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© 1997-2006
Gareth Knight
All Rights reserved



Kosh is a development on the themes and ideas raised by the Oasys concept operating system whilst developing it for a new market. It has strong links with the current Amiga market, being developed by two well known celebrities, Fleecy Moss (formerly Developer Relations and Strategic Projects Manager at Amiga Inc) and Dave Haynie (hardware engineer at Commodore). The name is a homage to the Babylon 5 character and is an acronym for Kommunity Operating System and Hardware.

KOSH attempts to create a market where there is no individual company in control of the destiny of the system, as Amiga Inc is with the Amiga or Microsoft are with the Windows market. Like the Amiga their goal is a unified hardware and software platform that is as diverse as current Linux compatible systems. They aim to create a community atmosphere where the individuals opinion matters. Their website goes to great lengths to criticise the dictatorships held by certain individuals, people like Bill Gates, who control the market for their own benefit rather than the market they are supposed to have created the product for. The project organisation has drawn considerably on the Linux operating system, but highlights inherent problems with this design, describing the development organisation as anarchistic with a lack of direction.

In a style similar to the Amiga community over the last few years, if anyone uses or produces anything for a KOSH machine they have the right to contribute to the general direction of the system. Whilst many would say that this is an impossible dream the KOSH production team believe they can fulfil their goals through a tightly managed development process to prevent duplication of effort. The kommunity effort will be based upon regular internet discussions with the creators of this vision, as well as a yearly progress report and decision on where the market should go next. In a process of five key stages the development of KOSH has been set out. At present they are still on the concept stage examining what KOSH should be but it is expected that they will soon move onto the requirements and definition of such a system, as well as actually writing the OS and maintaining it for the market.

In a comment that symbolises the growing frustration with closed systems and differing level of bureaucracy that has come to dominate the computer market place the creators of KOSH summarised their ideals,

In short, KOSH is about community and about innovation. It is about providing a platform of choice to the free spirit, the adventurer, the scientist, the artist. It is about embracing the shrinking world, allowing individuals and small companies to make a living doing something they enjoy. It is about the small over the big, the single person over the faceless corporation. It is about being part, a real part of something bigger. It is about doing something more in a world where we are so often told to sit back, do nothing and accept what others tell us. It is about taking responsibility for who we want to be, where we want to go and how we go about getting there.... FINALLY!
Whilst development of this system is likely to take it well beyond the year 2000 until we see a result of the discussion it shows a number of lessons that need to be learnt for the clear development of another level of democratic computer design. It will be interesting to see what will develop out of this. Many scoffed at Linux for trying new ideas and yet it is now being promoted as a Windows-beater that may hold the future of a platform independent operating system. If KOSH can capture even a quarter of this it may turn into a success.




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