Re: [stella] z26 linux port snapshot

Subject: Re: [stella] z26 linux port snapshot
From: Julian Squires <tek@xxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 2004 12:50:43 -0400
On Wed, Apr 21, 2004 at 04:26:19PM +0000, rufbo1@xxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
> > I was considering translating it to PPC asm (or portable C)
> > manually, but the size of the file and the number of macros makes it a
> > fairly imposing task, unfortunately.
> Now hopefully you'll forgive my presumptuousness, but has anyone given
> portable C a shot to see how difficult it'd be?  Just curious.
> What kinds of issues would you have?  I've got that naive view that "C
> is C" if you get it simple enough, and I imagine the asm in z26 isn't
> doing anything horribly platform or OS specific (past the fact that it
> is, by defn, as platform specific as it gets, being assembly code).  I
> can understand different assemblers might have slightly different
> syntax (even saw a few changes swapping from RAsm to DAsm way back
> when hacking on a few 2600 demos), but [relatively ANSI] C?  That
> seems strange.  (Again, IANACC or C-Hacker or whatever's the preferred
> nomenclature, Dude.)

Well, it's important to remember that the simplification ``C is portable
assembler'' is incorrect.  There are often things that one can do in
assembly language that have no simple/direct equivalent in C.

It sounds like B. Watson already has a plan for a conversion, so I'm not
going to speculate too much, but some experience porting from x86 to
various architectures makes me fear the task a bit.  Once you have the
functions converted, you still have endian issues to take care of, and
other things, like word alignment.  At best, you can automatically get
something that works but is dog slow (because you're practically
directly emulating x86).

On the other hand, a lot of the assembler looks pretty RISCy already, so
much of it should be fairly translatable. 

> I was trying to think of today's "Kleenex" equiv for Linux on PPC,
> which used to be LinuxPPC.  Then I caught myself and went with the
> less self-dating YDL.  If anyone runs z26 on PPC using Gentoo (I
> realize YDL & Gentoo are hardly the only two either), you'll know
> z26's "made it" in ways that nature never intended!

Heh; Debian on my side, actually.  I didn't buy a machine to spend all
day recompiling base packages.


Julian Squires
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