[Oberon] Software 'examining' its hardware?

eas lab lab.eas at gmail.com
Mon Mar 31 11:47:08 CEST 2014

Chris Burrows wrote:-
>Being able to mix low-level operations with high-level code without
>having to resort to inline assembler is what makes today's Oberon ideal
>for programming embedded systems,

Yes, it's another example of the economic leverage available by
combining systems [like ETHO + *nix = LEO].

My initial impression of reading some of
 is that it's the basis of an ideal course for computer engineering
students.  And with low-level operations immediately available
via the Hi-level of Oberon, users can easily look down into the
operation of the hardware.

It raises the level of understanding, similar to what the microscope
did for medicine, when they were able to SEE pathogens, instead of
just <this substance seems to fix that ailment>.

Since it's difficult to access people who have both hardware &
software knowledge, can someone here comment on this:-----

>> Going to a remote, isolated location for a few weeks, may be a good
>> reason to buy an e-reader. But since e-readers are said to actually be
>> linux/android computers, a linux user would not want to be restricted
>> to using the e-reader for reading text.
I want to speak to the indjunyear & not the sales-clerk!

> I've installed linux on many of my devices of the years, netbooks
> WRT54G, iPaq, Psion5, plus rooted snd installed custom firmware on
> phones and tablets - but I have no compulsion to "get at" my kobo as a
> linux device, it's for reading books, the e-ink screen is too slow to
> refresh to be useful for much else ...
Ignoring the e-ink-response-rate, I don't believe the claims to be able
to add functionality.

Even assuming the device is *nix 'based':
* all executable files would be read-only - for economy; so they
   couldn't be changed.
* the 'supervisory-layer' would be omitted, because it's a 'device'
   and not a general-purpose-computer.

It's instructive to look at how the E-reader would be built under
* only the modules needed -  would be in ROM.
* the Top/supervisor/main module would be limited to the
    E-readers functionality.

So to modify/extend the device to a general-purpose-computer,
you need to ADD:
1. your general purpose module
2. have some method to <direct the program counter to your

Both 1 & 2 require hardware hacking !
It can't be done with software only.
OK, perhaps you'd put <Your binary executable> in RAM,
but how do you <branch to it>?


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