Saturday, February 16, 2008

The World Is Full of Discarded Vault Terminals

Inside every one of those $10 laptops you see at garage sales and surplus shops, lurks a 32 bit protected mode hardware box that is potentially blisteringly fast and so powerful it could tear Windows XP a new ass. All it takes is a guy to write the operating system for it.

I am that guy. I am going to do it. I am going to give it away for free, too. Using other people's junk, you will be able to put together a realtime multiuser, multitasking 32 bit protected mode computer network for your shelter that will manage every aspect of vault maintenance, communications, reference and monitoring/control.

I don't know what possessed me to start on the Vault OS in 1998 in Java. I abandoned it. I restarted it in 1999 in VB-DOS. Got it 75% operational. I restarted it in C++ Builder in 2002. Got it 90% operational. All those false starts were mistakes. It seems so clear to me now, it's as plain as day to me how I should have done it.

Any machine you can get with these base specs will run this OS:

  1. 386SX+ 32 bit x86 Machine
  2. DOS 3.1 or higher
  3. Ethernet Card & packet driver for TCP/IP (Around $10 each lately if not built in)
  4. Minimum of 640x480 VGA/VESA with 256 colors, up to high color
  5. Minimum of 4 megs RAM, 2 megs offline storage (can be hard drive, flash card, etc.)
  6. Soundblaster or compatible for onboard speech synthesis
I don't know what I was thinking when I started on the new version as a .NET application. I should have been thinking like a survivalist - zero budget, zero overhead, reliable, simple protocol, simple RTOS, simple foolproof installation, all making use of the hardware available to a degree rarely ever explored by bloated hogs like Windows ... even Linux is a lot bigger than it needs to be to do what a good programmer can accomplish with 1% of those resources.

I think it was seeing and playing "Minuet" that made it click for me. When I realized it was possible to build an HTML browser in DOS-32, even a PDF reader, I knew I was on the right track. I just would not write it in assembly, which is too tight to be useful as open source.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Check out an OS called QNX. Very tiny elegant kernel.


or google "QNX"