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Contiki Ported To x86 243

lt writes "The ultra-small Contiki OS has now been ported to the x86. This should give those of you who have an old x86 PC that is too small to run even the smallest of Linux variants, a chance to browse the web, set up a web server, and doing other essential stuff. If you're curious to see how it looks, there is a live VNC demo running."
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Contiki Ported To x86

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  • VNC (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jrockway ( 229604 ) * <> on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @10:44AM (#6625520) Homepage Journal
    I have to say that running VNC on an 8bit computer is amazing. I would have looked at the screenshots, but actually playing around is so much more fun! It makes me want a C64 or old intel computer to run this on :) Does anyone know how to enter an arbitrary URI though, I couldn't do it.

    On another note, for those who thought VNC over 100BaseT was slow, it's even slower when running at 3KiB/s :) Oh well, this will be the first article to ever slashdot a VNC server, I think.
  • by stratjakt ( 596332 ) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @10:51AM (#6625594) Journal
    Besides the nostalgia/geek factor of running a web browser on your C64 (which I've been doing for years, well cheating by using the 64 as a dumb terminal and running lynx)

    Maybe a Contiki based PDA? Contiki based email stations? Seems you could make such things dirt cheap using this as the OS.
  • Hack gratia hacking (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Futaba-chan ( 541818 ) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @11:01AM (#6625683)
    Somewhere in the depths of my basement, I have an old AT&T 7300 (MC68010-based "Unix PC") with an on-board 8088 PC emulator card that can run old DOS programs. I used the 7300 and some low-level hardware libraries that another hacker wrote in the late 80s/early 90s as my target machine for OS hacking back before I got scooped by Linux. I'm tempted to haul the thing out, snag the Contiki x86 distro, and hack something together to make the two talk to each other.

    Hmm, and with a StarLAN to 10baseT router, I could get the resulting beastie on the net. Hmm....

  • Am I the only one (Score:2, Interesting)

    by miyako ( 632510 ) < minus language> on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @11:09AM (#6625741) Homepage Journal
    who's first thought was to try and install this OS on a 3gz system with like a gig of ram?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @11:12AM (#6625769)
    I think it also shows what can be done with limited resources. The deverloper has to create more efficiant code. In today's OSes, the bloat of the code is horrendous, ala windoze. Even the "cooler" OSes, like Linuz, have much code that is sub-optimal.

    They say with faster CPUs and more memory will take care of that. Therefore, they can just keep piling on the crap code without thinking of resource constraints, i.e. - memory, cpu power. How long can this really last?

    I commend the people who have worked on this OS. Some may see it as useless, I see it as hope that there will be better OSes built in the future, once the physical limits of the modern computer are reached.
  • by janimal ( 172428 ) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @11:40AM (#6625989)
    Whoever said this has to do with old computers?! How about getting this running on a PIC? Having a wristwatch (a SMALL one!) or a grad ring act as a web server or some real functional computer would be really cool.
  • Re:I just hope ... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by brakett ( 690755 ) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @12:01PM (#6626209)
    When I was a child (1990 give or take) there was an norwegian computer brand called tiki. Rumor had it that they originally called it kon-tiki, but because Thor Heyerdahl owned that name they had to change it.

    This is just vague memory thou....

    What i do know is that the tiki 100 was popular in norwegian schools in the 80s....

  • 1541? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rabidcow ( 209019 ) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @12:14PM (#6626307) Homepage
    So if it'll run on a C64, will it run on a 1541 disk drive? A GUI would obviously be out, but the processor is essentially the same as the C64 (6502 vs 6510), and it would be amusing to have a web server running on a floppy drive.
  • by suwain_2 ( 260792 ) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @01:42PM (#6627018) Journal
    I'm real impressed. It's 14 MHz and it's still running for me. Slashdot can bring down a top-notch server running a fine-tuned install of Linux, but not a 14 MHz box?! It's showing 17 current connections.

    Having a 14 MHz box survive a Slashdotting is a _real_ good ad for the OS it's running. :)
  • by johannesg ( 664142 ) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @06:42PM (#6629375)
    AmigaOS manages to multitask, preemptively, using very few system resources, and still have excellent real-time characteristics. So does QNX. The secret is that both AmigaOS and QNX use a microkernel instead of a monolithic kernel.

    I don't see how you can reasonably do real-time computing without preemption. It would mean timeslicing each process by hand, which (especially for large tasks or tasks that scale to large datasets) is nearly impossible to get right. RiscOS, I believe, moved to a preemptive model later in its life (correct me if I'm wrong) for precisely this reason.

  • Not quite: (Score:3, Interesting)

    by turgid ( 580780 ) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @04:21AM (#6632963) Journal
    The 386 had no hardware floating-point. For that you needed an 80387 coprocessor (c.f. 80287, 8087). The "sx" in 386sx denoted "single word exchange" and dx "double word exchange". The 386sx had a 16-bit bus, so that it could be used in cheaper motherboards (basically 286 motherboards) and the original 386, later renamed the 386dx had a 32-bit bus. The original 486 was, like someone already said, an optimised 386 core (better pipelining, introduction of an 8k L1 cache, some instructions optimised for single clock-cycle execution etc.) with a built-in optimized 387. The result was a proecssor that was about twice as fast as the saame 386/387 combination at the same clock frequency. The 486sx was a marketing exercise to use up 486 cores with broken FPUs. The 487 "coprocessor" for these machines was really just a proper 486 with an extra pin which disabled the 486sx already installed. You could actually buld a PC with only a 487 using certain motherboards if you knew what you were doing.

If a camel is a horse designed by a committee, then a consensus forecast is a camel's behind. -- Edgar R. Fiedler