Open source, stand alone, ASCII terminal project

Chuck Guzis cclist at
Tue Dec 2 13:48:47 CST 2008

On 2 Dec 2008 at 5:14, Bob Armstrong wrote:

>   The goal was never to be vintage hardware - only to be a useful accessory
> for vintage hardware, and easy for other hobbyists to build and copy.  VGA
> monitors and PS/2 keyboards are cheap, about as common as dirt, and you can
> find them anywhere these days.  They're about the only practical choice for
> such a project.

As long as this isn't a "vintage" project, why not add a few useful 
bells and whistles?  For example, one of the reasons that I like a 
PeeCee as a debugging terminal is because I can scroll back hundreds 
of lines to see what I did, or even save the particular segment long 
after it's occurred.  The ability to set bookmarks and split-screen 
history with current output would be very useful.  As would being 
able to freeze and save history across power cycles.

The cost motivation that dictated the features of the original 
VT100/VT220 no longer apply.  The cost difference between 128Kx8 and 
512Kx8 SRAM, for example,  is negligible today.  Using a Z80 today 
would seem to be a quaint anachronism where there are so many fine 
(and power-miserly) microcontrollers available.

But then, I find the little HP ePCs to come the closest (e.g. they 
take a keyboard and VGA display and are small) to what you're 
proposing.  Replacing the hard disk in those things with flash makes 
for a very light pacakge.  Pulling the CD-ROM drive out would make it 
lighter still.


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