The return of the 8bit-era: creating a 'neo-micro'By Michael Reed. Published: 22nd Apr 2007, 00:40:46 | Permalink | Printable
Reviving the 1980s, which brought us Thatcher, Depeche Mode and 32K OS ROMsRISC OS is best known for 'doing more with less', and we've had plenty experience of the less. Could our platform's plus-points benefit the current world of bloated software and computing? In an article on what the 8bit-era taught us all in terms of working efficiently with limited resources, Mike Reed dreams of creating a new 8bit-inspired computer platform running RISC OS as its core. Here, we present an edited extract from his essay, while the full piece is online at OSNews.com.
Is this an opportunity for RISC OS?
A leftfield suggestion would be to use RISC OS as the underlying OS for the project. For those who are unfamiliar with RISC OS, I wrote an appraisal of the OS last year.
RISC OS has a number of factors in its favour. One is the proposed shared source initiative which will grant access to the OS's source code. It also thrives in a low memory, slow CPU environment.
It is the operating system equivalent of a bonsai tree. Current versions of RISC OS can theoretically boot into a desktop with less than 512KB of RAM. Even this could be improved upon with customisation.
It's designed to be loaded from ROM with only a few disc based resources. RISC OS doesn't need to be tied to a hard disc as it doesn't need a swap file or masses of disc-based configuration. If the OS is installed it ROM, it can even boot without a hard disc.
Then there's fast start-up and shutdown. On most RISC OS workstations, there is a 'shutdown procedure', but this is mainly to flush any disc buffers. It's not a protracted sequence.
It's also modular: it's designed to have features added to its core and to be tailored to a specific task.
Read Mike's article in full from the link below.
The return of the 8bits? from OSNews
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