Live Fast, Code Hard, Die Young

A new OS is born

Have you ever dreamed of creating your own operating system? Well, I guess not…Only a true masochist would come up with an idea like that. I mean, it’s 2008 now and we already have plenty of solid operating systems to choose among. Creating a new one would be just plain stupid…

Of course I couldn’t agree more, but for me it’s the ultimate challenge. I’ve been thinking about it for many years now so why not give it a shot? I really like to learn how things work under the hood. I understand it is a huge task and I admit that I certainly never will finish it. It will probably never even reach a state where it is usable to anyone, but at least for me it will be a very interesting learning experience.

So without further ado – welcome to the world PontOS!

Silly name?
Hey, what kind of a name is that? PontOS? Sounds incredibly silly…

Yes, I agree. I took that name because my OS is just silly! It’s a silly hobby project that doesn’t really do anything good (yet). Actually, a friend of mine joked about it and said something like "if you ever make your own OS it should be called PontOS!" In fact, it’s also a name of a Greek god of the sea and it was also better than the other lame suggestion I had…Pontux!

Back in the early 90’s I wrote something similar to an OS for the Amiga. It was pretty simple by today’s standards but it had a simple memory manager, a custom track loader for floppy disk access along with its own file system handler and a simple debugger with disassembling functionality. It was used for taking over the machine completely when loading my demo for maximum performance (quite important on a 7.14MHz computer…).

After my Amiga years I jumped on the PC scene bandwagon and wrote plenty of demos and intros in assembler before I learned C and C++. Although it has been over ten years since I wrote my last line of assembler code, I still remember much of it and believe that it will help me out in this project. After all, writing kernel code is not for the faint of heart…

Ok, now focus on the future and imagine the PontOS system. My goal for the first version is a very simple kernel. This will not be a multi purpose OS. I have a vision of a system that resembles the AmigaOS, with instant app switching and solid media performance. I hate when Windows starts swapping and thrashing the hard drive even on a 4GB RAM machine just to switch between two applications. It’s just so stupid. I want to try to write a more memory efficient system. It would also be awesome if I could use it from my living room couch as a media station…Hmm, yes I know, that’s far far in the future but at least I have a vision! For now I will be happy to just get a basic kernel up and running. Let’s see where this journey takes us…

Riding on the waves of inspiration!


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