OS choices

append delete Meshuggah333

I wonder what the OS choices will be on the machine, as there's a crazy amount of little OSs on the C64/128 that would be pretty useful on the Mega65.
The default OS is of concern as currently it seems to be one of the beta C65 ROM that goes straight to basic.
A simple bash like CLI with an underlying DOS would make a great OS replacement as I don't see how we would manage to get rights to the C65 ROM to make that default with a commercial version of the machine.
Digging around I've found LUnix ( that would be very nice to start with (and as been worked on by our very own Mister Gardners in the past hehe). It got everything needed for a retro modern CLI OS feel including a TCP/IP stack (that means the possibility of creating direct downloads of programs without using a PC, it would still need a service of some kind to be written)
It would need to be updated to give access to the M65 specific devices, memory model, and hardware. But it seems to be a very good base.
I'm talking out of my *** here, but my concern is valid I think.

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append delete #26. Freddy Champagne

You don't got the point. We're not here to discus cp/m. We are here in a M65-Forum and my statement was only to show that it's not that important to have 99% c64 compatibility coz those who are reading here usualy already have a real c64 OR they have one the many 'new' c64-gadgets: Reloaded MK2/3, Chameleon, 1541Ultimate etc.
I just explained that the main goal for the M65 is not the 99% compability to the c64. It is nice to have it, but it is not the reason people gona buy the M65, coz the other mentioned do that job already good, and surely cheaper. People who wants c64 goes to ebay or buy one of the modern clones.

append delete #27. LGB

@Freddy Your claim it a bit funny, to be honest :) You say that we don't live in 80s any more, the world developed etc. But then so the hardware, there are 32 and even 64 bit *fast* CPUs running in machines with Gbytes of memory etc etc. So then if your claim is true, then the core problem already: why someone would bother with a 8bit system basically, if world has evolved a lot since then? Yes, because the desire for that technology, ie "retro computing". But then, the same way, as hw evolved a lot and you can use a much faster computer now (like a modern PC), it's true for OS designs/UIs as well, so for the retro feeling (if someone wants that, and by choosing a 8 bit system nowadays means that!) implies the feeling of a 8 bit system (the reason why you still care, regardless the 99.99% of people who moved further already ...). Surely, you can do a very fast 8 bit system even near the GHz scale with Gbytes of memory and you can run a clone of Windows (being similar in look&feel) on that, but then what's the point and joy there? Nothing offensive here from to argue, just I can't get the point ... Using even a modern recreation of some 8 bit system shouldn't forget (too much!) the original goals/feelings etc attached to, or otherwise it becomes a pointless effort. In my opinion ...

And surely you can use any OS you want, no problem, just making literally "default" sounds odd for me. But maybe a minute/moment or so it would take for the user to do that, and if somebody wants they can make default for them. I cannot see the problem, but I don't know why it would be so important to force "being default" something, which is totally alien for the "image of the platform" itself.

Again, personal opinion only.

For C900, AFAIK getting Amiga made that efforts obsolete. In my opinion Commodore often has the problem that "they didn't know what to do". For the 900 they seems to be more focused on the business side, by contrast, the targeted audience of Amiga is not exactly the same, or was not clear. Still, later Sun Microsystems literally "prayed" CBM to join efforts for Amiga+UNIX+business sector, but CBM didn't go that way with them (who knows, otherwise there would have been Commodore branded servers, workstations etc in later as normal thing ...). The mistakes of Commodore plus 4, which was the reason of failure (Tramiel didn't want that for another C64, but after his leave, others tried to sell it as "another C64", it was not the plan, the failure is quite natural here). Or just see Commodore LCD, which would have been a very advanced mobile "business class" stuff in its time. Then well again C65, which has been started to be developed WAAAAAAY too late, I am not even sure why ... Commodore should have been focused on developments on their modern flagship products, ie Amiga line. Surely only on "strict" technical/marketing sense. No need to say, I love even new 8 bit computers, even today, but it's more like a hobby, personal enjoyment etc rather than the bleeding edge of our technology as the humanity, of course.

C128 is again an interesting thing. According to Bil Herd, even the C64 compatibility was not the very original plan, neither including the Z80. And the painfully slow Z80 clock speed was more like a hardware level development problem that they haven't got enough time for a late idea from somebody to drop in a Z80 too. Or at least this is what I remember about this topic when I discussed this with Bil.

append delete #28. gpz

Your claim it a bit funny, to be honest :)

+1 :)

what i find most interesting is, that all those weird dreams always come from people wh couldnt code their way out of a paperbag to safe their life. we've heard similar things about REU, about SCPU, about MMC64, about EF, etc etc. i wonder when those dreamers actually get the point - unless YOU MAKE IT ALL YOURSELF, sorry, it will not happen.

:: @gpz added on 22 May ’18 · 18:26

and yes, the C64 mode is certainly very important to most people - thats easy enough to figure out when you look at what people expect from the mega65.

append delete #29. Freddy Champagne

It might be funny in your eyes, but I as a user (not programmer, neither system designer but USER) I know what a user need. Programmers and designers build stuff and sometimes they build stuff no one really asked for.
Of course the ability to run c64 software is nice to have, but it is not the target for the c65. It never was the goal. The target is c65 (M65) and not c64. If the target were c64 you would build another Chamelean or Ultimate or Reloaded.

I see a machine who does well fits MY needs as a user, and that's all I said here. I want to drive a Golf and not a Porsche.

Again for talking the 80ies. A Golf 1 evolved to a Golf 5 or 6 or 7, but is still a Golf.
Why is this not true in computing world? Why does it need to have 8gig at least and a quad-core? I can remember using GeoWorks Ensemble, and it was great. I do not really need Win10 or the huge modern Linux-Distros. It only happens that programmers and system designers does not optimize the old systems, they alway blow up things in such a way that users can't no more master their tools.
Look @ the millions of Windows or MacOS users. They can not secure their OSses against virus or sniffing companies. You tell me that we have 32 and 64bit systems nowedays, and I tell you we (the users) don't need them. We are happy with well done 8-bit. When I was younger I followed like many others. But now being a little bit older, I know it is wrong. It has a little bit to do with "The world has enough for everybody" (<- 8-bit) and "Everybody can become millionaires [but not all of them @ the same time]" (<- 32/64-bit).

I hope you understand what I'm trying to say.
The Mega65 looks like a machine who is powerful enough to be used with some kind of modern user interface. And yes, we should still be able to go into ROM-BASIC.
Look at those modern machines: Where do you see "Go Basic" in Windows, or MacOS. I mean by default. the last OS with basic included was MS-DOS 6.22. Since then M$ think users don't need it.

@gpz: of course c64 is important, but it is not the reason for M65, it's an ad-on, or do you really want the M65 being misused like the c128?

:: @Freddy Champagne added on 22 May ’18 · 19:33

Also think about it: the users are mainly users and not programmers.
Again explained with cars: the most users are drive4rs, not mechanicians.
I guess that makes clear what I'm talking about.

Btw.: Cars are made for drivers, not for mechanicians. ;-)

append delete #30. gpz

do you really want the M65 being misused like the c128

want i want doesn't matter. what matters is: will someone make all this software "users" keep dreaming about? my prediction is: no

append delete #31. Freddy Champagne

Don't underestimate the power of a GNU-Generation.
My prediction is: yes, it will as time goes by.

append delete #32. gpz

lol, yeah, sure :)

append delete #33. LGB

The key point here, that modern software/OS are just too bloated/unsecure, etc, right? Then some can write OS/software not so bloated/more secure for a hardware platform which is dirt cheap and still more powerful than Mega65 is. Just think about the 9 dollar C.H.I.P. SBC, which in fact I have. Yes, it has 32 bit ARM as its CPU. But if you are frustrated with 32 bit, you can use only 8 bit from each registers ;-P or you can even write a primitive emulator to emulate a 8 bit CPU, and build an OS on top of it. Since that OS is run over the very think and quick CPU-only emulation there is no way to "escape" from that, and that system really can say it runs on that CPU which is actually is a "virtual CPU" ie emulated.

What I mean here: mega65 will never be 9 dollar ... or even close, I guess. So why people would buy it? The answer is simple, because its origin ie the nostalgic feelings for 8 bit systems. If only the "better and more secure software" is the term, you can create that on a more modern and much more cheap hardware (and yes, here not "the more modern" is the key - is just a side effect - but the more cheap, more easy to get, etc etc).

Also, I am not sure what you mean about being secure ... If you want a modern multi-task OS, a 8 bit like system is already ruined out, it cannot be secure, by design, unless you have the extra effort to put the hardware level stuff what most modern CPUs have. Ie Mega65 won't stop you to access any memory, or execute code where you want, and so on, compared to a modern CPU hardware where even the hardware can do this for you (oh yes, Spectre, meltdown and other problems can occur, but still when a friend asked me, does spectre/meltdown can in theory effect Z80/6502/etc, I told: no, because there you can whatever you want, no need for a bug to do that - so it's not a major point against modern stuffs compared to 8 bit one). Mega65's security efforts are great btw, but it's more like to separate a freezer-like solution "environments" and not so much for creating a multitasking OS to today's standard to work with, and even if M65 would allow, it's about the same complexity and hardware design again as modern CPUs, just data path/bus length is chopped to 8 bit from 32 bit, but the bulk of the stuff is there.

About modern-feel OSes: I am aware of a quite great OS for Z80 based computers called SymbOS. It's really great, it's a micro-kernel architecture multi tasking OS with many applications, and platform independent apps, meaning, the same app can run on any computer (even very different one) if SymbOS runs on both (which involves of course at least Z80 as the CPU as the common factor). Currently it even supports various network hardware for those 8 bit micros, being able to play over the Internet from two different 8 bit systems. It can even run as less as 128K of RAM in most cases, and still multi-tasking, windows, even tools like ftp, and "modern" things. So it's not impossible to do, but SymbOS (in fact I know its author, even met him IRL) is considered one of the biggest "retro computing" development nowadays which huge source code base, and that here fuel is the various communities of multiple Z80 based systems to have the critical mass/interest. But, SymbOS is a great example, but hardly secure, you can always just crash the whole OS, if you write a single byte somewhere you are "not allowed" (but nothing can stop you to do still) to do. From a strict security point, it's the least secure environment you can imagine, with network connectivity, multiple processes which can harm each other or the OS, etc etc. Any modern OS (even the worst one) are more secure. But surely, people don't use SymbOS because "it is secure" but because they love retro computing / 8 bit, and want to see a modern OS as well on their beloved computers, even if it's - logically - does not make sense (don't get me wrong, I like SymbOS too). But hardly anybody would say that SymbOS is superior to Windows or whatever because it's more secure. Not even faster .. Well, not so bloated, that's true :D But given the price point you can get a PC to run a modern "bloated" OS to the situation where you want a 8 bit OS and hardware for that ... hmmm ... then I am not sure, it's cheaper to bet on the 8 bit. And well, what I haven written already above, some can code for ARM/probably using the thumb opcode set to achieve similar code density as 65XX, so it's possible to code a non-bloated OS for an ARM based stuff, as for Mega65, just more cheap, more easy to get, and so on. And by the way, ARM, actually Acorn who invented ARM as the the new CPU instead of 65XX wrote their own OS, RISCOS, which - I guess - it's more close to the non-bloated state still and has got true, "retro computing" origins in some way. And you can run RISCOS today on a raspberry Pi or so, which is also kind of cheap.

Ok, to be clear, I don't speak against Mega65, I *love* this project, but it's not something which compete directly a desktop PC for an average user, and never be, period. Not just the technical side, but also the price, btw. I can hardly imagine that Mega65 can turn into a project that some can make an ASIC verision, ie not FPGA. It costs a lot, but worth if you want to sell it, ie millions of units or such. Then it's really cheap, indeed, probably only an epoxy blob on the PCB in the cheapest form :) But then it's a "fixed logic" already, nothing like an FPGA.

What I love mega65 for, is my desire about spend my hobby hours on 8 bit systems, retro computing, "new-old" designs like Mega65 and such. it's not that I want to replace my daily used PC, I hardly can imagine that Mega65 can play HD videos on youtube, playing massive 3D games or just browsing that (web standards are quite bloated already not to be able to implement a browser in a "small form factor" ... and you can't replace the Internet if you don't like this fact, unfortunately, also you can't skip internet that you deny it then). Yeah, nowadays, people need things like that, that's why you can't just deny the needs that a 8-bit class system is enough for an average user.

I am not sure what you mean about "GNU" in "GNU Generation". I am not aware that Mega65 is an official GNU ( project :)

append delete #34. gpz

I am not sure what you mean about "GNU" in "GNU Generation"

what he means is "someone else will write the software i am dreaming about"

append delete #35. LGB

@gpz Aha. Ok, so we can wait for somebody to write a 8 bit web browser capable or browsing modern pages with massive javascript usage, videos, etc :-D And seriously, I would love to see that, just it's simply impossible ... The nasty reality always strikes back :(

append delete #36. Freddy Champagne

The 21st century realization of the C65 heritage: A complete 8-bit computer running around 50x faster than a C64 while being highly compatible. C65 design, mechanical keyboard, HD output, SD card support, Ethernet, extended memory and other features increase the fun without spoiling the 8-bit feel. Hardware designs and software are open-source (LGPL).
(from the projects website)

:: @Freddy Champagne added on 23 May ’18 · 03:19

I hope you know whatfor the G is in LGPL :-)

append delete #37. Freddy Champagne

@gpz: not really. most software I'm dreaming of already exist.
@LGB I did not wrote 'average' user. I simply wrote user. And no. Not everybody need WWW. Internet is not only WWW. I for sure don't need WWW, I only need Mail, FTP and maybe SSH, but WWW is absolutely not needed, and there's always the possibility to use a browser like Lynx or the like.

Also I did explicitely not ask for a multitask-os. Looks like many of you can only imagine computing when connected to the net.

As said in other postings: I'm interested in dual-sid and the capabilities of VIC III/IV. And of course in the way the MMU and DMAgic is implemented. Also I can imagine that what I need will be sooner available as some might think.

Oh, btw. I know very well SymbOS, I 'use' it on my Phillips NMS 8280. But in my opinion that's more a proof of concept than a real usable day to day system.
Just like you said: for 'serious' work I use also a Raspberry Pi 3+ with Q4-OS.
If it where only for nostalgia, I could use RetroPie.
And using a computer is (for me) not necessary to be able to watch YouTube.
Oh, and again @ gpz: I find it very annoying that you meant users may not express their wishes if they are not able to program themselves. I don't expect you to repair your broken pipes, heating system or other wellness infrastructure, because that is my job. If you are a programmer, then it is your job to program, but it's not your job to blame non-programmers, like I do not blame you not being able to repair pipes and heaters.

append delete #38. gpz

I find it very annoying that you meant users may not express their wishes if they are not able to program themselves.

i never said that. you may wish whatever you want. it is however unlikely that those wishes come true. because those capable of coding will code what _they_ want - and that's likely not what _you_ are dreaming of.

If you are a programmer, then it is your job to program

sure. "job" involves "getting paid" though - and thats where the problem with all those wild ideas originates.

append delete #39. Freddy Champagne

Do you think Paul Gardners get payed for develop the Mega65? And Ralph for porting geos to the mega65?

That's about GNU generation.

append delete #40. LGB

Actually I am a member of the M65 team, and I either don't get money for that, indeed. So no need to explain the situation and the goal of the project too much, I guess. Also I am quite OK to know what GPL and LGPL is, as an author of some GPL licensed software (btw including Xemu which aims to emulate Mega65 and C65 too, among others, like Commodore LCD, that is in fact the world first Commodore LCD emulator ever), also a project member of a quite big GPL licensed software in back (MPlayer) which according to the's statistics, it was in the first 2 or 4 (I can't remember now) top open source projects for some time. I guess you misunderstand my point (and from typical internet usage things I told is because I am quite capable to see the average needs as working for ISP as Internet System Engineer, UNIX engineer and also software developer over time). I haven't got problem with GPL, open source, M65 or anything. It's not like that. But anyway, it's more like a flame now, so time to quit, I have no intent for that at all. Hope for the best, and friendly regards.

append delete #41. Freddy Champagne

what he means is "someone else will write the software i am dreaming about"

It's not me who started.

And yes I did some programing too, but that's so long ago and not that mighty and well known piece of software. It was a program for calculating lengt of pipes in so called '3-D etages'. first version in Casio-Basic on a handheld, portet to to OPL on Psion S3, and later on ported to GFA-Basic (for Windows).

And I know for sure who you are, I use xemu, but I guess I should use the c65 part of your emu. I still read a lot of info about the c65 and it still overwelming me. I see the capabilities of the system, And yes, I know it will not attract much people, but hey dreaming and hoping is allowed, or not?

Also in my age it's too late to really dig into serious programming. Partly also due because not that much time left. And I have to do my other 'hobies' too: A garden of 2000m² must be cultivated and I'm building alternatives for energy (solar & wind power) as also micro-water 'powerstations'. Setup a biological grey-water cleaning (coz ma house has no connection to fresh water and grey-water pipes). I buyed a tiny house in Transylvania in a very little village (~150 people) for living the rest of my life.

I still hope there will be enough people interesting in buying this babe, so the 'masses' would reduce the costs and make it affordable. I also know that the MEGA65 will never really compete to systems like p.E. Raspbery Pi. But as long as old c64/geos users exist, it is an option to look at.

append delete #42. gpz

Do you think Paul Gardners get payed for develop the Mega65?

actually, since its a project he runs with his students.... he kinda gets paid :)

append delete #43. gardners

Well, yes, I get paid, but I get paid whether or not I work on the MEGA65, so the argument doesn't hold entirely (although I understand the point, and accept that it makes my situation rather different to most contributors). However, working as an academic does give me more freedom to offer student projects in directions that I want to explore. Of course, I have to have some rational justification for this, which for the MEGA65 comes from our "Security through Simplicity" and related initiatives.

The key is that just as unpaid volunteer, no member of the community can compel me to implement some particular feature (which doesn't mean that I don't listen to them, or implement various features that people ask for, indeed, I have implemented quite a few features that people have asked for).


append delete #44. Travis b moore

So I hear it can run dos programs? And can it run old Amiga stuff or 486 to 586 games as SimCity or civilization, where in the world is Carmen Santiago? As for US would it run Linux or Windows 3.1 or Apple II?

append delete #45. gardners

The FPGA is capable of implementing a DOS box or an Amiga. We haven't written the VHDL for that, however. But it shouldn't be hard to port one of the Amiga FPGA implementations. I don't know what people have done in terms of DOS boxes in VHDL. We don't have the time to attack these, but would be very happy to see the community implement such things.

append delete #46. LGB

I think, nothing stops people to port VHDL implementation of "cores" to the FPGA+stuffs presented by Mega65 (or Nexys4 board), with my limited knowledge on the VHDL world I have already tried to create some, with a Z80 based Hungarian computer (Primo) with success. However I am not sure how Nexys4DDR suits well enough (especially when you need more RAM than FPGA's internal resources), since its DDR memory may not be ideal for that (neither for M65, so maybe the final product having some other kind of memory can help on this - not DDR as with the "de facto" standard nowadays to use the Mega65 core). Or such ...

append delete #47. gardners

The MEGA65 board will have 8MB of much easier to use expansion memory, which should be enough for most DOS box / Amiga uses.


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