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Pi 4 + Argon One M.2 = Awesome


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On 11/2/2021 at 2:42 PM, Scott Robison said:

RPi Pico: KIM

I think you're selling that hardware a little short there. Back in the early 2000s I used "Basic Linux" (Slackware 7.1 base on two floppies with custom kernel) on a 25MHz 486SX and it ran all the command line stuff well (X was generally awful back then so I just used Win95 on that machine). A stripped down Linux kernel with Busybox, BASH, TCC, nCurses, SDL, VIM, Emacs, and Nano would utterly fly on that dual core 133MHz ARM CPU and 512MB RAM would be waaay more than enough for programs made in C. FreeBASIC is also available for ARM.

I've done a fair amount this with my Pi Zero W over the years, but I put it aside to explore retro stuff. Truth be told, if we're talking command line only, I actually prefer Linux over DOS and 8 bit systems, because it's more capable, extensible, and doesn't require assembly to achieve great performance.

It's funny, a few years ago I started work on a BASIC shell for the Linux kernel on the PI Zero, written in C. I didn't get very far before I moved on, but hey, great minds think alike, eh? 🙂

Edited by Tatwi
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On 11/2/2021 at 7:30 PM, Tatwi said:

I think you're selling that hardware a little short there. Back in the early 2000s I used "Basic Linux" (Slackware 7.1 base on two floppies with custom kernel) on a 25MHz 486SX and it ran all the command line stuff well (X was generally awful back then so I just used Win95 on that machine). A stripped down Linux kernel with Busybox, BASH, TCC, nCurses, SDL, VIM, Emacs, and Nano would utterly fly on that dual core 133MHz ARM CPU and 512MB RAM would be waaay more than enough for programs made in C. FreeBASIC is also available for ARM.

I've done a fair amount this with my Pi Zero W over the years, but I put it aside to explore retro stuff. Truth be told, if we're talking command line only, I actually prefer Linux over DOS and 8 bit systems, because it's more capable, extensible, and doesn't require assembly to achieve great performance.

It's funny, a few years ago I started work on a BASIC shell for the Linux kernel on the PI Zero, written in C. I didn't get very far before I moved on, but hey, great minds think alike, eh? 🙂

Oh, absolutely there is no comparison to the power of any of those two sets of hardware. It was just a list that amused me. 🙂

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If you do happen to want a minimal Pi Zero Linux system, Jon Wallace has already put one together using Buildroot. It boots in 12 seconds, which is pretty good for Linux.

That said, the entire RISCOS desktop boots almost instantly and it comes with BBC Basic, which can be set as the default boot mode. If you just want a BASIC machine, this is the path of least resistance. Sadly RISCOS has poor driver support and it's management is rather opaque, but it and BBC Basic are well documented though, if that's your cup of tea.

Also of interest, Graham Sanderson ported the BBC B/Master 128 emulator to the Pi Pico. While "only" an emulator, it does apparently play all the games for the original BBC Micro. Unfortunately it requires a computer to pass keyboard instructions to it over UART, so it's not a practical project. Still nifty that the emulator runs well on the Pico!

A bare-metal 8-bit style kernel and software package for the PICO attached to a board that has VGA, 3.5mm audio, USB or PS/2 keyboard, and some kind of joystick port, would be compelling.

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