Redox

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Redox is a BSD-licensed Unix-like operating system written mostly in Rush (and some assembly) with security and safety in mind. It uses it's own MINIX-inspired microkernel.

Features and Usability

Redox 0.5.0.png
Redox version 0.5.0.

Redox was initially released on April 20, 2015. That makes it four and a half years old as of December 2019. It may sound like it has been around long enough to become a mature operating system but that's not the case, five years is not much for a free software operating system.

Redox has managed to get a working microkernel with the most basic support in place. It has a graphical environment with a window manager and a few bare-bones applications. You can browse the more basic websites using it's built-in browser and there's also an editor, a file manager, a terminal and a document viewer. And that's it. None of the bundled programs are very good or advanced, they seem to be there to show developers who may be interested in Redox from a technical perspective that it works and applications for it can be written.

There are some additional packages available for Redox but the selection is extremely limited and not at all useful.

You can, with some time and effort, install Redox on a x86-64 computer and boot it. It may or may find your network interface. It does not have any hardware accelerated drivers for graphics cards. Redox will show graphics using the VESA standard all graphics cards support. Don't expect smooth video playback (there are, of course, no video players) or sound. Or much else.

Verdict And Conclusion

If you are a developer are you are very interested in the Rust programming language and you'd like a hobby then Redox development may be for you.

Redox is, from a casual end-user perspective, utterly useless and a complete waste of time as of v0.5.0. Go with something else if you would like to quickly install some operating system which just works so you can watch k-pop music videos on Naver or get work done. Redox is not anywhere near mature enough to be any kind of alternative to Windows or FreeBSD or GNU/Linux distributions like Debian and Manjaro Linux. It may get there. It is, as of v0.5.0, nowhere near the point where regular people can do anything useful with it.

Future Development

Jeremy Soller at the American hardware company System76 claimed Redox OS was "a few months of work away" from being a self-hosted operating system (=an operating system can be used to compile itself) in an interview with The Register in November, 2019[1]

Testing The Technology

Redox's homepage is at www.redox-os.org.

The 0.5.0 release can be downloaded from www.redox-os.org/news/release-0.5.0/. It's just 50 MB.

Redox has a somewhat in-depth book titled the Redox book with chapters titled Why Redox? and the kernel. Reading it may be a good idea if you are interested in this Rust-based OS.

Notes


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