New OS For Commodore 64 Adds Modern Features

The Commodore 64 was a revolutionary computer for its day and age. After four decades, though, it gets harder and harder to use these computers for anything more than educational or hobby electronics projects. [Gregory Nacu] is fiercly determined to challenge this idea, though, and has gone to great extremes to make this hardware still relevant in the modern age by writing a completely new operating system for the Commodore machines.

Known as C64OS, it squeezes everything it can out of the 8 bit processor and 64 kB of memory. The new OS includes switchable desktop workspaces, a windowing system, draggable icons, a Mac-style menu bar at the top, and drop-down menus for the icons (known as aliases in the demonstrations). The filesystem is largely revamped as well and enables a more modern directory system to be used. There are still some limitations like a screen resolution of 320×200 pixels and a fixed color palette which only allows for a handful of colors, but this OS might give Windows 3.1 a run for its money.

The project is still being actively developed but it has come a long way into a fairly usable state. It can be run on original hardware as well as long as you have a method of getting the image to the antique machine somehow. If not, the OS can likely run on any number of C64 emulators we’ve featured in the past.

Thanks to [Stephen] for the tip!

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Commodore 64 And Nintendo Make Beautiful Music Together With SYNCART


[Dan] has been hard at work developing CYNCART to get his Commodore 64 and original NES to play together. We’ve seen [Dan’s] handiwork before, and it’s pretty clear that he is serious about his chip tunes.

This project starts with something called a Cynthcart. The Cynthcart is a Commodore 64 cartridge that allows you to control the computer’s SID chip directly. In effect, it turns your Commodore 64 into a synthesizer. [Dan] realized that the Commodore’s user port sends out simple eight bit values, which happens to match perfectly with the NES’ controller ports. In theory, he should be able to get these two systems communicating with each other.

[Dan] first modified the Cynthcart to send data out of the user port on the Commodore. This data gets sent directly to the NES’ 4021 shift register chip in the second player controller port. The NES runs a program to turn this data into sound on the NES’ audio chip. The first player controller can then be used to modify some other sound settings on the NES. Musical notes are played on the Commodore’s keyboard. This setup can also be used to play music on both systems at the same time. Be sure to watch the video of the system in action below.

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Modded C64 Eye Candy

“Everyone needs a hobby,” they tell us. For the blogger mysteriously identified only as “R,” that hobby would be an almost fanatical nostalgia for the Commodore 64 computer.

At first we thought this was a fan community site, but apparently it’s all the work of a single person. [R] has tweaked, extended, repackaged and resurfaced this 1980’s icon in nearly every imaginable way. They tend to gloss over the technical aspects of these mods, but that’s okay – the C64 is such an exhaustively documented system now that the site dwells mainly on the aesthetics and meaning of these reborn devices.

The 64 has made an indelible impression on electronic music, and the machines are still sought after by collectors, composers and circuit-benders. [R] pays homage by housing these vintage systems in styles reminiscent of even vintage-er synthesizers. Any one of these would warrant a post here, yet there’s a whole collection to browse. Check it out!

[via Retro Thing]

C64 Emulator For IPhone Approved — Minus BASIC


After a lengthy process that had previously met with rejection, Manomio’s Commodore 64 emulator for the iPhone and iPod touch has finally been accepted by Apple. This marks the first time a multi-purpose emulation title has been approved by the App Store. The $4.99 C64 app comes bundled with five fully-licensed classic games, and additional titles can be purchased and downloaded directly within the application.

App Store policies prohibit software that could run downloadable code, which barred most emulation attempts in the past. A couple of Sega titles worked around this by nature of being single-purpose emulators. The condition by which the C64 title was finally approved was the removal of the BASIC programming language (though ironically it’s still shown in screen shots, even on the App Store). Since only sanctioned programs can be installed and run from within the application, no user-alterable code is present.

The C64 emulator is neat enough in itself, but the really encouraging news here is that a precedent has been set; the business model may open the floodgates for developers to bring more classic gaming titles to the iPhone platform. So download that SDK and get hacking!

[via TouchArcade]

Update: The iPhone Blog has a simple work-around for accessing BASIC!

Update 2: App pulled, no surprise. If you jumped on the opportunity while it was available, [George’s] comment might be of interest.