Moving Site to a PC Soon

Sadly, I will need to mirror my blog to a boring old desktop PC at some point in the next week in order to be able to use my Raspberry Pi 400 for RISC OS-related testing. The Pi 400 has been more than adequate and 100% reliable in its service.

At the same time, it feels silly not to be using the keyboard and video output abilities of the Pi 400, which is what I bought it for, and to use with RISC OS in particular. The real expert-level challenge for kernel hackers is to get SMP working in order to use all 4 cores. I don’t care that it’s 32-bit, but only using 1 core is silly.

I posted a progress report on the RISC OS Open forum about the SMB client (with a B, not a P) that I’ve been furiously working on. The last puzzle piece to fall into place for me as far as the adaptation layer was the discovery of “RTSupport” real-time threads. I’ve already committed most of the OS-specific header file patches to get the bulk of it to compile with the Norcroft (Acorn) C compiler and build system. There’s a “make”-like program called “amu”. I’ll spare you the details. I’ve seen much worse. So much worse.

Every time I see “Resources/UK” in the directory tree, I’m reminded that RISC OS is one of two OS’s that I’ve worked with that defaults to UK English, rather than US. The other OS is Symbian, originally EPOC32, for the ARM-based Psion organizers. Symbian is so much worse than anything you’d ever imagine. It’s the most bizarre flavor of very early C++, using an early version of GCC, and just generally being strange and unforgiving, at least circa 2004.

RISC OS, despite dating from 1989 (or 1987 if you count the early “Arthur” 1.0 version), has aged much better. In some ways it has aged better than UNIX, although at the cost of portability. It’s very much tied to the 32-bit ARM CPU, instruction set, and quirks. People in the RISC OS community have been bemoaning the writing on the wall about ARM releasing new cores without the 32-bit compatibility mode, and that time is finally at hand. The reason I’m not worried for the future is that ARM are going to keep licensing all the cores that do support 32-bit mode for decades to come, I’d imagine. Why wouldn’t they?






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