[Oberon] Last changed: April 3, 2007 - could it be a diploma thesis?

Jürg Koch juergkoch at bluewin.ch
Sat Apr 28 01:47:59 MEST 2007

Dear oberoners
I've been following this list over years, because the project keeps me
I had Bluebottle up and running in 2002. Fine thing! Five years ago
(this is no joke), it gave me nevertheless the impression that it
demanded to much on hardware compared to the benefit it would give over
native oberon. So I kept waiting for the next release of native oberon,
announced for early 2003... (Do I have to tell you, how it feels to read
the same announcement in 2007, still active on the net?)
Well, since the old days (?), things have changed on the hardware side:
A whole Rucksack-charge of floppies takes place on a memory-card by the
size of a stamp. And it's all incredibly and insanly cheap!
What awakened my attention is the discussion about AOS running on ARM.
Just the old boy's dream: have oberon on my psion!
-> Give it a new try!
Back on www.oberon.ethz.ch in 2007 feels familiar, too familiar. Frank
Zappa once said: "Jazz is not dead, it just smells funny". Two points:
Reading the list or the change log of bluebottle's crazy fresh, shows
that there is a very active devellopment ongoing; reading the rest of
the web-site can drive one crazy!
-> The lost decade!
If it had been my first try with oberon, it would have been my last one
too: The latest news from 8 dec 2005! This project must have definitely
expired - one might think.
My point is: I want to install bluebottle. How to? (that is not a
question to the list, it should be answered by the web-site.)
If you try to read the change logs of bluebottle and compare them to the
FAQ you will go crazy. 
My judgement is that the devellopers have lost 10 years of documentation
(between crazy fresh and "old release" - where are the intermediate
states: "Never tested, never booted but as fresh as it can be..." (???)
- the quotation refers to each and every "crazy fresh" since 2004!)
-> Make it a diploma thesis!
Read the introduction to "Project Oberon" by Niklaus Wirth and Jürg
Gutknecht (first ed. 1992), and read about those Lilith and Ceres and
look up their names in Wikipedia, if you like. Pascal is another
reference and - of course - the famous "make it as simple as possible,
but not simpler".
The present documentation for bluebottle seems a mess to me. Oberon was
also king of elves, and I think that the system is in desperate need for
a good spirit to brush up its "image".
This is a demanding task. It would envolve lots of poundering if - for
example - information on modem connections with 9600 baud is still
needed and how it should be referenced and archivated...
-> An ideal case study on devellopment!
Oberon is a small system. Develloped by a relatively small group. "Crazy
and impossible" - where the first reactions of Wirth to "project
oberon". It should be feasible to document this system. It is also a
case study on an special modell of devellopment in software (oberon is
neither commercial nor completely free, its not architecture dependent -
its still a defeat to many credentials in IT).
And Oberon beeing the largest moon of Uranus is not for lunatics only.


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