Wednesday, January 19, 2011

OSNews and the day it died

Back in the day, I spent most nights building operating systems for fun, and a fair amount of time helping other OS hobbyist. In fact, once I got good "osdev-ing", helping others was the real kick.

The old mega tokyo (now osdever) forum was the primary place to hang out, along with the insanely troll-infested #osdev channel over at Freenode.

But the place to look for news, in-depth interviews and interesting articles was The reason it was a great site, despite its narrow focus, was good editors. Some of the interviews are in my view an important part of computer history. Some of the obscure operating systems discussed actually became useful and are still under development (Haiku, Syllable, amiga os variants, etc.) Others are just obscure, but open sourced and thus useful for others. Some of the interview objects have gone to other interesting ventures.

Unfortunately, at some point a new editor came along. Thom Holwerda. With his dutch arrogance and not-so-great insight into operating systems, he slowly began to tear down the original concept and basically started a personal blog with the occasional guest contribution. He has been quite frank about it too, through comments ("I don't care what our readers think") and pretty clueless posts explaining how the site is no longer about alternative operating systems.

In fact, the only contributions he have made in that area is whining about SkyOS's slow development, and "explaining" how non-mainstream OS's are irrelevant. Let's just face it. OSNews is now just another generic technology blog (with high volume on uninteresting comments, and low volume on actual original articles.)

The point of this post? If anyone wants to start up a new "alternative OS" site, there's at least one avid reader awaiting the announcement. Alternatively, Thom will go bark up some other wrong tree.


  1. +1

    extremetech has interesting "alternative" os news from time to time.

  2. Well, i kinda have a small website ( that's mostly dead right now, but if some people from the old osnews community want to contribute, i would be glad to clean it up and open it up for other people :) (and remove the ads :P)

  3. CoolGoose: i for one will check it out. thanks!

  4. @CoolGoose, are there / will there be interviews, like "old" os-news? I really miss those too.

  5. +1 wrt interviews

  6. i like OSN a lot, but i've kinda lost interest lately since there are far between news items.

  7. Until recently OS news was a pretty great place to read about alternative OSes. I think it is Thoms lack of technical knowledge and disinterest in alternative operating systems that is killing the site.

  8. +1
    Also Thoms crusade against Apple or Apple-related things is more or less pointless and boring.

    Back in the days when I ran BeOS4 as my main OS Eugenias BeNews was first thing I opened every day.... sigh....

  9. @prev anon: yeah, the Be tidbits were great.

  10. Yeah, I really miss good old osnews, actually even if Eugenia was rude some times, she was often right when she talked about IU inconsitencies and she was curious about other OS..

    let's face it, osnews is date and now I can spend week without going there..