Teen Isolated in the Outback Builds 80’s DOS UI

/ 2 years ago

Outback OS 1

Not everything has to be about the newest and the best of tech, once in a while a low-tech story comes along that I just love. A teen isolated in the outback of Australia built his own 80’s style DOS user interface with what he had. Following a messy parental divorce, he found himself cut off from the internet and technologic advances. On top of that his mother, who he now lived with, was very strict about what he was allowed to do and not do; not easy times for sure.

Outback OS 6

He did have a 486 based PC from his dad, but with nothing but a plain DOS installation. So with the help of that and some old books from the public library, he went ahead and created his own OS Interface, or UI, much in the direction of what the first windows versions looked like, and many other user interfaces from that time for that matter.

Outback OS 5

He dubbed his user interface OSCI (pronounced Aussie), which stood for Operating System Command Interface. With this work of his, he was able to maintain all his files in a much simpler way than through the command interface. But he didn’t stop there and unaware of the technological progress going on, and only hearing bits and pieces here and there, he went on to create his own games and even started on a fake 3D engine called Ray-caster.

Outback OS 4

I can relate a lot to this teen, or young adult by now, as I’ve been in similar situations. Stuck with an old computer without anything on it and no connection to get anything new. Only thing left is to create it yourself, with whatever tools at your disposal. In this case, it was DOS and QBasic that was used, and that was the same I used for a while when limited to an old 16colour laptop based on a 386 CPU; it’s amazing what you can build with very little.

Outback OS 3

The good news on top of his not so good years in the outback is that there definitely is a future programmer in him with eyes for things other people might miss. He’s also back in civilization again and has been since 2007, where he’s enjoying the advancements like Half-Life and Half-Life 2. The full story can be read at the source below.

Outback OS 2

Thanks to fiberbundle for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Imgur

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  • Alistair Hardy

    Just read the source OP. Intersting little story. Shame he lost the originals etc.
    Hopefully he’s able to update himself to modern commenly used languages such as C++, .net, C#, Java or Python.