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Can DE10-Nano Kit hardware emulate Commander X16?


CX16UserSteveC
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9 hours ago, SerErris said:

That was not the point ... and even there you already have an emulator. It is there is no need to run it on an FPGA. Simply cannot see any reason to do this. Either you want hardware - go with X16 - you do not want hardware - take the emu or any other available option.

But I expect the CX16e FPGA version of the CX16 will fit inside CX16c case with room to spare and have at least block pin headers for an expansion slot, so it solved the connectivity problem with the hardware that is made to work with the CX16p/CX16c ... even if I am only getting the CX16e if I can't afford the CX16c.

As far as something like the DE-10 Nano kit, the loss leader aspect of that board may make it much less expensive than it would be on a cost-plus-margin basis, but whether or not the Vera design is eventually released as open source it's perfectly reasonable to expect that the project will be given a chance to get its footing before that happens, and without a cycle exact Vera design, I'm not sure I see the actual benefit over the smallest NUC that can run the emulator at full speed.

Edited by BruceMcF
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  • 2 weeks later...
7 hours ago, SerErris said:

Isnt Vera a FPGA logic anyhow? So cycle exact is just releasing the rtl code of it and compile it?

Yes, though "just" is doing a lot of work in that sentence. After the CX16 has hit the market, it would not be surprising if there eventually was a release of the code for Vera at some future point.

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  • 9 months later...

As far as the ROM goes, I don't see why it would be too difficult (relatively—obviously it would take a fair amount of work) to simply write another one using the same entry points for the routines, similar to what Compaq did to avoid licensing the PC BIOS from IBM, who probably wouldn't have agreed to it. Cloning the whole BASIC interpreter would probably be a lot of work, yes, but if compatibility with BASIC programs isn't a priority then a clone could just focus on the KERNAL routines and run assembly programs, and let the user load a BASIC interpreter from disk. After all, PC clones generally left out the PC's ROM BASIC interpreter for the same reason.

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2 hours ago, Serentty said:

As far as the ROM goes, I don't see why it would be too difficult (relatively—obviously it would take a fair amount of work) to simply write another one using the same entry points for the routines, similar to what Compaq did to avoid licensing the PC BIOS from IBM, who probably wouldn't have agreed to it. Cloning the whole BASIC interpreter would probably be a lot of work, yes, but if compatibility with BASIC programs isn't a priority then a clone could just focus on the KERNAL routines and run assembly programs, and let the user load a BASIC interpreter from disk. After all, PC clones generally left out the PC's ROM BASIC interpreter for the same reason.

It's already being worked on. https://github.com/MEGA65/open-roms

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4 hours ago, Serentty said:

As far as the ROM goes, I don't see why it would be too difficult (relatively—obviously it would take a fair amount of work) to simply write another one using the same entry points for the routines, similar to what Compaq did to avoid licensing the PC BIOS from IBM, who probably wouldn't have agreed to it. Cloning the whole BASIC interpreter would probably be a lot of work, yes, but if compatibility with BASIC programs isn't a priority then a clone could just focus on the KERNAL routines and run assembly programs, and let the user load a BASIC interpreter from disk. After all, PC clones generally left out the PC's ROM BASIC interpreter for the same reason.

The challenge, as with a lot of projects, is getting enough people interested in doing the work. The "clean license" open source roms that have the most interest are for emulation of the C64. Open roms for emulation of the CX16 would be less work, but also have substantially fewer volunteers. The easiest course for open source CX16 compatible ROMs would be to wait until the main target of the open roms project succeeds, and then port those ... but there is no guarantee that it will harness enough contributors TO succeed.

Edited by BruceMcF
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10 hours ago, BruceMcF said:

The challenge, as with a lot of projects, is getting enough people interested in doing the work. The "clean license" open source roms that have the most interest are for emulation of the C64. Open roms for emulation of the CX16 would be less work, but also have substantially fewer volunteers. The easiest course for open source CX16 compatible ROMs would be to wait until the main target of the open roms project succeeds, and then port those ... but there is no guarantee that it will harness enough contributors TO succeed.

Michael's already ported that project for the CX16, when there were legal questions about whether the Microsoft BASIC 2.0 could be used.  It's suffering from bit rot (won't compile) right now though, since it turned out not to be needed.

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1 hour ago, Ender said:

Michael's already ported that project for the CX16, when there were legal questions about whether the Microsoft BASIC 2.0 could be used.  It's suffering from bit rot (won't compile) right now though, since it turned out not to be needed.

It would in any event have suffered from the bugs still in the code if it had been needed. Fixing those bugs after porting would be harder than waiting for them to be fixed in the main project, and then porting it ... hence "the easiest course would be ...".

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15 hours ago, BruceMcF said:

The challenge, as with a lot of projects, is getting enough people interested in doing the work. The "clean license" open source roms that have the most interest are for emulation of the C64. Open roms for emulation of the CX16 would be less work, but also have substantially fewer volunteers. The easiest course for open source CX16 compatible ROMs would be to wait until the main target of the open roms project succeeds, and then port those ... but there is no guarantee that it will harness enough contributors TO succeed.

Reality is if there is sufficient interest in Mister/X16 people will just pirate the Rom images as they do on many of the others. The Vera will be reasonably cloneable as most software will be developed on the emulator. Some very precise timing stuff may not work.

I understand 100% (and agree) that people should support the project team. Just being realistic.

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Reality is if there is sufficient interest in Mister/X16 people will just pirate the Rom images as they do on many of the others.


That is an interesting point. I don't expect to see true clones (that is, clones of the entire machine, including its ports and extraneous features, that aren't general FPGA solutions that can easily replicate other systems as well, such as MiSTer) of the X16 for quite a while. Probably not until David and company are no longer making it, and even then, only if it's successful. If someone does make a clone right when the system is new, I can imagine there being significant backlash against someone trying to compete with a niche product which is mostly a labour of love.

For the MiSTer issue though, while it will always be possible to simply use the original ROMs, I can definitely see a core author going to the trouble to try to make an unencumbered ROM using the Open ROMs code combined with the BSD-licensed code from the official ROM, for the simple reason that having such a ROM available and made the default heavily legitimizes the whole thing and takes a load off of David's mind.The MiSTer community is a fairly nice oone, and I can imagine people caring about that kind of thing. If I were the one writing an X16 core for the MiSTer, I know that I would try to do that for that reason.

I think having unofficial X16 things (mostly FPGA cores, as opposed to full-board clones, which I don't expect to see for a very long time) try to play by the rules as much as possible does a lot to avoid conflict in the community and avoid splintering or hard feelings.

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