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Old computers don't die, they just get TCP/IP stacks
March 10, 2003 8:47 AM   Subscribe

Contiki is a multi-tasking, GUI operating system for the Commodore 64. It has TCP/IP support, which means you can access the internet , and even comes with a built-in web browser. The OS and all its programs come to a staggeringly small 42K.
Via /.
posted by Mwongozi (22 comments total)

 
If you have that much programming skill, why wouldn't you direct it towards some iron that is at least still produced, something in the embedded arena?
posted by machaus at 8:50 AM on March 10, 2003


Yes, but will it play a sprite version of counter strike?
posted by ciderwoman at 8:53 AM on March 10, 2003


Machaus: I would venture the guess that programmers good enough to pull this off also like a good challenge.
I think this qualifies.
Limitations can make boring and/or commonplace tasks interesting again.
posted by Su at 8:56 AM on March 10, 2003


Cool. Would somebody make a screenshot of the MeFi front page with this thing?
posted by Pretty_Generic at 8:57 AM on March 10, 2003


Just goes to show ya' - The "bloatware" arguments about the endlessly growing size of software programs - and their ability, often, to negate gains in processing power and memory capacity - are largely true. It makes me reconsider Jaron Lanier's claim that "bloatware" will defeat all attempts to develop (strong) AI.

Gee! I feel gassy all the sudden. Where's that Pepto-Bismo? .......Where's my "Beano"?
posted by troutfishing at 9:00 AM on March 10, 2003


Strongbad would, like, think this was Totally Awesome. You can get a port for other platforms including the Tandy, and even the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System!
posted by Stuart_R at 9:17 AM on March 10, 2003


heh. wow.
posted by donkeyschlong at 9:22 AM on March 10, 2003


42K? well, that'll load off the tape drive in under 30 minutes!!! and if you've got one of those external disk drives, just make sure your seat belt is fastened BEFORE typing LOAD"*",8!
posted by quonsar at 9:31 AM on March 10, 2003


This got me thinking about my first computer.I found a company that still has the Timex Sinclair in stock.
posted by JohnR at 9:32 AM on March 10, 2003


Would the MeFi front page load on a computer with only 12k left to spare for a cache?
posted by eustacescrubb at 9:38 AM on March 10, 2003


machaus:

If you have that much programming skill, why wouldn't you direct it towards some iron that is at least still produced, something in the embedded arena?

contiki is the product of hobby, which is in turn fueled by personal interest. it makes more sense to me that someone might choose a commadore 64 for the nostalgia.

Su:

Limitations can make boring and/or commonplace tasks interesting again.

absolutely. i was watching a special on PBS about robots and artificial intelligence. it delved a bit into the programming culture of the '60s, and one man was quoted to have said "i can't imagine needing more than 6K for a program."

eustace:

Would the MeFi front page load on a computer with only 12k left to spare for a cache?

only if you had access to enough virtual memory. the front page, as of this comment, rounds down to 49K.
posted by moz at 9:59 AM on March 10, 2003


great, another browser I have to code for.
posted by quibx at 10:07 AM on March 10, 2003 [1 favorite]


Well hot damn. This just made my day since I have been storing the SX-64 in my attic for the last 8+ years. All you diehards can check out this great Commodore Hardware Archive.
posted by lsd4all at 10:07 AM on March 10, 2003


10 PRINT "NEEERRRDDDSSS!!!"
20 GOTO 10

RUN
posted by vraxoin at 10:35 AM on March 10, 2003


What quibx said . . .lol


posted by Fezboy! at 10:36 AM on March 10, 2003


But will it run on VICE, or any of the other Commodore64 emulators?
posted by straight at 11:18 AM on March 10, 2003


the front page, as of this comment, rounds down to 49K.

this is entirely dependent on the number of days posts you have configured to display.
posted by quonsar at 12:07 PM on March 10, 2003


But will it run on VICE, or any of the other Commodore64 emulators?

a) At $20/unit at your local thrift store, who needs emulators? Old iron is so much more sexy.
b) If you can run an emulator, you've probably got a suffiently good TCP/IP stack already.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 2:00 PM on March 10, 2003


The text alone of the Mefi front page is far less than 42k, a half decent web browser on this platform would certainly strip away unneeded HTML as it comes in, and store only the barest of formatting and links as the active document. It just makes sense.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:09 PM on March 10, 2003


only if you had access to enough virtual memory. the front page, as of this comment, rounds down to 49K.

Also, you'd only have to keep in memory the characters for the relevant portion of the page you're displaying, so you might (with a smart parser) be able to divide the page up into display chunks and keep information about the offset of the beginning and end of the chunk you're on. Definitely more of a challenge than I'd like, but...
posted by namespan at 5:47 PM on March 10, 2003


Says they're also trying to port it to a multitude of platforms. Of particular interest to me is the possibility of a Gameboy port... we've seen the PDAs becoming game machines etc... I'd like to see the vice versa and telnet from a Gameboy Advanced SP.
posted by aki at 10:40 PM on March 10, 2003


Stuff likes this always makes me wish I inherited just a little bit more of the hacker spirit. I always have an idea for a cool project but I get bored with it after I'm a few thousand lines in and I feel like writing a short story or shooting some photography instead.

That being said, somebody should port this to one of the TI Calculators. That scene is so busy reinventing their own wheels that they've neglected to do any more work with a TCP/IP stack despite an unfriendly proof of concept that was made for the TI-89 years ago. It's got more than enough RAM, can drive an RS232 port, and there are plenty of high school kiddies who would get some actual productivity out of something like this.
posted by Skwirl at 12:04 AM on March 11, 2003


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