I bought a neat eat toy for me. An A600 already equipped with an Vampire processor card. A Vampire is an FPGA based CPU card for Amiga 500 and Amiga 600. A while ago I thought already about to buy a Vampire card. The delivery times for it are very uncertain and seems in the order of 6 Month. I even would need to buy an A600 first, I was really to lazy to do such step with uncertain future. But I found an ready to use one one ebay. Maybe a little bit more expensive but thats fine by me, still much cheaper than a 68060 or PPC card. 😉 The capacitors are exchanged but the audio sounds strange, but not a big problem for me. Mainly I’m not interested in the speed but but in the GFX Card which comes with the FPGA on Vampire. Its the only way to get a 24bit GFX card into a keyboard Amiga (except the very seldom BVision for A1200). Of course my for me very interesting if freepascal and it’s programs work with it and good news on this side, it’s working nicely. The only problem (like on my A1200) is the slow harddisk which makes it much slower then UAE but as I read the next firmware should improve that a lot. Of course a screenshot (done with a screenshot program I wrote in FP-IDE directly on my A1200 some weeks before)
Didn’t have much time today, so I only show a cute little program to learn typing, out of the box compiled for AROS TappyTux, also with Mathematics. still not perfect, needs a little bit work, (sometimes the text is outside), it throws 2 hammers and so on.. but even so very neat.
Playing a little bit with loading routines for vector formats and found the amazing fpvector package. It contains also a nice test program to test loading of files. It works already very nice loading of .svg and .dxf Files. For example .odg files does not work some string to float problem. Also the drawing works rather nicely but also shows some problems with the filled polygons. Worth to try to compare with the Linux version.
The MUI LCL widgetset also got accepted for the official Lazarus repository.
That means the next official Lazarus release will also contain the support for all Amiga Systems and the MUI Widgetset. Sadly the only one usable with the released 3.0.0 FreePascal is i386-AROS. m68k-Amiga has a serious bug, for MorphOS the resource support is missing. Both problems will be fixed for next FPC release 3.0.2. All Other platforms (OS4, ARM-AROS, x86_64-AROS) have to wait until 3.2 because their support was added after 3.0 split. Of course one can use the 3.1.1 compiler for all platforms already, as I usually do and release to public.
But it would be very nice to just install Lazarus via your default package system (deb, rpm, whatever) install your Amiga cross-compilers and binutils(with vasm and vlink it’s really easy) and one is able to use the lazarus as IDE for your Amiga LCL programming.
Today I also got write access to the Lazarus repository, that means I can continue to work on the implementation directly on the official repository.
Already tested and fixed some tiny problems. I will continue to test it on week end, seems there are some new problems inside, at least some of my test codes does not work.
We (ChainQ and me) activated the section linking for the other Amiga Platforms as well. Freepascal for MorphOS for example will now also use vasm and vlink with section linking. The mentioned MUI demo for example has a size of 82k on MorphOS, so a little bit bigger as on Amiga 68k. Sadly vasm and vlink does not exist for AROS currently (except 68k of course) so there we are bind to the GNU tools. But the AROS ld is much more recent so it supports section linking already. The sizes of the MUI demo for the AROS Platforms: i386: 83k, ARM: 86k, x86_64: 144k. Sadly on AmigaOS4 it still not work, it still needs some fixing in the linker and startup code. Of course it’s nice to have this small sizes on NG Amigas, but more important on the 68k Platform, maybe you remember the compilation attempt on a real Amiga (so not UAE) which needed around 3 minutes and 160 MB RAM. I retried that with vasm and vlink today. It is smaller (1.6 MB instead of 6.5 MB) and also need less RAM for compiling and linking (around 100 MB instead of 160 MB), really nice. The speed does not really change, because it is limited by the Harddisk speed, which is around 1.2 MB/s only for my A1200. I’m thinking to use the SCSI of Blizzard 1260 but I need a fast SCSI to SATA Adpater or so, the one I found in Internet seems not so good, no synchronous transfer, questionable compatibility with the SCSI interface of Blizzard.
As explained in the 2016 summary I started to try to introduce the MUI LCL Interface to the official Lazarus subversion repository. I started with the basic compilation nogui LCL, which is a rather small patch (when compared to the complete new MUI widgetset). Today I got answer (after posting that as Bug in the lazarus bug tracker) and the patch got accepted to the official repository. That was my introduction, so now I would like to also include the MUI LCL which will be my next target. It would make the development so much easier. Especially because they change a lot in Lazarus over the time. My branch at github is again so outdated that it means again a new implementation to bring it to latest status (for the 4th time). If it is in the official repository I will directly notice if something change which need my attention. And the people will see the HASAMIGA defines everywhere and maybe care about to not break it 😉
Again a year passed so I will try to give a short summary about things going on in the Freepascal world for Amiga-style systems.
In Januar 2016 a big change in Freepascal was done to fix the Varargs version of the amiga library version. All “array of const” are replaced with the better “array of PtrUInt” which is much better to emulate the open end parameter list
A little funny new experience started also in March. I created the first 64Bit ABIv1 AROS distribution. Mainly, of course because I need a test field for the FreePascal AROS x64. For me x64 would be the perfect successor of the i386-aros ABIv1. My suggestion for AROS developer would be to leave i386 ABIv0 as it is, backport changes to there. And change then to x64 ABIv1 (and do not use/promote i386 ABIv1). But the x64 AROS still need much work, many things still crash, much code still cast Pointers to integer so not 64bit ready. This is also the main reason the 64bit distribution did not get much new version, not much changed with the problems there, I retest the usual problems from time to time. Also the FPC 64bit had big problems, which I found out end of 2016 are mainly alignment problems, where AROS made it’s own life much harder than it should be. (reminder “stacked int”s)
EdiSyn got a new Version with some bugfixes and basic printing support. End of year it got also a ARM version of EdiSyn to public with some more advanced features.
I also tried EdiSyn on MorphOS and Amiga. But both have some problems because of the different behavior of MUI and Zune. And I did not took much work on it because on MorphOS there is already a very good Editor with syntax highlighting and on Amiga m68k it’s just too slow. But in principle it works just LCL need some more work.
I used already a Lazarus on Linux to cross compile to AROS i386, in April I created a Lazarus which can cross compile for all supported Platforms (AmigaOS 3, AROS, MorphOS). Because it worked to nicely I planed to release a Lazarus for Linux including the binutils and cross compilers for all Amiga systems. But I noticed it is very difficult, even to write a Manual how to install such a systems. Therefore I decided to create a virtual machine which includes Lazarus, cross compilers and binutils for all Amiga Systems. After Amiga OS 4 was added to Freepascal and LCL I released a 2nd Version including the Amiga OS 4 binutils and cross compiler.
ChainQ implemented FreePascal for OS4 long time before already but because of changes in FreePascal and without a maintainer it did not compile anymore. In April ChainQ resurrected it and fixed some basic things, make it self compiling again. Then I took the lead and implemented some OS4units bring FP-IDE to work and finally the LCL with the usual suspects for OS4. Which resulted to a Amiga OS 4 FPC release including LCL. I will continue to maintain the OS4 fpc but will not improve it much more, maybe someone will appear to continue it especially with the unusual interfaces can be found on AmigaOS4.
I continued to work on applications using my LCL. This time I got the idea to create a Map application showing routes of my bike GPS. I played around with google maps API and openstreet API. Openstreetmap is much better because google maps you are forced to use the google libs which is difficult at AROS. It get some releases for all available platforms. I also experimented with GPS support, first via a extra program later also directly inside Mapparium, which is still not released.
Long Time before I got the direct linking of C static objects to freepascal programs at AROS to work, which was really nice, but no real program resulted from it. On magoriums work on mikmod, I got an idea for a Delitracker like program for AROS, to Play my old modules. I results into my first native Zune program (so without LCL wrapper) ZuPaPlayer. And because Delitracker is working directly on MorphOS and Amiga I concentrated on AROS.
There I also noticed its rather difficult to write MUI applications in Freepascal. In C there are many many macros to make it easier, but they are not directly possible to convert to pascal. There is a muihelper unit in MorphOS with some starts to make it easier. I moved it to ami-extra to make it available to all platforms and extended it a lot. To test and prove the usability of it I started to port the example codes of the official MUI 3.8 release. On Amiga it works very nice on AROS it shows very good the differences of MUI and Zune.
Because ChainQ included support for 68000 processor which need some more alignment care. Because of this I created a little RTL for Workbench 1.3 which is really difficult because much things are not available.
This year also the port of FPC to ARM AROS including LCL and the usual suspects was done.
I try to bring the MUI-LCL to the official repository, started with the basic LCL implementation. Announced at mailing list. We will see how it goes.
In principle the ARM AROS freepascal works very nicely, but some of the LCL programs does crash, especially EdiSyn and Mapparium have this problem. I try to debug it, its strange that it only appears on ARM (i386, PowerPC, m68k no problem at this point). It seems that it is a classical use after free, but the source seems to be right. I need to check if this also happen on the other platforms and only work by random. Or ARM has special properties which bring this error. With some tricks I come around this problem and got EdiSyn and Mapparium to work. Both work well on RasPi AROS but still crash on exit so I guess there are more problems inside.
Compiled some programs for ARM AROS, most work, but some also do not work, with a rather strange error message. First I will add my new startup code to official repository, then I will try to debug this problem.
Working on the startupcode, added option to alloc a new Stack if the freepascal needed stack is bigger than the stack supplied by AROS. (which is mostly the case, AROS delivers 40k stack, FPC wants 256k). It works, even not completely finished. It’s my first bigger project with arm assembler better let someone check with more arm assembler knowledge 😉
I tried also LCL on arm, but it did not work, the Handlemessage inside MUI/Zune makes the problem. When I checked on the Structures involved. I noticed that on AROS there are two different structures, one for BINCOMPAT mode one without this define. Until now the BINCOMPAT was only needed for m68k, but there is no special m68k-aros but only m68k-amiga and the x64-aros does not work well because AROS on x64 is near to not usable.
The define AROS_FLAVOUR_BINCOMPAT is now defined as default for arm-aros and it seems to work. Compiled the FPCMines as first try and it is working well.