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Now you can run Unix on the tiny $4 Raspberry Pi Pico

Fuzix, an operating system for very small machines, is now available for the Raspberry Pi Pico.
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Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer on

Developers who have one of Raspberry Pi's latest gadgets, the Pi Pico, have a newly ported potential operating system to work with called Fuzix, a Unix-like OS for small things. 

"So you can now run Unix on a $4 microcontroller," said Raspberry Pi in its blog post about the project. 

Fuzix was created by British computer scientist Alan Cox as a lightweight Unix OS for small machines. 

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Computer programmer David Given has been porting Fuzix to various architectures and this week released a port for the Pi Pico's RP2040 tiny chip, which features dual-core Arm Cortex-M0+, 264 kilobytes of on-chip RAM, and support for up to 16MB of off-chip Flash memory. 

Given describes Fuzix as "an old-school V7 Unix clone, originally based on Doug Braun's UZI Unixish for the Z80." 

"It'll run in a tiny amount of space while also scaling up to machines with a reasonable amount of RAM (like a megabyte) while also provided a pretty decent old-school Unix environment, with multiple processes, the classic Bourne shell, init and getty, and so on."

According to the FuzixOS project's GitHub page, "FUZIX is a fusion of various elements from the assorted UZI forks and branches beaten together into some kind of semi-coherent platform and then extended from V7 to somewhere in the SYS3 to SYS5.x world with bits of POSIX thrown in for good measure. Various learnings and tricks from ELKS and from OMU also got blended in," writes Given.

Given was impressed with the Pico's documentation and the Pico's C programming language software development kit (SDK).

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The Fuzix port only uses one of the Pico's cores, and provides user binaries using up to 64KB of code and data each, up to 15 processes, a Unix filesystem, SD card support, and a serial console on Pico's UART0. 

Raspberry Pi has posted a blog explaining how to get Fuzix up and running on a Pico from a Raspberry Pi computer or another Linux-based computer.  

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