September 6, 2007

A wonderful operating system for a world of peace

Filed under: bsd,thetao — SiKing @ 3:32 pm

Next up on the chopping block is MirOS, version #9.

First impressions: .de domain, no documentation other than man pages, a blend of Open- and Net- BSDs, torrents available, but no download mirrors.

From the first go, I got the impression that this project hates users! First time I went to the website, the download link was a dead end (it is working ever since). No big deal, that’s why there is Google; this led me to some mirror in the wild that hosts the images. Download, Burn, Boot. The autodetect seemed to have detected everything it needed, and surprised me with the text-only prompt-driven Microsoft-esque installer: it asks questions as it needs the information, rather than asking everything up-front and then doing it’s thing while I go for a coffee.

I went through the installer once, just to see what it can do on its own merit. Some of the questions I plainly guessed at, having no idea of what it wants. After the reboot, I got a single-user mode login prompt. After loging in, startx gives you twm, which has been described as “an ugly, loathsome, repulsive, deformed window manager”. The most important command that you need to know is exit! This can’t possibly be right.

I noticed during the install that one of the early prompts wisely reminded me that it would be a good idea to have a printed version of the install guide handy. Unfortunately, there isn’t one anywhere on the site! Back to Google, which this time led me to the MirOS Project newsite! WTF, newsite? Well, at least this site has documentation … or so I thought. There is a FAQ, where one of the first questions (not surprisingly) is “How do I install MirOS?” The answer, mockingly, states: why don’t you read the manpage, with a dead link. (For anyone reading this, born after the 80’s: man pages were the standard way of documenting original UNIX, that went out of style sometime around the 90’s!) Well at least the URL gives a hint, which you can then follow from the oldsite to the official install manpage.

Second install. I thought I was dreaming previously when the thing was bothering me with a prompt-driven application to partition my disk. I was not! Two (separate) quarters of the install manpage talk about partitioning your disk. Guys, if you’re reading this, for a desktop system gimme some sensible default and stop screwing around. Second time through I could not make it out of the endless loop of: Do you want to use the entire disk? Yes. Starting disklabel. Use the suggested b<return>0<return>*<return> to use the entire disk, followed by q. Repeat… Game over!

Conclusion: I think I made a mistake and missed the “members only” sign at the door somewhere. There is no way this distro is trying to compete for a piece of the user (even developer) desktop market.


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