[Coco] CC-Five (was Re: Pseudo CoCo4???)
jcewy at swbell.net
Mon Jan 22 20:39:55 EST 2007
farna at att.net wrote:
> ... Ideally, I'd want a computer that's ready to go when turned on. Booting from a flash card or USB thumb drive would help, and make the system changeable as well. 1GB thumb drives and flash cards are affordable -- could the system be packaged in that small a space? Then you'd need a way to burn it all on CD-ROM just in case the drive was erased or modified.
DSL boots from USB memory devices, either directly, if the PC's BIOS
supports it, or using a boot floppy. DSL also packs a complete
miniaturized system in 50M, including Mozilla Firefox and Dillo web
browsers, Silpheed email client, a rich text editor, and a bunch of
other stuff. So surely a CoCo emulator could be wedged into a very
small system indeed.
> The main reason I was thinking the emulator/live CD (ala "Amiga Forever" -- www.amigaforever.com) is that it could be done NOW with a lot less development.
That is undoubtedly the case, though it sounds like Gary Becker has
already made some progress on the FPGA front.
> Ideally it would re-route standard CoCo I/O to existing PC peripherals, with the PC type OS running transparently in the background -- in essence similar to a CoCo used as a terminal for a PC, but with the features you'd have to walk over and physically interact with the PC integrated into the terminal, maybe through a separate pop-up window, or something similar. There's no way to maintain backward compatibility AND integrate some new features seamlessly. It can be made easier than the current emulators, but not seamless.
Say more. Couldn't an emulator, as an application running on the PC OS,
have some considerable degree of control over the computer (assuming
security considerations are not an issue)? And couldn't the emulator
provide some kind of facility for special CoCo programs to exercise that
control? If you're talking about hardware that wouldn't map neatly onto
some feature that the CoCo already has, then existing CoCo programs
wouldn't be able to use that hardware without modification. But I could
imagine a computer control panel program running within CoCo emulation
that could control most features of the host system. And once that
functionality was built into the emulator, OS-9 drivers and maybe even
BASIC commands could be added.
> The underlying OS would be more of a slave to the CoCo emulator than now. The background OS should have a simple redirection interface to handle the new USB ports and such. A menu driven selection would be easiest, but there would be no way around having to switch over and select what goes where.
Right. But that stuff could in principle be controlled from new CoCo
software from within the emulation, as I suggest above.
> Of course the more features added, the larger the storage medai and boot time. Just checked -- *4GB* SD cards are $50 at Tiger Direct, 2GB $25. If everything could be packed into one and the system booted driectly from an SD cards, I'd definitely go that route, would be worth another $50! 2GB compact flash cards are $30-$70, 4GB $55-$150, so one of those in an IDE adapter would be a good way to go.
Like I say above, you can fit a lot of Linux in 50M.
> I like the idea of an FPGA hardware device, but that would take a lot of time and development. The software solution would as well, but not as much. The best thing is the software solution allows a bit of flexibility in the way enhancements are handled. I'm thinking more of just CoCo3 capabilities re-routed to newer peripheral interfaces, such as USB, and mass storage -- no need for more memory than the 4MB or so available now -- not enhanced capabilites. This would be a retro machine more than a CC5, but there is the capability of easily expanding memory and video. It certainly wouldn't hurt to add enhanced modes for those who did want to write software for it, but it would just be for experimental or fun purposes...
So really what you're talking about is working on the host OS to make it
as, shall we say, subservient, as possible to the emulator. And maybe a
little work on the emulator to make it a little cleaner.
I know the Keil emulator is supposed to have a 256-color graphics mode.
It's intriguing, but somehow I'm not as motivated to experiment with it
as I would be if there were a "real" CoCo that could use it. Cool as it
is, it's just one emulator out of about 4, written by one guy, and it
only runs under Windows. That makes it feel kinda parochial. Since I
haven't heard of any programs yet that take advantage of that emulator
mode, I wonder if the people even more likely than me to write CoCo
graphics and game software don't have similar feelings. But somehow if
there were agreement that enhanced emulators and next-gen FPGA CoCo
systems would share the same baseline feature set, it would feel less
like cheating -- even if the emulator is available before the hardware.
And the things you are suggesting would be worthwhile developments in
any event, Frank.
> Frank Swygert
> Publisher, "American Motors Cars"
> Magazine (AMC)
> For all AMC enthusiasts
> (free download available!)
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