Bootstrap post-collapse technology
Collapse OS is a Forth operating system and a collection of tools and documentation with a single purpose: preserve the ability to program micro- controllers through civilizational collapse.
It it designed to:
Additionally, the goal of this project is to be as self-contained as possible. With a copy of this project, a capable and creative person should be able to manage to build and install Collapse OS without external resources (i.e. internet) on a machine of her design, built from scavenged parts with low-tech tools.
Documentation is in text files in
doc/. Begin with
Collapse OS can run on any POSIX platform and builds easily.
cvm/README for instructions.
This file is a big text file containing the "real deal", that is, the contents of Collapse OS' filesystem. That filesystem contains everything that a post-collapse computer would manage, that is, all Forth and assembler source code for the tools it needs to fulfill its goals.
The Collapse OS filesystem is a simple sequence of 1024 bytes blocks. That is
not very workable in the text editor of a modern system.
blk.fs represents an
"unpacked" view of that block system. Each block (16 lines max per block, 64
chars max per line) begins with a marker indicating the block number of the
contents that follow.
Blocks must be in ascending order.
That file can be "packed" to a real blkfs with
/tools/blkpack. A real blkfs
can be "unpacked" to its text file form with
To allow a deeper understanding of the code, changes to Collapse OS' source is kept under RCS. Unlike most uses of version control systems, the goal here is not to be able to branch or to checkout specific revisions: tarballs snapshots can be used for this.
The goal is to keep a record of changes and their rationale, in case someone examining the code wonders about such things. To that end, only the "real deal" is versioned, that is "blk.fs".
Other source files (CVM, emulators, tools) are considered accessory and are not version-controlled.
RCS versioning begins at 2021-01-05. Previously, versioning was done through Git. An archive of that git repository is available on Collapse OS' website.
Emulation used to be a central tool to developing new ports for Collapse OS. On a POSIX platform, I would begin by creating an emulator for my target machine, fool around, then when I thought I had something good, test on real hardware for adjustments.
With the 6809 port, I wanted to take dogfooding more seriously and began developing ports from Collapse OS itself on vintage machines. This allows me to see opportunities for usability improvements and detect bugs much better than when using a POSIX platform.
Because of that, the "emul" folder is no longer improved.
The Forth-based Collapse OS is the second incarnation of the concept. The first
one was entirely written in z80 assembly. If you're interested in that
incarnation, checkout the
z80asm branch in the Git archive.