science-tech system developpment article en
Thoughts on castle and riscos
I've been spending the past couple of month investing riscos, which is an old operating system for arm/risc platform, it has been instructive on many regards, but still what i think of it all together.
Originally it's a very good operating system, technically, well very good, with a cooperative multi tasking system well in itself it's not bad, but the whole api is still in low level language like mix of assembler and C that is not very well documented, so it make a few things a bit dicey to program, but the core system is still rather well designed.
It's written large part in assembler, it uses a mechanism of software interrupts and relocatable modules , the system itself is rather smart, in fact close to the system i'm developping myself, minus the software interupts, the module stay resident in a static memory zone, and programs are loaded in there declaring entry point of swi in a module header.
The system in itself is fine, but what took me long time to realize is that nobody at castle know how it works. They bought the sources 15 years ago from a convoluted path from acorn, no original developper of the operating are active today, well there are still people active on it, but they mostly playing out with interupts and fixing quick stuff, on hardware and all.
Well originally i've been there to port among other this platform, and other applications, and so investigated on how to things on the pi, well i know there is debian, but i know debian is not very fast, i wanted something that leave all cpu power and memory for applications , with better support for certain things for multi media, so i looked into riscos because it was more looking like what i was looking for, lightweight, open source, large part in assembler no waste, good graphics capacity, well it has the requirement i wanted for the basics.
Now problem, everything is made in assembler, with a list of swi with the assembler API using register used/left and all, so it's pretty old.
With my objective to have a system organized around a DOM-tree, well it clearly missed something.
I started to ask question, about how to make certain of the things i'm into, and they were like you can do this with a filer it's easy to do this on riscos, well then i realized nobody pulled out this thing together in the past 15 years, and the guy who was saying this to me well he never been programming anything that works more than copy pasting a tutorial, and he is there giving advice to people on technical thing, pretending it's a riscos things.
At first i was bit surprised, when i said it would need something like 'OLELoadimage' and been told on rude impolite tone that it's esoteric windows things that nobody care about, i was like ok, well let see how it works on this system.
Then i tried to investigate to get threads or something preemptive like to run webservers, it was like opening a whole can of worms, i just saw there was a thread on it that lasted for like years, as i already have some code and lightweight infrastructure to handle threading based on interupt in my own system, that can already solve lot of this issue, i tried to pull it there, but only got trolling answers, and all kind of things about cmt/pmt/amp theory, i'm sure none of this people ever programmed anything multi thread in c or c++ or assembler.
Then all kind of crazy solutions, and when you critics anything, you get insulted called no brainer, people just act like if they were technical directory of some big company whereas they are just there sitting on their 15 year old OS who can't do anything else than blitting sprite and printing text, well it's a bit abusive, it has still good windowing system and the people who programmed this are smart, but none of the people on castle and this forum understand anything of this. They just stick on old manuals and copy back interupt in programs mostly in BASIC with tweaks and stuff.
Well not that it's wrong in itself, but clearly that's not going to work out to compete with modern system.
Then i started to ask if things could be modified, i got thrown the whole issue of porting applications, then i said them clearly i won't port 20 applications to new things, then tried to investigate a little bit more about the whole thing, well basically nothing like function import, no hierarchy, no dependency, just series of module in machine code loaded in a fixed location in memory that application reference through swi number match with a name.
And they're all there waiting the messiah who will port a dom like browser and make the system preemptive, while not giving any clue, making all the way more complicated to anyone who ask question, giving them irrelevant links or wrong information to look like they are competent, but basically none of the people there seem to worth rat shit in system or modern application programming, maybe i'm wrong though. Some of the guy looked ok, but not the guyz from castle of from the board.
Then i asked them if then things can be modified, or if it just cannot be changed at all, and just need to stay exactly how it is, with the current api, and i've been told ok you can modify it, so then i started to investigate a little bit more, well it's not even that there is that much work to do on it for the most part to have equivalent to threads and dom plugin, but then figuring out 120MO of source, the whole application dependency, while people are just there throwing insult and calling you insane, with no other resources , well seem difficult.
This forum seem to be the most important place for riscos development, so for the moment i'll just publish some of things i made, and document few things i figured out, and will more focus on my own system which seem more productive than dealing with a bunch of old fart with their basic not wanting anything to move to be able to brag about how great they are to know how the old stuff work, and not even knowing one tenth of anything but still act as technical director for the whole system while they don't know anything about it.
The most disturbing has been to find out that the most active developper of riscos this past 15 year has been struggling for years on the exact same issues, and he had all the good idea, with ole like components, with js scripting, OO orientation, fixing dependency issues on module for the toolbox, and he complains himself to have been faced with only people who wanted their BASIC and non OO things to keep the few base of users they had in 1998 that were mostly education and some home user, but those needs moved quite a lot past years, and they are still like robots on these old issues.
Well i been there it just seem people are only interesting into bragging at how great their is, and how great they are for knowing such a great piece of technology, trying to pretend they have the level of system developpers whereas any attempt by any team to do anyting of this the past 15 year to bring to preemptiveness and all things it needs like a web browser failed, and are still there it's better that windows, and who needs objects, dependency, threading, only giving cheap solution that are just nothing more than dirty fix presented as if they were the holy grail of programming, and the whole thing is made like this out of cheap fix after cheap fix with horrible synthax, the whole thing hold with glue and rope and nobody know even how it works there.
Plus all the people who try interpret words, or to push people out of their limit, like a guy who is working h24 with not so good health, and they don't even say him to make a break, and always confronting people on their ego and stuff, and making them say thing they didn't say, really immature manipulative behavior, it really reminded me cult tactics almost, about great promise of future things to come that never come, and how everything is best with tons of bias and dishonnest speech, never spoken to people with so little honnesty in their speech for a while lol
Those guy are so biased, you'd think it's a religion, you critics anything, you get insulted, called insane, it's really like a cult in fact, as long as you in hearth at the greatness of riscos, everything is fine, even if you say 10 bad advise per word to other people who might be interested, as long as it's pro riscos it's fine, but once you start to ask question, and to face them with problems, then suddently you become odd, insane, and all.
Well i removed all my posts from there, and one guy started to take picture of them thinking that looked smart with his phone haha saying he would use it for its own site, at least there would be something more interesting than useless arm tutorial with 3 lines of code and 3 pages of explanation to explain some basic concept. He even more or less stollen a sentence i told in a thread to make his own little tutorial on C trying to look smart or helpful or something lol
Well it's a little bit pathetic, it's sad a system like this had fallen into such kind of place haha, i can understand why justin has given up and why he kept on it for long, but really the organisation, the mentality, it make it impossible to turn it into something more modern, despite all being in lack of good browser and threading, the mentality there make it impossible to do anything.
No wonder why nobody is more involved developping this system, it has potential, but people prefer to be in their cultish os war of it's better than windows, always trying to compare it saying it's better, with all bias and dishonnesty possible to have, and to me it give a very bad impression of cheap marketting and amateurism, of people wanting to manipulate other into believing things or other, the number of inacurate things or plain wrong i've been told there, really i would advise anyone going on that forum to check twice any said, even if checking twice 1000 things to get anything done is long well, i didn't really see much people there competent at answering anything.
They pretend to be competent at answering, and will act if they know what they are talking about, and how to do things, what is risc like, what is riscosish but it's just mostly myth and dragon about stuff that just has been put up to date, cleanup and made safer, and i guess it's kind of scene marketting to keep things in certain myth to keep the user base they have currently, but well that's not very attractive to new users, that's for sure.