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For those not aware of the background, the author is a wizard from a secretive underground society of wizards known as the Familia Toledo; he and his family (it is a family) have been designing and building their own computers (and ancillary equipment like reflow ovens) and writing their own operating systems and web browsers for some 40 years now. Unfortunately, they live on the outskirts of Mexico City, not Sunnyvale or Boston, so the public accounts of their achievements have been mostly written by vulgar journalists without even rudimentary knowledge of programming or electronics.

And they have maintained their achievements mostly private, perhaps because whenever they’ve talked about their details publicly, the commentary has mostly been of the form “This isn’t possible” and “This is obviously a fraud” from the sorts of ignorant people who make a living installing virus scanners and pirate copies of Windows and thus imagine themselves to be computer experts. (All of this happened entirely in Spanish, except I think for a small amount which happened in Zapotec, which I don’t speak; the family counts the authorship of a Zapotec dictionary among their public achievements.) In particular, they’ve never published the source or even binary code of their operating systems and web browsers, as far as I know.

This changed a few years back when Óscar Toledo G., the son of the founder (Óscar Toledo E.), won the IOCCC with his Nanochess program: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Obfuscated_C_Cod… and four more times as well. His obvious achievements put to rest — at least for me — the uncertainty about whether they were underground genius hackers or merely running some kind of con job. Clearly Óscar Toledo G. is a hacker of the first rank, and we can take his word about the abilities of the rest of his family, even if they do not want to publish their code for public criticism.

I look forward to grokking BootOS in fullness and learning the brilliant tricks contained within! Getting a full CLI and minimalist filesystem into a 512-byte floppy-disk boot sector is no small achievement.

It’s unfortunate that, unlike the IOCCC entries, BootOS is not open source.

From https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20570154

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    To be fair, the only special tricks I can see here is ‘falling through’ the next function, and overlapping opcodes to skip over a piece of code, and used quite sparingly. The biggest “trick” is that it simply avoids doing a lot of stuff.

    I’ve seen much more impressive stuff, like 3d graphics and image compression. (Source code included in their download archives. Also, the last link is NSFW.)

    Nevertheless, it’s still awesome.

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      I actually think it’s more awesome for not using special tricks. Designing a good set of features is far superior to “tricks” like say jumping to different offsets on the same byte stream to interpret it as different instructions.

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        Depends on what you’re used to, I guess. Some of my work (well, “work”) requires a healthy^[debated] dose of tricks, so seeing more of those is always enlightening to me.

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      That is simply crazy. And I feel retarded now.

      HN link: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20569438