[Coco] The evolution of the Coco..
John R. Hogerhuis
jhoger at pobox.com
Sat Apr 23 13:07:10 EDT 2005
On Sat, 2005-04-23 at 08:57 -0700, Steve Bjork wrote:
> Nick, As for the Idea, fine it's your idea. (Though it's the same idea
> that Allen and I have been talking about for the past few years.)
> The part of your Idea of reprogramming the BIOS, I have a few problems with...
> 1) The BIOS ROMS are small on most motherboards and could not hold the
> extra code for emulator, let alone the drivers for printers and other devices.
> 2) Only one model of motherboard could be use. I'm assuming your are not
> going to rewrite the BIOS for every motherboard Chip Set out there. What
> happen when the version 2 of the motherboard comes or they some making
> it? The life span of a motherboard is less than a year these days.
How many models of coco motherboard were there? One computer, one
As far of end of life, this is why I think we should use an embedded
system that we either design or have the plans for, or is simple enough
to re-engineer. Better power usage (we could make it portable), fit in
coco case, more flash space, etc.
Here's a cool set of gadgets:
> 3) Who are you going to get to reverse-engineer the BIOS? The the biggest
> question of all!
All init would be documented for an embedded system, but if use OTS
motherboard, use LinuxBIOS, and pick a motherboard with a well
> No Nick, this is too much work just to have a CoCo4 start running instantly.
> So the my design of a PC with Cloud-9's Compact Flash IDE interface will
> take a few seconds to boot, it's still less time it takes for the Monitor
> to warm up.
Pretty much true, if you use no OS or very minimal OS (DOS or stripped
down linux kernel).
> Your Comment about boot from a flash IDE...
> This would open the door to a myriad of other emulations such as a
> Commodore's and Atari's. Just insert the flash ram personality module!
> Unfortunately, now it starts to lose it's identity as being uniquely CoCo
> and more of a generic emulation platform. Maybe I'm being too CoCo religious.
I think it is not something to worry about. Don't make the mistake of
limiting potential for relgious or marketing reasons. Sure we should set
up the "defaults" to be an environment a coco user would feel most
comfortable in. But to actually attempt to lock the user out of their
computer at any level is a kind of corruption.
> Let us keep it simple and put the work into a better and expanded emulator.
> As for the operating system to use, my vote goes to windows XP Pro. It's
> rock solid OS. I have not had a crash in over two years. (I can't say the
> same about my Linux systems.) Best of all, every new hardware product these
> days has drivers for Window XP. Yes, I know, I would have to use a hard
> drive with XP. But is that truly a problem?
a) According to Amazon an OTS copy would add $199 to cost of goods sold.
To launch an emulator? Not worth it, especially when all the
alternatives add $0 to COGS (LinuxBIOS, FreeDOS, Linux, etc).
b) We don't need it. If you qualify a Linux kernel supported mobo, and
Linux kernel supported hardware, the hardware argument goes away.
c) Linux is as rock-solid as any OS I've ever seen aside from the BSDs,
but the BSDs trade off on hardware support.
XP and Windows 2000 are solid OSes as well. I consider them peers with
modern Linux distros. But they are expensive, closed, and not
tailorable, so I don't use them unless I'm paid to.
If anything, ReactOS could be investigated as an alternative. It's goal
is to support Windows drivers and applications. It's still in early
Even FreeDOS might do it. There are MESS versions for DOS. Embedded
system w/ "Disk On a Chip" floppy emulator, and you're about done.
The thing about the coco was that hardware was not a moving target. Less
crashes, less bugs, easier to develop for, easier to support.
> As for rebooting, you reboot the CoCo run under the emulator, not the PC.
> I know I'm going to a lots of email on that because many of you don't like
> Microsoft, but ...
> Even Steve Jobs had to "get over it" and make his Apple iPod work with
> windows to boost market share.
The problem with XP is that it's not the right tool for this job.
> And you are running Microsoft Basic in your CoCo.
And in my Model 100, 102, 200, as well. As classic BASICs go, the MS
BASICs are really good. There current languages and dev tools are also
nice. What does that have to do with anything?
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