[squeak-dev] Recent standalone Squeak ports, and recent hardware to run them?

Jecel Assumpcao Jr jecel at merlintec.com
Wed Apr 8 22:10:23 UTC 2009

Derek Peschel wrote on Tue, 7 Apr 2009 21:56:48 -0700
> On Sun, Apr 05, 2009 at 05:15:45PM -0300, Jecel Assumpcao Jr wrote:
> > My own focus is a little below the bare metal - to have a processor that
> > runs Squeak bytecodes natively.
> I started reading about Plurion and the Merlin 6.  On the SqueakNOS list
> Merik Voswinkel also mentioned Morphy.

Morphy is the current name of the machine designs which evolved from
Merlin 6. It reflects the hardware modification features of an FPGA
based computer and sounds a bit more child-friendly.

> If you have the VM in the hardware,
> the tradeoffs change.  So my next questions are:  How good do you find
> SqueakNOS as a debugger for the software? (device drivers, SqueakNOS, apps)

It is better than anything out there - only Forth comes even close. The
problem is that SqueakNOS has not yet crossed its most critical
threshold - being able to save images. Without that, any development you
do will be lost. You will have to go back to a "hosted" version of
Squeak, repeat your modifications there, generate a new CD image and
reboot to test if everything went ok. My prediction is that once you can
develop within SqueakNOS itself, it will take off like nothing you have
ever seen before.

> What do you do about the issues of initial loading at power-on,

If you have a BIOS or OpenFirmware then I don't see any problems. For a
pure Squeak system you can get by with just a trivial loader.

> allowing user changes to the system, and preventing users from
> making the entire machine unusable?

My proposal is to use a separate system image and a user image. You
can't allow full access without also allowing accidents, but a little
structure goes a long way towards eliminating the latter. I described
this in a post to the SqueakNOS list:


-- Jecel

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