[Oberon] FPGA Oberon

Jan Verhoeven jan at verhoeven272.nl
Wed Feb 12 18:46:46 CET 2014

greim wrote:
> Jan,
> I am 52 so not far away from the level where you have to decide which 
> knowledge is still worth to learn ;-) 

Funny, I remember having been 52 as well.

> The question is what is a ___final version of Oberon___ ? The two 
> developments of N. Wirth Oberon-07 on FPGA and A2/AOS on FPGA are 
> using different dialects of Oberon afaik. 

Let's say the current final version. That's final enough for me.

> thats the 3rd option: Oberon running on any (embedded) PC. But i 
> believe thats a race you can not win. 

Winning is not the target. Participation is. Oberon never won and never 
will. Oberon is for sensible people and sensible people don't struggle 
to win.
Why re-invent the 24x7 controller wheel once more when such fantastic 
hardware is available off the shelf? VIA also make very nice ARM based 
systems, like their AMOS 820. Yes they will set you back 400 euro's but 
it will be cheaper than having to buy an FPGA development system, plus 
having to learn how to use it, stock up on FPGA's, buy the debugging 
equipment, spend years on end every other evening. I'm sorry. I've been 
there.  Not anymore. I have a few bicycles that need attention too.

> Because providing hardware drivers for each graphic card, network interface etc. is not possible, even Linux has many problems here. And I am not speaking yet here about DRM and UEFI ! I am sure that was the reason to make a port from the PC to PC-like FPGA platform for the A2 system.

You think too complex. Linux, Windows, FreeDOS, whatever, will need high 
res desktops so they need the latest drivers for all hardware.
Oberon will do just fine with 1024 x 768 and that can be achieved with a 
standard VESA mode. VGA = 791 does the trick for Linux. Oberon can do 
the same. Concentrate on VGA 791 and ignore the rest. The TUI interface 
has no need for more, contrary to all the eye candy Windows is famous 
for and (the candy cane flavor) Linuxes are going to.

And that's why I chose the VIA ART system. It has only one VGA 
subsystem, one NIC, one COM/LPT chip. And no slots to accept "a better 
one". How many VGA drivers did your Sinclair Spectrum need?

I think "the final Oberon" system needs to be a continuation of the 
Sinclair ZX81 line of single use machines. Remember the Jupiter Ace 
(Forth), Amstrad CPC (Basic/CP-M), Oric, Archimedes, BBC?
That's the way we should be going to, based on existing, POTS hardware. 
When we are going to base the Final Oberon on yet to be developed 
hardware, Oberon will be buried by us, the only people in the world that 
care about it.
You want to know, which of the 6 billion people on earth are interested 
in Oberon? Look no further. They're all here, on this list.

Have you all read the words of Professor Wirth? Make things as simple as 
possible. But not any simpler. No offence, but the FPGA group is making 
things simpler.


Jan Verhoeven

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