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 ; How many people out there believe that life of old 8-bit systems and old 16-bit systems life will be spared because of Contiki? I believe this OS is the answer that all 8-bitters have been looking for. I think it ...

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  1. life extension of old computers thanks to opensource Contiki

    How many people out there believe that life of old 8-bit systems and
    old 16-bit systems life will be spared because of Contiki? I believe
    this OS is the answer that all 8-bitters have been looking for. I think
    it offers more than just TCP/IP to old systems. It is a common ground
    for all 8-bit systems all the way from Z80 to 6502, a place where new
    apps can be ported from one system to another with little modification.
    I hope in the future we can see it grow. Maybe see the GUI abilities
    advance on systems like the Atari, C-128 and Apple. See a version be
    ported to run on a 32k TS-1000 with 1541 floppy drive. An apple IIGS
    native version. and add in modules and drivers to take advantage of
    home brew upgrades on 8-bit systems like CF cards and ram upgrades,
    video tweaks, or accelerators. Or maybe versions that would run on old
    CP/M computers like Northstar, or even Altair. How about include single
    board computers like Apple 1 or Cosmac ELF? The future of 8-bit
    computers is still wide open, and it is nice to see an OS like Contiki
    to make them sore. So programmers develope for it, and make it grand.
    Users, use it, and reap from it's benefits.

    http://www.sics.se/~adam/contiki/


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

    big_d_316 writes

    [ Crossposted ]
    >How many people out there believe that life of old 8-bit systems and
    >old 16-bit systems life will be spared because of Contiki?


    Some of the 16 bitters perhaps. Not the 8-bitters. They will survive on
    their own merits but it will be fun to try Contiki, if only for the
    journey rather that the end result.

    >I believe
    >this OS is the answer that all 8-bitters have been looking for. I think
    >it offers more than just TCP/IP to old systems. It is a common ground
    >for all 8-bit systems all the way from Z80 to 6502, a place where new
    >apps can be ported from one system to another with little modification.
    >I hope in the future we can see it grow.


    There is some video of the C64 using Contiki to access Google at the end
    of this video.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...40151804208219

    >Maybe see the GUI abilities
    >advance on systems like the Atari, C-128 and Apple. See a version be
    >ported to run on a 32k TS-1000 with 1541 floppy drive.


    GUIs first started appearing on the ZX Spectrum twenty years ago

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...06623234946073

    Since the Timex 1000 can achieve this resolution in software and since
    peripherals, like ZX Spectrum mice, will fit the TS-1000 edge connector
    then a GUI would be possible on the standard machine with memory
    expansion.

    It would be a bit Klickibunti though.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klickibunti

    The journey would be fun and I am sure some are planning it now :-)


    --
    Geoff Wearmouth
    http://wimp.isthe****.net/

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

    big_d_316@yahoo.com wrote:
    > How many people out there believe that life of old 8-bit systems and
    > old 16-bit systems life will be spared because of Contiki? I believe
    > this OS is the answer that all 8-bitters have been looking for....
    > The future of 8-bit
    > computers is still wide open, and it is nice to see an OS like Contiki
    > to make them sore [soar?]. So programmers develope for it, and make it grand.
    > Users, use it, and reap from it's benefits.


    These comments make a lot of assumptions, so I took time to respond and
    comment. But as this message was posted to several Usenet groups, I'll
    only respond in depth in comp.os.cpm - that's my own policy.

    I have a clue about embedded systems, as well as S-100 systems. I took
    a few minutes to look at the Contiki Web site. It looks neat, with
    modern capabilities like GUI and TCP/IP. Many people who were born
    after the introduction of CP/M in the mid-70's who find or want a
    system of that era, ask about such capabilities. If it interests them
    to put a late-model OS on an old-model computer, more power to them.
    And there is certainly interest in small OS's with these capabilities
    on small processors for the usual embedded-type reasons of cost, power
    consumption, and so forth.

    But for many people who originally used or designed computers of the
    1970's and 80's, the ORIGINAL operating systems are still desirable for
    use. As for "new" OS's: in that same era or later, alternatives to
    CP/M were developed. Also, Digital Research offered a number of
    advanced OS's (relative to the era). While there is almost no recent
    work on these older products, most of them have been "released" in one
    form or another and are available for anyone who wants to experiment
    with them. There is no "new" work because the work has been DONE. The
    hardware is stable. The features set is stable. The market is stable
    (zero). This idea of "done" may be hard to appreciate by some
    programmers.

    In comp.os.cpm, several of those developers or creators are active;
    many have Web sites which offer some level of support. A review of
    comp.os.cpm posts will find those people and their sites, and where
    those product are available today. Almost all of those OS's are free,
    or free for personal use.

    It is popular to take old cars and rebuild them with new engines, trim
    and so forth. But it's also popular to take old cars and RESTORE them
    with original or like-original parts. I think one way is as "grand" as
    another, and there is as much "life" in a restored car as a hot-rod.
    There are reasons and arguments for either, and I see no point in
    saying one way is better than another.

    But I really doubt one comment by the poster, that a new OS will "spare
    the life" of an old computer, at least really old computers as in the
    CP/M world. I have old computers offered to me regularlly - none of
    those persons would be convinced to do any degree of programming
    whatsoever to revive their old computer for "new life". No prospective
    owner who would normally turn it down as too old and slow, would change
    their minds if told they could get a "new OS" for it. Sorry, but old -
    really old, not just some 5 year old box - computers are spared the
    dumpster only when 1) the owner wants to preserve a bit of old
    technology and 2) a new owner wants an old computer BECAUSE of its
    vintage, not in spite of it. In most cases, the limiting factor in
    keeping an old computer out of the dumpster is whether the current
    owner will pack and ship, or not. And many will not.

    On the other hand, someone who wants to have fun with Contiki

    But hey, if someone offers a Contiki OS which will work from a CP/M 2.2
    BIOS, or other early DRI BIOS, I'll post a link to it on my S-100 Web
    pointers list, gladly.I saw some Z80 implementations so it's
    reasonable; the size is reasonable; even some of the GUI features could
    carry over on some S-100 computers. I may give it a try myself. So
    thanks for the post!

    Herb Johnson

    Herbert R. Johnson, voice 609-771-1503, New Jersey USA
    web site
    domain mirror
    ** hjohnson@njcc.com and njcc.com/~hjohnson are EXPIRED **
    my email address: hjohnson AAT retrotechnology DOTT com
    if no reply, wait & try: herbjohnson ATT comcast DOTT net
    "Herb's Stuff": old Mac, SGI, 8-inch floppy drives
    S-100 IMSAI Altair computers, docs, by "Dr. S-100"


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

    "big_d" wrote:

    > (bla, bla, bla) The future of 8-bit
    > computers is still wide open, and it is nice to see an OS like Contiki
    > to make them sore (sic). (bla, bla, bla)


    The only interesting thing I could find is the following excerpt:

    > Regular web browsers require several megabytes of RAM and disk space.
    > The Contiki web browser only needs a few kilobytes of RAM and no disk at
    > all.
    > With a code footprint of 9 kilobytes and with a total of only 4 kilobytes
    > of RAM
    > required, it might very well be the world's smallest web browser.


    This proves what I have been thinking: a CP/M Web browser is possible.

    Unfortunately, I miss time and money to do one.

    And, so far, each time I have not been doing something, nobody else has done
    it...

    Yours Sincerely,
    "French Luser"




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

    > How many people out there believe that life of old 8-bit systems and
    > old 16-bit systems life will be spared because of Contiki? I believe
    > this OS is the answer that all 8-bitters have been looking for. I think
    > it offers more than just TCP/IP to old systems. It is a common ground
    > for all 8-bit systems all the way from Z80 to 6502, a place where new


    I don't know about that. I was very interested when Contiki first came
    out. But it seems it was going really good for a while and died. There
    haven't been any updates in forever. Support for most systems never got
    out of the testing phase. I was really anticipating good support for the
    C128 on the 80-column screen. I remember thinking "If only I could
    browse the web and do email and newsgroups on the 80-column screen of my
    128, even if it were only text mode) then that would be cool. But it
    never happened.

    Yes.. I know everbody is going to suggest that I get in there and finish
    the code.. Well, unfortunatly, my time is limited and I'm already working
    on DTV stuff too much.

    Which brings me to my next thing.. The DTV is where Contiki could REALLY
    shine being that it comes standard with 2 MB of RAM, faster CPU,
    320x200x256 graphics. If somebody wanted to spend some time coding
    Contiki to take advantage of all that, it would be something else. Just
    have to figure out the best way to network it using the user-port and
    best way to get a mouse working on the joystick port.

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

    I think that 8-bit processors are not really interesting anymore. The only
    reason to use an 8-bit processor might be that the systems and the processor
    are so simple, that there is a lot of educational value. Everyone can learn
    to understand a computer by starting on 8-bit processors.

    However 16-bit processors are much more interesting. They are hardly any
    more complicated than 8-bit processors, but they do offer some very
    interesting extra's. More processing power, more memory, divide/multiply
    instructions, instructions for structured ASM programming, and even memory
    management (although often rather crude). All that, while hardly being more
    complicated than an 8-bit system (software and hardware wise).

    There is only one 8-bit exception. I agree with David Murray that the
    DTV/C-one is such an advanced 8-bit system, that it could be worthwile to
    port Contiki to that.

    I think that maybe it might be feasible to convert the C-one's design into a
    16-bit system with an 68010 processor. Imagine having a 16MHz 68010
    processor with 2 SID's (stereo through a mixer), 2 enhanced VIC's (two
    overlayed graphics planes, like the CD-i), 16Mb memory and 16-bit
    peripherals! And running Contiki. That would be a system that could actually
    DO something worthwile, other than being educational!

    Stepping up to 32-bit systems is not worthwile (for running Contiki) imo.
    The next step in educational value would be something like a 32-bit ARM7
    processor/core. But the new Minix 3 is probably just too much for Contiki to
    contend with.

    PeterV



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

    >I think that 8-bit processors are not really interesting anymore. The only
    >reason to use an 8-bit processor might be that the systems and the processor
    >are so simple, that there is a lot of educational value. Everyone can learn
    >to understand a computer by starting on 8-bit processors.


    Peter, you're missing one very large element: Nostalgia. People like
    to see what they're beloved 8-bit systems can do with new technology.
    This was the whole basis behind the CFFA card; Richard Dryer didn't
    even own a GS at the time. The Uther card was designed to be run on
    8bit Apple II systems as well, unlike the LanceGS. So deeming a system
    "worthwhile" to port contiki to isn't the way to go, its more the
    passion of the user base.

    - Paul


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



    > I think that 8-bit processors are not really interesting anymore. The only
    > reason to use an 8-bit processor might be that the systems and the processor


    I happen to be writing a book (my third, for what that's worth) about
    how to become an embedded engineer. Here are a couple of quotes for
    you:

    --- 8< ---

    Humor aside, it is a generally-accepted fact that the number of new
    graduate engineers of all types is shrinking (at least in the United
    States). Various theories are posited to explain this phenomenon. In
    the specific case of embedded engineering, I see several factors
    causing the decline. One such factor is the unavailability in this day
    and age of well-documented home computers of the style my generation
    enjoyed - Acorn BBC, Commodore VIC-20, Sinclair ZX Spectrum, and so
    on. Modern personal computers are black boxes designed to run
    shrinkwrapped software. They are shipped without programming tools and
    with no technical documentation whatsoever. Operating system vendors
    are actively working to confine software development to an exclusive
    club of licensees, and lower-level development at the
    direct-hardware-access layer is at best very difficult due to the
    unavailability of chipset documentation (in many cases due to the
    manufacturer's contractual obligations to preserve trade secret
    information related to intellectual property protection mechanisms),
    and the utter complexity and heterogeneity of PC hardware. In the good
    old days, we could develop a homebrew program on our Commodore 64,
    fine-tune it to the last instruction cycle, and show it to other people
    with pride. This type of skillset is a vital component of embedded
    engineering.

    There are other factors that raise the bar to becoming an embedded
    engineer, too - and I'll deal with them in the appropriate sections
    of this book - but the point I'm making here is that it's simply more
    difficult these days for kids to experiment with what they have at
    home.

    --- 8< ---

    Intel's 8051 architecture is an industry-standard platform referenced
    in almost every engineering course. When spoken of in polite company
    (and even in books like this one), you'll generally see the number 8051
    prefixed with the adjective "venerable". Personally, I would rather
    describe it as "decrepit", but it's a solid fact that the 8051 is
    still the world's best-selling microprocessor core. Barring some major
    upheaval, this is likely to remain true for as long as the world is
    still manufacturing and using 8-bit micros(1).

    (1) - This is not quite equal to saying "forever". As die sizes
    shrink, the packaging and bonding costs (bonding wires from the silicon
    to pins that go out to the real world) start to dominate the cost of
    the device. Raw 8-bit dice will always be cheaper than raw 32-bit dice
    due to their lower transistor count, but by the time the chips are
    packaged for sale, the price difference may be almost invisible. For
    some applications, it is foreseeable that there will be no real cost
    benefit to be realized by staying with an 8-bit architecture.

    --- 8< ---

    (end quotes)

    As a learning platform, the 6502 is not a bad choice - it's actually a
    fairly neat architecture, and there are parts based on the core still
    in production. Having to work with the realtime side of a moving raster
    is excellent experience for embedded design.

    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.

    If you intend to move up from 8 bits, it makes no sense to bother with
    16 bits, you should go directly to a single-chip 32-bit ARM device.


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

    On 6 Feb 2006 09:52:51 -0800, zwsdotcom@gmail.com wrote:

    >how to become an embedded engineer.


    1) Become an engineer.
    2) Run very, very fast into a large, solid object.

    Congratulations, you are now an embedded engineer.

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

    In comp.sys.atari.8bit zwsdotcom@gmail.com wrote:

    > One such factor is the unavailability in this day
    > and age of well-documented home computers of the style my generation
    > enjoyed - Acorn BBC, Commodore VIC-20, Sinclair ZX Spectrum, and so
    > on. Modern personal computers are black boxes designed to run
    > shrinkwrapped software. They are shipped without programming tools and
    > with no technical documentation whatsoever.


    Maybe _that's_ why I like Linux so much. Ships with GCC & friends, standard


    --
    -bill! Tux Paint 2006 wall calendar,
    bill@newbreedsoftware.com CDROM, bumper sticker & apparel
    http://www.newbreedsoftware.com/ http://www.cafepress.com/newbreedsw

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

    On Mon, 6 Feb 2006 17:39:01 +0100, "Peter de Vroomen"
    wrote:

    >I think that 8-bit processors are not really interesting anymore. The only
    >reason to use an 8-bit processor might be that the systems and the processor
    >are so simple, that there is a lot of educational value. Everyone can learn
    >to understand a computer by starting on 8-bit processors.
    >
    >However 16-bit processors are much more interesting. They are hardly any
    >more complicated than 8-bit processors, but they do offer some very
    >interesting extra's. More processing power, more memory, divide/multiply
    >instructions, instructions for structured ASM programming, and even memory
    >management (although often rather crude). All that, while hardly being more
    >complicated than an 8-bit system (software and hardware wise).
    >
    >There is only one 8-bit exception. I agree with David Murray that the
    >DTV/C-one is such an advanced 8-bit system, that it could be worthwile to
    >port Contiki to that.
    >
    >I think that maybe it might be feasible to convert the C-one's design into a
    >16-bit system with an 68010 processor. Imagine having a 16MHz 68010
    >processor with 2 SID's (stereo through a mixer), 2 enhanced VIC's (two
    >overlayed graphics planes, like the CD-i), 16Mb memory and 16-bit
    >peripherals! And running Contiki. That would be a system that could actually
    >DO something worthwile, other than being educational!
    >
    >Stepping up to 32-bit systems is not worthwile (for running Contiki) imo.
    >The next step in educational value would be something like a 32-bit ARM7
    >processor/core. But the new Minix 3 is probably just too much for Contiki to
    >contend with.
    >
    >PeterV
    >

    Really! there are a whole class of applications that most 16bitters
    are plain too big for and also there are 8bitters that are now
    available at screaminly fast speeds.

    You want multiply and divide use a 6809, it's there in an 8bitter.
    As to Minix3, nice if your CPU is 386 minimum with 8mb of ram.


    Allison

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

    Την Mon, 06 Feb 2006 15:52:14 -0500,ο(η) William Kendrick
    *γραψε:


    >
    > Maybe _that's_ why I like Linux so much. Ships with GCC & friends,
    > standard
    >
    >


    Oh oh! I think I know GCC's friends. It's Mr. lint and Mr. grep right? :-)

    Phoebus



    --
    Χρησιμοποιώ το επαναστατικό πρόγραμμα αλληλογραφίας της Opera:
    http://www.opera.com/mail/

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

    Da Smog did eloquently scribble:
    >
    >
    > ??? Mon, 06 Feb 2006 15:52:14 -0500,?(?) William Kendrick
    > ??????:
    >
    >
    >>
    >> Maybe _that's_ why I like Linux so much. Ships with GCC & friends,
    >> standard
    >>
    >>

    >
    > 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
    --
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    | spike1@freenet.co.uk | Windows95 (noun): 32 bit extensions and a |
    | | graphical shell for a 16 bit patch to an 8 bit |
    |Andrew Halliwell BSc(hons)| operating system originally coded for a 4 bit |
    | in |microprocessor, written by a 2 bit company, that|
    | Computer Science | can't stand 1 bit of competition. |
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

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


    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.


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

    Την Mon, 06 Feb 2006 19:10:48 -0500,ο(η) *γραψε:

    >
    > 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.
    >


    He is he is :-)

    Phoebus

    P.S. I have it on good authority that Mr. make is not *that* good of a
    friend. After all GCC can do without him (crushing Messrs.
    Fingers-of-both-your-hands-from-typing-24/7) most of the time. Let's
    consider him as only a passing acquaintaince :-P

    --
    Χρησιμοποιώ το επαναστατικό πρόγραμμα αλληλογραφίας της Opera:
    http://www.opera.com/mail/

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

    Re: Contiki and the CP/M world, this link may be of interest:

    http://www.mbernstein.de/download/pc/index.htm

    It's a German site which supports a version of Contiki for Atari ST
    computers and - more
    relevant to us - some kind of PC/GEM port. I can't read the German very
    well. Perhaps one of my German colleagues could follow up on this. I
    see the name "Caldera" which once owned DRI assets, so maybe this is an
    X86 version and not the Atari version.

    GEM has its origins at Digital Research, but a branch became the Atari
    OS. I believe it's had quite a following over the years in that domain.
    But GEM is rarely mentioned in comp.os.cpm.

    Herb Johnson
    (usual footer, S-100, etc. etc.)


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

    >>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.
    --

    -- mejeep deMeep ferret!

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

    zwsdotcom@gmail.com wrote:
    > Modern personal computers are black boxes designed to run
    > shrinkwrapped software. They are shipped without programming tools and
    > with no technical documentation whatsoever. Operating system vendors
    > are actively working to confine software development to an exclusive
    > club of licensees, and lower-level development at the
    > direct-hardware-access layer is at best very difficult due to the
    > unavailability of chipset documentation (in many cases due to the
    > manufacturer's contractual obligations to preserve trade secret
    > information related to intellectual property protection mechanisms),
    > and the utter complexity and heterogeneity of PC hardware.


    Apple doesn't quite fit this picture. To paraphrase:

    Modern Mac computers are white boxes designed to run preinstalled and
    shrinkwrapped software. They are shipped with a DVD full of programming
    tools and technical documentation (xcode, gcc etc). Additional support
    is available via Apple's website. Apple are actively working to open
    software development to anyone who is interested because it is in thier
    financial interest to see more Mac software created. Lower-level
    development isn't something that anyone should want to do except for
    very small programs. Even on a Z80 programs with more than about 8K of
    code soon become difficult to develop in assembler without introducing
    bugs. I think the PowerPC chip set is pretty well documented, but of
    course Apple is in the process of switching to Intel. At least hardware
    conflicts of the type experienced by PC owners are still rare on Macs.

    I know there are some people who just bought a G4 based Mac that was
    replaced by a cheaper Intel based one but I'm quite happy to have a G4
    system (when virus writers finally get around to attacking the Mac I
    doubt they'll be doing fat binaries). However I'm still very much
    attached to the idea of RISC processors, since it does make lower level
    stuff easier. I hope 10 years from now when I buy my next computer
    there's still a choice rather than just ubiquitous x86 boxes. Maybe
    someone will have successfully revived the Amiga by then? Guess not.


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

    > 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.

    PeterV



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

    You have hit the target straight in the center with your conclusions. I have
    nothing more to add .

    > 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. But it's NOT complex to use and
    interface, on the contrary. Maybe you only have experience with a Commodore
    Amiga, which does have a fairly complicated architecture. But if you look at
    simple 68000 designs, they are not much different from the older designs
    around 8-bit computers. An 8088 is much harder to interface, with all those
    stupid clock phases and it's silly memory map.

    PeterV



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