[Coco] CoCo Progression...
Boisy G. Pitre
boisy at boisypitre.com
Sat Sep 25 11:08:43 EDT 2004
On Sep 24, 2004, at 11:32 PM, Steve Batson wrote:
> Mark, All,
> Understand, I'm not trying to stir things up, just trying to
> understand some things.
> On the one hand, I hear that people don't want emulators because it's
> not "Real Metal" or the real thing or "It's not Vintage
> Computing"...on the other hand, I hear about people wanting to add USB
> and all this stuff that is not vintage computing technology. I stated
> in my first post that I understand people want to do that for the fun
> or challenge, so there is no need to go into that...I understand that
> just as any other hobby or area of interest someone may have. I
> wouldn't think of discouraging that or making fun of it.
> Over the years people have repackaged thier CoCo's into PC Cases,
> installed enhanced keyboards, etc. I don't see how that can feel any
> more like the vintage coco than an emulator on a PC using the same
Personally, I have always had a fundamental problem with repacking for
the very reason you mention. It is stripping the CoCo from its true
"home" and trying to retrofit it into, of all things, a PC case. To
me, part of the CoCo being a CoCo is seeing it in its small white case.
The subject of emulation brings up an entire set of philosophical
questions. At what point does a CoCo cease to become a CoCo? For
example, almost everyone believes that you can replace a 6809 with a
6309 and still have a genuine CoCo. But at what point do you take
enough original components out of the CoCo, such that the "soul" of the
machine is lost?
Here are my feelings:
- Enhancing the CoCo with external peripherals like USB and other
storage devices does not take anything away from a CoCo. These things
are merely adding to it.
- Exchanging the CoCo keyboard with a PC keyboard takes away a "piece"
of what the CoCo is, but doesn't void the CoCo from being a CoCo.
- The SuperBoard will add features internally to the CoCo 3 while
still using the basic motherboard. I would call it a CoCo 3+
- Removing a CoCo from its case and sticking it in a PC case is taking
away its basic identity. Sure, it's still running CoCo software, etc.,
but the "spirit" of the CoCo is sacrificed in such a configuration.
- Running a CoCo emulator on a PC or Mac, while useful and fun, is
just an imitation. It fails to capture the essence of the true CoCo
> I'd be just as intersted in seeing a new or extended hardware coco
> design as I would a good emulator (trademark, patent and copyright
> issues aside) but I tend to doubt that is ever going to happen. Once
> the CoCo hardware supply has dried up, then what? A motherboard can
> only handle so many trace cuts and soldering.
There has been talk of a "CoCo 4" for well over 15 years now. What has
come down the pike has never really claimed the title succinctly. I
believe with today's technology, something closer to a real CoCo 4 is
possible, though time and financial commitments needed to make it
happen would still be beyond the reach of most.
> Technically, there is no reason a CoCo Emulator could not be designed
> to be 100% compatible with the coco as powerful as today's computers
> are. And that is what I was really trying to get at. Once that is
> achieved, it would be so much easier to get parts for and add support
> for newer hardware. And, while I don't know why, if someone needed the
> feel of the chicklet keyboard (one of the first hacks I did to my coco
> was putting a real keyboard in it) or on old joystick, that would be
> much easier to interface then some of the other projects being worked
> This is all just some food for thought...again, I wouldn't want to
> talk you out of your hacking any more then I would your coin
> collecting or other interests.
I see your point, but for those of us who feel that "it ain't a CoCo if
it ain't a CoCo," emulation is a less than desirable route to preserve
the CoCo as we know it. That said, a CoCo 4 design could easily
incorporate some elements of emulation on a new motherboard running a
more modern processor. For instance, GIME memory management (if
desired to be kept) could be done within software running on a fast CPU
such as a MIPS. But then we can get into a whole new discussion on
what a CoCo 4 should or shouldn't be.
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