Reaching back again: ByzantineOS

I’d like to strangle the forever nameless marketing executive who decided on this confounded Trident video card in the Mebius … rather than something a little more amenable to me, 14 years down the road. 🙄

So much about this little computer is fun and amazing, and yet so many things fall flat because of video limitations. For example:

Not on the Mebius. On the X60s, in an emulator of course. Which is sad and disappointing because ByzantineOS sounds like a natural for the little machine.

Not to be confused with Bonzai Linux, ByzantineOS is earmarked for i586 machines. It will supposedly run on 32Mb of memory. It takes up a meager 45Mb for the ISO. The home page suggests diskless machines. 😯

Of course, it’s not really a full Linux desktop. And it’s using software from 2004, so there is a lot of space between here and there.

Not that old software is frightening at all. Some of my favorite software is as old as ByzantineOS.

But in an OS that is essentially an inverted Mozilla browser window (look closely at the desktop), it might be a little grating to go that far back in time.

In other words, no Flash for all you YouTube weenies. 😯

As I said at the start, I can’t speak for ByzantineOS’s performance on an actual Pentium; I trip over video issues. On the other hand, in an emulator, it’s fun to explore even if it does run rather slow.


Most desktop conventions — or at least, desktop conventions circa 2004 — are here, to include clocks and calendars and file managers, games and emulators, and even a lovable blinking command prompt.

And personally, I find it rather innovative to see a full “desktop” sculpted out of a browser window. It’s something I hadn’t really thought of before.

But I don’t work much with “Internet appliances,” as ByzantineOS bills itself. I only tried out my first embedded distro a week ago. I’ll have to pay closer attention, and see if I can find one that is useful on the Mebius.

Or that will at least acquiesce to the video card. Curse you, forever nameless marketing executive. … 👿

P.S.: Shorter this time. That last post should have been split into three. … 🙄

8 thoughts on “Reaching back again: ByzantineOS

  1. Dmitry

    Hehe… As I see “chrome://” everywhere on the screenshots… Maybe that’s their envisage of ChromeOS? Back to 2004! Back to USSR!

  2. anon

    chrome:// means the internal XUL files in Gecko browsers.

    Cool OS. Byzantium was renamed to Constantinople now it’s Istanbul not Constantinople…

    TMBG is in my head 😀

  3. Evaryont

    I wonder if you could ever get Google’s Chrome OS to run on the Mebius…

    dang it anon, now you’ve got TMBG stuck in my head, too!

  4. YankeeDDL

    Even if I make a fool of myself, I’ll ask this question.
    Why is it, that multiple Linux distros, ultimately all based on “the same” linux kernel, don’t allow (“at all”, let alone “easily”) to copy/mimic a working setup from one distro to another? (I’m referring to the video issues of course)

    Wouldn’t it be great if you have “one” Trident driver for Linux, and you can install it in *any* distro that is, infact, based on Linux kernel?
    By “driver” I mean a … set of settings, actual drivers, other config scripts or whatever it is necessary to get that video card to work.

    1. K.Mandla Post author

      It’s hard for me to say. My first guess would simply be differences between kernel releases, then compile options, then differences in X and differences in driver versions and server versions, and so forth and so on. …

      I agree though; it’s rather frustrating to see Xorg work fine in Crux, work strangely in Debian, work with the kernel framebuffer in ConnochaetOS and then splatter hopelessly against the LCD with ByzantineOS.

      One day I shall solve all these little problems, and write a book about my adventures. … 🙂


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