A Basic x86 Operating System/Kernel
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ShawnOS is an Operating System/Kernel meant to help learn the fundamentals of Operating System development, primarily on Intel x86-based architectures.

The project is very much a work-in-progress at this point and many design decisions regarding the OS are yet to be made. Eventually, the project aims to reach a basic level of usability, with a functional console environment and C compiler.

All code is licensed under the GNU GPL v3 unless explicitly stated elsewhere.


In order to build and run ShawnOS, a gcc cross-compiling toolchain must be present for the desired target (currently i686-elf is only supported).

The OSDev Wiki has a tutorial on how to create the required toolchain for Linux, OS X, and Windows here.

In addition to the tools mentioned in the OSDev wiki, you will also need a few more packages.

  • nasm
  • xorriso
  • mtools
  • grub-pc (Debian/Ubuntu only)

These are available in most Linux distributions' package managers.

# Debian/Ubuntu
$ sudo apt-get install nasm xorriso mtools grub-pc-bin

# Fedora
$ sudo dnf install nasm xorriso mtools 

# Arch Linux
$ sudo pacman -S nasm xorriso mtools

Once you have set up the necessary toolchain, you must update the PREFIX and PATH variables in env.sh to reflect its location.


export PREFIX='$HOME/opt/cross'
export TARGET=i686-elf
export PATH='$PREFIX/bin:$PATH'

Once you have completed this, simply run the following to load the variables:

$ source env.sh

Now you may build an ISO image of the OS:

$ make iso

If you have qemu installed for the proper architecture, you can also run ShawnOS in a virtual machine:

$ make qemu


The project eventually aims to provide a basic usable user space with console utilities and a C compiler.


Much of the code from ShawnOS is adapted from or inspired by the following resources:

The OSDev Wiki

Bran's Kernel Development Tutorial