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Change of product direction, good and bad news!


What should we do?  

341 members have voted

  1. 1. Should we release the Commander X8?

    • Yes, it should replace Phase-3. It's good enough.
    • Yes, but you should still offer a Phase-3 Commander X16 eventually too.
    • No, don't release the X8, stick with the original plan.
  2. 2. Should we still make a Phase-2 product?

    • Yes, Phase-2 is what I want
    • No, skip and go straight to Phase-3
  3. 3. For the X16 Phase-1, do you prefer a kit or a somewhat more expensive pre-assembled board?



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7 hours ago, Woofy said:

1. This is your vision, your baby. Take back control of the project. Decide what it is you want, define it. Publish a specification.

2. Open source the entire project. You have a massive group of very talented people here, Hardware and software designers. Yes, I know you have licencing issues such as BASIC. Dump it! Its only basic interpreter and a clean version can be written from scratch with the skills here. But unless its open source it won't happen. Hardware and software bugs will also vanish quickly will so many eyes on it. With open PCB artwork available folks can build their own computers, sourcing components themselves. With so much real hardware available firmware development will accelerate.

I mean, it's one thing to say "decide what it is that you want", but what if what he wants doesn't line up with your proposed "solution" to a vaguely described problem?

It's been clear for quite a while that what he wanted was something largely compatible with C64 Basic and KERNAL programming, and with the Cloanto licensing agreement, he got what he wanted.

So this reads like, "1. This is your vision. ... 2. But forget number 1, I have a different vision: ..."

It's not like open sourcing the project makes it risk free. Open source projects can stall, they can get bogged down into in fighting, they can fracture, they can get caught into heading in directions few people planned because of contributions made by people who had time available and an agenda to move the project in a different direction. I strongly believe in open-source software development, but it's a real world process, and no real world process is perfect.

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23 hours ago, Woofy said:

David,

I have been quietly following this project for a while now, and I'd like to offer a couple of observations which you will not like, and a couple of solutions which I suspect you will also not like.

1. This project has turned into a camel (horse designed by a committee). Too many people pulling in different directions.

2. It's getting held up by individuals stuck on issues. No offence to these people who are giving up huge amounts of time and effort whenever they can, but it is happening.

solutions:

1. This is your vision, your baby. Take back control of the project. Decide what it is you want, define it. Publish a specification.

2. Open source the entire project. You have a massive group of very talented people here, Hardware and software designers. Yes, I know you have licencing issues such as BASIC. Dump it! Its only basic interpreter and a clean version can be written from scratch with the skills here. But unless its open source it won't happen. Hardware and software bugs will also vanish quickly will so many eyes on it. With open PCB artwork available folks can build their own computers, sourcing components themselves. With so much real hardware available firmware development will accelerate.

See, I knew you wouldn't like it. (:-)

I do fear though, that if things continue as now, the whole project could falter.

 

Have to agree, you've hit the "Camel on the head" 

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On 8/20/2021 at 5:32 AM, The 8-Bit Guy said:

this are my 2 cents...

i always was just interested in the dip version, dont even need a case. that also would more fit the idea that ppl could "fiddel arround". back when, i was young my first self-soldered computer had an old cigar-box as housing wich added to the flair of this time. 😉

an all fpga version isnt interesting at all, theres enough of these arround. what i liked from the beginning was that everything should be accessible and could be tinkered with, thats why i also not a big fan of the emmulator for example.

another wish : please make the vera avalible. over the years friends and me build several 6502 and z80 based boards but what was missing was always a decent graphics module. and i think a lot of other ppl think the same way.

 

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If the formfactor / ports on the X8 could be layed out to line up with the outputs on an RPI, you wouldnt even need to design/produce/distribute a custom case for it....

I wonder how much would it cost (up front investment) to get the X8 from where it is now to an out of the door product in an RPI footprint, preferably with a version of the getting started with programming in assembler (tailored to the X8, maybe with a load of PETSCII robots samples!) guide?

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3 hours ago, Wonderdog said:

If the formfactor / ports on the X8 could be layed out to line up with the outputs on an RPI, you wouldnt even need to design/produce/distribute a custom case for it....

I wonder how much would it cost (up front investment) to get the X8 from where it is now to an out of the door product in an RPI footprint, preferably with a version of the getting started with programming in assembler (tailored to the X8, maybe with a load of PETSCII robots samples!) guide?

Please no. 

I hate the Rasbperry Pi's layout. A computer should only have ports on one side - the back side. The Pi has ports on 3 sides of the board, and it's really frustrating to set up a decent enclosure for it without some kind of adapter board to bring the HDMI ports around the back. 

If there's going to be a custom PCB for the X8, it should have all the ports come out the back. For that matter, there's no reason not to go with the Pico ITX form factor, so that it fits in any of the cheap micro PC cases. 

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8 minutes ago, TomXP411 said:

Please no. 

I hate the Rasbperry Pi's layout. A computer should only have ports on one side - the back side. The Pi has ports on 3 sides of the board, and it's really frustrating to set up a decent enclosure for it without some kind of adapter board to bring the HDMI ports around the back. 

If there's going to be a custom PCB for the X8, it should have all the ports come out the back. For that matter, there's no reason not to go with the Pico ITX form factor, so that it fits in any of the cheap micro PC cases. 

I assume (dangerous though that may be) that part of the potential price for the X8 form factor as we've seen so far is that it is already available in that form factor without a custom hardware run. I could be wrong.

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Another opinion on form factor: anything as tiny as a Pi deserves to be velcro'd to the underside of a table... yes it can compute, but it's not a computer.  Neither is a set of 32 FPGA / GPU modules loosely coupled into a 'mining rig' zip-tied to a bakers rack.  [one] general rule is, anything that you cannot put a monitor on that is thrown around when the keyboard cable moves a few inches doesn't belong on a desktop; unless it's going to be an investment in a semi-custom case (they tried that already and it failed miserably), what's the diff?

 

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3 minutes ago, Scott Robison said:

I assume (dangerous though that may be) that part of the potential price for the X8 form factor as we've seen so far is that it is already available in that form factor without a custom hardware run. I could be wrong.

That's a good point. However, as there are no FPGA dev boards that fit a Pi case, I don't think we're in danger of that being an issue, either. 😃

Now I'm going to have to go look for a small-ish FPGA dev board with a VGA connector, though...  although it's more likely the board will just have a bunch of GPIO pins, and David or Kevin have simply set up a resistor ladder to get VGA out of it that way. 

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1 minute ago, TomXP411 said:

That's a good point. However, as there are no FPGA dev boards that fit a Pi case, I don't think we're in danger of that being an issue, either. 😃

Now I'm going to have to go look for a small-ish FPGA dev board with a VGA connector, though...  although it's more likely the board will just have a bunch of GPIO pins, and David or Kevin have simply set up a resistor ladder to get VGA out of it that way. 

Let me know what you find.

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1 minute ago, Scott Robison said:

Let me know what you find.

Turns out there are a ton of small dev boards on Amazon in the $40-50 range. None of them have VGA or USB on board though (except maybe a USB UART), but they all seem to have enough GPIO to do the job.

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Subjectively speaking, most of the features Dave mentioned that would be lost from the X16 spec vs the X8 (IEC drive hookup, Yamaha chip, expansion slots etc) don't personally bother me - and don't get in the way of the capability I am actually interested in. The RAM limitation is equally a relatively minor issue for me, as working around the limitation (like the good ol' days) seems like part of the fun 😄 If level/music data etc can be swapped in and out from the SD card on demand  at good speeds (the way some large games could when using disc rather than tape could back in the 80's to get around such ram limitations) then there's a still a heck of a lot that can be done in 64+64k. The Sprite and layering capabilites of the VERA being maintained are the big draw for me. Not sure about the 256 byte memory windows stuff, I'll defer that to brighter minds than mine to assess.

Overall though - I'd much rather see an X8 appear at an impulse buy cost, without any soldering requirement, and be available to order imminently - that can be priced with enough overhead built in to generate some funds to complete the full through mounted component X16 development - my worry is that without some compromise and mechanism to bring funds in to complete remaining X16 development, it will never see the light of day beyond a few very expensive kit sales. 

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The vibe I'm getting here is that it wouldn't be a good idea to fracture the user base. Stick with the X16 and release it mostly as DIY kits. But there's clear enough people wanting pre-built to justify some form of Kickstarter or funding drive to produce them.

Keeping the system similar to the 6502 architecture and Basic sounds like the direction this will continue in. I like that Assembler Language is so up-front though. Honestly, the hardware is more or less done besides tweaking specifics until the worse of the bugs are ironed out.

So my advice, refine what you have and stick with the X16 to avoid fracturing the user base. Start by selling the computer as a DIY, and focus on community and tools so people can make their own software like Music Trackers and tools for easily using the system. Create a drive separately for funding pre-built models, and you'll find plenty of volunteers who want assurance in a competently pre-built machine. (Yes, myself included.)

Basically, I'm interested because this is a community-driven machine where people contribute code, games and ideas over corporate owned companies or studios. Old-style stuff with modern production value sensibilities. That's what I want to see.

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On 8/21/2021 at 7:55 AM, The 8-Bit Guy said:

So, I just wanted to address some of the questions/concerns about the X8.

Just to reiterate, BASIC code should be compatible unless it uses a bunch of pokes and peeks.  You could literally take the SD card out of the X8, stick in in the X16 and the code should run.

For machine language programs, as for the differences in how the Vera is accessed, it's not nearly as many here are thinking.  I saw one person who seemed irate over the idea that we'd be throwing away all of the coding work people have done.  It's still the same features, the same registers, and same behaviors. The sprites, the layers, the PSG, it's all the same.  The primary difference is how you copy data to VRAM.  I suppose with some software this could be a major problem.  But in most cases, I suspect it would be less than an hour worth of work to convert a game from X16 to X8 or vice-versa.  I haven't actually ported Petscii Robots yet (since I don't know if this product will see the light of day) but I suspect I could have it running on the X8 in maybe an hour or two.  It's nowhere nearly as difficult as porting between something like the VIC-20 and C64 which have very different video/audio systems.

The reason it has USB, or more specifically, the reason it CAN have USB is because this is all handled by the FPGA.  There was no way we could handle USB on a 6502 system due to the enormous complexity of USB.  However, the USB support would be limited to keyboards and controllers.  

For the person that asked why on earth you would want this and compared it to a C64 and then saying a C32 instead.  Well, the main benefits are: half the price and immediate availability.  As i've mentioned before, the X16e might never see the light of day because it is going to be dependent on the X16p being a success before that gets developed.  But we could have this available now.  And it will be so darned cheap, there's no reason you couldn't have this along side the X16p, or use this to develop on and wait for the X16e or whatever.

For those asking where to donate.   I haven't set anything up yet.  I've already seen a few paypal donations come in. But I'd rather people wait until we have some official account for the X16 development.  

Okay, I want an X8 now too, and the P1 X16 to test my solder skills on...

Now to see if I can edit my vote on the poll to reflect my new [updated] optinion 😎

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I'm seeing a lot of debate in this thread over what might happen to "future sales" depending on what gets released and when. I'm just going to point out that none of that really matters if there isn't a vibrant developer community making things for the platform. A computer without a developer is a violin without a musician. I just checked the downloads section of this website and to date there are mostly demos, a few games, and a few utilities available for download. Not nearly what would be necessary to sustain a platform. On the current trajectory  - and I say this with ❤️ in my heart for everything the team is trying to do - the most likely outcome is that some form of the computer gets released, a few thousand hobbyists buy one, maybe a few dozen of those release some kindof software for it, and the whole thing kindof goes nowhere. 

I'm going to propose something that may be controversial. Why not set up an app store for the commander platform? One that will allows devs to either release their apps for free or charge a small fee. It would encourage third party devs to make cool things for the platform, provide a revenue stream to the hardware folks, and provide incentive for folks to buy the thing because there's more stuff you can do with the thing. 

Let me put this another way. I'm a professional dev with other 20 years of experience hacking on everything from system/Z to PCs to mobile and cloud. From a capability standpoint I absolutely can make cool stuff for the Commander. The reason why I'm not doing that is because I can't afford to spend the time doing so. I have a demanding full time dev gig, a family, and all the adult responsibilities that come with being someone's dad and provider. If I didn't have to work I would totally spend my days hacking away at the X16/8. -But- I do have to work and as such my time very limited which leaves me asking myself questions like "can I afford to spend [x] units of time hacking on the X16/8 when I could spend that time learning new industry skill [y] that will translate into $$$ I can use to support my family?"  Sadly, at present the answer to that question is no. 

Give me  and others like me a reason to turn that 'no' into a 'yes'. Even if it's just for beer money. Set up a marketplace now before the hardware is released and put some energy into growing the developer community. The emulator is released so there is already a ready-bake user base for devs to cater to.  If you want the x16/8 to thrive as a platform (and I most certainly do), it's the developers you need to worry about - not how phase one or three will impact future sales. 

obligatory Steve Balmer "developers" video because I think it's funny

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56 minutes ago, snerd said:

I'm going to propose something that may be controversial. Why not set up an app store for the commander platform? One that will allows devs to either release their apps for free or charge a small fee. It would encourage third party devs to make cool things for the platform, provide a revenue stream to the hardware folks, and provide incentive for folks to buy the thing because there's more stuff you can do with the thing. 

I'm not opposed to someone creating an app store if they think it's a good idea. I don't think it is a bad idea per se, but I think the same reason that you say developers won't invest time if there isn't an opportunity for return on that investment is the same reason why an app store isn't a great idea.

We're not talking about a platform that is designed for a captive audience that has no other way to install applications like iOS or, to a lesser extent, than Android. We're not talking about a locked down DRM encumbered platform where signed apps are the only apps people can run.

Further, we're not talking about a platform that will ever extend beyond the thousands of units, I suspect. Maybe tens of thousands on a good day. That's just not large enough of a population to make an app store a viable concern, I think. The people who will be interested in the X16 or even the X8 are going to be relatively tech savvy. Not opposed to downloading something to their microsd and sneaker netting it to their X16. Not opposed to typing LOAD "FILE": RUN and hitting Enter or Return or whatever the key is labelled on the X16 keyboard.

The file download section here *is* the free download service for X16 at the moment. The fact that more software hasn't been released at this point I think has more to do with waiting for final blessed hardware specs and an out of date emulator. Once final emulator / hardware is known, I think things will pick up quite a bit.

As for an opportunity to make a buck, the various app stores take a 30% cut or something. That's good money when you have literally billions of customers who are not as technically literate and locked into some form of DRM using the app store. That just doesn't describe the X16. I'd love to be wrong!

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21 minutes ago, Scott Robison said:

I'm not opposed to someone creating an app store if they think it's a good idea. I don't think it is a bad idea per se, but I think the same reason that you say developers won't invest time if there isn't an opportunity for return on that investment is the same reason why an app store isn't a great idea.

We're not talking about a platform that is designed for a captive audience that has no other way to install applications like iOS or, to a lesser extent, than Android. We're not talking about a locked down DRM encumbered platform where signed apps are the only apps people can run.

Further, we're not talking about a platform that will ever extend beyond the thousands of units, I suspect. Maybe tens of thousands on a good day. That's just not large enough of a population to make an app store a viable concern, I think. The people who will be interested in the X16 or even the X8 are going to be relatively tech savvy. Not opposed to downloading something to their microsd and sneaker netting it to their X16. Not opposed to typing LOAD "FILE": RUN and hitting Enter or Return or whatever the key is labelled on the X16 keyboard.

The file download section here *is* the free download service for X16 at the moment. The fact that more software hasn't been released at this point I think has more to do with waiting for final blessed hardware specs and an out of date emulator. Once final emulator / hardware is known, I think things will pick up quite a bit.

As for an opportunity to make a buck, the various app stores take a 30% cut or something. That's good money when you have literally billions of customers who are not as technically literate and locked into some form of DRM using the app store. That just doesn't describe the X16. I'd love to be wrong!

I think we're in alignment. The idea would be to provide revenue for the hardware folks and an incentive for developers to put in the time. Moreover - it's a means for the community to support both the ongoing efforts of the hardware folks and to support devs that are doing cool stuff. In theory, I can set up a patreon page but if I'm successful at earning some $$$ then none of that is going back to support the project beyond my developer contributions. Nobody is going to earn quit-your-job money doing this, but speaking for myself I'd be much more inclined to put in the hours necessary to make some truly rad @#$! for the platform if I knew (1) the platform is alive, and (2) there are beers I didn't pay for at the other end.

EDIT
I want to add that the financial incentive isn't the only value-add for developers. A lot of us do side-hustle work in addition to our FTE gigs to earn extra scratch and to transition into consulting. One tried-and-true way to do that is to spend time developing for small niche platforms and use that success to grow the consulting business. The money - even if it's beer money - is not nearly as valuable as a proven track record of making things other people like enough to spend money - any money - on.

Edited by snerd
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5 hours ago, snerd said:

I'm seeing a lot of debate in this thread over what might happen to "future sales" depending on what gets released and when. I'm just going to point out that none of that really matters if there isn't a vibrant developer community making things for the platform. A computer without a developer is a violin without a musician. I just checked the downloads section of this website and to date there are mostly demos, a few games, and a few utilities available for download. Not nearly what would be necessary to sustain a platform. On the current trajectory  - and I say this with ❤️ in my heart for everything the team is trying to do - the most likely outcome is that some form of the computer gets released, a few thousand hobbyists buy one, maybe a few dozen of those release some kind of software for it, and the whole thing kindof goes nowhere. ...

"I just checked the downloads section for a system that doesn't yet exist except as a few prototype boards and an emulator, and it didn't look like it was enough to sustain a platform."

Man, I'm guessing you are a glass half empty type.

A few thousands sold and what I take it is a few dozen hobbyists releasing software on an ongoing basis for a few years (since a few dozen releasing at least one application of some sort has already been passed) would not actually be "the whole thing kind of goes nowhere", it would be a nice little hobbyist system. This is the level of success where the worriers among us would be worried about fracturing the software ecosystem between the X8 and X16 families.

Sure, the hope would be 10,000 or more sold. A hundred hobbyists or so releasing software on an ongoing basis for a few years while it is a thing, and a few dozen releasing software on a longer trajectory is more like what it would be aiming at, as that would be a level of success that would sustain repeated production of batches of the different systems in the product line. I don't really think the division of the ecosystem between the X8 and X16 is a serious problem at this level of success, because where it's practical to port between the two, there will be a lot of ports ... indeed at this level, the FOSS applications that are popular on one system and practical to port are going to get ported (though possibly not by the original developer).

But the idea that the current selection in the downloads for a system that hasn't even started its crowdfunding campaign yet, let alone shipped, is representative of what it will be on delivery day seems like you needed to arrive at a "oh, this current system isn't going to work" conclusion as the launchpad for the proposal you wanted to make.

It's hard to see how an app store can beat the download store at this site for ability to maintain both a FOSS ecosystem and a platform for Patreon/Indiegogo retro developers. The key thing is not just that everything is free to download, but most things can be tried in the browser before downloading.  After all, what Patreon/Indiegogo retro developers are going to be putting up are their free teaser versions, and the lower the barrier to entry for trying out the teaser version, the greater the likelihood of attracting patreons or backers.

Fracturing the software ecosystem with an app store for paid apps and the download  store at this site for free try-before-you-buy downloads is recreating the very problem with the healthiness of software ecosystem that the download store is very well designed to prevent.

As far as people building their resumes to become a consultant ... it seems unlikely that this is for that stage of the process. This is for earlier in the stage of getting your feet wet with putting your code into public for others to see and use, in a community that is supportive of newbies and forgiving of newbie mistakes. I reckon that if somebody after some successes with some weekend development projects in this space decides they want to pursue that path, they really would be ill-advised to stay in this space for their resume building.

_______________

4 hours ago, Scott Robison said:

I'm not opposed to someone creating an app store if they think it's a good idea. I don't think it is a bad idea per se, but I think the same reason that you say developers won't invest time if there isn't an opportunity for return on that investment is the same reason why an app store isn't a great idea.

We're not talking about a platform that is designed for a captive audience that has no other way to install applications like iOS or, to a lesser extent, than Android. We're not talking about a locked down DRM encumbered platform where signed apps are the only apps people can run.

 

This is the key point. A free download site is the only system that can work as a central point of contact ... with paid options connecting into it via free teasers. In competition with that, an app store is going to have a relatively small share of total system owners participating, and it's highly unlikely to be viable.

This app store idea seems like an effort to transport experience outside of the retro niche and bring it in, but between the development team and others whom David is in regular contact with, there was quite a bit of retro niche experience that stands behind the design of the download platform and the decision to do an early release of an emulator long before the design was even close to finalized.

An app store has a comforting "what people are used to" feel to it, but beyond that it's not a great fit to this market niche.

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42 minutes ago, BruceMcF said:

An app store has a comforting "what people are used to" feel to it, but beyond that it's not a great fit to this market niche.

And until the X16 has native internet access, an app store would be limited to sneaker net anyway. I'd love to see the popularity surge enough to justify someone taking that task on (I won't be doing it myself) or someone doing it and thus causing a popularity surge. I would happily admit I was wrong. The purpose of the app store is to make download and install of applications easy. I'm not saying an app store couldn't work for X16, but it would have several strikes going against it from the get go with what is currently known about the design.

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6 minutes ago, Scott Robison said:

And until the X16 has native internet access, an app store would be limited to sneaker net anyway. I'd love to see the popularity surge enough to justify someone taking that task on (I won't be doing it myself) or someone doing it and thus causing a popularity surge. I would happily admit I was wrong. The purpose of the app store is to make download and install of applications easy. I'm not saying an app store couldn't work for X16, but it would have several strikes going against it from the get go with what is currently known about the design.

To be fair, I am not deep enough into the Raspberry Pi community to be aware of whether it has some thriving app stores, but if it does, maybe a comparison of their estimated user base to an estimate of total RPi users would give a reasonable idea of the share of X16 users an X16 app store might attract.

And if it doesn't, that also may be a useful piece of information to bring into the assessment of the idea.

After all, except for being a likely market that is three to six orders of magnitude smaller, that is a good approximation of the degree of openness of a retro 6502 board that can be programmed down to the bare metal.

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1 hour ago, BruceMcF said:

To be fair, I am not deep enough into the Raspberry Pi community to be aware of whether it has some thriving app stores, but if it does, maybe a comparison of their estimated user base to an estimate of total RPi users would give a reasonable idea of the share of X16 users an X16 app store might attract.

And if it doesn't, that also may be a useful piece of information to bring into the assessment of the idea.

After all, except for being a likely market that is three to six orders of magnitude smaller, that is a good approximation of the degree of openness of a retro 6502 board that can be programmed down to the bare metal.

The Pi runs (primarily) Linux. The idea of an app store is anathema to the Linux community, although there is an included package manager that largely serves the same function. 

The difference is that only free, open source software gets distributed through the package manager. The Pi foundation dared to add a Microsoft repository so users could download Visual Studio Code without needing to manually add a repository (because VS Code is the best way to write Python, which is the preferred language of the new Pi Pico microcontroller), and the community lost their stuffing. You'd think the Pi foundation had sold out to Gates and MS was going to turn all of our Pis into Redmond zombie love slaves, or something. 

So 100% of Raspbian users are using an "app store" in the form of the package manager, mostly because (like the App Store on iOS) it's included, free, and easy to use. But you can't actually buy an app through the repository manager. Instead, if you want to buy software, you've got to go through the process of downloading it with a web browser and installing it yourself, either via an installer package, compiling source, or hand installation. 

 

 

Edited by TomXP411
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13 hours ago, snerd said:

I just checked the downloads section of this website and to date there are mostly demos, a few games, and a few utilities available for download. Not nearly what would be necessary to sustain a platform. On the current trajectory  - and I say this with ❤️ in my heart for everything the team is trying to do - the most likely outcome is that some form of the computer gets released, a few thousand hobbyists buy one, maybe a few dozen of those release some kindof software for it, and the whole thing kindof goes nowhere. 

I think there's a lot more development going on than is visible in the downloads section. Personally, I have a number of little prototypes that I've been working on here and there, which I haven't posted in downloads because I don't think they're ready, and since there's no release date for the X16, there's no rush. (Here's one I've been poking at for about a week, along with the source code, if anyone's interested).

Honestly, I think there's no rush in general! The development community around the X16 seems (to me, at least) to be alive and vibrant and going strong. Yeah, the project has taken a little longer than expected, but I don't think the community will evaporate if nothing is released soon (or even for another year or two). If anything the community will just continue to grow! I don't think the project leads should feel pressured to get something (like the X8) out the door, just for the sake of getting something out there.

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6 hours ago, TomXP411 said:

The Pi runs (primarily) Linux. The idea of an app store is anathema to the Linux community, although there is an included package manager that largely serves the same function. 

The difference is that only free, open source software gets distributed through the package manager. ...

Yes, AFAIU, the requirement of the X16 download section is "free as in free beer", not necessarily "free as in personal freedom". I expect a strong contingent of FOSS in the download section over time, but there will also be a strong contingent of various types of "free, but source closed in various ways" software, and of course teaser free software for applications with more features (game levels, instrument channel combinations supported, whatever) in traditional paid, Patreon or Indigogo versions.

But while an app manager is not likely to be anathema to as many in the X16 community ... it also is not going to get very many retro hearts racing, either.

6 hours ago, TomXP411 said:

So 100% of Raspbian users are using an "app store" in the form of the package manager, mostly because (like the App Store on iOS) it's included, free, and easy to use. But you can't actually buy an app through the repository manager.

The original proposal for an app store was definitely about it being for paid applications.

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34 minutes ago, David Snopek said:

I think there's a lot more development going on than is visible in the downloads section. Personally, I have a number of little prototypes that I've been working on here and there, which I haven't posted in downloads because I don't think they're ready, and since there's no release date for the X16, there's no rush. (Here's one I've been poking at for about a week, along with the source code, if anyone's interested).

Honestly, I think there's no rush in general! The development community around the X16 seems (to me, at least) to be alive and vibrant and going strong. Yeah, the project has taken a little longer than expected, but I don't think the community will evaporate if nothing is released soon (or even for another year or two). If anything the community will just continue to grow! I don't think the project leads should feel pressured to get something (like the X8) out the door, just for the sake of getting something out there.

I think there is quite a lot to this.

I can see deciding to go with the X8 instead of the X16e because the X8 can be made available much sooner, where the X16e was, famously, only going to be the third of three "phases", without any guarantee that there would be enough inertia to get all the way there.

Instead, especially since the partially customized X16p case is off the table, it would be possible to do a different three phases to the crowdfund.

  1.  When it is felt that the X16p system is sufficiently ready to go that there is no further development risk, launch the X16p DIY Kit and X8 projects side by side.
  2.  If the X16p DIY Kit funds, then launch a crowdfund for a fixed number of X16p built boards.
  3. While the crowdfunding projects are working toward their deadline dates, finalize the design specification of the CX16c, and after the release dates for the first two sets of projects, open the crowdfunding for the X16c, built and in case. With a stable, working X16p platform already in the market, this has a clear hardware development target, and much lower development risk than there was at the beginning of what turned out to be the X16p development project (several years ago now). Also, the built CX16p kits already released provide a strong framing for whatever turns out to be a realistic CX16c price point.
Edited by BruceMcF
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41 minutes ago, David Snopek said:

I think there's a lot more development going on than is visible in the downloads section. Personally, I have a number of little prototypes that I've been working on here and there, which I haven't posted in downloads because I don't think they're ready, and since there's no release date for the X16, there's no rush. (Here's one I've been poking at for about a week, along with the source code, if anyone's interested).

Honestly, I think there's no rush in general! The development community around the X16 seems (to me, at least) to be alive and vibrant and going strong. Yeah, the project has taken a little longer than expected, but I don't think the community will evaporate if nothing is released soon (or even for another year or two). If anything the community will just continue to grow! I don't think the project leads should feel pressured to get something (like the X8) out the door, just for the sake of getting something out there.

To be honest, I've been following this project only casually since it started. When this thread got posted someone said something to the extent of "don't complain about hardware limitations for software you haven't even written" -put up or shut up basically. So I watched SlithyMatt's videos, compiled the emulator, and got started on a game engine. I've been having a blast putting it together, but the learning curve is steep and it's going to be a while yet before I have something worth posting. I imagine there's a lot of people right now having fun tinkering with the emulator but with nothing concrete finished to put in the downloads section. 

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