu community, when Automatix was released under the GPL, the author refused to take community input. Automatix remained a lumbering hulk of code that only supported Ubuntu x86. People forked the damn thing like crazy because the author refused to accept improvements or improve his code, or even get it working under Kubuntu or AMD64. When he finally stepped down and and appointed a team to lead it, the team immediately started accepting input and help from the community, and the forks died. Their workload was cut in half, and now Automatix is getting ported to OS's that are similar to Ubuntu, like MEPIS. The code is getting much, much leaner, and it's more usable than ever. Nobody needs to fork because it rocks. Forking only tends to happen if a project is unhealthy.

So: why is SkyOS closed?


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PostPosted: June 26th, 2006, 9:36 pm 
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No flames guys. Let's see if we can get a good answer once and for all.

It really comes down to this: Robert doesn't want to. He wrote it, it is his code. I don't think he wants SkyOS forks, though you've already mentioned it.

One of the most impressive things about SkyOS is that it's coded by a single person, after all.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: June 26th, 2006, 10:00 pm 
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I can absolutely respect that he's undertaken a huge task, and is doing an excellent job with it, and that it's his code and he can do what he likes with it. I'm just curious as to why he wants to keep it closed, since he's effectively making life harder for himself by taking on coding the whole OS by himself, and the reasons given in the FAQ just aren't that convincing. I was primarily wondering if there were more reasons listed somewhere else. Apologies if it came off as flamebait or my request wasn't communicated effectively.


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PostPosted: June 27th, 2006, 12:44 am 
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As far as I know, he just doesn't want to. Nobody can really fault him for that. It may be selfish, but in the end, does it really matter?

And by golly, the FAQ isn't good enough for anybody! :lol:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: June 27th, 2006, 12:50 am 
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It's not necessarily making his life harder. By being the only one who knows the entire code he can quickly adapt to something else if problems arise.

Examples of this are the move to ELF, the GUI rewrite (desktop composing), ...

If other people start writing on the core, it would take time before they know enough to be able to do substantial work and the lack of documentation in the SkyOS API is probably also the case for other parts of the code.

I'm not saying that this is THE reason why it's closed, but I can imagine it plays a role in this picture.

Another thought: if you put a lot of effort in creating something and you would be able to make money from it, would you do it?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: June 27th, 2006, 1:20 am 
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Quote:
It's not necessarily making his life harder. By being the only one who knows the entire code he can quickly adapt to something else if problems arise.

Examples of this are the move to ELF, the GUI rewrite (desktop composing), ...
True. By keeping the development down to him, he can quickly push development into new directions. But, then again, if he opened the code, he could still retain his status as sole developer; no one can force him to collaborate with anyone else on the code, and nobody's going to fork over a patch. Plus, if he opened it, other people would be able to take advantage of the code he's written; it makes their life easier. It increases the pool of skill from which he might choose to tap if he needs something done, but, for whatever reason, proves he is incapable of doing it (Although his ability to write, from the ground up, a desktop operating system is a powerful testament to his abilities).

Quote:
I'm not saying that this is THE reason why it's closed, but I can imagine it plays a role in this picture.
It sounds plausible.

Quote:
Another thought: if you put a lot of effort in creating something and you would be able to make money from it, would you do it?
I'm not saying he should de-commercialise it. You can still open code and make a tidy profit- just look at Cygnus and Red Hat.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: June 27th, 2006, 2:42 am 
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Quote:
You can still open code and make a tidy profit- just look at Cygnus and Red Hat...


...compared to Microsoft. :)

Seriously, there are good reasons to open source code, and good reasons to keep it closed. Neither of them are right or wrong, they are simply decisions. That would be like telling someone that they were "wrong" or making a bad decision for buying a Toyota Camry, rather than a Honda Accord. They're both good cars, they both get you from point A to point B in relatively the same manner. There are subtle differences between the two options, but in the end, it's just a matter of preference which one you choose.

P.S. Honda or Toyota, if you are reading this thread, I would be happy to endorse your car if you sent me one. :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: June 27th, 2006, 4:58 am 
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...compared to Microsoft. :)
Point taken :-D.
Quote:
Seriously, there are good reasons to open source code, and good reasons to keep it closed. Neither of them are right or wrong, they are simply decisions. That would be like telling someone that they were "wrong" or making a bad decision for buying a Toyota Camry, rather than a Honda Accord. They're both good cars, they both get you from point A to point B in relatively the same manner. There are subtle differences between the two options, but in the end, it's just a matter of preference which one you choose.
Absolutely, and I respect the choice that Mr. Szeleney and anybody else who was involved in the choice to close it made. I'm just wondering what the motives to close it were, since the reasons I've heard really don't convince me. If there are more detailed reasons, I'd be delighted to hear them, but if it really came down to a desire to maintain control of SkyOS and a desire not to fork, and it was perceived that keeping it open would lead to a loss of control and forking, I can accept that, too.

Quote:
P.S. Honda or Toyota, if you are reading this thread, I would be happy to endorse your car if you sent me one.
Good luck with that :).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: June 27th, 2006, 2:01 pm 
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Iandefor wrote:
Absolutely, and I respect the choice that Mr. Szeleney and anybody else who was involved in the choice to close it made. I'm just wondering what the motives to close it were, since the reasons I've heard really don't convince me. If there are more detailed reasons, I'd be delighted to hear them [...]

I should think that out of the responses here, the response in the FAQ, and the responses in other locked threads that ask the same question, you should be able to pull just enough of an answer to satisfy. Are you waiting for a response from Robert himself?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: June 27th, 2006, 6:58 pm 
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Quote:
Quote:
Absolutely, and I respect the choice that Mr. Szeleney and anybody else who was involved in the choice to close it made. I'm just wondering what the motives to close it were, since the reasons I've heard really don't convince me. If there are more detailed reasons, I'd be delighted to hear them [...]

I should think that out of the responses here, the response in the FAQ, and the responses in other locked threads that ask the same question, you should be able to pull just enough of an answer to satisfy. Are you waiting for a response from Robert himself?
I've done a search through these forums using the search terms OSS "Open Source" and GPL, and read through about 11 pages of results.
I haven't seen anything substantial, but I've read references to the fact that it's been discussed thoroughly. I had only been wondering if there were any more reasons for keeping it closed, since I wasn't satisfied with the two reasons given in the FAQ and in all those other threads mentioning it, but if it's enough for the developers, then it's enough.
Quote:
Are you waiting for a response from Robert himself?
Not particularly. I had just been waiting for someone to point me towards some resource that might satisfy my own curiosity. But my curiosity is sated at this point- the two reasons given in the faq (maintaining control/preventing forks) clearly work for the developers, and so it is closed. I'm done now :).

Thanks for your responses!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: June 27th, 2006, 9:32 pm 
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Are you going to stick around? :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: June 27th, 2006, 11:38 pm 
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Quote:
Are you going to stick around? :)
Depends. SkyOS intrigues me, and once 5.0 hits final, I might just buy a copy. But I'd feel weird, frequenting a forum for an operating system I don't use.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: June 28th, 2006, 3:12 am 
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In my opinion, SkyOS being closed source is a nuisance to the OS itself. It is an amazing work for only one person, but it is also its big problem. First, how do you want to be taken seriously if the OS is maintained by one main programmer? Other OSes are maintained by armies of programmers. Second, making it closed source prevents people from contributing other stuff that isn't beta testing, translating, or porting apps. Third, by the fact its closed source, it also prevents user from modifying it and adding new features, or better driver support. I do not expect Robert to write drivers for everything, but if at least the kernel was open source people could write some. Fourth: Most OSes today at least have an open source kernel. Having an open source kernel doesn't mean you can't sell the software or anything. It is partial open sourceness. Take the example on Sun, with their opensolaris kernel, which is open source and completely free since a year now. The entire operating system itself is free (no charge). Mac OS X's kernel, darwin, is open source too. This doesn't prevent Apple from selling the complete OS. Darwin doesn't come with aqua (mac os x graphical environment), but at least people can modify and play in the source code so it fits their needs. Unix/BSD variants, linux, all that stuff is completely open source. Now we come to the giant capitalist one: Microsoft Windows. Yeah, its one of the rare that is entirely closed source. From all the OSes I know of, there is only windows and SkyOS which are closed source. So, why is this small-scale project not going at least partial open source? If non-mainstream OSes all go that way these times, then maybe we should consider at least going partial open source. My point is, i understand Robert wants to keep control on the OS. So he went closed source. BUT. The best comprise possible with that I think is, making SkyOS' kernel open source. That way he still can keep good control over the OS (it prevents people from downloading the sources and compiling the complete OS and using it without paying, also), and you are still free to reject contributions to the project. If giant corporations like Apple and Sun do go partial open source, its not just for fun. Its because they have benefit from it - they benefit from community work, that can be added freely to their kernel. _Free_ work, that's kinda interesting, isn't it?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: June 28th, 2006, 5:24 am 
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Mac OS X's kernel, darwin, is open source too. This doesn't prevent Apple from selling the complete OS. Darwin doesn't come with aqua (mac os x graphical environment), but at least people can modify and play in the source code so it fits their needs.
Mac OS X's kernel is XNU. It's core is Darwin, as opposed to a GNU core on many other OSS projects, like Linux. However, Apple has begun tightening their grip around Darwin.
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Microsoft Windows. Yeah, its one of the rare that is entirely closed source. From all the OSes I know of, there is only windows and SkyOS which are closed source.
You've never heard of Zeta, OS/2, NetWare, HP-UX, AmigaOS, or AIX? It isn't so rare.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: June 28th, 2006, 7:25 am 
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Personally I think if SkyOS was ever open sourced there would be an immediate fork and Robert would lose control of his OS.

Many open source people/and just people refuse to pay the $30, that is a large contributing factor. Others want to see our OS become more like linux. Other hate the fact that we have open source software in our OS and want it removed. You can never win.

I think the biggest reason not to open source the code is because SkyOS is more advanced than %98-99 of all the other OS's out there, in terms of "modern" features. It has compositing that works on ANY card, even vesa. It has a robust filesystem and can do things that many other OS can't even begin to think about. I "would" use it as an everyday OS only if it had more support for devices, but then, that is a problem with EVERY os besides Windows. My new and advanced computer hardware is rarely supported in anything anyways.

Because Robert is the only developer features are often implemented with blazing speed (a few days vs. weeks/months/years for linux). It cuts the bureaucracy and things don’t need to be discussed with a large community before making a change. In the linux world every little API change or design change can have a great impact and people constantly fight over it.

But don't get me wrong, SkyOS is tailored to the wants of the community. These forums and bug reports are taken seriously. Often development is discussed with the forum and input is asked for.

anyways, i don't want to talk for Robert, only he can really answer that question.

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