[Oberon] [EXT] Re: all in one git tree

Chris Burrows chris at cfbsoftware.com
Sat Dec 26 23:17:07 CET 2020

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Oberon [mailto:oberon-bounces at lists.inf.ethz.ch] On Behalf Of D
> Sent: Sunday, 27 December 2020 7:01 AM
> To: ETH Oberon and related systems
> Subject: Re: [Oberon] [EXT] Re: all in one git tree
> HI
> I will try to answer some questions, maybe some views are not
> appropriate as I don't know what data oberons have, here's my views
> under some probably incomplete assumptions.
> Goals are
> To preserve better old OS and its development history.
> by building the tree which in traceable form replicates previous
> development efforts.

That would be a gargantuan task. Dozens, if not hundreds, of people worked
on the development of the Oberon system over a couple of decades. If you
narrowed it down to development since 2013 that might be more achievable but
I don't see the point of doing it retrospectively. Any development work that
is of any value has to be well documented (e.g. the Project Oberon book).
Understanding how systems work and what design decisions were made cannot,
and should not, be second-guessed by wading through source code. That is the
problem with many open source projects - source code is all you get.

I suspect your requests have been prompted following your request for Oberon
games. If you had tried to compile them on Project Oberon you would have
discovered that all but one references many missing modules. You would have
been more likely to have got something useful to you if you had asked for
'Games that run on Project Oberon 2013'.
However, if you are looking for demonstrations to showcase your development
board I would suggest that you are barking up the wrong tree. Project Oberon
is a showcase in itself. It demonstrates to engineers and scientists that
you can use an FPGA board to write code that is actually *useful* for doing
real work not for playing games. Particularly if you can demonstrate the
GPIO, SPI or I2C capabilities. It's a trap that many hardware and software
'coders' and 'hackers' fall into. They are turned on and motivated by the
process of programming itself not the end result. Everybody else wants to
know what is it useful for. 

Coincidentally at Christmas lunch I was talking to a guy in his late
twenties who has just completed the first year of an undergraduate Physics
degree. When I asked him how he was going he said all good apart from the
computer programming. They used Java to program a snake game. All the kids
straight out of school loved it but he had no idea how it might have any
relevance to his future job. He was a bit more enthusiastic about next year
as they will be using MatLab but was not so enthusiastic that he may need to
learn C. I was just listening - I wasn't asking leading questions ;-)

Chris Burrows
CFB Software

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