Lately, I have been “playing” with the current version of Microware’s OS-9 realtime operating system. It is still very familiar to what I last knew when I left RadiSys/Microware in 2007, but with many interesting updates.
It took me a bit to remember how to use Ultra-C (Microware’s strict-ANSI compiler) and native operating system calls:
After doing the initial test using printf(), I decided to bypass the standard I/O library and see how much smaller the code would be. (From 12K to 2K, for those asking.) Nice. Though I’m still not sure why C produces such big code for such simple things ;-) Shouldn’t this just load a few registers and jump to an OS hook?
But I digress.
I expect I’ll start posting articles about OS-9, including high-level overviews of its architecture and things that make it unique. There are lots of things it offers that Linux doesn’t, though obviously, Linux wins hands-down when it comes to system support and full blown apps.
I ask of you: Should I post my OS-9 articles here, or should I split them out and make a blog on my old www.os9al.com site? Or maybe I just get rid of that site and archive those pages here, then point that domain to Sub-Etha Software?
According to a post made today by Allan Batteiger in the Microware OS-9 public group on Facebook, we may finally see the return of a version of OS-9 for hobbyist use.
The message announced the pending release of OS-9/68K to version 4.0, and OS-9 for ARM, PowerPC and X86 to version 6.1. Notable updates including an new networking stack supporting IPv6, and updates to OPENSSL. He also mentioned work to get the CLANG/LLVM compiler generating code for OS-9 PowerPC and ARM, with an alpha release coming later this year.
Of interest to the hobbyist community:
“Work has been proceeding on the OS-9 for Makerspace. We now have USB & Networking working on the Raspberry Pi 1 & 2 boards. Work has started on the Raspberry Pi 3. Also work is moving forward on the BeagleBone Black and Asus Tinker boards. The plan is to release preliminary versions of the Makerspace OS-9 yet this year.”
For those of us who used to run OS-9/6809 on the Radio Shack Color Computer, or OS-9/68K on systems like the MM/1, this is pretty exciting news. A low-cost Raspberry Pi could be very fun to play with, though it would be missing the advanced terminal and screen controls that we had under OS-9 Level 2 (CoCo) and K-Windows (MM/1). To me, porting that functionality would be one of the first projects we should undertake.