GNUton Home


25 September 2000
released the latest code snapshot, 0.1.7 today. i'm not even sure what's changed since the last release, but i don't think there's too many new features. it does include a couple of vital bug fixes though.

i'm hoping that this process will become a little easier shortly, as soon as SourceForge gets the CVS repository installed. at that point, sharing development will also be simpler as well.

20 September 2000
moved the entire project to sourceforge. the effort of maintaining a separately hosted website was becoming a pain, and these guys seem to do an excellent job. i've moved the downloads over, and am working on getting the web rebuilt.

the major benefit of this change will be the ability to get the source code available through CVS, making it a lot easier for other developers.

15 October 1999
well, despite what i said a few weeks ago, the kernel framebuffer inteface isn't going to happen immediately. i've been playing with a range of APIs, some very low-level (which i've decided against) and some much higher (ie. GGI). but for the immediate future, i've decided to go with a Gtk-based UI.

effectively, this means that the first graphics driver for GNUton will be a GDK (aka GIMP Drawing Kit)-based view primitives implementation. this has one benefit over GGI in that it is easily portable to Win32 (but not yet MacOS). the major reason behind this is laziness on my part -- i can't get excited about all the layers of stuff i have to get working to have a decent development environment on the target machine (the libretto) under GGI.

i've made considerable progress with the VM, and am now working mostly on the graphics stuff so i can get a basic package installed and running.

8 September 1999
new snapshot today. download and enjoy.

the most useful thing is a package decoder -- it finally appears to successfully decode a range of packages, from simple 1.x to more complex 2.x multipart packages. this code will implement the SuckPackageFromBinary() internals, and the next step is to integrate it into the memory manager. but in the meantime, it forms that basis for some nice package management tools which i might hack on if i get a moment.

the other area that has changed a lot is the VM code: i've started to reimplement the bytecodes using the same classes as the package decoder with the intention of merging the two via the memory manager once that is done.

the only barrier to executing a package after that is the lack of the view system and protos. the hello world package in the distribution seems to need only two protos (protoApp and protoTextButton), so they'll be the first targets.

on the view system front, i have continued to look at GGI, but the Python wrappers for it are quite out of date. an alternative library which writes directly to the framebuffer was announced on freshmeat last week -- xfb. i'll be looking more at both of these before deciding what to do for the view drawing code.

anyway -- progress!

27 August 1999
more progress. i finally have a Libretto set up for further development, with Linux 2.2 kernel, Python and (for the moment) Tk.

notice the "for the moment" above -- i'm moving towards a position where i will develop a graphics driver for the Linux kernel framebuffer (possibly via GGI) rather than the (always interim) Tk canvas. the reasons for this are many, but the principle problem is that the canvas just doesn't allow the level of access needed to implement the Newton's imaging model.

i'm working on the bootstrap process still. it's kinda complex, and i expect it to take some time (ha!). the current problems are how to implement the "ROM" and DRAM domains in the memory controller (all very abstract within the emulator, of course). it's tempting to dip into C at this point, but i'm trying to resist.

once i have the ROM, and the "internal" soup, i have the infrastructure in place to hard-boot the emulator, and start executing the ROM-resident blessed app. this will require tools for creating ROM images, and support in the ROM for initialising the internal store with the packages and system soups, etc.

you might also notice that today is 18 months since the Newton was cancelled. ho hum.

9 July 1999
hello again! finally - a new release. this is all going so much slower than i'd hoped, but this is a minor release to update you on what i've done.

it's very minor. the biggest change is that the source has been moved into CVS, ready to make available via Anon-CVS. Marcel van der Boom has generously offered to assist with the coding, so with his contributions (and the added impetus for me to generate code to keep up with him ;-) we might get some more done!

17 November 1998
ok. a new snapshot is available! i've changed the version numbering because the other way was driving me nuts, so this one is version 0.1.4.

it's nothing to get really excited about unless you want to do some development. there's been no visible changes since the last snapshot, although the code has been restructured quite a bit.

in terms of actual work, most of the changes are in the opening and mounting of stores, and the creation of soups and VBOs. these all work ok now, and there's even a Packages soup created on all mounted stores ;-) this is gradual progress toward the task of actually loading a package.

download (if you're brave) and enjoy!

17 November 1998
finally! a status update: as you might have guessed i have been otherwise occupied for some time (real work, travel, etc).

i've finally located some publicly available HWR software, which is reassuring, and i have some hints about other packages as well.

there's been some discussion in the last few days in comp.sys.newton.programmer where Walter Smith has talked about some of the problems with the NS interpreter in the Newtons which has also been interesting.

i have a stack of changes that i will put together as a snapshot real soon -- hopefully this weekend.

2 August 1998
did some work this weekend, but not enough for a snapshot release yet. fixed some of the bugs the Jolon reported on the Mac, tidied up the interface to Stores, and continued working on package loading.

i also spent some time this weekend playing with the WISE installation tools for Win32 systems. not this time, but perhaps next, the Windows version will have a standard installer, and if we're lucky, the file associations for the GNUton DeskPad configuration files will automatically launch the emulator. if we're lucky, anyway ...

I'll have the new snapshot by mid-week.

28 July 1998
back from my trip: while i was away Jolon Faichney has been working on the Macintosh port with some success. he's identified a couple of issues, but i expect the next snapshot will run on MacOS, Windows95/98/NT and Unix. i'm pleased to have the Mac stuff working as i guess many Newton people have Mac desktops ... Thanks Jolon!

while i was in the US i picked up a Wacom PenPartner digitiser as well. i have been investigating the drivers for Linux and it appears to be supported under XFree86, but only as a mouse replacement. i'll be looking into this ...

expect the new snapshot early next week.

5 July 1998
snapshot 3 is done. nothing too exciting, although the global functions are kinda nice. you can actually choose whether to mount the store-capable devices in your config file now. ho hum ;-)

happy hacking!

3 July 1998
i've got the annual demo week coming up at work on the 19th, and the WISEN workshop the week before. so the next week is gonna be hell making sure my paid project is working and looking sexy for the sponsors.

i'll put out a new snapshot over the weekend, but it's not too different, although you can actually mount stores now! have a look at the module -- you'll see the global variable and functions frames there, and you can write simple Python functions that use the global functions. nothing useful yet, but it's nice to call GetRoot() and actually have something happen ;-)

serious work will resume first week of august. you'll note that 27th August is the six-month anniversary of the announcement ... hmmm ... motivation! ;-)

15 June 1998
stores are now mounting correctly, and configured devices that can host stores are popping a dialog to request formatting. this dialog is hard-coded to use tk at the moment, but it's all good practice for the view classes that i'm working on.

i've also started adding the dialogs off the main menus, first cab off the rank: load package. this is not yet complete, but it'll get done this week, and hopefully we'll have packages loading for the next snapshot.

speaking of snapshots, i'm kinda aiming at fortnightly releases at the moment. if anyone wants my changes sooner, let me know and we can talk about it.

10 June 1998
snapshot two released this morning. some good changes to the devices, drivers and hardware manager. the storage manager is a little more sane now too. started work on the primitive views for the DeskPad using Tk. you'll see what it's going to look like ;-)

this week i want to continue with the views, in particular getting the basic message/event handling working. then back to complete the file-based stores, and then focus on getting a package loaded and creating its templates.

we've had about 30 downloads of the first snapshot, but not too many comments - i guess this one will actually do a little more that's visible, and it's got some documentation too (well - a README anyway ;-)

1 June 1998
ok -- released the first source snapshot! it's all kinda broken, but at least it will give you some idea of where it's all going. have a look, and let me know what you think.

30 May 1998
bad new all round here. my real job has been very busy and won't be letting up until mid-July. this means that i seldom get to work on GNUton :-(

worse is that it's not in any way releasable at the moment. i'm going to try to get something together over this weekend and next. here's hoping.

29 April 1998
well -- it was a bad weekend, and early this week has been very busy too. however, i'm inching closer to something releaseable.

i have thought more about the overall structure, since i needed a framework into which to put the entry cache. the basic device class now contains a set of manager classes which lookup after various subsystems. i have done some initial work on the HardwareManager (device drivers, etc) and the StorageManager (guess what).

the abstract storage classes are a little empty still, but the disc-based store stuff is coming along nicely. hopefully, *this* weekend will see me release that for you to ponder.

20 April 1998
so -- over the weekend, i bit the bullet: the storage system will be completely 2.x-like. this means some more work, although not a great deal. i am now intending to release this as a separate package this coming weekend. it contains the StorageManager, the EntryCache, and support for Stores, Soups, Entries, Cursors, EntryAliases and VBOs. it probably won't include MockEntry support just yet.

16 April 1998
still fussing with the package loading. i'm torn between doing the minimal system (basically a 1.x clone) and doing something that will last (2.1 compatible). the case in point is package loading, where it's obviously useful to implement to 2.x mechanism, but this then requires VBOs, which are another extension to the storage system.

i've decided to go with the 2.x package loading, and this is progressing well. i'm tempted to release a really alpha version once this is working, but i'll see how it goes.

27 February 1998
Apple officially announces that they're discontinuing development of Newton technologies.

$Id: status.html,v 1.7 2000/09/25 13:27:44 arnold Exp $