[Oberon] Current Oberon System

Chris Burrows chris at cfbsoftware.com
Mon Dec 17 13:31:26 CET 2012

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Les May [mailto:zen53397 at zen.co.uk]
> Sent: Monday, 17 December 2012 3:01 PM
> To: Bernhard Treutwein; ETH Oberon and related systems
> Subject: Re: [Oberon] Current Oberon System
> I understand the nostalgia for a time when computing was simpler and
> memory was measure in kilobytes not gigabytes but unless standalone
> compilers are developed for other operating systems I do not see any
> substantial number of new users being attracted to Oberon.

The "time when computing was simpler and memory was measured in kilobytes"
is still very much the case for a huge body of software developers - those
who live in the world of microcontrollers embedded systems development.
Users of our Astrobe system are developing Oberon programs on systems with
as little as a total of 8K of RAM for data and 32K of Flash ROM for storing
their programs. However, these are the sorts of application areas where
Oberon really excels. 

For example, the Astrobe builder / linker output for Blinker (the embedded
systems version of 'Hello World') which just flashes an LED is:

Builder Phase 3: Linking all modules...

Oberon ARM Cortex-M3 Linker v4.3.0
  loading Main                20 bytes
  loading LinkOptions        140 bytes
  loading MCU                296 bytes
  loading Blinker            192 bytes
Total code size:       1224 bytes
Total resource size:    104 bytes
Total ROM used:        1328 bytes
Total data size:        176 bytes

As you can see the actual code size is only 192 *BYTES* - the remaining
three modules of this minimal runtime example (about 1K) is the fixed
overhead. It is 100% Oberon - there is no assembly language to be seen.

If you are interested in seeing the source code of Blinker, a screenshot (of
an even smaller version) is at:


Even more complex applications are often only ~20K. e.g The *TOTAL*
executable size (including display drivers) of the Astrobe / Olimex LPC2378
Graphics Demo is only 17K:


As for attracting new users - I have found that interest in Oberon seems to
be very geographically biased. In general there appears to be significantly
more interest in Europe than the USA. However, the one place that really
stands out is Russia. For an example of some of the Oberon-related
activities currently proceeding there see:

(Once again - I find Google Translate extremely useful)


Chris Burrows
Astrobe: Oberon for Cortex-M3 (v4.3 Nov 2012)

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