KolibriOS Review – Free 1 MB Drive/8MB RAM Assembly OS

KolibriOS – small and powerful OS written in Assembly. Minimum hardware requirements – 8 MB of RAM and 1.4 MB hard drive. It’s not a joke! Yes, you can use diskette to save and run KolibriOS. How about software? Word processor, web browser, image viewer, graphics editor, and over 30 games – very impressive. KolibriOS its a fully Open Source OS and released under GPLv2 (General Public License). History of development begin in 2004 – KolibriOS was forked from MenuetOS.

Let’s talk about features. Kolibri OS support some filesystems: FAT12/16/32 – read and write; NTFS, Ext2/3/4, ISO9660 – read only. Full FAT12/16/32 support is implemented, as well as read-only support for NTFS, ISO9660 and Ext2/3/4. Drivers are written for popular sound, network and graphics cards.
Graphics card: support based on “radeon” driver of Linux, the same situation with Intel’s devices. VESA 1.2, 2.0 and 3.0 is also supported.
Audio devices: Creative labs EMU10K1X, Ensoniq AudioPCI ES1371, FM801, AC97, Intel and Realtek HD Audio, Sound Blaster 16, SIS PCI audio, VIA AC 97.
Network adapters: popular chipsets from Intel, NVidia, AMD, VIA, Realtek, Sis.
Kolibri OS also support USB 1.1 and 2.0, CD-ROM, Floppy disk, PS/2 devices.

Small size and powerful make KolibriOS good for embedded devices and old hardware. Application works very speedly. You can run it in qemu:


$ qemu-kvm -L . -m 128 -cdrom /path/to/livecd.iso -boot a -localtime -vga vmware -net nic,model=rtl8139 -net user -soundhw ac97 -usb -usbdevice tablet 

This command run KolibriOS with sound support (AC97), 128 MB of RAM (you can try with 8MB and more), USB-devices, VMWare VGA and Ethernet Controller rtl8139 emulation. In my hardware KolibriOS boot on in 3-4 seconds.

Kolibri also support C, C++, Free Pascal, Forth, among other high-level languages and compilers, can also be used in application development. You can also write code inside OS – KOS have a not bad text editor. Multitasking, streams, parallel execution of system calls is also supported.

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