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the Kestrel

"About the Kestrel" (old) by Samuel A. Falvo II 2004 "Kestrel GitHub Repository", Samuel A. Falvo II, 2012-present.


The Kestrel's intended purpose is to be a rational, grass-roots computer design employing half-way modern technology, where (quite unlike the PC) *EVERYTHING* is documented openly. BUT, not adopting every possible technology under the sun just because it exists. ... you'd get the circuit schematics, register-level programming information, timing diagrams, and descriptions of the ROM-resident OS interfaces ...

The over-arching goals of the project remain the same:

  • An open, completely documented architecture, able to be described in a SINGLE BOOK. ...
  • Fan-less design, which means, low power, even at the expense of computation speed. ... I'm not aiming for the lowEST power -- but fanless design is critical.


  • Instant on, (nearly) instant off. ... On the Amiga, you just waited 5 seconds, without touching anything, (that's it) for the disk caches to sync with the volumes, and then you flicked the power switch. End of discussion. Not so with Windows or Linux. Anyway, boot-up is way, way more expensive. It has to check RAM every freaking time ..., it probes the buses and takes its damn sweet time doing it, etc. AmigaOS did all this in a fraction of a second. Heck, even just spending 5 seconds is sufficient for me. But remember that this is added on to the start-up time of the OS you're loading too! The goal: instant on, instant off. Trust me -- it really DOES make a difference!


  • Lightning fast I/O auto-detection. If the Amiga can do it with 8MHz processor technology, so can we with 66MHz. I simply cannot emphasize this enough.
  • Relatively easy to build. Since this is now an advanced kit idea, this isn't nearly as weighted as it used to be. Nonetheless, it is a goal to strive for.
  • Minimum cost. ...


The whole purpose is to have FUN with this computer -- to have fun building it, to have fun using it, to have fun expanding it. Part of this fun factor is being able to hack the hardware as much as you can hack the software. Commodore's IEC bus, HP's HP-IL, and Amiga's Zorro bus are all inspirations here. ... it wasn't hard to build a Zorro card that fully interoperated with the system, you didn't need to be registered with anyone but Commodore (and they gave away mfr IDs for FREE), and full hardware interface details were available in the Amiga HRM for a cost of $29.99 US. It was bliss.

  • Everything is LGPLed. So if you DID want to include PCI slots or whatever, please feel free!! Just because it's not my personal priority with the system doesn't mean it's not someone else's. This is the beauty of open source and, indeed, open hardware.


  • Support for new business opportunities. ... This ties into the prime goal of this whole thing, which is,
  • The creation of a vibrant and healthy user and developer community, capable of supporting itself on both software AND hardware fronts.


(end quote)

A more up-to-date description of The Kestrel Project. (several other pages on the Kestrel project nearby).

Further reading

  • "The Raspberry Pi Foundation ... promotes the study of computer science and related topics, especially at school level, and puts the fun back into learning computing." -- (Would this organization and the Kestrel make a good match?)
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