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What is Lunix?

By regeya in Technology
Sun Feb 24, 2002 at 10:23:06 AM EST
Tags: Software (all tags)

If you've been around certain circles (especially overly-zealous BSD enthusiasts) you've heard about something called "Lunix." The question is: what is Lunix?

Lunix, as it turns out, is an operating system developed for the Commodore 64 and Commodore 128 platforms.

And, contrary to popular belief, the project has nothing to do with a certain other OS, other than attempting to be a Unix-like operating system. The unfortunate confusion of Lunix and Linux can perhaps be explained by dyslexia on the part of the person referring to Linux (the most logical conclusion, since the spellings of the two OSes are so strikingly similar.)

A quick look at the list of features seems impressive (copied and pasted without permission:)

  • Preemptive multitasking (up to 32 tasks, 7 priorities)
  • Dynamic memory management (in chunks of 256 or 32 bytes)
  • Runtime code relocation
  • IPC (inter process communication) through pipes
  • IPC through signals
  • (minimal) REU support
  • SCPU compatible
  • Hardware stack swapping (C128 only)
  • 256K RAM C128 compatible
  • >30 standard applications available
  • Support for standard RS232 userport interface
  • Support for swiftlink RS232 interface
  • Virtual consoles
  • Hardware accelerated 80 columns console on C128 in C64 mode
  • Native C128 version available
  • (simple) command shell (with history function)
  • Support for CBM (IEC bus) devices (e.g. 1541)
  • Open source, comes with all needed (cross-) development tools
  • Widely configurable for your needs
  • LNG can be terminal and terminal server (RS232)
  • Support for SLIP packet encapsulation over serial links
  • Support for PPP (packet encapsulation) over serial links
  • Loop back packet driver for off-line client-server trials
  • TCP/IP stack (and clients for telnet, ftp and pop3)
  • A simple web server (experimental)
  • Support for the DFC77 receiver (radio-transmitted time signal in europe/germany)
  • Support for the Smart Watch Chip (another real time clock)
  • Support for IDE64 RTC
  • Support for IEC bus via 64net/1
  • Support for o65 object format (experimental)
  • Online help system
  • ...
For the skeptical, here's a set of screen shots.

So, how well does it run, given the, shall we say, antique nature of the hardware being used? Honestly, I can't say, as I don't own any Commodore hardware. I don't even have a C64 emulator handy (nor do I plan to.) Nevertheless, I'm both impressed and intrigued by the mere existence of a Unix-like operating system for the C64/128 platforms. Keeping such a once-ubiquitous hardware platform from slipping into obscurity is more interesting and exciting than the current cycle of planned obselecense, IMHO.

For those interested, the official web site offers downloads, source code, and documentation.

Happy Lunixing!


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Related Links
o Lunix
o certain other OS
o screen shots
o official web site
o Also by regeya

Display: Sort:
What is Lunix? | 27 comments (17 topical, 10 editorial, 0 hidden)
Incorrect (3.60 / 23) (#6)
by Delirium on Sun Feb 24, 2002 at 01:40:10 AM EST

Everybody knows that Lunix is an open sores operating system used by hax0rs the world over to fprot their tarballs and avoid showering like the dirty hippies they are.

heh (5.00 / 1) (#10)
by regeya on Sun Feb 24, 2002 at 11:59:29 AM EST

damn that jeffk ;-)

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]
[ Parent ]

Maybe (none / 0) (#19)
by I Am A Troll So There on Mon Feb 25, 2002 at 11:52:45 AM EST

He is referring to the C64 Lunix. I mean, his spelling skills certainly belong to that prehistoric age... :-P

[ Parent ]

Let's get this straight (none / 0) (#23)
by gauze on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:04:39 PM EST

I thought BSD was more hippie/guys with large unkept beard oriented vs linux being more hey-look-I don't-reboot-everyday-anymore/ICMP-flooding teenagers.

I have run LUnix and it's ... interesting. I couldn't get ppp to work over a serial port link I built though.

proud linux AND BSD user,
There's nothing wrong with a PC that a little UNIX won't cure.
[ Parent ]
Incorrect++ (none / 0) (#25)
by tantris on Tue Mar 05, 2002 at 06:28:56 PM EST

Lunix is a patched Linux version. It stands for Linux for lunatics.

[ Parent ]
In related news... (3.50 / 6) (#7)
by Vs on Sun Feb 24, 2002 at 03:29:53 AM EST

Always when I hear Linux and Unix in context, I have to think of this [interhemd.de].

I sometimes use "Lunix" as a diminuitive to "Linux" or to ridicule it (but I run NotLinux -- FreeBSD-{i386,alpha}, IRIX, NetBSD -- on a variety of arcane hardware, so I'm biased :-).

But since NetBSD doesn't run on C=64, they have a very strong point.
Where are the immoderate submissions?

Hehe. (5.00 / 3) (#12)
by regeya on Sun Feb 24, 2002 at 12:32:24 PM EST

I sometimes use "Lunix" as a diminuitive to "Linux" or to ridicule it

And that was my point, somewhat. As much heat as the Linux community took from some for taking jabs at MS's apparent ineptness, it was a little annoying last year when some folks in the BSD communities decided to do the same to the Linux community.

It's probably more annoying to me, though, since, hey, the way I see it, we're all in this together. :-)

I like what one fellow kuro5hin'er said about a year ago (and I don't remember who): hey, it's all *n?x.

And it's true. All those free OSes have their niches, and they all have their useful purposes. FreeBSD makes a nice, high-availability server OS, as well as, at times, working better than Linux systems on various pieces of hardware (such as machines where one wants to use USB, or laptops upon which one wants to use APM. YMMV.)

One reason I wrote this is because it genuinely interests me when someone writes a "modern" OS for antique hardware. The other is so I can have a link, other than lng.sourceforge.net, to point "Lunix sux" losers toward when they try to recruit Linux folks by trying to appear elite.

I'm not trying to diminish the efforts of the BSD crowd; I'm just wanting to see some zealots...erm, advocates use superior methods for their advocacy efforts. :-)

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]
[ Parent ]

netbsd support (none / 0) (#27)
by LiquidPC on Sat Mar 09, 2002 at 02:54:24 PM EST

I'm suprised that NetBSD doesn't support the C64, when it even supports the playstation2. I would've suspected the C64 over the ps2 to be supported. Guess there's just not much demand for it.
-- [LPClab]
[ Parent ]
Not so shocking (4.42 / 7) (#8)
by localroger on Sun Feb 24, 2002 at 09:25:31 AM EST

If you think about the grade of hardware on which the original UNIX variants ran, the C64 isn't all that underpowered. In the late 70's a typical spec for a computer requiring its own room, 480 volt power, and dedicated air conditioner might have been 256 Kword of 32 bit core memory running at a whopping 500 KHz, with 10 whole megabytes of 70-millisecond Winchester cartridge hard drive storage online. Considering that this machine would be serving 50 or 100 users at a time, and that 6502 assembler is pretty compact, the C64 suddenly looks pretty adequate for a modest 32-task UNIX.

I wonder if they've tried hacking a IDE interface to get a hard drive hooked up?

I can haz blog!

actully, they did.... (none / 0) (#13)
by a life in hell on Sun Feb 24, 2002 at 02:41:53 PM EST

there is a cartridge you can get, i think it's called ide64 that lets you hook an ide drive to a c64, tho aparently there are compatability problems with it. There is also a scsi interface available (whoever bought CMD, i forget who it was now, sells them with drives for some amount of money that I don't have, hahaha).

[ Parent ]
VIC 20, as well (none / 0) (#14)
by Jel on Sun Feb 24, 2002 at 02:56:24 PM EST

Yup, the VIC 20 had a hard drive available, too =)

[ Parent ]
I wish... (4.00 / 1) (#16)
by WWWWolf on Sun Feb 24, 2002 at 06:33:54 PM EST

I really want that SuperCPU and turbo-RS modules...

Anyway, old news. =) I prefer to call it LNG (Lunix Next Generation) to avoid confusion. Other than having a confusing name, it was a pretty nice-looking little OS I have some Hopes for.

In more recent (but still old) news, someone made a public webserver to run on a C64.

-- Weyfour WWWWolf, a lupine technomancer from the cold north...

Interesting link. (none / 0) (#26)
by haflinger on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 04:48:22 PM EST

That page claims that the C=64 is connected at 38400bps to the Linux router. I severely doubt it. I remember what you had to do to get a C=64 to talk at 9600bps; the RS-232C might believe it's at 38400, but I really doubt the throughput's that high.

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]

Thank you (5.00 / 1) (#18)
by hardburn on Mon Feb 25, 2002 at 12:22:10 AM EST

I had never touched a C64 before (my childhood was spent in front of an Apple //c), but I did find one recently at a gov/university surplus store for $5 a few months ago. Unfortunatly, I don't have a power adapter for it, but once I find one, I'll try out this "Lunix" thing.

while($story = K5::Story->new()) { $story->vote(-1) if($story->section() == $POLITICS); }

LUnix not Lunix (4.75 / 4) (#20)
by FattMattP on Mon Feb 25, 2002 at 01:31:39 PM EST

It's LUnix as in the letter L and the word Unix. Not Lunix. I probably has everything to do with being a Lightweight Unix-like OS and nothing to do with either Linux or dyslexia.

Imagine .... (3.00 / 4) (#21)
by FlightTest on Mon Feb 25, 2002 at 04:34:56 PM EST

A Beowulf cluster of these!

Why did I flip? I got tired of coming up with last minute desparate solutions to impossible problems created by other fucking people.

Whoops! (none / 0) (#22)
by FlightTest on Mon Feb 25, 2002 at 04:37:07 PM EST

Wrong site.

I'm sorry, I truely am. I tried to resist, I couldn't. You may now modstorm me as my eternal punishment.

Why did I flip? I got tired of coming up with last minute desparate solutions to impossible problems created by other fucking people.
[ Parent ]

What is Lunix? | 27 comments (17 topical, 10 editorial, 0 hidden)
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