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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.

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