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Last post Author Topic: Word Processor OS  (Read 8580 times)

aidan_cage

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Word Processor OS
« on: January 09, 2011, 11:21:45 PM »
Does anyone know of something pre existing, or would it be possible to create a simple operating system that can be booted from the BIOS, and that simply launches a fullscreen notepad that can save files to the root harddrive? It's pretty key that it offer nothing more; any distraction would ruin it. If the user wants to load a browser to check a definition, then facebook, then play a quick flash game, etc., onward to procrastinationland, then they would first have to shutdown and boot back into the main OS.

This is a dream of mine: to push my computer to do only what I need to do, despite what I might want to do, or just decide to do, etc. Typewriter soundsets, like in WriteMonkey, would be an added bonus ;)

Any thoughts on feasibility, or similar concepts in the wild?

Renegade

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Re: Word Processor OS
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2011, 11:30:48 PM »
The first electronic typewriters were like that.

I've not seen anything like it since though.
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Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

aidan_cage

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Re: Word Processor OS
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2011, 11:38:57 PM »
I've thought to chase one down, but it seems silly when something so simple should be emulatable on a netbook

Target

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Re: Word Processor OS
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2011, 11:40:27 PM »
what about booting to the command line?

you can EDIT, and no doubt there are other CLI editors...

no distractions (unless they waste time drawing ASCII art...)

aidan_cage

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Re: Word Processor OS
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2011, 11:44:26 PM »
That's worth looking into, but I don't know computers like that. I grew up on an LC II and entered PCs post windows xp..

It's probably not too difficult to figure out, though...

nudone

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Re: Word Processor OS
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2011, 03:01:38 AM »
if not commandline, maybe one of the linux variations aimed at netbooks to provide quick boot ups. or one that can quickly come out of hibernate.

unfortunately, can't recommend anything as i don't know much about linux. i just know i've seen netbooks with linux based o/s.

Curt

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Re: Word Processor OS
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2011, 03:28:20 AM »

40hz

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Re: Word Processor OS
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2011, 05:50:21 AM »
ok...I was just putting the finishing touches on a fairly long response when this popped up:

BloodyHell.png

...and everything just vanished - as in completely and totally gone. :'(

Right now I have to head off to work.

I'll see if I can rewrite and post it later on today.

Sorry. :(
« Last Edit: January 10, 2011, 06:37:45 AM by 40hz »

Eóin

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Re: Word Processor OS
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2011, 08:57:39 AM »
You could probably fake it without leaving windows world. I'm sure you could setup a Windows install which would boot and autologin to a extremely limited user account, one which only has permission to run say, WriteMonkey, and save to a specific folder.

aidan_cage

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Re: Word Processor OS
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2011, 10:05:08 AM »
That's a great idea. I'm reformatting my netbook now, so I'll look around about doing that to get started. It's what I know, anyway.

timns

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Re: Word Processor OS
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2011, 11:27:27 AM »
That's a great idea. I'm reformatting my netbook now, so I'll look around about doing that to get started. It's what I know, anyway.

How about Presto:

http://www.prestomypc.com/

aidan_cage

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Re: Word Processor OS
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2011, 11:48:54 AM »
Close. Something similar, but simpler. Just word processing. Just like the old electric typewriters that were mentioned above. Maybe the niche is too small. It looks like Presto is trying to offer the entirety of a "computer" (as that refers to the actions one can take with the modern computer), as rapidly accessible. I just want an electric typewriter without having to boot, wait, watch all the icons and calendar load on the desktop, wait for my network and security apps to load, then launch notepad and type in a window, etc. I like some of the simpler ideas up here, but they are ideas I'll have to research and set up myself. Good minds in the hive here, though, so I thought I'd poke in.

nudone

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Re: Word Processor OS
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2011, 01:13:07 PM »
That's a great idea. I'm reformatting my netbook now, so I'll look around about doing that to get started. It's what I know, anyway.

How about Presto:

http://www.prestomypc.com/


ooh, that looks like just want i'd want for my netbook. going to give it a try at the weekend.

40hz

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Re: Word Processor OS
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2011, 01:30:19 PM »
Wow. Looks like you're trying to bring back the old days of dedicated WP appliances like the Wang :rip:.

wang.jpg

Antiquis temporibus, nati tibi similes in rupibus ventosissimis exponebantur ad necem!!!

And rightly so IMHO... ;D

----

Ok...looks like I'm not gonna get a chance to rewrite my earlier reply in it's entirety anytime soon. So I'll do my best to recap the highlights.

If you want to create a completely dedicated appliance, it's probably easiest to start with a micro-mini Linux distribution and go from there.

babypenguin.jpg

You can basically do it one of two ways:

  • Start with a really tiny distro like SliTaz or TinyCore and add your text app to it.
     
  • Start with a mini distro like Tiny Me, DamnSmall Linux, or Puppy, and strip out everything but what you do want - and optionally add your choice of text editor to that if it isn't already included.

Root around the those distro websites while you're there. Many have info or utilities that will help you remaster their distro your way. The relevant page from TinyCore can be found here. Puppy Linux provides something called Woof which accomplishes a similar goal.

Once you've built your WP distro, set it to boot to the command prompt and have a  user startup script invoke your editor from there. Use file permissions and ownership to lock this user out of everything else. No that there'll be much.

Be sure you do this on a separate user account since you still need root access from time to time for system maintenance.

Note: a lot of these mini Linux distros  are intended for embedded systems. Do a little research on that if you really want to take it all the way and put it on bootable solid-state media and use a micro PC to run it. That would make it a real dedicated hardware appliance. Alternatively, you could create a bootable USB version and use that on any PC to get the same result.

While none of this is exactly beginner stuff, it's not really guru level either. You'll need to learn a few things about Linux. But it's mostly freshman with a little bit of sophmore year thrown in. And the skills you acquire doing such a project will become valuable assets assuming you're interested and have the time.

Luck! :Thmbsup:

------

Addendum: FWIW I personally think Eóin's suggestion for setting up an extremely limited user account under Windows is the most expedient and efficient solution for what you want to do. I'd try that first before I started mucking around trying to create a whole separate appliance.

« Last Edit: January 10, 2011, 01:42:34 PM by 40hz »

aidan_cage

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Re: Word Processor OS
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2011, 01:46:08 PM »
Thanks. I especially appreciate that it's the second attempt. Thanks again!

40hz

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Re: Word Processor OS
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2011, 01:54:28 PM »
@aidan_cage: de nada...I'm waiting for a credential change to percolate through the domain so I can log back into this client's server I'm working on.

Besides, your project is a lot more interesting than what I'm being paid to do right now. ;D


Shades

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Re: Word Processor OS
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2011, 04:41:30 PM »
How about a Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard (Core edition)?  :P

 As far as I know it has only a console and doesn't let you install too much extras in a severely limited graphical shell.

Ath

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Re: Word Processor OS
« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2011, 04:56:56 PM »
Are you sure you need a computer-like device for that? A simple paper notebook (yup, the kind that you can tear pages off of) and a pencil would do, I guess?

If it has to be something electronic, the Chrome OS on it's special laptop, by Google could fit in nicely, but you'd have to make Docs your startup-page then 8)

40hz

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Re: Word Processor OS
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2011, 06:46:09 PM »
How about a Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard (Core edition)?  :P

 As far as I know it has only a console and doesn't let you install too much extras in a severely limited graphical shell.



 :Thmbsup:


sword

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Re: Word Processor OS
« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2011, 12:08:25 AM »
MenuetOS and KolibriOS with Tinypad are small and basic.

40hz

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Re: Word Processor OS
« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2011, 02:58:32 PM »
Just occurred to me you could also try starting with BartPE using PEBuilder to roll a customized Windows live CD containing something like WriteMonkey and little else. Be easier for most people than going the Linux route I outlined earlier. Tons of "how-to" and forum help available for BartPE and PE Builder just a Google search away too. Possibly somebody's already done it?

 8)
 
« Last Edit: January 11, 2011, 03:03:09 PM by 40hz »

aidan_cage

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Re: Word Processor OS
« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2011, 04:27:17 PM »
I'm thinking I might be able to create an account in Windows 7 that doesn't have network access, and that boots right in to Windows with WriteMonkey as the only startup program. Is that possible to do? I've never played around with creating user accounts...

the downside, of course, is that all of windows has to boot just to get there. The other ideas seem better, but require a bit of curved learning on my part.

NOT THAT THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT :)

Edvard

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Re: Word Processor OS
« Reply #22 on: January 14, 2011, 02:06:26 PM »
You might be looking for something called "Kiosk mode".
It can be easily enabled for most browsers, and I believe Windows has a security template or some thingummy actually called "kiosk mode" to do exactly what you're wanting.

Two of the most promising links I found searching around http://support.microsoft.com:

TeamTutorials: Configuring your own Kiosk Machine
http://teamtutorials...ur-own-kiosk-machine
Microsoft SteadyState
http://www.microsoft...it/internetcafe.mspx

There were more, but most of them involved Internet Explorer in Kiosk Mode and some security-related topics, which I assume you would not need because you're not trying to set up a public internet kiosk.
I've not used it, but I've heard SteadyState is fairly configurable.
Unfortunately support drops after June 30; but it still may be just the thing.

Stoic Joker

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Re: Word Processor OS
« Reply #23 on: January 14, 2011, 02:29:01 PM »
Quick-N-Dirty shortcut - Kiosk Mode can be toggled (on/off) by pressing F11

aidan_cage

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Re: Word Processor OS
« Reply #24 on: January 14, 2011, 02:31:24 PM »
Thanks for the link references. I looked briefly at the steadystate page, but will look into each link further as I go. The IDEAL of my vision, which I am still holding crystalline, is to have a relatively instant-on OS (if you can call such a thing an OS) that loads a fullscreen, ultra minimal text input program, such as a notepad-type app, and allows me to type instantly all of my thoughts, and automatically autosave to a folder of my choosing in the root directory of my harddrive (or usb key if it's that kind of a setup). Such a thing would allow me to use my netbook as an electric typewriter (as programs like writemonkey, and darkroom do), but would mean I could focus without the distractions of a fully loaded OS (updates, syncs, internets, etc.). I just push the power button, and away I go.

It seems odd, I guess, because it's sort of a Luddite, anti-tech dream, but still almost steampunk in its potential to be a work of art. I still have this dream of graphic, old typewriter arms klick-klacking up to the cursor line on the screen, punching an old typewriter font, creating an engaging and immersive typing experience...   :Thmbsup: