TextOS is a small operating system for text-based applications which runs on a floppy. Built on top of FreeDOS, it runs programs made with the TextOS BASIC programming language. TextOS has been out for about a month, but it is only now in working condition. For more information see the official TextOS website.
TextOS 1.0b3 “Lightning” released
Submitted by Daniel Quintiliani 2004-12-30 OS News 15 Comments
Is this OS built as a “OS-writing learning project” or is there actually needs out there for a FreeDOS-based OS, running on a floppy?
I’m not flaming, i’m just wondering what it’s for.
rescue floppy maybe? or small formfactor units. hell, they have a fully working linux firewall that fits on a floppy (to config it you have to use another machine tho) so maybe this will be used for something similar (*bsds are very popular as firewalls)…
It’s meant as a small operating system/programming language for writing text-based applications and games.
I think, this TextOS is a BASIC interpreter which gets loaded directly after the FreeDOS boot a la COMSPEC= extos.exe or something similar.
The TextOS executable runs on top of FreeDOS.
The TextOS BASIC interpreter (it’s not BASIC, it’s a whole different language, it’s just called BASIC) runs after a program is extracted to the cache. After the interpreter finishes, the archive is then created again and the cache is deleted, returning to the operating system menu.
The COMSPEC= is the FreeDOS COMMAND.COM, which you get upon shutting down or restarting, after instructions on how to either shut down or restart.
For people who like Basic:
I think, that freeBASIC is the best existing Basic
btw: the article at vplanetmag.com is not up to date. The compiler is already selfhosting.
And it run not only on windows. Additionaly it run on Linux:
(not official yet. The author of the port waits for an answer from v1ctor)
PureBasic is another great BASIC implementation that has been around for a few years:
The compiler generates small, fast executables, and there are versions for Windows, Linux, and AmigaOS as well as a beta version for Mac OSX. Most code is portable across the different platforms, and you get all versions for one low price.
Any good BASIC is still a great alternative for writing applications today. In this day of more complex languages such as Java, C++ and C#, it’s sometimes nice to go back to a simpler language (i.e. BASIC or even C) that isn’t crushed by syntactical weight.
Since people are posting about BASIC, I suppose it’s worth mentioning that Cringely’s last article (Dec 23rd) was about a BASIC distro called “RealBASIC.” Short article, worth reading, IMO.
I’ve used RB for a customer application, once. I also have a version 5.x on my Mac at home, but do not use it often. It HAD a reputation of being buggy because they (creators/programmers) were always trying to add cool, new features; I don’t know if it still does (you could check VersionTracker comments). But for the most part, I think it is very useable and a much better model than VB 4 and 5. I haven’t used .net so I don’t know how it compares to that.
But I will say its interface (once you figure it out) makes it very easy to develop some pretty cool applications and that it makes more sense that VB’s development interface.
The application I wrote was silly but it was MY first application (not a team, mine alone) that was actually SOLD to a real paying customer. It was a Y2K application that ran from a floppy and polled Macs and/or PCs for all the software running on them, recording their versions (and what PC/Mac they were on). When you were done with your “run” (the company I worked for peformed all sorts of inventory operations for other companies) you would bring the floppy back to “base” and another program would load all the data from the various floppies analyze it and produce a report.
Those were the fun days. :/
I, for one, think this a great idea. I love simple, basic OSes. It is a wonderful learning tool for students who want to learn how an OS works. Also, it makes for a great hobby — especially when one wants to resurrect some old hardware. I personally use <a href=”http://blueflops.sourceforge.net“>blueflops as a means for getting my 386 working on the net. And it works quite nicely — graphics included. Not bad for two floppies.
Hence, I applaud all efforts at making simple, basic OS.
Why is this being “packaged” as an OS? I know Microsoft set the standard low with Windows 1-3.11, but TextOS isn’t an new Operating System. I guess there are too many languages to get new mindshare, but I feel deceived with it being called an OS. Oberon, now there’s a language/OS hybrid worth mentioning. Or call me when its ported to a forth OS.
To clear up confusion, here’s how it works:
The Interpreter runs from within the Operating System when a TextOS BASIC program (PAK file) is chosen from the Operating System Menu.
The Operating System runs on top of FreeDOS.
If you look at the TODO.TXT, there is more planned for the Operating System, including a PAK file creation system, mouse support, and the ability to switch between parallel ports for the printer.
It is called an Operating System because it runs standalone on a floppy.
Alternatively, the Operating System could run under any DOS with an ANSI driver installed, in the same way that Windows 1-3.11 ran under DOS and was considered an Operating System.
However, TextOS was specifically designed to run off of a floppy, just as Windows 1-3.11 (usually) began when the computer was started, thus it is a standalone Operating System.
Windows 1-3x was not an operating system. It’s debatable whether Windows 4x was, but 3 was certainly not. What this is (it sounds like) is a FreeDOS *distro*. If I remove everything, including the basic stuff, leaving only kernel.sys and freecom, it’s still a bootable floppy, right? *That’s* the operating system. If I remove only the kernel or the interpreter, I’m screwed. And those are FreeDOS programs.
This doesn’t *change* anything regarding the niftiness of the project – it’s just not a new OS. It’s another DOS environment.
And back at the Cringely link – I hope no one adopts his inversion of the ‘steep learning curve’. A steep hill is *hard* to climb; a shallow slope is easier. Thus a steep learning curve is *hard to climb*. We aren’t talking about skiing downhill – we’re talking about achieving the summit of knowledge and the way people have been using the term is correct.
It’s a nice, cute project to be able to write ANSI-colored text-based BASIC games. It seems to me that the OS in question is FreeDOS, and saying “see, this is an OS that runs on top of FreeDOS” is just wordparsing to make it into something it’s not, really. I agree with the person who said it could be considered a FreeDOS *distro*.
I do think it’s appropriate for it to be covered on osnews.com though, not saying anything different from that.