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I think some sort or retro low-performance OS should start with NeXTSTEP.

Ryzen processors have 80MB of L3 cache! IIRC that may have been twice what was needed to run the colorized versions of NeXT.

A lot of "man the old days were all we needed" recollections of Windows and DOS forget how crappy those OSes were...

But NeXT? That was basically a modern OS, with a bit less anti-aliasing. XWindow systems STILL look horrible compared to it.

It fits in L3 cache. 5-10 NEXT hard disks fit in RAM!

It had a web 1.0 browser, TCPIP networking, all the productivity apps. It had DOOM.

Sure Mach the microkernel was buggy and leaked memory, but kernels... there's lots of kernels now.

I think it would be a great project to start with the NextOS and carefully rebuild it up with good security and multitasking.

It would be fun to run NeXTSTEP on bare metal with RAMdisks (spare a processor to do the writes to SSD), and compare with other systems, see if it feels ludicrously fast or not.




NeXTSTEP basically became MacOSX when Apple merged MacOS with it.

AROS is the next best OS to use as it has a low memory footprint and can run on X86 systems: http://aros.sourceforge.net/

If you want Windows try ReactOS: https://reactos.org/

OS/2 try OSFree: http://osfree.org/

BeOS try HaikuOS: https://www.haiku-os.org/

All are low memory OSes.


Couldn't get ReactOS to boot on any hardware that I own. HaikuOS boots with GFX disabled, but is not anywhere near stable.

Will try the other two, I guess. Not holding my hopes up.


> HaikuOS boots with GFX disabled, but is not anywhere near stable.

Can you elaborate? It's been fairly stable for me.

P.S. It's just Haiku, not HaikuOS


I get frequent freezes, followed by a kernel panic. Sound, network, memory management; every time it's different.


Try running it in a virtual machine.


OSX is horribly bloated already. I want to add in things without the bloat.

Never heard of AROS...

ReactOS is bloated by definition of replicating windows, isn't it? It probably uses less than main windows, but it is just my opinion that the 1990-1997 period preceded some of the real bloat added due to the massive Moore's law gains after that with the GHz races.

OS/2 ... seems obscure to me but I never used it. But NeXT and Beos had revolutionary capabilities, I think OS/2 was basically just preemptive multitasking for Windows. Is that right?

BeOS, which I've never used, is probably also a good starting spot. HaikuOS probably has more oomph behind it community wise.


>ReactOS is bloated by definition of replicating windows

It is very wrong assumption!


Practically speaking, you'd be better off with a stripped down Linux or BSD. Linux from the NeXTStep era (early 90's) could also run in a few megs of RAM. My first Linux box had 4 megs. I worked at a few early ISP's that tried setting up operations on NeXT boxes. They all moved to Solaris, FreeBSD, or Linux because though NeXT looked pretty, many of the API's were a bit off and you'd have much better luck building open source code in other environments.


Or System 7 Unix, runs fine on a 16 bit processor, has proven history being easy to port, is a fully functional operating system, and would be pretty easy to retrofit some sort of networking to.


There are millions of millions of x86 computers and free software to run on them from any era. That should suffice for a collapsian civilization. Unless it's full on Mad Max post apocalyptic we're talking about.


Including Unix System 7, its been ported.

Though I suspect your right, PC DOS is very powerful, and allows you to do a bunch of stuff.


You're probably talking about Unix version 7: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Version_7_Unix

You really want to go back 40 years to the dumb terminal era?


If I'm running it on a 16-bit system, yes. I can built a teletype in a capable machinist shop.


But the NeXT UI was (IMO) the best UI of that stage of processing power.


> Ryzen processors have 80MB of L3 cache! IIRC that may have been twice what was needed to run the colorized versions of NeXT.

How long will 7nm chips work before electromigration destroys them?

https://semiengineering.com/chip-aging-becomes-design-proble...


> Ryzen processors have 80MB of L3 cache

The new Ryzen "only" has 64 MB L3 cache but it's split into 16 MB chunks per 4 cores. You can add in the L2 cache since it's exclusive (at the cost of more access fragmentation) to get 18 MB/72 MB depending on how you want to count it.

The new Epyc is the same design, just more cores so you get 256 MB. Still "only" 16 MB accessible per group of 4 cores though.


Being there when NeXTSTEP was new, and having done my graduation project by porting a particle visualisation engine from NeXTSTEP to Windows, seeing it being called retro low performance OS feels hilarious.


Interesting idea. But okay, how? Could you scribble down a proof of concept Quemu configuration in order to achieve it? Also where to get Next compiled for AMD64?


Decompile the old kernel? Yeah, definitely above my modest pay grade, and OpenStep was created to be more portable (but probably not open in the OSS sense). Hm, there is GNUStep

You are correct that one can't snap their fingers and create the community that even FreeBSD has. The last big corporate sponsor opportunity for this was the infant smartphones like the Palm Pre era (they owned Beos IP at that point I think) and early Android.

Sigh, that reminds me that Beos should have been the foundation of OSX, if not for the exhorbitant buyout cost they were insisting on.


Decompile the old kernel? Yeah, definitely above my modest pay grade, and OpenStep was created to be more portable (but probably not open in the OSS sense). Hm, there is GNUStep

You are correct that one can't snap their fingers and create the community that even FreeBSD has. The last big corporate sponsor opportunity for this was the infant smartphones like the Palm Pre era (they owned Beos IP at that point I think) and early Android.


Isn't that what Haiku OS is doing?


Haiku targets BeOS compatibility.




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