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Experimental RISC OS emulation layer for ARM-powered devices

Published: 23rd Nov 2008, 12:25:55 | Permalink | Printable

Programmer David Given has started work on a miniature reimplementation of the RISC OS kernel and plugged an ARM emulator into it to allow simple RISC OS programs to run on Unix-like operating systems. His work includes modules taken from the RISC OS Open sources. Meanwhile, another coder has spoken of writing a similar emulation layer for Intel-powered PCs - although he wouldn't be the first to attempt such a project.

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This seems superior to the ARM emulator mentioned earlier this week in certain ways. What are the advantages or differences to John Mark-Bell's work?

 is a RISC OS UserAW on 23/11/08 1:18PM
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A completed GXEmul implementation of the Iyonix would provide the equivalent of RPCEmu or VirtualRiscPC emulating an Iyonix on a PC, Mac or another suitable platform - useful for running RISC OS 5 or testing ROMs from ROOL source before you write them into your Iyonix Flash ROM.

David's work is not a machine emulator. It will run on ARM-powered devices and sits on top of another OS, such as Linux. It tricks simple programs into thinking they are running on RISC OS when in fact, they aren't. It translates ROS system calls into Unix system calls, so the underlying OS does the real work. Effectively, it allows you to run ROS apps on ARM Linux.

Timothy's work, mentioned above, is similar to David's efforts except that it'll run on Intel processors, allowing RISC OS programs to be tricked into running on a PC with the help of a built-in ARM emulator. When/if released, it'll allow you to run ROS apps on an x86 machine.

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 23/11/08 2:16PM
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It's a popular concept; ROLF is using a patched version of QEMU to do something similar.


 is a RISC OS UserStoppers on 23/11/08 2:01PM
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There now seem like lots of different approaches to emulating RISC OS on new hardware. While this is great, and it's obviously up to developers what they choose to work on, would there be some value in reducing some of the duplication here? I realise that these emulators aren't all exactly the same, but with such a paucity of developers still active, I can't help thinking it would be better to pool resources into providing one really good emulator for RISC OS rather than lots of half-finished ones.

 is a RISC OS Userlym on 24/11/08 11:14AM
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Unfortunately you really can't make demands of people working on free projects. Most of these projects are written as a combination of "That would be fun", and "I think the other methods miss the point". The best you can do is to either sit back and wait to see which ones survive or offer your services to those that interest you the most.

Expecting loads of geeky types to agree on a single course of action ... hahahahahahahaha.

 is a RISC OS Userflibble on 24/11/08 11:44AM
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Yes, that's all true. :)

It'll be interesting to see what, if anything, comes out of this recent flurry of activity. I'm still attracted to the idea of an RPCEmu + ROOL combo, but I guess we'll all have to wait and see.

 is a RISC OS Userlym on 24/11/08 12:27PM
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Does anybody know there's a paucity of developers? This is three new projects mentioned in one week. Hardly a paucity of interest.

 is a RISC OS UserAW on 24/11/08 7:10PM
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And how many come to useful fruition?

 is a RISC OS Userrjek on 25/11/08 9:20AM
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The point is that there have always been initiatives of this kind announced from time to time (Riscose, RON, etc.). It would be great if all of these projects were successful and properly finished off, but I can't help thinking they probably won't be.

As flibble correctly pointed out, you can't really ask programmers working for free in their spare time to change their priorities. But it does seem odd that we have all of these uncoordinated attempts to get different emulators working when there's no RISC OS coder working on an important app like NetSurf.

I don't mean to be negative - it's great there's stuff going on, and I really hope these projects are successful. Let's hope some coherence emerges in due course :)

 is a RISC OS Userlym on 25/11/08 11:15AM
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Well at least one, hopefully; still better than /no/ initiatives at all, I would have thought.

 is a RISC OS Userbucksboy on 25/11/08 10:03AM
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