On the currently running 36. Chaos Communication Congress 2019 (36C3) there was a little lightning talk (5 min talks) about FreePascal where also the Amiga and Atari support got mentioned (all supported platforms).
I guess there was some confusion about the installers I presented the last days… these are not official Releases of FreePascal 3.2. In fact FreePascal 3.2 is not released yet and also no fixed date for it yet.
My work on the installers just show my work preparing the next release that we have a real Amiga style installers with all needed Readme and copyright text that they can serve as official packages and even published on the official FreePascal site.
You can download these packages and test the installer, and that was the purpose of showing them, but please do not distribute them as FreePascal 3.2 releases. (I added also a beta marker at the page and in the ReadMe to make it clear) And do not post news messages about FreePascal 3.2 Release until there is an official announcement.
Long time before some people started to port OpenOffice/LibreOffice to Amiga OS4 (sadly only OS4). I saw some screenshots but that is also already a long time ago, seems that is a bit of a too big fish to fry.
Maybe a smarter way would be to just implement something like LibreOffice which can read files from LibreOffice. I gave it a go, and it was not that complicated as I thought it would be, at least if you are using the right language (FreePascal) and the right GUI set (MUIClass). The biggest problem is no usable table component in MUI (at least I know of, for all systems available). I had to implement one from scratch.
And this being FreePascal, of course it works on all Amiga Systems (not only OS4). I implemented only some styles/options (no font size and font name) but color and font styles are there, also left,center and right alignment. It even calculates cells. Funny tool, one could make a real LibreOffice Calc Viewer out of this.
Working on the documentation for the MUIClass objects and also implementing Dialogs (File, Font, ScreenMode). Found some stuff to improve in the MUIClass objects when writing the documentation, missed some fields, forget some return values.
The documentation can be found on this server.
A little bit delays, but as always the summary of last year. Due to personal circumstances I have only little time for these things and also not much mood. I hope this will clear up through out the year.
But back to the review. The year started as claimed in the last summary suggested. The MUI-LCL was accepted to the official Lazarus repository and also did some (little) improvements of it. Sadly I always hit the border what MUI can do so not much advance here.
Charlie improved FreePascal and Frank Wille improved vasm and vlink to support section linking for the Amiga Platforms. This decreases the file size very much. Finally vlink and vasm became the default assembler and linker for Amiga68k, MorphOS and AmigaOS4
FPC for Amiga systems got it’s own Subforum at Amigacoding.de and in the beginning there were some discussion, sadly it slept in again.
Over the easter holidays I was on a trip, and I took my raspberry pi with an attached touchscreen and keyboard with me. Of course with AROS arm installed. Therefore I was able to code at the evenings in the hotel. I started to make a new approach for Mapparium. Mapparium is a nice program (I use it mainly to depict my bicycle tours recorded with my GPS device or iPhone) but the GUI ist still rather clumsy because MUI/Zune does not like this direct placement of positions. On a native 68k Amiga it become very slow because of this huge LCL Layer. I decided to write a native MUI/Zune application, as I did before the ZuPaPlayer, again to learn a little bit how to code MUI and also to fix some serious problems I found in Mapparium. The New Version is called MUIMappariumandwentthrough several releases until the current 0.5 release. MUIMapparium got an own Release page. It still does not have the same feature set as the LCL Mapparium but it works much more smooth, really nice even on a native 68k Amiga especially on a Amiga 600 with Vampire.
Speaking of Vampire, I bought a complete Amiga 600 with a Vampire V2 card, really nice piece of hardware. Very fast (the card just keep popping away from the chip where it should be attached). The only drawback is, that there is no FPU included in the FPGA emulation (so it’s more like a 68030/68020 than a 68040/68060 which has built in FPU). For my programs thats not a big problem, there is a SoftFloat option in FreePascal and it works really well. I never thought about the speed of that routines. Yes, I knew they are much slower than a native FPU calculation but I had no idea how much. Later someone released a FPU-emulation software femu which improved the situation a lot. But still a lot to improve there. I heard that the next released core should have included some more basic FPU function and the femu is somehow more connected to the FPGA. I guess they build a way to prevent the Trap which appears on every unknown FPU command and eats up a lot of time. But I have no idea if this is true and this will ever be released, In fact I doubt it a little bit, seems the whole project is sleeping or so. Just to depict that core releases from Vampire:
That means the last FPGA core release was almost a year before, and Screens/Show offs of the coming Gold 2.7 or Gold 3 are there since several month already but no sign of an actual release. (to be complete, there is a Gold 2.5 release, but there the FPGA core is not changed, same build number)
My Blizzard 1260 broke and I send it to repair, (sadly still unknown whats exactly wrong, MACH chips? I have no knowledge about such stuff). For the time without a proper turbocard for my A1200 I bought a Blizzard 1230IV which works very nicely. An other thing the Vampire is missing, is an MMU (at least an Motorola compatible MMU) so until now Linux or NetBSD will not work on Vampire Amiga. But on this Blizzard 1230 it runs… even very slow of course. I did some qemu-m68k stuff on my home server to let some automatic tests run of the freepascal 68k compiler Charlie is improving the whole time. My plan was to also try it on a real Amiga with Linux. Nice, but it really needs ages to do something like compile or install stuff. Maybe when my Blizzard 1260 is back I will try that again.
To keep the enemies separated I kept the Atari online compiler on a different page. Both are still nicely in use by some people.
Currently I try to find some motivation to continue on the MUIMapparium stuff. I already improved it a lot, especially the route finding stuff but it’s still not ready to release. in FPC I was working on the basic threading stuff, like events which were still missing. It was triggered by a change in the FCL package but need the event functionality. It still needs improvement.
Long time before ChainQ made the Atari port of FreePascal to work again, it’s just a start but you can create some tiny programs even with GUI. Since this my compileserver also compiles Atari FreePascal and supplies a download package.
When creating the Webpage for compiling FreePascal Sources in a Browser for Amiga systems, I already had in mind also do that for the Atari guys. Just it do not fit well with Amiga because the sources are not compatible (especially GUI of course).
So I made a special version for Atari Online Compilation separated with own examples (one for console one for GEM).