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Iyonix emulator mulled by developer

Published: 20th Nov 2008, 12:30:44 | Permalink | Printable

The open source machine emulator GXEmul could be used to create an Iyonix emulator for RISC OS users and testers of ROOL ROM images, says one prominent coder. GXEmul already includes emulation of Intel's 80321 chip, the processor used in the Iyonix, and can run NetBSD on hardware similar to Castle's computer. Anyone interested in taking a closer look can apply John-Mark Bell's initial patch to the source code.

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Discussion

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Wow, excellent news. This could get me using RISC OS again.

 is a RISC OS Userleeshep on 20/11/08 12:34PM
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Hopefully the memory bandwidth wouldn't suck like on the real Iyonix.

 is a RISC OS Userspanners on 20/11/08 3:10PM
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Somehow the Iyonix's death from old-age seems to have triggered a moderate amount of unusually positive events for the platform. Give it four months and someone'll pop up saying, "Oh, by the way I'm putting the finishing touches on a x86 port of the ROOL ROM. If anyone interested that is, just a hobby project of mine". Well, don't snort like that, they might.

 is a RISC OS UserMonty on 21/11/08 2:11AM
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Except of course;

"Stoppers, you are mistaken. It explicitly allows emulator usage. It disallows "non-ARM-ports" however, but emulated ARMs are fine.

Userhubersn on 20/11/08 9:18PM"

... as pointed out in the eeepc comments. Make that, "Oh, by the way I'm putting the finishing touches on a Pandora Console port of the ROOL ROM. If anyone interested that is, just a hobby project of mine".

 is a RISC OS UserMonty on 21/11/08 2:30AM
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With a good optimising JIT using ARM code as an intermediate P-code is more efficient than Java byte code or the crap MS uses in the .NET runtime, particularly on x86/64.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 21/11/08 8:48AM
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Is that just anti-Microsoft bias rather than logic? The .NET CLR is vastly better designed than Java's pseudocode - you get better performance and tighter memory usage. (Because it's register-based rather than stack-based.)

 is a RISC OS Userrjek on 21/11/08 9:31AM
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Actually, both the JVM and the .NET CLR are stack-based virtual machines, quite similar at the bytecode level. Differences in performance are more to do with the fact that the JVM can interpret bytecode and optionally JIT hotspots, whereas the CLR always JITs the bytecode to native code (x86, ARM, etc).

I'm writing a BBC BASIC compiler for the .NET CLR, so I'm pretty familiar which its design.

 is a RISC OS Userrobsmallshire on 21/11/08 9:23PM
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@Monty

From the license itself.

"PROVIDED THAT such work is only intended to be used in conjunction with an embodiment (whether physical or emulated) of one or more versions of the ARM processor architecture."

It says "inconjunction with" rather than "under". That would imply to me that a port to x86 with an arm emulator to run arm programs would be OK. (Whether it would be OK for the port to be able to run x86 programs as well might be in question.)

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 21/11/08 9:45AM
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I'm no coder, so don't intend to download the emulator and patch, but can someone explain what John-Mark's patch does? Does it go some of the way to providing emulating Iyonix hardware?

 is a RISC OS Userlym on 21/11/08 7:05PM
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For emulating read emulated.

 is a RISC OS Userlym on 21/11/08 7:06PM
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Does it go some of the way to providing emulating Iyonix hardware?

Yeah. Fortunately, GXEmul already includes support for the 80321 processor and other bits and pieces present on the Iyonix motherboard. I took a look at jmb's patch and it introduces support for the I2C bus (the electronics the Iyonix uses to communicate with some of its hardware) and a description of how RISC OS 5 expects the memory to be arranged in the computer (the physical memory map).

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 23/11/08 2:29PM
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What hardware could this emulator be run on? Could Castle for example build a machine relatively easily to use the emulator when finished?

Also, how could this work be best combined with David Given's emulator?

 is a RISC OS UserAW on 23/11/08 1:16PM
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GXEmul is written in portable C, so it can be built for just about any architecture - x86 Linux, x86 Windows, x86 Mac, PPC Mac, etc. So, yes, you could finish the Iyonix implementation, put together a PC, put GXEmul and an underlying OS on it and sell it. But I don't think that's the point of this - it's really to test Iyonix ROM images without bricking your Ix. If a ROM fails to boot, you won't have killed your real Iyonix as you can safely test it in the emulator. Alternatively, if you really love RISC OS 5, you could use it as an alternative to RPCEmu/VirtualRiscPC. But it's not finished and I don't believe John-Mark as the time at the moment to do so - hence the availability of his patch for anyone interested in taking a look.

I don't see why it should be combined with David's emulator. They're providing a RISC OS environment from two different approaches.

More on GXEmul here: [link]

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 23/11/08 2:25PM
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