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Solra Bizna

Subforum for architecture development?

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I recently resurfaced to work on my ARM architecture. I was already aware of a 6502 architecture, and was thinking of making a 65c816 architecture. I poked around the forums to see what other architecture modules were in development, and found GreaseMonkey's MIPS architecture and evidence of another ARM architecture at least as far along as mine*.

A lot of work has been done by separate people on solving the various problems posed by developing a "real" architecture for OpenComputers. (The biggest of course being the component communication problem.) As far as I can tell (from not being on IRC), this has all taken place independently. This has probably resulted in a lot of wasted effort. In particular, my own work and that of the other ARM architecture's author probably overlapped heavily.

It seems that what coordination and communication has been done has been done mainly over IRC. This is well and good for those who are on IRC regularly, or at least "lurk". However, in my experience, long-term prospects of that means of coordination are poor as no record is left behind. People and work can disappear. It works for ad hoc efforts, and projects by small, existing groups, but it's not good for this kind of cross-project coordination.

Since the era of the mailing list seems to be over, I propose creating a subforum dedicated to architecture module development. Stuff like GreaseMonkey's hardbus proposal, or my (designed to be general) component interchange wire format, would be more likely to be seen there than where they are now (respectively on GitHub and in a tarball on an obscure website). We could also swap techniques for things like clock cycle management, virtual memory optimization, even JIT... There currently isn't a forum that really fits for these things. On top of that, a subforum would provide more of a record of what architectures are currently being worked on, and by whom, and how far along they are. It would do a lot to prevent unnecessary duplication of effort.

*This was discouraging, to say the least, coming as it did right after I had arranged a regular ration of time to work on OC-ARM. All other issues aside, it seems like a waste of my time to do something someone else may have already done. Especially if my result is incompatible with theirs. The ARM ecosystem is fragmented enough with subtly-incompatible everything already, and I have now unknowingly added to that in a small way. Plus, their module has a way cooler name than mine. :(

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I second this notion. There's a lot of stuff that needs to be discussed and there are serveral people with great ideas.

OCMIPS was developed with the knowledge that there were AFAIK at least two ARM implementations, and I used gamax92's OC-Example-Architecture repo as a base for it. Alt-architecture stuff does get discussed in IRC. I even hear that someone's writing an x86 emulator.

S3 linked a suggestion in IRC for a component bus heavily inspired by the ATM protocol. (I am not talking about automated ATM teller machines where you enter in your personal PIN number.) I suspect an approach like that may be more suitable than my hardbus proposal.

The idea of having a multiarch-friendly way of booting a system came to mind today, which was loosely discussed on IRC.

Filesystem-related ideas were also discussed. S3 has a partition table scheme lying around on one of his hard drives, and apparently FAT12/FAT16 isn't too hard to do.

Also:

[00:32:33] <S3> The subforum could be called "Architectures and specifications"

[00:32:51] <S3> maybe without the s

[00:32:54] <S3> sounds better imo

[00:32:59] <S3> "Architecture and Specifications"

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I've only just seen this... Should really check this subforum more often seeing as I'm the host ¬_¬.

An Architecture sub-forum sound like a good idea, though I've also just looked at the front page and realised it could be layed out a bit differently.

Current rough ideas for new site layout:

"OpenComputers" section will stay the same, might move the Moderation to someplace else or remove it since it's not used.

 

Code Central:
- Support
  - Programming
  - Requests
  - Misc
  - Wiki
- Showcase
  - Programs
  - Libraries & APIs
- Tutorials

Addons & More:
- Architectures
  - Specs(? perhaps? Maybe just have tagged topics in the Architectures part)
- Component Addons (would contain non-architecture adding mods like OpenPrinter, Computronics, etc unless those mods want a subforum)
- OETF Discussions (discussions for new RFCs and revisions of published ones)

General:
- Lounge
- Forum Games
- Showcase
- Servers (could potentially be moved to the OpenComputers section?)

I'll poke the other Admins to see what they think

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It might be better to have clearly separated subforums for each of {architecture,component}: one for discussing development in general, another for threads for specific mods. Specifications would belong in a general architecture development discussion forum, IMO. Other than that, looks good to me.

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Wouldn't it be nicer to put the addons above the "off-topic and fun" section? Dunno what others think, but to me anything below the off-topic section(s) on a forum feels like "there's nothing interesting here, no need to read this". It's a good place for "locked thread archives" and such, but not for normal on-topic forums.

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Wouldn't it be nicer to put the addons above the "off-topic and fun" section? Dunno what others think, but to me anything below the off-topic section(s) on a forum feels like "there's nothing interesting here, no need to read this". It's a good place for "locked thread archives" and such, but not for normal on-topic forums.

That's a good point, I'll swap it around

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Do you (Architecture devs) want the "specs" sub-section or are you okay with leaving them in the Architectures sub-forum.

Also if you have a topic for your Architecture, please "report" it and specify that it should be moved to the new section? I'll go and move the obvious ones now but not sure of the others

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Would the "OETF documents" subforum be the right place to put specs and drafts and RFCs and whatnot? I think this was discussed on IRC but it would be good to clarify here.

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Not knowing ahead of time what the OETF is, it is not at all clear what that subforum is for. If that's the intended purpose, the description should be clarified.

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