For a long time, my goal has been to develop a higher-level, natively-compiled programming language, and then to develop a proof-of-concept kernel in it. Well, someone else beat me to the punch.
House is a proof of concept operating system written in Haskell. It has some simple graphics, a TCP/IP stack, etc. Naturally, it's just a research project, but achieving proof of concept was my goal too.
On that subject, I'm also keeping my eye on Microsoft's Singularity. It's a microkernel, and much of it is written in C#. Unlike most microkernels, the different components do not run in separate address spaces. The VM does protection in software, rather than hardware. I had been toying with this idea too, but my buddy Mike Cheponis informed me that VM/360 did it decades ago.
Is anyone other than me bummed that BeOS never took off? I'm sadly coming to the conclusion that Linux might not ever make it on the desktop. It's just not a priority. Too many great hackers use Linux on the server with Mac laptops. There's always hope that Haiku might recreate BeOS in a completely open source way, but it would have been a lot easier if Be had simply open sourced it in the first place.
In the meantime, SkyOS thinks that there is room for another easy-to-use, featureful, proprietary OS. Apple succeeded at this. BeOS failed. It's hard for me to get excited about a new proprietary OS. I'd sooner buy a Mac (although I still haven't been fully de-Stallmanized).
Speaking of which, has anyone else noticed how few non-UNIXy, open-source operating systems there are? Maybe it's true that Systems Software Research is Irrelevant.
Well, now that House has shown that you can write a kernel in Haskell, I think I need a new goal. Maybe I'll go solve world hunger. I've heard there's a little squabble going on in the Middle East that could use some attention. Maybe I'll go write an entire operating system in modern assembly; oh wait, it's already been done ;)