Collapse OS

Bootstrap post-collapse technology

Winter is coming and Collapse OS aims to soften the blow. It is a Forth (why Forth?) operating system and a collection of tools and documentation with a single purpose: preserve the ability to program microcontrollers through civilizational collapse. It is designed to:

  1. Run on minimal and improvised machines.
  2. Interface through improvised means (serial, keyboard, display).
  3. Edit text and binary contents.
  4. Compile assembler source for a wide range of MCUs and CPUs.
  5. Read and write from a wide range of storage devices.
  6. Assemble itself and deploy to another machine.

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.


The project lives in Sourcehut and is progressing well! Highlights:

Getting started

Documentation is in text files in "doc/". Begin with "intro.txt".

Collapse OS can run on any POSIX platform and builds easily. Clone it, then see "/cvm/" for instructions.

Alternatively, there's also Michael Schierl's JS Collapse OS emulator which is awesome and allows you to run Collapse OS from your browser, but it isn't always up to date. The "Javascript Forth" version is especially awesome: it's not a z80 emulator, but a javascript port of Collapse OS!


The best place to discuss the project is on its mailing list.

I also stick around on IRC (#collapseos on freenode).

Collapse OS was previously hosted on Github and it has a few very interesting issues in it. Don't hesitate, if it hasn't been already, to start a new thread in the mailing list to continue a discussion from one of those issues.

There is also r/collapseos on Reddit, but be aware that I'm not in there. I've been a heavy redditor for nearly 10 years, but I've stopped.

A lot of questions that you might have may already have been anwered in a big discussion about it occurred on Reddit. I've answered many questions there.

There was also a nice conversation on Hacker News about Collapse OS, but I didn't participate because I don't have a HN account. Also, this community doesn't seem collapse-aware so the idea of participation into this discussion seemed tedious to me. But the user "yellowapple" did a good job of answering many questions in a way that is similar to what I would have.