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Symphony OS

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Symphony OS
Symphony OS 14.0 Phoenix.png
Symphony OS 14.0 with Mezzo
DeveloperSymphony OS Project
OS familyUnix-like
Working stateAbandoned
Source modelOpen source
Kernel typeMonolithic
Default user interfaceMezzo, Conductor
Official website//

Symphony OS, SymphonyOne or Symphony Linux, is a Live CD Linux-based operating system, developed by Ryan P Quinn, Jason Spisak, and Alexander Drummond.

At first, Symphony OS was based on Knoppix. Since its May 2006 release it is no longer based on Knoppix, but rather on Debian unstable, and features a functional hard drive installer. Symphony OS 2007 Preview, was based on Ubuntu 7.04.[1] SymphonyOne was released on April 1, 2008. The release of version 2008.1 is based on Ubuntu 7.10.

The primary difference between Symphony OS and other distributions is the addition of the Mezzo desktop environment. This environment, like other aspects of Symphony, was designed with an eye towards extreme simplicity and usability. An example is that WLAN-Networks can work automatically with no user action. Symphony also includes its own Mozilla-driven application environment, called Orchestra.

Symphony OS uses a custom packaging system utilizing the *.sym package format; through a simple GUI a user may install any application in the Symphony library without dealing with "dependency hell". Because Symphony is Debian-based, it also supports the Debian package format.


Orchestra is a rapid application development environment which was being written for Symphony OS. It allows programs composed of HTML and CGI-style Perl to run as local GUI applications.

Orchestra is made up of two main parts: a lightweight localhost-only HTTP server written in Perl, and a slimmed down Mozilla renderer. Because Mozilla is used as the base for rendering Orchestra, applications can utilize the following technologies:

  • Plain HTML
  • JavaScript
  • Perl and CGI
  • Java applets (using a plugin)
  • Macromedia Flash applications (using a plugin)
  • Embedded media players (using a plugin)
  • XUL interfaces


Mezzo is the desktop environment created by Ryan Quinn based on designs by Jason Spisak. Added to Symphony OS, it aims to pose a new way of presenting data to the user. Mezzo disposes of standard concepts like "The desktop is a folder" and nested menu systems and instead presents all needed information directly to the user via the main desktop and four desk targets for tasks and files related to System, Programs, Files, and Trash. The developers claim that this makes the desktop easier to use. A new desktop environment called Conductor is under development.[2]


  1. Symphony OS 2007 Preview
  2. Conductor Preview Archived 2012-06-05 at the Wayback Machine

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

This article "Symphony OS" is from Wikipedia. The list of its authors can be seen in its historical and/or the page Edithistory:Symphony OS. Articles copied from Draft Namespace on Wikipedia could be seen on the Draft Namespace of Wikipedia and not main one.