Contiki: The open source operating system that you've probably never heard of...

In today's open source roundup: Contiki is a little known but highly useful open source operating system. Plus: VLC adds Chromecast support, and a review of GoboLinux 015


Over the years Linux has become has become an incredibly popular and well known operating system. But there are other open source operating systems that are quite useful in their own right, but that haven't gotten anywhere near as much media attention. Contiki is one of them and Wired takes a look at what makes Contiki so useful.

According to Wired:

Contiki isn’t nearly so well-known as Windows or OS X or even Linux, but for more than a decade, it has been the go-to operating system for hackers, academics, and companies building network-connected devices like sensors, trackers, and web-based automation systems. Developers love it because it’s lightweight, it’s free, and it’s mature. It provides a foundation for developers and entrepreneurs eager to bring us all the internet-connected gadgets the internet of things promises, without having to develop the underlying operating system those gadgets will need.

Perhaps the biggest thing Contiki has going for it is that it’s small. Really small. While Linux requires one megabyte of RAM, Contiki needs just a few kilobytes to run. Its inventor, Adam Dunkels, has managed to fit an entire operating system, including a graphical user interface, networking software, and a web browser into less than 30 kilobytes of space. That makes it much easier to run on small, low powered chips–exactly the sort of things used for connected devices–but it’s also been ported to many older systems like the Apple IIe and the Commodore 64.

More at Wired
Contiki Operating System
Image credit: Wikipedia

I must confess that I wasn't aware of Contiki until I ran across Wired's article. It's quite a fascinating little operating system. So useful but so very tiny. You can get more information about it on the Contiki site, including a list of hardware that it runs on.

Here's a list of other useful links about Contiki:

Contiki Support

Contiki Downloads

Contiki Community

Contiki Blog

Wikipedia also has a good overview of Contiki, with some useful reference links at the bottom of the article. I doubt that Contiki will ever be as well known as Linux, but it's good to know that it's available for those who need it. It's yet another feather in the cap of open source software.

VLC adds Chromecast support

OMG Chrome reports that VLC is adding Chromecast support to its desktop, iOS and Android apps.

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