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Cosmos - An Option To Singularity

| by James Vastbinder Follow 0 Followers on Feb 06, 2008. Estimated reading time: 1 minute |

Cosmos stands for "C# Open Source Managed Operating System" and was released to the public just last week.  While the operating system is implemented primarily in C#, contributing developers may use any .NET language that compiles to pure IL without P/Invokes.  Offered as an alternative to Singularity, it has been released under a BSD license and currently is able to boot on QEMU, VMWare, and VirtualPC.

Cosmos, by design, is .NET based with a microkernel and is configurable using modules to create an operating system image that can be targetted for a specific task such as as a web server or kiosk.  This obviates the need to have process or modules running which will not be used when targetting a scenario for specific usage.

InfoQ was able to speak with Chad Hower, one of the project founders:

InfoQ: What are the primary goals of the Cosmos project?

Chad Hower: Initially to have fun, and show the power and flexibility of .NET. Beyond that to make "Operating system Legos" so that people can easily build their own operating systems on .NET. For fun, education, embedded, and business use.  We also have plans for the iPhone, Wii, etc.

InfoQ: How do you differentiate between yourself and Singularity?

Chad Hower: We're shipping and publicly available.

InfoQ: Since beginning the project, can you provide some lessons learned?

Chad Hower: I dislike x86 assembly even more than I did previously. I miss RISC assembly.

InfoQ: What are the next steps for Cosmos and how can the community best assist the Cosmos Project?

Chad Hower: Now we are on to adding Ethernet, TCP/IP, Indy and so forth. The best way for the community to help out is to join our  mail list. We welcome everyone, from those who want to participate, to those who just want to watch. Users can also download our User Kit, which is a "build your own OS" kit in a few easy steps. Users don't need to mess with building the kernel and can make their own OS by simply selecting "File, New Cosmos Project" in VS, then pressing F5 to build, run (build ISO,  network boot, Virtual PC, QEMU, etc) and debug.

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