[Coco] So, would you like a little Internet with your CoCo?
keeper63 at cox.net
Tue May 19 12:27:08 EDT 2009
I am following this by a little, and thought I would inject my own
thoughts on this subject.
1) First off, I say port the uIP stack:
It's very small - according to the docs "the code size is on the
order of a few kilobytes and RAM usage can be configured to be as low as
a few hundred bytes".
2) Implement this stack so that it can be used under either OS-9 and
DECB. It might have to be limited to OS-9 - the tricky thing is it is
written in C, and so it would either have to be done as a cross-compile
(isn't there a form of gcc to cross-compile to the 6809?), or it will
need to be ported to Microware C - for DECB, porting it might be an
almost impossible (or very long and hair pulling) task. I don't know if
there is a DECB C compiler out there (maybe the object code could be
pulled from what the Microware compiler creates).
3) The stack should be able to be set up to communicate with the network
via one of the serial ports (bit banger or RS-232 cartridge), or over
the DriveWire or Roger's Wireless pak. This setup should probably be
done in such a manner so that the user can decide which to use; if it is
made modular, then we can add extra devices in the future should they
become available (ie, a real network interface card, for example).
4) It would likely have to be limited to use on a CoCo 3, or on a CoCo 2
with 64/32k (smaller CoCo systems might be too small, but we might not
really know the truth until the stack was implemented).
Once we had a working stack (with at least telnet working), then we
could start writing other applications to communicate using it. As far
as a web browser is concerned, I do believe that it needs to be a very
cut-down system, the CoCo doesn't have the memory or speed to do
anything too fancy.
We should probably stick to something like WAP, but even smaller - I am
going to call it uHTML (Micro HTML: HTML pared down drastically). I
would say the browser should be able to render the bare-bones basic tags
needed for HTML presentation, maybe allow super simple forms capability,
and maybe even a small amount of graphics (like 1-2 bpp images, no
larger than 160x160, yield 3-6 kb image sizes). The data would come from
a server set up to serve it; maybe someone could write an Apache module,
or maybe one of the tiny open-source web servers could be modified to
serve this special form of HTML (maybe someone has already did it for
one of the other 8-bit micros?).
Lastly: regarding using a mini-ITX box to convert pages or do other
stuff... Such a setup would be overkill. Yes, we are going to likely
need a "pass-through" system for the CoCo because we don't have a real
network card yet. But this pass-through system doesn't have to be
complex, and it doesn't have to be standalone - the system could likely
be any nearby PC. It just needs to interface its serial port with the
CoCo's, and translate the communications over to a TCP/UDP port, which
would then communicate with the rest of the network.
Now, of course, this is where we get into what could be done and how
much you want this to be a CoCo thing. What I outlined above would make
it mostly CoCo based. If you wanted to simplify the above, then
implement the uIP stack on a microcontroller, and communicate with that,
then have that communicate with the rest of the network via ethernet
(plenty of easy to use microcontroller ethernet chipset interfaces out
there). Or, implement the system on a BeagleBoard (its a very small
embeddable system - almost like PC/104, but it has everything on-board,
and it is really cheap), and stuff the BeagleBoard in the CoCo or in a
I hope the above spurs more discussion and thought, and I wish I had the
time, energy, money, and time to help implement it (don't we all!).
Right now, other projects and things are taking priority, so all I can
offer is words, unfortunately...
-- Andrew L. Ayers, Glendale, Arizona
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