Obscure/Alternative Operating systems

Anyone else interested in really obscure operating systems? I am, and I'd like to share wit some of you who are but don't know it yet. There are lots of weird & wacky operating systems out there, most of them are unusable for day-to-day but make interesting design choices that are(in my opinion) oftentimes better than what you see in mainstream operating systems.

Example: Plan 9 from Bell Labs. This is a distributed operating system, and IMO it performs the basic features of an operating system very beautifully and in an integrated fashion. I wish it were a little more updated, as it is it's pretty much state-of-the-art for 1999. Still, studying Plan 9's internal workings should be required for any operating systems class.

A more useful/modern alternative operating system is Haiku. Basically, Haiku gives you the power of UNIX and the ease of windows. Really the only reason it's useless as a desktop operating system is, like most alternative opern-source operating systems, not a lot of programs target it. I've considered switching to haiku full-time, but I'm not convinced

And then you get into the strange world of hobby OSes. Mostly, these are decidedly low-quality and gimmicky -- for instance, the infamous TempleOS, which has the main feature of a weird JITed form of C, and of course being able to talk to God. But some of them are genuinely good, for instance, armpit is something to seriously consider if you want to really wring performance out of your ARM-based SoC. It's more like a language running directly on the hardware rather than a complete operating system, but in practice there's hardly any difference, and it can perform far better than anything running on the default linux kernel would. Just goes to show that weird and wacky sometimes works pretty well.

So, techs, what's your favorite alternative OS? Given any of these a whirl? I've tried all of them in virtual machines, but the only one I'd consider as my daily driver is Haiku.

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I have always found minix the best concept, in that it uses a modular kernel. I think a minix fork would work really well with an Android fork or with OpenSuSE RTOS or Ubuntu Core or a lean Arch operating system for portable ARM-based devices.

@FaunCB to the thread please...


I always liked the Amiga OS and it's weird & wonderful descendants. I do think its criminal that it, and the ROM's required to run it were never properly Open Sourced. If they had been when Commodore and then Escom died it might not have become so obscure. It was in many ways ahead of its time - although initial lack of networking and multi-user support due to its home computer heritage would have needed addressing.

My first IT job required me to learn some VAX/VMS and OS400. They were proper Operating Systems I rarely come across these days, terminals and green screens all the way...

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The most obscure OS I have is Red Star OS 3.0. The operating system of the DPRK. If there is interest, I could upload the desktop ISO for your enjoyment ;)


I find it amusing that they are using an OS X theme, although I'm not surprised one bit. Also as far as I can see they don't have an X86_64 version available. Is more than 4GBs of memory a stretch for the DPRK? I am really interested in finding out the specifications of a typical computer in North Korea. I wonder if they go Team Red (probably not but would be funny).

Plan 9 fly's on a 486, no software, everything is a file
FreeDos tried it, I found it buggy
TrsDos fast on an 8080, works so much like dos you would think it was stolen
Minix runs on a 5150 but I could never get it to run on an PS/2
CP/M During the 8080 days this was the OS, came within a hair world domination.
Geos actually a shell to run ontop of dos
OS/2 If mem was as cheap as it is now things might have been different
RomBasic one of the first free OS's
Playing around with different OS's is a blast
After a while you realize how good they are you start asking, "Why is everyone using Windoze"?
Fav was trying out QNX on a floppy on a 386. Fast! Geos and QNX are the 2 fastest gui's I ever used.
cool list and there are tons of stuff on this:

@BGL You wot.

Oh, right, uhh. Ok then.

So basically the internet has a lot of wield shit on it right. I love my wierd shit. Sometimes the weird shit is better than the normal shit. Its pretty great when that happens. So here's some weird shit that I love.

AROS/ Icaros: http://aros.sourceforge.net http://vmwaros.blogspot.com

Talked about these before but never got around to making a post. Essentially AROS is the code base and Icaros is the main distribution that is used, just so that is clear. AROS is an X86 based AmigaOS 3.1-3.5 (in that span of AmigaOS but you can build up to 3.9 very easily). The system over all is exactly the same. The interface has some added on bits but over all the entire system runs all the same as before and its even designed the same way via memory management for big endian chips (M68K). All the apps are 16 kb - 80 kb and it uses less than 2 mb ram to host the system on whatever hardware you need. Also, all your amiga apps will work! There is a list of pretty specific desktop motherboards to use but overall I have found that 99% of my laptops work with it. On the Icaros site there is a list of working wireless cards if you want to use it on the network otherwise be ready to haul stuff over via USB. Personally I am waiting for a powerpc port or an ARM port so my powerbook or raspt have an actual use.

AmigaOS 4.1: http://www.amigaos.net

Thought Amiga was dead and thats why AROS exists didn't you? NOPE. NO SIR! AmigaOS is still used today by millions of people! Maybe not as a main system, but Amiga users around the world have purchased this for their modded A1200's or their up-to-date powerpc workstation (there is a version for both :D )! Basically its amigaOS continued on. It may say final edition on it but itsthe last version of 4.1 because they have been in 4.1 for something like 6 years. But basically it adds some new features. Supposedly there might kinda maybe be AMDGPU drivers coming to the main amigaOS as a lot of people bought 250's, 250X's, 260's, and 270's, and in IRC I see a lot of users come in with their custom boxes that they built and wanting to know how to make a 380X work because it was on sale and their last card died or something. WHY? I don't know. Beats me why you would need a GPU that big for amiga but maybe someone is doing cool shit. Although, it DOES have modern blender support (AROS does too) so it would make sense to me they want it for rendering models... Hmmm.... ~mystery~

Sorcerer Linux: https://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=sorcerer

Its not active anymore, but I just found it hilarious. Someone went to the distrowatch page and fixed why it was funny because one of the devs was in an IRC one day (as I know the story, sorcerer has always been somewhat of a joke) and was going on and on about his linux distro he was making. You didn't install from tarballs or source you installed from "magic" and "spells". He got kicked for acting like a dick to people after a while. Still makes me laugh.

Menuet: http://menuetos.net

Heres a good one I specifically have a love for. Want to see how fast your computer can actually do things? Want to have an OS install that is literally 80mb? No its not DOS, its Menuet! Menuet is an ALL ASSEMBLY OS. ALL of it is teeny tiny bits of assembly talking directly to the hardware. I have not used it myself, but it will definitely make your old pentium 1 in the corner run as well as that xeon under your desk with ubuntu in it :P Its X86 and X64 compatible and runs on anything. Though the author of the OS says on the site it might be better to run this as a VM to see if you even want to bother or not. I know I do.

Last is Kolibri: https://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=kolibri

A fork of Menuet with actual video and wireless drivers packed in. Its the same thing with more color and an active up-to-date code base that is worked on by quite a few people. I dunno about Menuet's update status but I know Kolibri gets the front page of distrowatch every once in a while.

There are some other REALLY wierd ones that I know of but no one is going to be able to run them so it's more a "This could have happened" or "This existed once" or "This is for intel Itantum!". No one has UNIX hardware from '92 I am pretty sure and I am definite that no one here has itanium and if you do you're crazier than I am. So I'll let those others sit until I do a post on all of the weird shit I have found over the years. For now, enjoy the odd crap I look up all the time.


And here I am thinking Gentoo/bsd counts.

Im glad this made the list.

it wouldn't be weird and wacky without Terry.

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Anyone use Linux from Scratch? I was thinking of creating a distro that would live in memory for java games. It looks kinda cool to make your own "obscure" OS. I want to see Hurd get there, but I don't thinks it's ready for prime-time yet. Qubes OS is a great idea, haven't used it successfully yet though.

I think the most obscure and shit OS ever made is linux :^)

TempleOS Terry Davis is salty AF on lunix, watching his "Terry Davis' (TempleOS) Brutal Take-Down of Linus Torvalds "... he sounds crazy but that maybe just me not knowing wtf he is talking about

Liking this thread, Don't know enough to add anything of interest, but always love to see this type of discussion

TempleOS is fucking great
Impressive for one guy to create
100% fucking mental


Well there are quite a few toy kernels written in Rust. I think the best functioning operating system I've seen is Redox:


Does Hannah Montana Linux count?

In all seriousness I haven't used anything too crazy. Raspbian can possibly considered obscure because it only works on one platform, but still Linux based and that platform is everywhere. I've also used PfSense, which isn't exactly common, but still common enough to not be obscure.

this kid makes his Mom use random OS, which may interest @dadsuhefa

found it when looking at TempleOS


Also have you seen

Ah, isn't that the same guy who got his mom to destroy OS's? As I remember XP took her a minute, Ubuntu was half an hour or so. I might remember this all wrong though.

found it: Win 2000 and Ubuntu 15.04

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