[Oberon] Just Starting With Oberon2

John Drake jmdrake_98 at yahoo.com
Fri Mar 24 23:57:41 CET 2006

I know others have answered these questions, but
I wanted to throw in my 2 1/2 cents. :)

--- Rory Starkweather <starkweatherr at mchsi.com> wrote:

>  I've been looking at Oberon for a couple of months
> but didn't find a 
> version that fit my needs until I found the Oxford
> version. To tell you 
> the truth, I wasn't able to figure out how to do
> anything useful with 
> the ETH Windows plugin version, and POW didn't run
> on my system for some 
> reason.

I'm curious as to your system specs?  I've run
POW on a variety of Windows machines without
every running into problems.  Not saying they
don't exist of course.

With regards to "plugin" Oberon, if you've it's
inherited elements of the user interface from
the orginal Oberon operating system developed
by Wirth and Gurtenekt.  (I probably spelled 
that last name wrong.)  People usually either
"love" it or "hate" it.  Things to remember:

A) The middle mouse button does most of the
work.  If you don't have a 3 button mouse,
get one.  Thankfully the "wheel" in wheel
mice works as a middle mouse button.  (I
remember when most PCs came with 2 button
mice and that was MOST frustraiting.)

B) The basic execution element is a "command".
That's a parameterless procedure that's been
exported from a module.  For example:


You execute the command simply by clicking
on it with the middle mouse button.  (Note,
the "Plugin" version allows you to do the
same thing by clicking the left mouse button
twice.  So now you can easily do stuff even 
if you just have a 2 button mouse.  Ain't it
great?  This fix comes along after just about
everyone has a 3 button mouse.)

C) Interclicking.

Ok, you've executed "System.Directory" and
you see a list of files.   You want to open
one.  Well you could do:

Desktops.OpenDoc Mymodule.Mod ~

(Clicking on the "Desktops.OpenDoc" executes
the entire command using Mymodule.Mod as a

Or you could do it the easy way.  Click and
hold the middle mouse button on Mymodule.Mod
and then click the right button.  Voila!
The file opens up.

Ok, that's just a few simple things to get 
you started.  But if you were reading the 
documentation, you must have already gotten
this far since you had to know how to open
the documentation. :)  If you have any more
specific questions please ask.

Oh, I almost forgot:

D) Plugin Oberon works in several different
"modes" including a "Windows" mode.  In the
System3.Tool click on "Applications".  Then
in the window that comes up click on the
"How to install new applications" link.  Then
scroll down to the "Win" link.  If you click
it, then restart you'll come up in a mode
more familair to Windows users.  (Overlapping
windows with pull down menus for everything.)
Yeah, it's a bit tricky to get to.  I never
really use this mode.  If I want Windows-like
Oberon I use BlackBox or POW. ;)
>  There are a couple of questions I would like to
> ask. (Nothing about 
> programming yet because I'm still on page 10 of the
> manual.)
> 1. Is Oberon still being actively developed?

Oh.  That's a LOADED question.  Ok, ETH is 
actively (pardon the pun) developing "Active"
Oberon AKA "BlueBottle".  It's compiler is a
superset of Oberon-0.  (Read it's not Oberon-2
compatible, though there are...or there at 
least HAVE been ways around that.)  BlueBottle's
user interface is more conventional.  
(Overlapping windows.  No need for interclicking
ect.)  Some people like this, some don't.
BlueBottle is it's own operating system, but
there's a version that works under Windows.
(Well two actually.)  A Linux version has 
been discussed, though not implemented.

Version 1:

And Version 2:
	user: dan
	password: parnete

> 2. How widespread is Oberon use in Europe? I haven't
> found any Americans 
> who have heard of it yet.

I think there are more universities in Europe that
use it than in the U.S. (University of California
in Irvine did more Oberon work than any other 
U.S. university I've heard of.)

> 3. Most of the programming I do involves a Visual
> Basic GUI with DLLs 
> written in either C or D doing the actual work when
> I need power or 
> speed. As I understand it, the 'virtual machine'
> interface between 
> compiled Oberon code and the CPU is relatively slow.
> I don't really care 
> about that, but I'm wondering if there is ever going
> to be a version of 
> the compiler that produces machine code? Or does
> Native mode make that 
> unneccessary?

As someone else has pointed out, there are more
"native compiled" versions of Oberon than there
are "virtual machine" versions.  There is a 
version of Component Pascal that compiles to .NET
and Java though.  

> 4. Considering item 3, has anyone done any work on a
> DLLcapability for 
> Oberon that works above the assembly language level?

Yes.  You can make DLLs with ETH Plugin Oberon,
With BlackBox Component Pascal and With POW.
Also all 3 can call DLLs.

John M. Drake

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