life extension of old computers thanks to opensource Contiki - CP/M

This is a discussion on life extension of old computers thanks to opensource Contiki - CP/M ; "Peter de Vroomen" wrote in message news:43e8725a$0$11075$e4fe514c@news.xs4all.nl... > > The 68000 (and 010) are extraordinarily inefficient CPUs by modern > > standards, and complex to use and interface. There is little practical > > value in learning the M68K instruction ...

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Thread: life extension of old computers thanks to opensource Contiki

  1. Re: life extension of old computers thanks to opensource Contiki

    "Peter de Vroomen" wrote in message
    news:43e8725a$0$11075$e4fe514c@news.xs4all.nl...
    > > The 68000 (and 010) are extraordinarily inefficient CPUs by modern
    > > standards, and complex to use and interface. There is little practical
    > > value in learning the M68K instruction set because it's practically a
    > > dead family.

    >
    > Sadly the instruction set is a dead family.


    I've been working with Coldfire a lot of late. Using assembler on it is like a
    time warp back to when I was using the 68K family back in the late '80s.

    - Bill



  2. Re: life extension of old computers thanks to opensource Contiki


    William J. Leary Jr. wrote:

    > > > value in learning the M68K instruction set because it's practically a
    > > > dead family.

    > >
    > > Sadly the instruction set is a dead family.

    >
    > I've been working with Coldfire a lot of late. Using assembler on it is like a


    Since Palm went to ARM, ColdFire is more or less a dead end, IMHO.


  3. Re: life extension of old computers thanks to opensource Contiki

    On 6 Feb 2006 22:53:42 -0500, jeffj@panix.com (Jeff Jonas) wrote:

    >>>I think that 8-bit processors are not really interesting anymore

    >
    >If you were a Circuit Cellar subscriber, you'd see interesting permutations
    >of 8 bit cores for embedded processors such as PIC, AVR, eZ80.
    >Like the tail wagging the dog, it's the on-chip peripherals
    >and on-chip memory that dominates the part selection more than the core.
    >40-48 MHz parts retail for less than $5.
    >That's a nice price/performance ratio.
    >
    >>>However 16-bit processors are much more interesting.

    >
    >I daresay that many of the desirable features have migrated to
    >embedded systems (if there's a performance gain)
    >since most are intended for higher-level compiler support
    >instead of bare-bones assembler and instruction-level coding.
    >Freescale (was Motorola) uses the CodeWarrior development environment
    >for their embedded processors now,
    >much to the lament of the Mac users for that version was killed
    >and a very nice support person left after 12 years.


    Jeff,

    What is remarkable about this thread is I've heard it all before
    though that iteration was nearly 25 years ago. It's a rerun of
    8bits are dead, long live 16 bits. They are not dead then and
    more remarkably 25 years later there are more flavors than ever!

    Allison

  4. Re: life extension of old computers thanks to opensource Contiki

    "Peter de Vroomen" writes:

    >> Peter, you're missing one very large element: Nostalgia.

    >
    > Hmm, nostalgia for me means that I like to have those old computers
    > as original as possible. So running Contiki on a C64 does nothing
    > for my feelings of nostalgia. Running GEOS on a C64, however, is a
    > whole different thing.


    I agree. Me too! AOL! Or whatever.

    Although I've been working with Contiki, which is a cool project but
    nothing that nostalgic people will reflect over. Maybe enthusiasts
    who have wired their own network card but lacks an OS to run it with.

    (quite a bit of cross-post, and still several relevant groups are
    missing)

    --
    Anders Carlsson

  5. Re: life extension of old computers thanks to opensource Contiki

    > > > > value in learning the M68K instruction set because it's practically
    a
    > > > > dead family.
    > > >
    > > > Sadly the instruction set is a dead family.

    > >
    > > I've been working with Coldfire a lot of late. Using assembler on it is

    like a
    >
    > Since Palm went to ARM, ColdFire is more or less a dead end, IMHO.


    What I liked about the M68K instruction set is the way it still was tailored
    to handcoded assembly programmers. The Commodore Amiga became a success
    because all the C64 6510 hand coders got a processor which was easier to
    code for, was faster, and more versatile too.

    The 8088 on the other hand had such an ugly instruction set that it was
    shunned for years by the people who matter . Thats the main reason why the
    PC had so few games in the 80's. Only with the 80486 Intel's instruction set
    was cleaned up so much that I would dare to hand-code assembly for it. And
    that really means I will *never* hand-code assembly programs for it *ever*,
    as today's programming tools are so much better and the processors are so
    much faster.

    The ARM is a RISC processor, and RISC processors are not really suitable to
    hand-coding. Assembly code for a RISC processor needs to be optimized to
    have it make use of all the advanced features. Unoptimized code is often
    slower than unoptimized code of CISC processor, while optimized code may run
    MUCH faster than optimized code of a CISC processor.

    So stepping over to ARM and hand-coding for it to learn about assembly
    language is not very efficient. Better to start on the M68K and then going
    on to ARM. Things like 'pipeline' and 'branch prediction' will be a lot
    easier to understand for a student.

    Did you know, by the way, that the 6502 processor (or at least the 65xx
    family) is the worlds first microprocessor to have a pipeline (or so I was
    told at school)?

    PeterV



  6. Re: life extension of old computers thanks to opensource Contiki


    Peter de Vroomen wrote:

    > The ARM is a RISC processor, and RISC processors are not really suitable to
    > hand-coding. Assembly code for a RISC processor needs to be optimized to
    > have it make use of all the advanced features. Unoptimized code is often


    Actually the ARM is the RISC micro you're most likely to need to
    hand-optimize. Writing high-performance ARM code, especially when
    interrupt latency is a problem, involves dancing between 32-bit and
    Thumb modes, and _very_ careful juggling with register usage.


  7. Re: life extension of old computers thanks to opensource Contiki

    On Tue, 07 Feb 2006 12:37:12 GMT,
    Allison-nospam@nouce.bellatlantic.net wrote:

    >What is remarkable about this thread is I've heard it all before
    >though that iteration was nearly 25 years ago. It's a rerun of
    >8bits are dead, long live 16 bits. They are not dead then and
    >more remarkably 25 years later there are more flavors than ever!


    Well that may be, but recently I bought a 2000+mhz all-in-one
    motherboard, Chips & Technology for FIFTY BUCKS. All means
    10/100 ethernet, USB II, sound and video (of course), ATA drive
    controller (these days, besides hard, CD, DVD, tape, you name
    it),floppy, infra-red, geez...just need case/power, drives, and RAM
    And then I stopped by Officemax and got 512 MEGS of DDR for
    $40 after rebate. Just need drives and case/power. I won't have
    total in it even the $300 I paid for ONE eight inch drive in 1980.

    Of course, I'm not talking an embedded controller for a toaster.

    Lemme see... I paid $7.50 per chip for eight chips to put 64K on
    my BigBoard II...that's $960/megabyte. That much memory would
    have set me back ...oh my god....half a MILLION dollars in 1980?

    These days I like Plextor optical drives, and IBM hard drives.

    With that, can work with sound and/or video as easily as you
    can TEXT ONLY with your eight bits. Plus, networking. Do you
    usually network with your eight biters? Internet and Da Web
    is networking, fer instance.....

    Now, to be fair, computing is (used to be?) programming.
    But today, is running applications. Like, making toast.

    The things we used to dream of doing, today we can do
    all that, and more we never ever even imagined (ebay?).

    Bill


  8. Re: life extension of old computers thanks to opensource Contiki

    zwsdotcom@gmail.com wrote:

    > Actually the ARM is the RISC micro you're most likely to need to
    > hand-optimize. Writing high-performance ARM code, especially when
    > interrupt latency is a problem, involves dancing between 32-bit and
    > Thumb modes, and _very_ careful juggling with register usage.


    Most processors are going to benefit from a bit of hand-coded assembly in an
    ISR, so your point is moot.

    What Peter was getting at is that writing hand-optimised assembler is an art
    form at the best of times, and doubly so an a RISC architecture. Someone
    cutting their teeth on assembler is much better off on a CISC than worrying
    about the branch pipelines and shuffling data between 128 registers...

    Regards,

    --
    | Mark McDougall | "Electrical Engineers do it
    | | with less resistance!"

  9. Re: life extension of old computers thanks to opensource Contiki


    Mark McDougall wrote:

    > Most processors are going to benefit from a bit of hand-coded assembly in an
    > ISR, so your point is moot.


    Not at all. ARM is particularly challenged w.r.t interrupt latency, so
    it requires careful tweaking. It is also possibly the most broadly used
    32-bit core, by which I mean it is found in big devices that are
    microprocessors, and small devices that are microcontrollers with no
    external memory bus and say 32K of internal flash/2K internal RAM.

    These tiny ARM devices are being positioned to replace 8-bit devices in
    a large number of low-level control applications, many of which are not
    coded in C.

    Learning to code in ARM assembler is by no means a useless skill, as it
    is directly applicable to modern-day engineering tasks.

    AVR is a RISC architecture too, albeit an 8-bit one. Ditto MSP430
    (16-bit RISC). Nobody would suggest that it is silly to learn these
    assembly languages.


  10. Re: life extension of old computers thanks to opensource Contiki

    zwsdotcom@gmail.com wrote:

    > AVR is a RISC architecture too, albeit an 8-bit one. Ditto MSP430
    > (16-bit RISC). Nobody would suggest that it is silly to learn these
    > assembly languages.


    Silly? Of course not! The best for a newbie? IMHO - not!

    Regards,

    --
    | Mark McDougall | "Electrical Engineers do it
    | | with less resistance!"

  11. Re: life extension of old computers thanks to opensource Contiki


    Mark McDougall wrote:

    > > AVR is a RISC architecture too, albeit an 8-bit one. Ditto MSP430
    > > (16-bit RISC). Nobody would suggest that it is silly to learn these
    > > assembly languages.

    >
    > Silly? Of course not! The best for a newbie? IMHO - not!


    ?!! AVR is ROUTINELY used in introductory-level educational courses
    (assembly language).


  12. Re: life extension of old computers thanks to opensource Contiki

    On Tue, 6 Feb 2006 zwsdotcom@gmail.com wrote:

    >
    > spi...@freenet.co.uk wrote:
    >
    >>> Oh oh! I think I know GCC's friends. It's Mr. lint and Mr. grep right? :-)

    >>
    >> You forgot mr make, mr bison and mr autoconf

    >
    > You must be a programmer of unparalleled skills and not much interest
    > in low-level detail.
    >
    > I create this psychological profile on the basis of the fact that you
    > neglected to mention Messyrs. gdb and gas.


    OK, now I'm scared. I'm a huge fan of Linux and FLOSS in general, but not
    even the most reclusive part of me would claim that these are friends of
    mine who have had the priviledge of penetrating my inner circle...

    --
    Nick Humphries, nick@egyptus.co.uk http://www.egyptus.co.uk/
    Your Sinclair Rock'n'Roll Years http://www.ysrnry.co.uk/
    YSRnRY documentary (1985 OUT NOW) http://www.ysrnry.co.uk/tvprog/
    The Tipshop http://www.the-tipshop.co.uk/


  13. Re: life extension of old computers thanks to opensource Contiki

    zwsdotcom@gmail.com wrote:

    >
    > spi...@freenet.co.uk wrote:
    >
    > > > Oh oh! I think I know GCC's friends. It's Mr. lint and Mr. grep
    > > > right? :-)

    > >
    > > You forgot mr make, mr bison and mr autoconf

    >
    > You must be a programmer of unparalleled skills and not much interest
    > in low-level detail.
    >
    > I create this psychological profile on the basis of the fact that you
    > neglected to mention Messyrs. gdb and gas.



    Hi!



    What is Messyrs. gdb and gas?




    Best Regards,

    Daniel Mandic

  14. Re: life extension of old computers thanks to opensource Contiki

    Nick Humphries, via obd wrote:

    > not even the most reclusive part of me would claim that these are
    > friends of mine who have had the priviledge of penetrating my inner
    > circle...


    F'nar!

    D.






  15. Re: life extension of old computers thanks to opensource Contiki

    On 07 Feb 2006 22:57:50 GMT, "Daniel Mandic"
    wrote:

    >> I create this psychological profile on the basis of the fact that you
    >> neglected to mention Messyrs. gdb and gas.

    >
    >What is Messyrs. gdb and gas?


    http://www.just****inggoogleit.com/search?q=gdb+gas


  16. Re: life extension of old computers thanks to opensource Contiki

    > What Peter was getting at is that writing hand-optimised assembler is an
    art
    > form at the best of times, and doubly so an a RISC architecture. Someone
    > cutting their teeth on assembler is much better off on a CISC than

    worrying
    > about the branch pipelines and shuffling data between 128 registers...


    Right, exactly what I meant.

    It's actually even worse. Most opcodes of modern RISC processors are
    tailored to some specific high-level language (of course, mostly C or C++).
    The high-level language compiler can optimize way better for these
    processors than a programmer can do by hand. Typically, IF more optimization
    is needed, the programmer needs to only optimize one or two simple routines.
    Optimizing the rest of the code by hand just doesn't weigh up against the
    time it costs.

    PeterV



  17. Re: life extension of old computers thanks to opensource Contiki

    > Learning to code in ARM assembler is by no means a useless skill, as it
    > is directly applicable to modern-day engineering tasks.


    No, of course not, but optimizing for a RISC processor is simply more
    challenging than optimizing for a CISC processor. If you want to learn
    assembly, it's best to start with a CISC processor, learn the basics, and
    then step up to the RISC processor.

    Hand-optimization will allways be needed, and a good programmer can probably
    optimize the code better than a compiler can. But hand-optimization only
    applies to small pieces of the code, like Interrupt Service Routines.
    Generally a program consists of more than just an ISR .

    And about 'RISC architecture'... Of course these days the differences
    between RISC and CISC are pretty muddy. A Pentium 4 processor has all the
    characteristics of a RISC processor, but it still has a CISC instruction
    set. So does the AVR. The PIC, however, has an instruction set that is
    really RISC. Very limited, but every instruction is executed very fast.
    Often you need more than one instruction to accomplish something a CISC
    processor does in one instruction.

    PeterV



  18. Re: life extension of old computers thanks to opensource Contiki

    > > > AVR is a RISC architecture too, albeit an 8-bit one. Ditto MSP430
    > > > (16-bit RISC). Nobody would suggest that it is silly to learn these
    > > > assembly languages.

    > >
    > > Silly? Of course not! The best for a newbie? IMHO - not!

    >
    > ?!! AVR is ROUTINELY used in introductory-level educational courses
    > (assembly language).


    AVR is indeed suited for beginners. Don't know about the MSP430. But I'd say
    that the ARM is not for beginners. And I think Mark meant the ARM when he
    gave his comment .

    PeterV



  19. Re: life extension of old computers thanks to opensource Contiki

    Hmmm.

    In comp.sys.apple2, somebody posted a link to this chip:
    http://www.winbond-usa.com/mambo/con...SelectionGuide

    This chip is just WAITING for a port of Contiki, I'd say .

    PeterV



  20. Re: life extension of old computers thanks to opensource Contiki

    Peter de Vroomen wrote:

    > In comp.sys.apple2, somebody posted a link to this chip:
    > http://www.winbond-usa.com/mambo/con...SelectionGuide
    >
    > This chip is just WAITING for a port of Contiki, I'd say .


    This is the same processor as the SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System)
    - albeit slightly faster

    Regards,

    --
    | Mark McDougall | "Electrical Engineers do it
    | | with less resistance!"

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