Visopsys is a real hobby OS created from the ground up. It's very likeable like this. It has a GUI that is kind of a mix of a MacOS-9-style and Windows-95-style desktop. There are a couple of accessories and a limited shell. A very promising OS from what I've seen and read. But also limited in its usability as of now, from my own experience.
I've tried Visopsys 0.91, the currently latest version on the download page. Running it in a virtual machine is recommended because of the limited hardware support. But I think that it is fair to hold an operating system to a standard that requires it to be able to run on real hardware, not on another operating system. I tried it on five computers before I got it to boot. I'm not going to list all the hardware components (I'd have to look up all the motherboards - meh), but the CPUs to get an idea for the age of the system components. First a Core2Duo. It printed bunch of error messages to the screen that I didn't further investigate. Initialisation failed and stopped. Then an AMD K6. I got a message informing me that Visopsys will boot in text mode because of a lack of SVGA support and then it rebooted. The used VGA card is a very old one. So that might be correct. Then I tried an Athlon 64 X2. It did something, the loading bar appeared, then it rebooted. I didn't get anything else out of it. Then I wanted to give The K6 a newer graphics card. But while digging for one, I found another PC with a Celeron E3200 and tried that first. And it worked. So I didn't bother checking the K6 again.
Boot time to live mode is about 3 seconds. Incidently, I also learned something about booting from CD. Booting from any ATAPI CD or DVD drive took many times longer than booting from the same CD in a SCSI CD drive. Like 10 times longer. That surprised me. I didn't think there would be such a big difference. Maybe my IDE cable has a problem or I did something wrong. Anyway, booting from USB or an IDE hard drive was quick enough to not bother to measure how quick exactly (about 3 seconds). Edit: A likely explanation for the load time difference between the SCSI and the ATAPI drives is that the ATAPI drives were all modern, fast-spinning drives that take a long time to spin up before any data is read, as apposed to the old, slow SCSI drives that I have, that allow reading from the disk much sooner.
Installing to a hard drive is straight forward: Optionally choose a language other than English (this also changes the keyboard layout), coose a partition, click a few next buttons, enter a password for the default user account and reboot. There is also a partitioning tool available from the installer. But I didn't find a way go get back to the installer without rebooting. After booting the installed Visopsys and logging in, or after booting in live mode, you get a simple desktop with a few icons and a task bar at the top.
There isn't much to do. As far as I know the included programmes are pretty much all that are available for Visopsys. (Please do correct me if I'm wrong!) There are system settings, a very limited shell with a limited number of commands with very limited options, a few casual games, an image viewer and a few other simple tools. The most useful things included apart from the file browser are probably the text editor, the calculator and the telnet client. There is no web browser and no multimedia applications.
During the time I used Visopsys, nothing crashed or went fundamentally wrong. But I noticed a couple of small things that would need to be sorted out to create a comfortable user experience. The most obvious one is that while dragging, the dragged objects sometimes were lost and dropped too soon. Especially dragging windows vertically has to be done very, very, very, very slowly. It's as if the mouse button had a loose contact otherwise. Another thing I noticed when choosing a new desktop wallpaper. Once the directory in which to look for image files to be used as wallpaper has been chosen, the file names seem to be cached. Image files that I've copied into that directory after that were not listed before rebooting. Little things like this add up to create a bit of an annoying experience.
But I don't want to talk down the state in which the project is in. Many things are working slawlessly and depending on what you need your computer to be able to do, it might even fulfill many of the needs. A web browser is not one of them, though.
I've attached some screenshots that I took. The one where the Snake icon is selected. should have a window with the Snake game in it as well. I don't know why it isn't invisible.