The weirdest operating systems ever


Ninety-nine percent of computer users don’t think once about their operating system. It comes with the machine, it’s updated automatically, and that’s it. But here at PCMag, we like to talk about that other 1%. If you are really interested in familiarizing yourself with how your personal computer works, installing a new operating system is a fascinating way to do it. While there are plenty of alternative operating system choices to choose from with dedicated user bases, there are some weird beasts too, designed for niche interests and unique hardware. Here’s a tour of some of the weirdest operating systems ever released.


Creating an operating system is by nature a pipe dream. You need some type of reader to interface with hardware at the most basic level, and Terry Davis had that reader. After receiving what he claims to be a message from God, Davis began development of TempleOS in 2003 and released it to the world in 2011. Deeming his software to be the “third temple of God,” Davis created a An operating system with an 8-bit ASCII display that operated at a maximum resolution of 640 by 480. Written in a programming language it called HolyC, TempleOS was also linked to a number of unique software designed for use. in TempleOS, including a flight simulator. Sadly, Davis passed away in 2018.

Minimize the operating system

Developer Virgil Dupras knows the end of time is near and the few irradiated and virus-infected scavengers of the post-apocalyptic wasteland are going to need computers. Collecting the junk hardware doesn’t guarantee a lot of power, so Dupras decided to invent Collapse OS.

This operating system has a z80 kernel and a suite of programs capable of self-replication and self-installation on a wide variety of devices, as well as a variety of other functions. The kernel and shell are less than 5K bytes and he’s had it run on processors ranging from a TRS / 80 to a Sega Genesis.


For much of the 1980s, it looked like Commodore would dominate the personal computer market. The Commodore 64 provided vibrant color graphics in the era of monochrome DOS machines. The 16/32 bit Amiga presented a high-end machine that has become the industry standard for audio and video editing. Things obviously didn’t work out, but the operating system on these computers is still popular today. A group of enthusiasts have developed AROS, a source compatible version for modern PCs.


We tend to think that operating system wars have already been won by the few big players, but how surprising would it be to know that an operating system you’ve never heard of is running a mind-boggling amount of material invisibly?

Initiated by Dr Ken Sakamura of the University of Tokyo, the Nucleus real-time operating system was designed to be source independent, which means it can be deployed on a wide variety of hardware. The industrial branch alone is present on billions of mobile phones and portable devices across Asia.

What’s interesting about TRON is that Japanese companies wanted to bring it to the West, only to pressure Microsoft to kill the expansion plan. The 1988 U.S. Trade and Competitiveness Omnibus Act at one point included language that would heavily penalize any Japanese company attempting to sell equipment with TRON installed here.

Red star operating system

North Korea is well known for its relentless isolation from the outside world, and the same goes for computer software. DPRK systems do not run Windows or macOS, but instead use Red Star or Pulgŭnbyŏl.

This Unix-like operating system was developed at the country’s data center and includes a modified Firefox-based browser that provides access to the state-run network, a text editor, and even games. As you would expect from a paranoid security state, Red Star also includes many unfriendly features like a watermark system that marks all files with the installation’s unique serial number so that they can be viewed. follow-ups, as well as backdoor access for the Korean secret service.

Suicide Linux

Many of these operating systems lack the quality of life and usability features that we expect from modern software. However, a particularly heinous Linux version takes this philosophy to a very intense level.

Installing Suicide Linux on your PC is like playing Russian Roulette, with your typing precision as the trigger. If you type a command that the standard Linux operating system does not recognize, the compiler interprets it as asking you to erase and format your hard drive. You only have one chance, mate, make it count.


Also known as the “Ubuntu Muslim Edition,” Sabily was a custom Linux distribution introduced in 2007 to serve 1.8 billion Muslims around the world. In addition to the standard features that came with the operating system, Sabily included support for the Arabic language without any additional customization. The operating system also featured a number of unique software to help devotees. Minbar is a tray icon app that plays the Muslim call to prayer several times a day, and the Zakat Calc program helps users determine the different amounts of mandatory charitable contribution required by Islamic law. Sabily was discontinued in 2011, but it’s still available on ArchiveOS.


Another one-man show, Visopsys is the brainchild of Andy McLaughlin, who set out to build his own operating system from scratch in 1997. After taking a computer science course focused on computer theory. operating system, McLaughlin was bit by the bug and decided to make his own. He spent the first year getting to “Hello World,” but from there he built a ton of different modules and functions, including hardware drivers, a windowed GUI, and more. It is highly likely that McLaughlin will continue to tinker with this project as long as there are computers he can install it on.


The world of in-store distributions is complicated, and there are operating systems for seemingly all interests. One particularly fascinating system is PonyOS, which is an amateur system built from the ground up by and for fans of My friendship with my little pony is magic. The creators deny that this is a Linux system — instead, it is built on another very strange operating system, Toaru. As its base, PonyOS supports several open source programs and utilities, as well as a basic window manager for multitasking. One of the weirder quirks of the two is that windows can not only be moved and resized, but also rotated. In addition, there are ponies on everything.

What's New Now to get our top stories delivered to your inbox every morning.","first_published_at":"2021-09-30T21:30:40.000000Z","published_at":"2021-09-30T21:30:40.000000Z","last_published_at":"2021-09-30T21:30:34.000000Z","created_at":null,"updated_at":"2021-09-30T21:30:40.000000Z"})" x-show="showEmailSignUp()" class="rounded bg-gray-lightest text-center md:px-32 md:py-8 p-4 font-brand mt-8 container-xs">
Get our best stories!

Register for What’s up now to get our best stories delivered to your inbox every morning.

This newsletter may contain advertising, offers or affiliate links. Signing up for a newsletter indicates your consent to our terms of service and privacy policy. You can unsubscribe from newsletters at any time.


Comments are closed.