Operating systems and other software discussion

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Monkey
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Operating systems and other software discussion

Post by Monkey »

Seeing as the forums are very quiet at the moment, I'll try to get a discussion going about operating systems and other software. Ideas of what to talk about include what you use/have used/want to use, hints and tips for others, the future of software, etc. Both facts and opinions are welcome.

I'll start with an operating system that not many people have heard of but I think might have a big impact in the not so distant future. It's called "ReactOS". It's basically an open source/free and completely legal clone of MS Windows. It's binary compatible with MS Windows, meaning that all MS Windows drivers and software should work on it. It's not quite ready for the masses just yet but it does run a lot of windows software already and it's also much less bloated than Windows. It respects your privacy too. Here is a link:

https://www.reactos.org/
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aP|Nelg
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Re: Operating systems and other software discussion

Post by aP|Nelg »

I've played with ReactOS in the past...it was quite buggy in virtualbox (for me on my AMD system); havent extensively tried it in qemu, and it hasn't been able to install onto bare metal at all. I'm also not entirely sure that it provides any advantage to WINE at this time. Maybe some may like a Windows XP-like feel using a still supported OS w/out any kind of EOL date (as POSReady2009 updates will go away someday for XP users.)
Monkey wrote:It respects your privacy too.
Yes, the core OS does not send stats to Microsoft (Windows 10). However, the idea is to have proprietary programs (most windows applications) running in a native environment. You can not guarantee that they will lack any kind of spying code, backdoors, etc. Of course you can run open source alternatives... but I'm sure most of them would run better in a open unix-like environment such as Linux or BSD.


As a complete sidenote, anyone tried RedoxOS or HaikuOS?

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kyle
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Re: Operating systems and other software discussion

Post by kyle »

My ReactOS "fun" happened years ago, maybe 2007 or 2008, I set up an environment to develop it. I was still newish to linux, so I had wine installed, and QEMU set up to run it. I was able to build ReactOS on linux. So I played around, used Wine to play the solitaire app from ReactOS. Every card was mapped wrong. I managed to win the game, but I was putting whatever would go on top of whatever it let me put it on top of. Back then the timeframe for a stable release was within years, and well, 10 years later I get the impression of windows 98 and i think it has a ton of comparability issues (maybe I'm wrong). I thought the idea of it was good back in the day. Now I have the feeling if you want windows, use windows.

The next OS I want to try is Fuchsia. Lets just say, it'll be the OS that take over everything, mobile, desktop, server, or it'll just go bust. Still a bit too early to really try it, unless you have a chromebook. https://9to5google.com/2018/01/18/googl ... k-browser/
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aP|Nelg
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Re: Operating systems and other software discussion

Post by aP|Nelg »

kyle wrote:The next OS I want to try is Fuchsia. Lets just say, it'll be the OS that take over everything, mobile, desktop, server, or it'll just go bust. Still a bit too early to really try it, unless you have a chromebook. https://9to5google.com/2018/01/18/googl ... k-browser/
If those are the choices, I hope its the latter. Also, there's no way that there's ever going to be a point in time where there's only one operating system. Not to mention, it's a Google OS...

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Re: Operating systems and other software discussion

Post by sinewav »

aP|Nelg wrote:...Maybe some may like a Windows XP-like feel using a still supported OS w/out any kind of EOL date (as POSReady2009 updates will go away someday for XP users.)
Windows XP is the greatest consumer operating system in existence. I literally use it every weekend on a laptop for recording music. On older hardware it's super stable, lightweight, and effortlessly runs my preferred DAW (which is also fairly old, but gets the job done).

At work I'm stuck with Windows 7, which is not as good, and god forbid the day I need to upgrade because, contrary to popular opinion, Windows 10 is a mess.

At home I have to make a lot of sacrifices to use Linux over Windows, but I'm a deeply principled mother-f**ker and can't get behind where Windows is going. However, it's 2018 and there isn't a single Linux distribution that works as well as WinXP, but then again, WinXP set the bar insanely high.

Speaking of high, you have to be high to think BSD is a good option. I'm totally willing to be converted, but every time I look into using BSD it just seems like Linux, but even more limited and broken.

Does OSX count as BSD? Can anyone make a reasonable justification for that? If I had the option I would move to OSX over Win10, but there is this problem of my principals... I guess I'm stuck with crap-ass Linux systems until I die.

Anyone think Chrome OS is worth anything? I mean, I'll never use it because "Google"; I'm just asking.

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Re: Operating systems and other software discussion

Post by delinquent »

I'm a developer, so I'm a bit ****** when it comes to choice.

My primary work system runs Windows 7. I happen to like Windows 7, and my installation is modified somewhat to avoid most of the spyware that came with later W7 updates. I do have an enterprise build of Windows 10 ready to deploy eventually (sigh) with much of the spyware removed in a similar fashion, as well as the store and a lot of the metadata stuff removed, but it's incredibly unstable at the moment and I'm still working on killing off the stuff I don't like. I'm doing my best to also replace the UI with the Windows 7 UI, since I find the 8, 8.1 and 10 UI changes tacky and garish, but again this is a work in progress, and I don't have a lot of time to dedicate to it.

My home system, however, runs a variant of gnu/linux that I based on Arch, with a few changes such as a different window manager, some semi-janky driver modifications that work great with games but scream at me when I try to use Netflix, and a few other changes. I managed to get WINE and PlayOnLinux installed just right, and surprisingly complex games such as OMSI and War Thunder run almost as well as they do natively on Windows. I would love to use this as my work system, but unfortunately Visual Studio doesn't really play nice and I can't spend time fixing problems that don't fall into billable hours. Gotta eat and feed the cat, y'know.

Also at home, I have a media centre that I bought on eBay to replace my Pi based entertainment, primarily because the latter still struggles with Netflix decoding and stutters a lot. I plan to get a basic Linux install working on this, along with Kodi and my satellite decoder, and I'd like to also get it to work with a bluray player. Funnily enough, the little screen on the front of it worked out of the box with Linux, which was nice. The media centre is a Polywell MC550, quite old but perfectly capable. It could even theoretically function as an emulator, although I'm not quite ready to pack away my playstation just yet.

All of my stuff sits behind a cheapo firewall that I built out of an older machine. This runs on a sort-of-not-quite-like hypervisor setup, allowing me to run two virtual instances on one machine. It's not a brilliant solutiont, but the presence of two ethernet jacks means I can route the storage instance and firewall separately, after pulling in VDSL through a PCIe card. Theoretically, the PCIe card could also function as a firewall in itself, but I find I have more granular control with Endian than with the firmware on the card.

I tried ReactOS about a year ago, thinking it might be a replacement for Windows once support for 7 expired... oh how wrong I was! To be blunt, I like and respect the idea behind it, but its light years away from even being stable on it's own two feet, let alone after installing software. I'd love to fund development on it one day, if I have the money, since an x86 environment other than Windows would be a godsend, but for now... meh.

I don't think Fuchsia is going to take off any time soon either - Chromebooks have a good market share, but not nearly a large enough one to make a sizeable impact and render Fuchsia a profitable enterprise. I reckon this one will at least be shelved for a few years, too.

Tried HaikuOS not too long ago, as a matter of fact. To say my experience was bumpy would be somewhat of an understatement. The presence of multiple monitors first led to a default resolution of 800/600, then when I attempted to change the resolution and disable all but one monitor my GPU seemed to go into a "sleep" mode. I actually had to switch to the backup bios on the GPU to get any display output at all, even from the main bios startup sequence. Whilst my card wasn't officially supported, I think it's reasonable to expect that most cards will at least function on a basic level. I don't feel particularly comfortable even trying again, so unfortunately all I can say is that it looks pretty.

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Re: Operating systems and other software discussion

Post by Monkey »

It's important to remember that ReactOS is in Alpha stage of development and probably will be for some time so, yes, it's buggy and incomplete. However, in my opinion, it has more potential than Linux and even the BSDs as far as the masses are concerned. We have to remember that most of us here are more computer savvy than the average person. Now, don't get me wrong, I hate MS Windows, having been using it since approximately the beginning of time, however, it's fairly standardised and fairly easy to setup and use for average Joe. Also, all drivers that are made for Windows will work natively on it (eventually).

Linux has multiple problems, the main one being that Linux is just a kernel. This means you have to have other tools/utilities and software to form a complete operating system. This gives rise to lots (and let's face it, there is absolutely loads) of distributions, each with a different desktop environment/window manger/package tool/installer/etc. It's a complete mess and it's getting worse not better. A lot of this extra software is buggy and/or not nice to use, which brings me to my next rant...GNU.

GNU software is utter, utter, utter shite. I've had so many bad experiences with it I could cry. The worst incident was the time that "GNU Parted" trashed my partitions and it took me around three whole days to recover them. Emacs and GCC are hideously bloated and complex. The GNU "info" system is horrific when compared to proper UNIX man pages. The list goes on. Richard Stallman may be passionate about making free software but he's not so passionate about making high quality software.

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OS X is partly a BSD; the kernel isn't but the base userland pretty much is (coming mainly from FreeBSD).

I'll finish with a rant on Google. I am now on my third Android phone and I'm starting to get angry. I can't turn off notifications selectively, it's either all or none. So annoying. Also, Google doesn't respect my privacy. I use duckduckgo now as my primary search engine and I haven't looked back.
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delinquent
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Re: Operating systems and other software discussion

Post by delinquent »

I share your opinion on Android, but iOS is something I won't even consider using. At the moment I use Lineage, which runs very nicely on my G3. There's some slightly modded GApps packages out for it too, but it's up to you if you want to install them or no.

Actually, the huge variety in the Linux world is what I like about it. The lack of documentation sucks, sure, but there's always a handful of stable operating systems out there with active communities. In fact, the communities make it easier sometimes to fix obscure problems that might not even be noticed otherwise. That variety helped me build my ideal environment, and now my machine feels intimately mine. Far more so than any Windows environment could.

As for your notifications, if you're running a manufacturer build of android it's not surprising that you can't get rid. Natively, most android versions have granular per-notif controls built in, either by long-pressing a notification or visiting the application in the settings menu. That's the number one rule when you buy a new phone nowadays, just as with a new PC: Get rid of what the manufacturer put on it, and put something better on.

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Re: Operating systems and other software discussion

Post by Monkey »

I wouldn't consider using iOS either delinquent and as you rightly say, you need to replace what the manufacturer puts on your device with something else. Fingers crossed that one day I'll be able to do that with a high quality, open source OS of my choice.

My friend has just bought a new laptop because she needs a new one for University. It's got Windows 10 on it and, for now, it's going to stay on it even though I do not like it at all. This is after some not so great experiences with open source OSs on her old laptop. The good news, however, is that libreoffice and firefox are working fine for her needs. I also get to keep her old laptop so that's good too :)
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Re: Operating systems and other software discussion

Post by delinquent »

That's really the problem, any large scale, widely used OS is very unlikely to be wholly open-source. Android kind of is, which is where spin-off systems come into play. That's why I've gone for Lineage - and Lineage over other builds you might find on XDA because of their better documentation process. In fact, I found that Lineage is actually somewhat more stable on my device than the stock OS is, although this has a lot to do with a poor production QA process with the G2, G3 and a few other models.

https://github.com/LineageOS

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Re: Operating systems and other software discussion

Post by Monkey »

My Motorola/Lenovo G5 isn't supported by Lineage. I think I'll wait for an OpenBSD phone anyway :P
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sinewav
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Re: Operating systems and other software discussion

Post by sinewav »

I can't wait until I can have a non-Android phone, right now I don't have the technical expertise or the money to purchase a rootable phone. In the meantime, I've disable most of what I can regarding Google services and a majority of the apps I use come from F-Droid, but I would rather abandon Android altogether. Plus, developing for Android is a nightmare for me because I'm kinds stupid. After two months of working at it I'm still not confident enough to create a Hello World app. Never has such a difficult time with a platform before. LineageOS looks neat. I found Maru OS last year and I'm occasionally checking in on that project.

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Re: Operating systems and other software discussion

Post by delinquent »

Monkey wrote:Moto G5
Not officially, no. There's a couple of community builds, though: https://forum.xda-developers.com/g5/dev ... 1-t3722188

x64 platforms are fussy on the G5, so I hear.
sinewav wrote:developing for Android is a nightmare for me

You're not alone. I turned my hand to it last year on and off, I'm kind of avoiding it because I hate it.
Not sure how much a fan I am of Maru as a principle, if I'm honest. Integration of phone and PC has always given me the shivers, it makes the idea of privacy seem a little harder to reach. Sure, that's Debian, but if it were to become an industry standard... Nah, definitely not my cup of tea.

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Re: Operating systems and other software discussion

Post by sinewav »

Monkey wrote:My Motorola/Lenovo G5 isn't supported by Lineage. I think I'll wait for an OpenBSD phone anyway :P
I have a Moto that is supported, but the phone can't be unlocked according to Motorola (was from AT&T). I don't know how to jailbreak a phone. I'm pretty excited about LineageOS and can't wait to try it on a different phone. But which one!? I have decision fatigue... And I'm cheap. Which actually helps make decisions easier, but it's still hard.

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Re: Operating systems and other software discussion

Post by delinquent »

Jailbreaking an Android phone isn't massively complicated, but varies from device to device. The XDA forums usually have guides, but you need to be utterly sure that you have the appropriate method for your particular device and revision. Carrier specific guides, given the track records of T-Mobile, AT&T and even Vodafone are pretty common though, so it sounds a lot more difficult than it is. What phone do you have, ooi?

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