The Collapse OS operating system is intended for a fearsome crisis. Not the crisis that others fear of lack of water or nuclear war. The crisis I am referring to is the one that most worries those of us who love technology. What for lack of components we are left without computers.
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What is the purpose of the Collapse OS operating system?
Collapse OS was born from the conviction of its author that a dire future awaits us. In his words:
I hope our global supply chain collapses before 2030. With this collapse, we will not be able to produce most of our electronics because it depends on a very complex supply chain that we won't be able to achieve again for decades (ever?).
The rapid rate of progress that we have seen since the advent of electronics has occurred under very specific conditions that will not occur after the collapse, so we can't wait to get the new electronic technology up and running as fast as we did without a good 'starter kit' to help us do it.
Also imagine what will happen when the supply chain is cut
Electronics produce enormous power, a power that it will give significant advantages to the communities that continue to dominate it. This will usher in a new era in recycling electronics: parts will no longer be able to be manufactured, but we have billions of parts lying around. Those who achieve create new designs from those pieces with low-tech tools they will be very powerful.
Among these recovered pieces are the microcontrollers, which are especially powerful but they need complex tools (often computers) to program them. Computers, after a couple of decades, will break down irreparably and we will no longer be able to program microcontrollers.
Oh! And now who will be able to defend me?
In this case it will not be the Red Chapulín, but Virgil Dupras, who is who we were reading. The solution that Virgil imagines is the following:
To avoid this fate, we need to have a system that can be designed from salvaged parts and programmed microcontrollers. We also need the generation of engineers to follow us in order to create new designs rather than inheriting a legacy of machines that cannot be recreated and can barely be maintained.
This is where Collapse OS comes in.
This open source operating system is intended for use on 8-bit processors. Dupras explains why he prefers them to the more powerful and recent 32-bit ARMs.
Why go as far as 8-bit machines? There are some 32-bit ARM chips that are compatible with breadboards.
First, because I think there are more recyclable 8-bit chips than 16- or 32-bit chips.
Second, because Those chips will be easier to replicate in a factory after the collapse. The z80 has 9000 transistors. 9000! Compared to the millions we have in any modern CPU, that's nothing! If the first chips that we are able to create after the collapse have low transistor counts, we could also design a system that works well on simpler chips.
Objectives of the project
The objectives of the Collapse OS project are the following:
Collapse OS It will consist of a kernel compatible with z80 processors and a collection of programs, tools and documentation which will allow you to assemble an operating system that, once completed, will be able to do the following.
- Operate with minimal and improvised machines.
- Interact through improvised means (serial, keyboard, display).
- Edit text files.
- Compile assembler source files for a wide range of MCUs and CPUs.
- Read and write to and from a wide range of storage devices.
- Replicate yourself.
Ultimately, the goal of this project is to be as autonomous as possible. With a copy of this project, a capable and creative person you should be able to build and install Collapse OS without external resources (i.e. Internet) in a machine of his design, built from parts recovered with low-tech tools.
I have no idea if the crisis will occur, but as Virgil himself says
… This idea seems too powerful not to put into practice. And even if it's useless, it's a lot of fun to try.