Home > OS News > TextOS version 1.0b6 “Rock” released TextOS version 1.0b6 “Rock” released Submitted by Daniel Quintiliani 2005-03-19 OS News 25 Comments Version 1.0b6 of TextOS, the floppy-based operating system/programming language built on top of FreeDOS, was released. Released a month after the previous release, it features various bug fixes. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 25 Comments 2005-03-19 1:22 pm … can every piece of code running on top of a _real_ OS call itself an OS, too? Nobody would have called the good old dosshell an OS and even Windows 3.x had a hard time to be titled an OS by insiders. This is meant serious and not as flaming. I very much appreciate the work of people doing something on this low level. I myself also enjoy programming low level. And I also think it could also be published at OSNews if it calls itself (low-level-)’OS-related’ or similar. But it is not an ‘OS’ and should not be called so because the work of people making a real OS like SkyOS, MenuetOS etc. is depreciated that way. 2005-03-19 2:10 pm There seems to be some debate about what makes an “OS”. However, to throw my .02 in, I think you are confusing “kernel” with “OS”. An OS is the suite of tools and utilities that connect user-space to kernel-space. So in that context, this project does qualify as an OS. 2005-03-19 3:23 pm But there could have possibly been some modifications to the actual kernel and such itself. If not, maybe you can try and think of it as a “distro” maybe? 2005-03-19 4:49 pm I’d say an OS is both the kernel and userspace, though exactly how much userspace you need is open for debate. Where these two things are created by different groups and combined thanks to OSS, then as Doug said – it’s a distro. To the consumer it is just confusing to make the distinction between OS and distro, so it’s safer just to call everything an OS. Only people with a specific interest need to know that, for example, Red Hat and SUSE aren’t comlpetely different OS’s. 2005-03-19 5:06 pm … the term OS was invented when there was just the application and the application-inspecific infrastructure under it, which was then called OS. So system tools, file browsers and userspace libraries would be part of the OS too because they are application-inspecific. 2005-03-19 7:30 pm I just think it’s nice to have another hobby project you can play around with on the old 486SX laptop still sitting in the closet. I’m going to give this one a closer look. 2005-03-19 8:29 pm It will only work on a 486SX if there is a math co-processor installed. 2005-03-19 10:57 pm …a recursive descent parser with a few additional constructs added. 100 variable limit? Yeah, that’s got RDP written all over it. It may sound lame, but honestly, this is where you start when it comes to creating an interactive programming environment, and perhaps an Operating System. I don’t think it will become intimate with the hardware anytime soon. It’s just a big calculator. 2005-03-19 11:28 pm Is Emacs considered an OS by now? 2005-03-20 12:07 am The TextOS BASIC parser is included in the operating system. That is what interp.c does. The operating system consists of the FreeDOS kernel, the ANSI driver, the additional tools, the menu system, and the interpreter. A big calculator? It’s more than just the calculator sample. There is an included Black Jack sample, an additional Rock Paper Scissors game available on the Web site, and an almost fully ANSI Towers of Hanoi game that I’m currently working on. You can even make interactive fiction or a role-playing game with it, if you have the time and patience. I don’t plan on making the operating system “intimate with the hardware,” I’ll leave that to people who are familiar with ASM, e.g. the FreeDOS team. I will work on the menu system, the interpreter, and applications. 2005-03-20 1:04 am Actually, leaving the Hardware stuff for others while you focus on everything else is a pretty good idea. 2005-03-20 1:45 am ?? 2005-03-20 2:27 am The way that I think of it is that an OS is a program that runs other programs. Obviously this definition fits the programs people usually think of as operating systems, but it also fits a few other things like Squeak, the java runtime, and actually any programming language interpreter. The reason that I define it so broadly is that I think it is the only way to keep the definition consistent. For instance, if you say that an OS has to run “on bare metal” then you include things like Windows, but exclude things like Windows running under VMware. It also seems a bit silly to try to nail down a specific interface that an OS has to run on (such as machine language) since those things eventually pass away and frequently are themselves only abstractions layered ontop of even lower-level primitives. 2005-03-20 2:56 am In my own opinion, an operating system is a set of programs that have DIRECT control over the hardware from the very time once the POWER button is pressed. That’s a true OS. The theories above are valid in my opinion but in this case I think TextOS is a low level operating system since it’s relying on FreeDOS (where FreeDOS controls the hardware directly). TextOS is an operating environment. 2005-03-20 3:03 am But this does not make DirectX an operating system even though the libs have direct access to the hardware. Perhaps I should have added, a set of programs controlling the hardware directly while NOT relying on a parent process/system. TextOS is a subsystem. Here comes the kernel part…. 2005-03-20 6:17 am What’s the point of this project? Combining the FreeDOS kernel with your own BASIC interpreter.. ok. But why?! Their are a lot of free BASIC interpreters.. most of them without a 100 variable limit… 2005-03-20 11:55 am … because it is fun doing such a thing on your own. And that OSNews gives such a project a platform has to main effects: – it appreciates the work that has been done, thus motivating the creator(s) to further investing their time and eventually creating something really new, while having a lot of fun doing something what brings at least themselves forward. – it shows (and motivates) people like us that you still have the chance to start and maintain a (unconventional,huge,etc.) project today on your own. That is very important, especially in these times where huge companies try to make average programmers think that such a project can only be realized by a huge company, not by a single person. OSNews shows us that the single idea and the single developer counts and bolsters those who can imagine to try it! 2005-03-20 12:47 pm This seems a very interesting project. But there is a few things that confuse me: in what way is this OS integrated with your BASIC, and is it an interpreter or a compiler? If it’s a compiler, can the code generated by it, be run in a DOS box in Win32, or even under “normal” DOS? Can you explain in what way is this different from a FreeDOS bootdisk with a BASIC compiler (or interpreter)? Is the TextOS kernel completely identical to FreeDOS? If so, why would there be a need for a certain CPU feature, when FreeDOS runs on even the 8088/8086? 2005-03-20 5:58 pm 1. TextOS is an operating system which consists of the FreeDOS kernel, an ANSI driver, additional tools, the menu system, and the TextOS BASIC interpreter. The TextOS interface/interpreter alone can be run from any DOS/Windows system if there is an ANSI driver present, although there are a few problems with the included editor accessed via the menu system when not run from a floppy. 2. The TextOS floppy is a stripped FreeDOS bootdisk, with some additional programs and the TextOS interface/interpreter program. TextOS BASIC is not real BASIC, it is just called BASIC because it is simple and similar to BASIC, in the same way various calculators call their programming languages “BASIC.” See the manual for details. 3. There is no TextOS kernel. The FreeDOS kernel may run on an 8086/8088 but the interface/interpreter is built with DJGPP and uses floating-point, so it requires a 486DX or higher (or a 386SX or higher with a math coprocessor installed.) That is why there is a CPU limit. 2005-03-20 6:50 pm Your post cleared my dilemmas. This seems really a very interesting operating environment, reminds me a bit of the home computers of yore :o) 2005-03-21 5:03 am >hello world 2005-03-21 5:50 am FreeDOS is an OS, not just a kernel, which already has a set of tools. I don’t think every piece of code added on top of FreeDOS (or BSD, GNU/Linux, etc.) can be freely called as another operating system. Also, I didn’t understand the North America flag showing up. Is TextOS only free software for these people? 2005-03-21 9:28 am I disagree. Plenty of obscure OSs like MilleniumOS, OpenGEM, etc which run on top of DOS. As for the American flag, I know that this started a big heated argument last time, but as I mentioned last time, my political blog was originally there and I just kept the favicon because it is an American Web site with much political content. I don’t see why so many people get angry at the American flag. If a Web site came up with another country’s flag, I know I wouldn’t get angry. It just means that the Web site is based there. 2005-03-21 9:45 am Yes, it is ‘just’ the US flag. But it is also a strong and polarizing political symbol (did you miss the last 3 years’ news, that you seem so surprised now?), no matter on which side you are. So if you connect your project to this political symbol (and especially such a polarising one), you should not be surprised when your homepage and your OS is associated with this symbol and all positive and negative feelings that exist regarding the US flag. 2005-03-21 2:57 pm Could we see some screenshots please?