What Is The Alice Project?

The Alice Project is a collection of smaller projects that are supposed to teach us about hardware and system software.

Our original goal was to design, manufacture, and sell a UNIX graphics workstation based on the Motorola 88110 microprocessor, which would have been state-of-the-art for 1992. To familiarize ourselves with porting UNIX, we ported BSD Net/2 to the Macintosh II. This was freely released as MacBSD (and later as NetBSD/Mac).

We then jumped into hardware, in 1994 creating the Alice 1, a simple Z80-based system with 7-segment display output, then in 1999 the Alice 2, a more sophisticated modular computer also based on the Z80 microprocessor.

In 2015, we spent a few weeks trying to resurrect the Alice 2. Failing that, we designed and built the Alice 3, also Z80-based but using surface-mount technology and running CP/M 2.2.

In 2017 we switched gears and built the Alice 1V, a hand-held tablet capable of running mid-1980's Silicon Graphics demos. It's based on the Altera Cyclone V SoC.

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