RiscPC emulator ported to LinuxBy Chris Williams. Published: 13th Mar 2006, 21:57:15 | Permalink | Printable
Some months away while PDA version rumouredFreely available RiscPC hardware emulator RPCEmu has been ported to Linux. Author Tom Walker released his program under an open source licence to Peter Naulls, who then crafted a Linux version and added in HostFS support from ArcEm - enabling RPCEmu to access files stored by the host operating system. RPCEmu, originally built for Windows users, is distributed with its source code included for other programmers to tweak and experiment with.
University student Tom said: "Peter was actually the second person to tell me he'd got it running on Linux. What surprised me was when I found out there was a PocketPC build in the works, although not by Peter."
Tom has added StrongARM processor handling to his emulation software, and also Video RAM support. He rewrote the emulation of the video system, allowing 32,000 colour modes to be supported - unlocking Replay video playback and high end demos, such as Zero. Various updates have also been made to the emulation of the keyboard, mouse and disc hardware. These will be available in the next public release, according to Tom.
"StrongARM support is merely a few more instructions - there is no real speed gain, except on things like AMPlayer which gain a lot from the multiplication instructions," said Tom.
"VRAM was more tricky. It was easy to get working on RISC OS 4, but 3.x do some strange things, like put all the memory management unit tables in VRAM at one point. It also really required a rewrite of the video code to support 16 and 32 bit modes. It's probably the most rewarding improvement so far."
On his website, Peter noted that a stable release of the Linux port is "some months" away, although coders interested in contributing to the project can contact him to access the latest source code.
Peter said: "When Tom Walker released the sources to RPCEmu, his RiscPC emulator for Windows in January, I was quickly able to turn around a port for Linux and much a bunch of other improvements - such is the nature of open source software. Now, this Linux port is very immature, so don't go asking me for a release. All I will say is that it works, but needs lots of things done to it."
He added: "Of course top marks to Tom for doing this in the first place, and agreeing to place it under the GPL after a number of suggestions I made to him about possibilities for clarifying source ownership."
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