Inside Nintendo's ES Open-Source Operating System

Nintendo has made an experimental open-source operating system called ES available to the public, with English-language discussion just starting - and some suggestion that the Sourceforge-hosted project could be the start of XNA-style open creation system
Operating system-oriented website OSNews reports about an open-source operating system from Nintendo, titled ES. The website for the OS reveals that it was made public on August 30, 2006, though it only hit version 0.1 on October 11 of this year. According to OSNews, the first English-language site to pick up on the system, ES "runs natively on x86 (and qemu of course), kernel is written in C++, uses an ECMAScript interpreter for all of the userland, uses Cairo for graphics, and even has a port of [programming language] Squeak." The OS is a 'research system,' meaning that there is no specific application for it at present, and is being used for experimentation. However, a story commenter on theorizes: that it could be the framework for something like Microsoft's XNA, and is certainly expandable to platforms other than PC with a little work. The commenter, 'ravyne2001' postulates: "Officially, it's simply a "research operating system." Something Nintendo is toying with and which may or may not lead to an eventual release in much the same way that Nintendo has always been in constant hardware development..." "The working theory" he continues, "seems to be that this OS might be the early stages of something similar to Microsoft's XNA -- basically a sandbox environment which offers hardware acceleration and a userland based on some form of VM execution, ECMAscript in this instance. Although the current build is against X86, it could be ported over to PPC to run on the Wii, for instance." For now, the operating system is laid bare to the public, which OSNews commentors seem to think is designed with broad adoption and simplicity in mind. Though all documentation - including a full technical paper [PDF] on the project is in Japanese, all necessary source code is downloadable. An official English-language abstract regarding the project is as follows: "We propose an extensible component operating system architecture in which an operating system kernel uses reflection to process C++ pure virtual function based system calls and upcalls to provide a unified programming environment for application, server, and kernel development. We found that we could even develop file subsystems and a TCP/IP protocol stack on an existing operating system based on this architecture." The official ES website is being updated regularly, with the Squeak port implemented only days ago.

Latest Jobs


Hybrid, Cambridge, MA or Chicago, IL
Quality Assurance Lead

Bladework games

Remote (United States)
Senior Gameplay Engineer

High Fidelity, Inc.

Game Interaction Designer

Fred Rogers Productions

Hybrid (424 South 27th Street, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Producer - Games & Websites
More Jobs   


Explore the
Advertise with
Follow us

Game Developer Job Board

Game Developer


Explore the

Game Developer Job Board

Browse open positions across the game industry or recruit new talent for your studio

Advertise with

Game Developer

Engage game professionals and drive sales using an array of Game Developer media solutions to meet your objectives.

Learn More
Follow us


Follow us @gamedevdotcom to stay up-to-date with the latest news & insider information about events & more