A2 operating system. Introductory information


A2 is a powerful operating system, developed in the ETH Zürich on the Department of Computer Science, based on the Active Object System (AOS) kernel. The kernel provides a compact runtime environment for the Active Oberon language, which supports active objects (threads) directly, and enables the construction of efficient active object-based systems that directly run on the hardware or as application under one of traditional OS.

Above the kernel layer, a flexible collection of modules provide generic abstractions for devices and services, e.g., file systems, user interfaces, networking, codecs and more.

A relatively large number of applications is available for the A2 system. For example:

  • Media Player (DivX, MP3)
  • Programming Editor
  • Web Server
  • TV
  • Oberon for A2

A2 is currently implemented for Intel-compatible multi-processor and multi-core systems (hyperthreading is supported) and Intel-compatible single-processor systems as well as for the Strong-ARM/XScale processor. A2 can also run in several virtual machines such as Qemu, VMWare and Virtual PC.

Most actual source codes and information how to get access to it, located on official page. Also in SVN-repository most fresh compiled version of WinAos and source codes of UnixAos loader are located.

Fresh ISO images of system, built on demand by enthusiasts, located on dedicated page on Source Forge.

For more information, esp. installation and requirements, please look at the Oberon Community Platform. You can ask questions on official Oberon Community Platform forum, russian speaking forum, section of russian speaking OberonCore forum or in Oberon mailing list (Oberon mailing list subscription page).


A2 OS - an extremely flexible system. It may be configured to work without a display driver, or the display driver may be represented by the client area of an application window in traditional host operating systems. MicroA2 project went even a little further. The purpose of the project is in the creation of cross-platform desktop applications with the A2 components. The client area of the A2 OS window in this case coincides with the client area of the host system window, and this application remains fully software compatible with A2 OS. To run the application under the native A2 OS, Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, or Solaris sufficient to recompile the OS and applications. All the benefits of a complete abstraction from the platform features, dynamic loading of object modules and garbage collection are preserved in MicroA2. Object modules can be loaded from both the folder and from the archives. In one MicroA2 assembly an unlimited number of applications may be present, and they will share common object modules, which results in a very slight increase in the final assembly size from increasing the number of applications and populating applications with new functionality. So, for example, MicroA2 assembly including 7 demos, is approximately ~1.7 MB unpacked and ~1.3 MB in archive.






A2 OS Installation archive (ru).mht

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Last update: 13-5-16 21:43:16


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