RiscPC emulator for Linux landsBy Chris Williams. Published: 28th Mar 2006, 02:13:18 | Permalink | Printable
Patience requiredRunning RISC OS on Linux took a leap forward today when the source code to the Linux port of RPCEmu was published online. Developer Tom Walker uploaded the blueprints to the port alongside the latest Windows build of his freely available RiscPC emulator.
The Linux version was created by Peter Naulls, the details of which were revealed earlier this month. As this release is an early glimpse at the emulator running on Linux, no official program is supplied; for now users must therefore be competent enough to compile the software from the supplied source code if they wish to test drive it.
Tom described the port as "preliminary", noting that RPCEmu also includes HostFS spliced from ArcEm - allowing RISC OS running on the emulator to access files stored on the host computer.
Click for bigger screenshot
Click for bigger screenshot
The emulator manages to run through approximately 10 million instructions per second on a PC fitted with a 1.4GHz AMD processor - roughly between the speed of an ARM250 and ARM3. On a 1.8GHz 64-bit AMD PC, the emulator manages up to 17 MIPS, compared to the ARM610's 28 MIPS.
Released on Monday, the latest version of RPCEmu addresses a fault with the emulation of the Acorn chipset that prevented RISC OS 3 from reliably booting. The graphics chipset emulation now supports 16-bit and 32-bit colour, correctly displays the colours in the mouse cursor, and features some video acceleration. It can also now support two hard discs, more than 16M of emulated RAM and video RAM.
Tom also authored Arculator, an emulator of Acorn Archimedes class computers. This is not available under the GPL, unlike its RiscPC cousin, and uses an implementation of HostFS that Tom created himself from scratch.
Update at 21:24 2/4/2006
With regards to the speed of emulator, Tom pointed out that on his PC, RPCEmu matches his ARM610 RiscPC.
He said: "When the software is changed to output the clock cycles being emulated, it suddenly turns out that 17 MIPS is around a 50 to 55 MHz ARM710, and that's with an infinitely fast bus. In practice it also feels a lot faster than my real ARM610, though that's not very hard."
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