More ETH Lilith goodies available
julianskidmore at yahoo.com
Wed Aug 13 04:01:16 CDT 2008
> I'd love to see something like this happen. Are the Lilith's
> internals documented well enough to allow for something like this?
They weren't until Jos Dreesen provided the ftp address:
What there was effectively user documentation / research papers on
the Lilith hardware / software and the Medos operating system and
a PC version of the Lilith modula-2 compiler (with an MCode interpreter)
in both source and object form.
But now we have systems disks, source code, microcode and schematics.
So we can emulate lilith at a variety of levels from, say, a simple
Linux/X11 software version to a low-level TTL reproduction (thought you'd
have to source AMD29xx bit-slice processor parts). Importantly for me
the new information contains it's bitmap formats so my MCode interpreter
in 'C' can support the missing graphics opcodes.
Lilith is really an impressive European graphics workstation, which
although not as revolutionary as the Alto was certainly radical for the
time even though it predated the Macintosh by only 2 or 3 years.
Amongst its many interesting facets:
* The display was geared to PAL video standards, hence the 768x594, 50Hz
interlaced format (of course this means it can be emulated on any SVGA or higher-resolution display).
* MCode is well suited to microcode and cpu emulation making it easily
ported to the pdp-11, and 8086.
* They used a kind of 8086 segmentation scheme to get around 64kW limits.
* It could run Modula-2 about 3x faster than an Alto could run Mesa.
* It was a true programmer's machine running Modula-2 from the
ground up. In that sense it was an experiment in using the latest GUI
ideas for systems development (wheras Alto was primarily an experiment in
easy-to-use personal computing for non-technical people).
In the end it's the use of MCode which should allow a firmware-level emulation to run original systems disks on a simple Microcontroller and that kinda interests me: A lilith for only a few £/€/$ :-)
So, one day I'll have my own Lilith, and it will fit in my pocket ;-)
-cheers from Julz @P
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