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Re: [MiNT] Future (was Re: MiNT 1.16)

> > If you mean 1.15.12 as 'official', 1.16a is definitely more advanced. You
> > can take a look at a list of changes at
> > 
> > http://wh58-508.st.uni-magdeburg.de/cvs/ChangeLog.freemint
> The ChangeLog is very detailed. Wouldn't you have something like a NEWS
> file that would just list the main new features and differences of 1.16
> compared to 1.15.x?

Well, I don't think anyone really can remember, what's new in 1.16. There
are quite some new things. Perhaps Frank would remember? You are right,
that the log is very detailed and it doesn't really distinguish between
important changes and small fixes. But generally any change that fixes a
problem is important, no?
> Also, where are we going with the FreeMiNT in the future? What is the
> direction? When will it become a full featured Unix like OS with e.g.
> virtual memory? Several people promised to work on it many years ago but
> no code was ever commited, IIRC.

These are important and substantial questions, Petr, and I realy
appreciate your opinion, that I could be able to answer them :-) But I
don't think I can. It is true that I was the main coordinator for some
time, but it was 5 years ago :-) Apart of that, I certainly wasn't the
best coordinator MiNT has ever had. So how can I know the direction? :-)
Ok, but since I was asked (you said 'you', Petr, and English doesn't
distinguish between 'you guys on the group' and 'you Konrad', so I think
it was me who was asked; correct me if I am misled).

So, since I was asked, I could try to describe the future as I see it.
Naturally Frank can see it differently, and his sentence always prevails,
because he is THE COORDINATOR :-) and a very good one, btw.

As I know from private mails, Adam has nearly implemented the routines for
reading/writing floppies. Once this will be done, we will be able to
unhook and takeover the 200 Hz timer vector, and finish the routines for
handling keyboard. After these two steps we are done and we have complete
own, multitasking BIOS.

The next step will be to design, write and integrate the hard disk driver,
the VDI and a mouse accelerator (yes!). If I am not wrong, this gives us
a complete basic system. The missing thing is XBIOS, I personally think
that XBIOS should be an XDD module, machine dependent (i.e. Falcon users
would use different xbios.xdd than TT users - for example).

The next step could be make MiNT up so that it could boot directly from
the boot partition bootsector. This means we will probably have to build a
simple bootselector, something like a lilo, which could allow to boot MiNT
or TOS depending of the requirements.

In conjunction with Aranym all this would result in a simple, small and
elegant Unix-like OS for everyone (not only for owners of Atari machines,
who are decreasing in quantity, as machines subsequently get broken, and
ones who would fix them die). I hope Aranym works stable? I am asking,
because I will probably get my first 'any machine' and I definitely am
decided to use Aranym on it.

Anyways, there are still problems MiNT suffers. This is for example
programs, which grab interrupt vectors. Such a program cannot be killed,
because the system crashes then. On the other hand, there is no real way
to prevent programs from grabbing vectors, because there is no harmless
way to control what programs do after Super() or Supexec(). This is why
supermode is so bad. This (supercalls) is probably the main problem of
people who ever tried to implement virtual memory for MiNT.

Oh well :-)

Konrad M.Kokoszkiewicz
mail: draco@atari.org

** Ea natura multitudinis est,
** aut servit humiliter, aut superbe dominatur (Liv. XXIV,25)
** Taka to juz natura pospolstwa, ze albo sluzy ono unizenie,
** albo bezczelnie sie panoszy.