BSDStep is run by Edward Dore. If you would like to join the project then email me on edwarddore (at) users (dot) sourceforge (dot) net
Put simply BSDStep aims to recreate the easy to use, powerful, stable, programmer friendly world class business environment in which do develop and run applications featured in NeXTSTEP, OpenStep and MacOS X. BSDStep is not however limited to a business environment, it will also be suitable use in schools, homes and for a variety of purposes.
The original plan for BSDStep was to use Apple's Mach 3 based Darwin but the problematic and very limited support for x86 hardware has forced us to seek an alternative base system. When looking for an alternative base system we were soilt for choice
System Advantages Disadvantages FreeBSD Fast NetBSD Runs everywhere OpenBSD Very Secure, runs everywhere DragonFly BSD Innovative and fast Not as mature Linux Large Development Community Only a kernel, noticably different from *BSD OpenSolaris Stable, proven design, BSD foundations Only recently open sourced, unsure about license restrictions
System Advantages Disadvantages Mach Stable, runs everywhere Old, Slow L4 Stable, runs everywhere Fast, minimalist
We have chosed to host the DragonFlyBSD kernel atop the the L4 "Pistachio" microkernel, thus gaining a full BSD envirnoment which is highly portable as well as very fast and stable. The initial reason for choosing L4 over Mach was that L4 offers greatly improved performance compared to Mach 3. The version of Mach 3 featured in Darwin's XNU kernel is heavily modified and merged with the FreeBSD kernel and thus does not function as a true Microkernel.There is also an architectural differnces between the two microkernels as L4 is a second genreation microkernel and so as such has a far more minimalist API. Indeed the second genreation nature of L4 is what gives it it's speed boost over a first generation microkernel such as Mach.
One of the best things about NeXTSTEP/OpenStep/MacOS X was, and still is, the amazing objective-c programming language and API. We intend to extend this as far as we can throughout the BSDStep system by writing new and rewriting as much of the existing non-objective-c code as possible to use it. We also intend to make the Python scripting language the default scripting language in BSDStep, replacing perl and shell scripts. All scripts shipped with the system will be (re)writen to use Python. We are currently investigating expaning the use of Python in the system by implementing a system based around the PyObjc warepers to provide Python bindings to the Objective-C API and Jython to provide Python bindings to Java Aplets, Servlets etc.
MacOS X is a brilliant product with a brilliant heritage and deserves to do well, it is however limited, (by choice, not by design) to the Apple section of the PowerPC platformand soon x86 platform and features many closed source proprietary elements. The aim of this project is to provide an operating system with a similar ease of use and friendly programming environment but across a wide range of platforms and in a completely open manner.
Like all open source projects the amount of time spent on the project is limited by our real lives, Edward Dore is a busy student and so work on the project can be very slow at times.
Currently the CVS tree is empty, this is because most of the work has been done using a different version management system known as a bedroom floor. Currently most of the effort from the project developers has gone into designing a solid foundation on which to build the rest of the project. Once this design work reaches a stage where the real coding can begin then we will start to see the source code in the CVS repository.
Some progress has been made towards a working system, but this is based on a standard unmodified DragonFly BSD distribution with GNUStep compiled on top. As mentioned above the final design for the system will be to use a custom version of the DragonFly BSD atop the L4 kernel, a technology demo based around this code is planed to be made available to download soon however in order to show how the system is intended to work.
How can I help?
As an open source project we rely completely on user donations, without them we could not survive. If you would like to donate any money, computer hardware or software to the project the click on the "Support this Project" button at the top of this page or on the project pages. Alternativly, for equipment donations, you can email edwarddore (at) users (dot) sourceforge (dot) net. 10% of all monetry donations received go directly to the Python Foundry as their product plays an important role in our vision that will eventually become a reality.