|written by Alex on Oct 13, 2003 01:31|
possibly, an Operating System
|BOOT DISK IMAGE and SOURCES|
cd/zips/Alex/hactar (774 Kb)
OK, but slow down with any eventual enthusiasm and fake hopes. Well, yes, it is an OS, and its design is completely new, without equivalents in existing systems. It was coded from zero, one assembly instruction after the other, it doesn't contain a single piece of code that is the same as another system, it behaves completely differently from anything you may have seen until today.
But, for what Hactar is today, it's just a newborn OS formed by little more than its bare kernel. It has to be said that its kernel is pretty special, because within only 31.5 Kb, apart from vital system functions, it INCLUDES the basic instruments to perform file and mass storage management, an user interface, and even an integrated text editor to collect informations and edit the system configuration files. This, and a very few fundamental drivers, are all there is on the boot disk. So, you won't be downloading a completely unusable piece of code, but don't expect to be able to perform word processing, editing graphics, accessing the internet... those things require APPLICATIONS, and for the internet part at least a TCP or PPP driver, along with an implementation of Berkeley Sockets.
The source code is read-only TO PREVENT FORKING, so you may certainly learn from it if you find something in it that you didn't know, you may verify how the system operates, but you are NOT allowed to change the source code and then publicly redistribute it, unless you get expressly authorized by the copyright holder (me). Legal wording from the WTOF public license is included in the package. What you need doing to get authorized is striving to fully maintain the actual behaviour of the kernel. However, while for L.in.oleum such restrictions are necessary, for Hactar I may change my mind and in the near future, decide to place it under GNU GPL. I will still hope it won't fork, but I don't feel it as important as it is for L.in.oleum.
for text-based console:
for graphics console:
- RAM: 2 Mb minimum, 8 Mb for full buffers setup.
- CPU: i80386, 32-bit flat memory addressing required.
- SYSTEM BIOS: post-1992, "SMAP" multiplexer function required.
- VIDEO CARD: EGA-VGA, 80x25 color text mode 3H required.
- MONITOR: any colour monitor.
- RAM: at least 16 Mb, required for backdrop frame buffer.
- CPU: Pentium or better, must refresh 4000 scanlines/sec.
- SYSTEM BIOS: possibly post-1996, must be VESA-enabled.
- VIDEO CARD: 640x480, 1 Mb VRAM, truecolor, Linear Frame Buffering.
- VIDEO CARD's BIOS: VESA-VBE 2.0 enabled.
- MONITOR: capable of displaying at 512 x 384 resolution.
Running Hactar might be quite simple. After completing the download of the above archive, place an empty, 1.44Mb formatted floppy disk in drive A, and double-click HACTAR.EXE. The installer has a menu button in the upper right corner of its window: from that, select the option "create system disk" to turn the floppy into a Hactar system disk. In case the installer shouldn't work, the file to click is in the "kernel" folder, the one whose name reads "hactar" and whose extension is EXE . Beware that this process will completely overwrite any existing contents of the floppy disk, so make sure you're using a floppy that is empty or that doesn't contain important data. If you need to use RAWRITE or something similar, truncate the beginning of the file "kernel/hactar.exe" until byte 4D2h, that is, remove 1234 bytes from the beginning of the file: what remains is the boot disk's RAW image, of exactly 1.44 Mb. Once the self-extract archive (or RAWRITE) has finished writing on the floppy disk, leave it in drive A and restart (reboot) your computer. One more thing: you don't need to boot your computer as normal and then to restart it to run Hactar: once the system disk is created, inserting that floppy in drive A before turning the computer on will automatically cause Hactar to boot in place of your current operating system (heh, well, unless your BIOS settings tell the floppy can't boot before IDE0). So, after restarting, Hactar will boot and within a few seconds you'll be presented the system shell screen, similar to the screenshots visible at the top of this page. By default the boot disk will try to load the graphically enhanced version of the system shell screen, at a resolution of 512x384 pixels at 24 or 32 bits per pixel (auto-detected). If your video card doesn't support that resolution, you'll see the text-mode version of the system shell, but you'll be able to see if other resolutions are supported by selecting the RUNNER icon and then the "Graphics Console" resident driver to bring the driver's control panel on the screen (further instructions are in the included guide). If instead, you MONITOR doesn't support the resolution, your screen will either go black or show distorted images: if this is your case, to get a working system you have to press CTRL+ALT+CANC to reboot the machine and this time, while it boots, HOLD DOWN ONE OF THE "SHIFT" KEYS OF THE KEYBOARD. This will cause Hactar to skip the configuration files (the files called ~CFG and ~SEQ) and boot to the default, text-mode shell. At that point you can proceed to highlight and launch the "Graphics Console" driver, and from there, try if one of the supported resolutions from the video card ALSO matches the monitor.
It runs! And now? It should be pretty intuitive. Let's practice. Try using the cursor arrows in every direction and see what happens. You will certainly notice that some words, in the direction you pointed to, will change their colours, getting highlighted. What you're using is a special hypertext interface, that the kernel and its applications use to communicate with you. The words that get "highlighted" are "executable links". Try to execute one of them: position on the link that says "highlight this with cursor arrows and press enter", and do what it says. Pressing ENTER or THE SPACE BAR while a link is highlighted will cause that link to be "launched". I guess it couldn't be easier than that. But what happens after doing that? Well, you have just opened a file, and to be precise, a file of type HHTX. Hactar catalogues the files using four-letter identification type codes. In particular, the type code HHTX is an acronym for "HactarHyperTeXt", while plain text files have type code TEXT. Other common types of files are APPL (application), PROG (generic program), DRVR (driver), and so on. After selecting the link to that file, a HHTX file, the file will be passed to the application that's "in charge" of managing all the files of that type. In our case, the application is the "Text Loader". As it receives the name of the file you have selected, the Text Loader will do what it's expected to do: load the file's contents on the screen for you to read. Reading that file will teach you how to scroll the screen up and down, how to get back to the first screen (holding the boot disk's directory), and many other hints about how Hactar works. Other similar files, organized like the chapter of an instructions manual, will explain other aspects of Hactar.
Now, we need applications and drivers. KERNDOCS.TXT in the "kernel" folder of the ZIP archive, documents how to call the system kernel functions and assemble programs for Hactar. If you feel up to it, go for it, and thanks in advance.
|└> last changed by Alex on October 30, 2004 at 01:17|
└> suspicious styling