Free/libre OS for x86 computer. Written in Assembly. Uses only 8MB RAM and 1MB disk space to run. Less than 10 sec from power-on to GUI
What is KolibriOS?
KolibriOS is a tiny yet incredibly powerful and fast operating system. This power requires only a few megabyte disk space and 8MB of RAM to run. Kolibri features a rich set of applications that include word processor, image viewer, graphical editor, web browser and well over 30 exciting games. Full FAT12/16/32 support is implemented, as well as read-only support for NTFS, ISO9660 and Ext2/3/4. Drivers are written for popular sound, network and graphics cards.
Have you ever dreamed of a system that boots in less than 10 seconds from power-on to working GUI, on $100 PC? Applications that start instantly, immediately after clicking an icon, without annoying hourglass pointers? This speed is achieved since the core parts of KolibriOS (kernel and drivers) are written entirely in FASM assembly language! Try our system and compare it with such heavyweights as Windows and Linux.
KolibriOS has forked off from MenuetOS in 2004, and is being developed independently since then. All our code is open-source and free, with the majority of the code released under GPLv2 license. Your feedback is very much appreciated, and your help is even more welcome.
What is "Summer of Code"?
The Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is an annual program, first held from May to August 2005, in which Google awards stipends (of 5,000 USD, as of 2013) to hundreds of students who successfully complete a requested free and open-source software coding project during the summer. The program is open to students aged 18 or over from most of the world. [Google employees, interns, contractors, or family members thereof; or residents and/or nationals of Iran, Syria, Cuba, Sudan, North Korea and Myanmar (Burma), with whom Google is prohibited by U.S. law from engaging in commerce, are ineligible to participate.]
Each year, a few hundred Open-Source organizations (417 orgs in 2013) apply for participation in Google Summer of Code program. After the applications review, Google selects around 40% of the organizations (177 orgs in 2013) to take part in that year program. Each approved organization then "hires" a few students to write code for them during that summer. The "hiring process" is done by the organizations, but the stipends are paid by Google. Same as with organizations applications, only a limited number of students from those that apply, are "hired" (in 2012, the "hire" rate was around 28%, with 1212 students selected from 4258 students that applied).
More information about this year Google Summer of Code program is available on their website: http://www.google-melange.com/gsoc/homepage/google/gsoc2013
Why do we need your money?
Together with 416 other orgs, we have applied for participation in Google Summer of Code 2013, but unfortunately, we weren't selected. Here is the link to our ideas page:
Not been accepted by Google doesn't mean that our application was bad. On the contrary, Google told us in their feedback session that they liked our application and our ideas page. Just they cannot accept everyone since their budget is limited, and sometimes they have to take tough decisions, like cutting us out, for example.
So we thought to ourselves, why can't we run our own "Summer of Code" program this year? We have the ideas page ready, and we've got the mentors who agreed to volunteer their time to supervise the accepted students. The only problem with this is, since we weren't accepted by Google, they won't pay stipends to the students we "hire".
Here is where you can help us - raise the money needed to "hire" at least one student. Please pledge if you like open-source projects and what we are trying to do here. But we don't only want your money - we want you, the community, to help us decide which project(s) will get done as part of our "Summer of Code", and which student(s) will get in.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
KolibriOS is a project with 10-year history. Contributors have joined and left, like with any hobby and volunteering project, but the project development has never stopped. People who themselves are willing to help others and have required knowledge to do so, were selected as Mentors. We have discussed "Google Summer of Code 2013" application with all active members of the KolibriOS Project Team, and selected only those 4 (four) people who have both the knowledge, the dedication, and the time to help their students during the entire summer. Each one of them was assigned to mentor projects in his area of specialization only.
Unexpected things can always happen. We cannot guarantee that the project will be completed in time and as promised, because, well, that's how life works. What we do guarantee though, is that, unlike many other projects on Kickstarter which successfully raised their funding, we will always be in touch with you, the backers, and keep you informed of our progress and decisions, and even obstacles and delays, if we encounter them. We promise to post weekly project updates till the project is successfully completed, and answer all your comments and private messages within 48 hours from receiving them. Moreover, as stated in "Why do we need your money?" section, backers in certain pledge levels will be part of the team that makes all decisions, and will get equal voting rights with other team members.
This is the second most frequently asked question. The short answer is NO. The longer answer is: "Unfortunately not - neither now nor in distant future." KolibriOS was written using http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X86, and porting it to other architecture would mean an almost complete rewrite. We prefer to focus on improving what already exists, rather than throwing the results of 10-year work to garbage, and starting from scratch.
We were completely overwhelmed by how much that question got asked. We are not lawyers, and the short project description is limited to 135 characters (similar to Twitter posts). So we just wanted to utilize the most out of that 135-char space, and we actually think we succeeded pretty well :-)
However, it turned out that the word "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freeware" we originally used has raised some eyebrows. In contrast to "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_software", the author of Freeware usually restricts one or more rights of the user, including the rights to copy, distribute, modify and make derivative works of the software or extract the source code. This is of course not the case with KolibriOS - you are free and even encouraged to copy, modify, distribute and make derivative works of it, as well as http://websvn.kolibrios.org/listing.php…. Our software is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gratis_versus_libre. It is free as in "Free Speech" AND "Free Beer".
Unfortunately Kickstarter only allows pledging via Credit Cards. However, a practice emerged in many Kickstarter projects to add other payment options once the Kickstarter project goal is reached. This would ensure that the project is guaranteed to collect the minimum amount of money it needs to kick-off. We would be happy to follow this habit, and would gladly accept payment via BitCoins (and possibly other options like Paypal) after we have reached our minimum goal.
Some people have told us: "My organization participates in Google Summer of Code for a few years, and we were never rejected." The truth is that each organization competes for place in GSoC with similar purpose organizations, and not with all the organizations that apply. So, since our project is an Operating System, we were considered versus all other OSes that have submitted the application, and this year there were many! http://www.minix3.org/, http://www.reactos.org/
and even http://www.haiku-os.org/ were all rejected as well, just for the same reason. If you still don't believe us, you can check the http://ibot.rikers.org/%23gsoc/20130419.html.gz that Google held for the rejected organizations via IRC.
You have nothing to worry about! All http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X86 are backwards compatible all the way till the original http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_8086 CPU. Which means that our 32-bit code would run perfectly fine on your newest 64-bit CPU. The only limitation is that we cannot address more than 4GB RAM, but who needs that when our system consumes just 8MB? We still have 3.99GB left for applications :-)
"Then why all other systems are switching to 64-bit?", you might ask. - Probably because their code is not as efficient and compact as ours, and they DO need that extra RAM :-) Since KolibriOS targets mostly older and slower computers (most of which have 32-bit processors), switching to 64-bit would reduce our user base, rather than increase it!
Those are the rewards we have thought about after looking at similar Kickstarter projects (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1061646928/vlc-for-the-new-windows-8-user-experience-metro, for example). If you are not happy with our rewards, you are welcome (and even encouraged!) to suggest rewards that you want to see. And if they are feasible, we would be happy to add them.
One of the backers has even sent us this link: http://comicsanscriminal.com/ Huh. We are not Microsoft, Intel or IBM. We don't need to be THAT serious (yet). We want people to have some fun while working on KolibriOS :-)
We introduce ourselves as “KolibriOS Project Team”, but we don’t have a formal organization that represents KolibriOS – we are just a group of around 20 individuals who can be called “active project contributors”. The contribution in this case doesn't mean only writing code – it can be testing, our website design and maintenance, or representing KolibriOS in front of authorities and other organizations. All our contributors do their work voluntarily and in their spare time, and nobody is paid for their efforts.
We wanted our own Summer of Code to be similar to the official Google Summer of Code. So there are no specific plans – there is only a list of ideas we wrote that one or more of them can potentially be implemented by the students that are selected (if we get the funding, of course). Everyone is welcome and encouraged to suggest other ideas, beyond our initial list – http://wiki.kolibrios.org/wiki/Google_Summer_of_Code_2013
If you are asking us what is the most desirable feature we would like to see done as part of this Summer of Code, then we’d name Font subsystem/Locales/Unicode support. Currently KolibriOS supports only Cyrillic and Latin fonts, so it is limited in the languages that can be used in the system – no right-to-left languages like Arabic and Hebrew, no logograms (Chinese, Japanese, Korean), no Devanagari (Hindi language). Adding locale/Unicode support would open KolibriOS to all languages so it is a very useful feature.
How will the students be benefited from this? What are the criteria’s for applying and where do the students apply from?
If we are lucky and raise enough funds to hold the Summer of Code, we will post instructions for potential students on how to apply on our Kickstarter project page. The applications themselves would need to be submitted on our forum (http://board.kolibrios.org/) Once the students applied, we will rate their proposals and select 1 or 2 best proposals (depending on how much money we gather), and those would be students that would work with us during the summer. Those students will get stipend paid by us from the funds we collect, similar to students that work on Google Summer of Code. The main benefit for those students would be learning how to work for real-life organization, and get introduced to the open-source world.
The project is bi-lingual: we have both Russian and English versions. Each version is fully localized, which means that the English version is really 100% English. In addition, we are working on 2 more localizations - Spanish and Italian (they are a work in progress). The only place that is mostly in Russian is our developers forum. This is because the majority of our developers are from ex-USSR countries (Russia, Ukraine, etc.), so discussing the project in Russian is much easier for them. But we do have also English and Spanish sections in our forum, and if you ask a question in English, the developers would reply you in English: http://board.kolibrios.org/viewforum.php…
It's still not enough! The comments in the code are in Russian and the source files are saved with Russian DOS code page!
You are right about Russian comments in the code. We have already discussed this internally between project contributors a long time ago, and agreed that it's a bad thing, as it makes KolibriOS less attractive to non-Russian-speaking developers. We currently have 2 active developers that don't speak Russian at all (one from Belgium and the other from Uruguay), and they both complained about exactly the same thing. Since we have made that discussion, all the new code that our developers commit, has comments in English only. What is left is translating existing Russian comments (we will do it gradually over time)
*UPDATE*: The second thing proved to be easier than we have initially thought, and our best developer CleverMouse managed to convert all source files to UTF8 encoding - you may browse them now without needing to use Russian code page!
a) It took us a long time to find someone involved with the project who would agree to be the money recipient for Kickstarter. Since the majority of our contributors are from ex-USSR (and Kickstarter is only open to UK and USA residents), it was a very hard task.
b) We wanted to end the project as close as possible to Google's announcement of selected students for their Summer of Code 2013. This way, students that have applied to Google but weren't selected by them, can apply to us if we reach our funding goal.
We have decided to keep all rewards as is - while there were a few backers that don't really need the T-shirts, some clearly do want them. So, to re-iterate once again: Each reward includes all previous rewards, so for £50 you are going to get the T-shirt + USB stick + access to beta-versions. We will start working on T-shirt logo design if the funding is successful (right now we just don't have time for it, and there is no point if the project doesn't raise enough).