There are more home-grown single-floppy operating systems out there than I had realized, and it wasn’t until KolibriOS that I started chasing links. And that’s when I realized that a lot of people brew their own software completely from scratch. Amazing.
To be perfectly and painfully honest, KolibriOS still sits at the top of the heap for me. It does so much with so little space that I can’t seem to really pin down anything else that can compete. Even its progenitor, MenuetOS, pales in comparison.
It is fun to see what other people have dreamed up, though. For example, here’s Solar OS, a one-floppy project that does quite a lot in that little space.
There are a lot of little gadgets and tools in here, ranging from system profilers and hard drive utilities, to random widget and toolsets, to a tetris game. It can do true transparency, which is a marvel at any disk size on a machine as old as this one, and shuts down faster than anything I have seen to date. And that includes Windows. (And yes, for some people, that is important.)
There are things not to like about it — I don’t like that the submenus seem to be pinned to the screen and have to be closed, and it’s little too much glitz and not enough function for me — but the wow-factor of seeing it in action overwhelms any shortcomings I might mention.
VisOpSys is similar, but less shiny.
There is a floppy version of this as well as a CD image, and the CD version comes with quite a lot more. This might be just useful enough to keep around as a ground-level boot utility disk, but after that, I am not sure if it’s practical. I suppose it might be worth trying as a day-to-day operating system, but a lot of commonplace tasks would be left out.
I should probably mention that the floppy version wouldn’t start for me on the Mebius (it just cycled restarts continually), but it’s interesting just the same.
Here’s the Derrick Operating System.
This has the feel of a programming experiment, mostly because everything it does appears to be listed in that screenshot. You get some fundamental command-line tools, a setup menu or two, but that’s about it. It does a wicked trippy psychedelic spiral though, which might be cool as a screensaver of sorts, if you can pry it away somehow.
MikeOS has that same feel, as something intended as a project that expanded a little and is offered for fun.
Again, nothing to compare with what Solar OS or KolibriOS has in its repertoire, but I find no faults with command-line menu systems that have a few utilities available. Clean and cute.
One more I couldn’t get a screenshot of is OctaOS, because it wouldn’t work in an emulator for me and there wasn’t a screenshot tool to my knowledge. The home page is a little scrambled too, but if you want try the floppy image, CD image or hard drive image, those are links.
There’s one more I wanted to mention, mostly because it trumps just about everything else that’s here, but I’m going to save it for a later post. I can’t give away too many goodies all at once.