Fuzix OS: a lean kernel for Z80

cool_penguin_smallVeteran Linux kernel dev and maintainer Alan Cox announced a new System 5 Unix based kernel for those who want to start development with a bloat-free kernel. At the time of writing, the kernel needs just 40K memory (apart from userspace) to run.

Fuzix OS is great news for kernel enthusiasts considering the current status of the Linux kernel. Though it is a very powerful and popular kernel it has its own share of flak due to recent systemd controversies, a large number of contributors and a community reputed for using strong words.

Alan wanted a simpler system – both with respect to code and process. The driving factors had been a open source and free (including tools) CPU portable OS for Z80, support for unbanked memory configuration with basic features and compatibility.

Regarding platform support, Fuzix OS supports Zilog Z80 architecture right now. The code is straightforward and should be able to support other variants of the Z80 as well as T80 FPGA core. The code is built for 6809 and 6502 but an official platform support claim would need more testing. “In theory if it’s got 8bits and banked RAM you can probably run Fuzix OS on it”, Alan says.

The 8086 port is not available yet because a usable open source ANSI C for 8086 is not ready. Alan has done some initial work on Portable C Compiler (pcc) but he seeks help with it.

However, there are some drawbacks to this approach. First of all, the Z80 is a very old piece of hardware and not very commonplace. Developers would prefer opportunities around x86. In addition, pulling of a full-fledged kernel is not a very simple task so many of them available (in different stages of maturity) already.

On Github: Fuzix

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