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Reviving a Commodore 64 Computer Using a Raspberry Pi

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the taking-a-step-back-forward dept.

Technology 165

concertina226 (2447056) writes "A group of Commodore fans are working on a new emulator with the ability to turn the Raspberry Pi £30 computer into a fully functioning Commodore 64 fresh from the 1980s. Scott Hutter, creator of the Commodore Pi project, together with a team of developers on Github, are seeking to build a native Commodore 64 operating system that can run on Raspberry Pi. 'The goal will be to include all of the expected emulation features such as SID sound, sprites, joystick connectivity, REU access, etc. In time, even the emulation speed could be changed, as well as additional modern graphics modes,' he writes on his website."

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LOLOLOL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46749711)

Moar like the Gayberry Pi amirite?!!

Re:LOLOLOL (2)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 7 months ago | (#46749807)

I am still getting my PDP 11/70 ported to Raspberry Pi. RT11 and RSTS.

Re:LOLOLOL (3, Informative)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 7 months ago | (#46749867)

Why? Just get this http://simh.trailing-edge.com/ [trailing-edge.com] and compile it.

Re:LOLOLOL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46749981)

No it is not O.Ok. We scientists demand action. We demand when we want to say something controversial like our Inconvenient Truths, EVERYONE turns a head and then bows because you are not a Concerned Scientist if you do not bow to that of which we speak. So in conclusion, Pluto is not a planet or a dwarf planet but IS a microplanet which exhibits everything a planet would but since it is small (based on whatever arbitrary number I wanted to dig out of my dog's feces by counting bacteria with an electron microscope using an automated computer vision program) and then putting "km" at the end of that number, if it isn't larger than that number, it isn't a planet. I have a PhD in physics, so obviously I know weverything about The Universe. Amen.

8 out of 10 for cool. 1 out of 10 for interesting (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about 7 months ago | (#46749725)

We have had C64 emulators for a while.
The Raspberry PI is more than enough to do the work of a 30 year old personal
computer.

It isn't really that interesting the fact that it has been done.
But for the person who did it, I would say it was pretty cool that they tried.

Re:8 out of 10 for cool. 1 out of 10 for interesti (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 7 months ago | (#46749799)

What would be genuinely cool, on the other hand, would be a board which went with it which included a SID socket and which implemented all the hardware interfaces, and which attached to the GPIO.

Re:8 out of 10 for cool. 1 out of 10 for interesti (2)

Narcocide (102829) | about 7 months ago | (#46750047)

You're right, but the success of an emulator project like this is a practical prerequisite to generate enough demand for such a device.

Re:8 out of 10 for cool. 1 out of 10 for interesti (4, Interesting)

Richy_T (111409) | about 7 months ago | (#46749811)

Agreed. These systems had a lot going for them at the time (I was a Spectrum guy myself) but so much has moved on. What would be interesting would be to bring the spirit of these old systems into the modern age rather than just replicate them wholesale. Boot into a system which allows you immediate programming (preferably with a modern OO syntax) and access to video, sound and peripherals. If there's anything that has suffered over the past three decades, it's easy access to I/O.

Re:8 out of 10 for cool. 1 out of 10 for interesti (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46749827)

If there's anything that has suffered over the past three decades, it's easy access to I/O.

That's because it was one of the greatest sources of system crashes.

Re:8 out of 10 for cool. 1 out of 10 for interesti (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 7 months ago | (#46750681)

...before we invented decent systems like Oberon...

Re:8 out of 10 for cool. 1 out of 10 for interesti (2)

ruir (2709173) | about 7 months ago | (#46750229)

I second this. We have seen many true faithful emulators, what would be interesting would be interface for current systems that would make easy to program them as it was that easy to program the original Spectrum or C64. Maybe some adaption of the BASIC, or even machine code interpreters, but with more colours, and more sound capabilities for instance. It would make an interesting project, specially for my generation, that was used to program them, and maybe even for introducing newcomers.

Re:8 out of 10 for cool. 1 out of 10 for interesti (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46751071)

This weekend I was introduced to the wonderful world of UEFI.

Whoa momma... They put a whole extra level of indirection in there and I didnt even notice...

Re:8 out of 10 for cool. 1 out of 10 for interesti (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46750287)

The UDOO [udoo.org] is pretty cool. It's a Linux (or android) computer, with an Arduino mixed in for the heck of it... so you get your easy programming environment and easy I/O all in one nice package (plus it does WiFi, Ethernet, USB, and a bunch of other cool things)

Re:8 out of 10 for cool. 1 out of 10 for interesti (2)

nadaou (535365) | about 7 months ago | (#46750695)

What would be interesting would be to bring the spirit of these old systems into the modern age rather than just replicate them wholesale. Boot into a system which allows you immediate programming (preferably with a modern OO syntax) and access to video, sound and peripherals. If there's anything that has suffered over the past three decades, it's easy access to I/O.

hmmm, if only there was something [readwrite.com] like that [piprogramming.org] already [elinux.org] under our noses [makezine.com] .

Re:8 out of 10 for cool. 1 out of 10 for interesti (1)

nadaou (535365) | about 7 months ago | (#46750755)

This link pretty much wraps it up:

http://elinux.org/RPi_Low-leve... [elinux.org]

Re:8 out of 10 for cool. 1 out of 10 for interesti (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46751025)

http://www.templeos.org

An OS designed by a single guy so that he can communicate with God. Really. He speaks to God through his OS. Or so he thinks....

Anyway, I think his main motivation was to bring back the simplicity of the C64, but in a modern way.

Beware -- you will soon cross over into a world of insanity.

Re:8 out of 10 for cool. 1 out of 10 for interesti (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46751053)

http://www.templeos.org/Wb/Accts/TS/Wb2/TempleOS.html [templeos.org]

"The vision for TempleOS is a modern, 64-bit Commodore 64."

But like I said, the author is quite insane. Just...watch the video.

Yes, it is real and he is for real.

Re:8 out of 10 for cool. 1 out of 10 for interesti (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 7 months ago | (#46751121)

What would be interesting would be to bring the spirit of these old systems into the modern age rather than just replicate them wholesale. Boot into a system which allows you immediate programming

Wow. Who would have guessed that the whole point in the Raspberry Pi is things like that?

Re:8 out of 10 for cool. 1 out of 10 for interesti (1, Interesting)

TeknoHog (164938) | about 7 months ago | (#46751251)

Boot into a system which allows you immediate programming

Like Bash? For me, Linux is what made computing interesting and fun again. It has easy access to programming tools, and none of this forced separation of users and developers.

(preferably with a modern OO syntax) and access to video, sound and peripherals. If there's anything that has suffered over the past three decades, it's easy access to I/O.

I admit it gets a little complex here, but for example Python (a key element in my "fun computing" experience) has nice libraries for these. For example, some of my electronics/FPGA work owe a lot to Python's serial port module. Not because the serial port is hard to program otherwise, but for making it easy to write all kinds of code around it.

I have no experience in modern graphics programming. However, I have the feeling that the bar for awesome graphics is a tad higher today than it was in "the year 64". Today's awesome is rather nontrivial at the direct low level we associate with C64 programming, so even professionals use higher level tools. (I think my background in physics and math helps appreciate 3D graphics, for example coordinate transformations using matrices are a basic (pun inteded) skill but I imagine there are lots of programmers with no need to do it.)

Nevertheless, I understand the point about recreating an environment in the '64 spirit. There are several projects around, the two I can think of at the moment being http://sol.gfxile.net/gp/ [gfxile.net] and http://pelulamu.net/ibniz/ [pelulamu.net] .

Re:8 out of 10 for cool. 1 out of 10 for interesti (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46751919)

Like Bash? For me, Linux is what made computing interesting and fun again. It has easy access to programming tools, and none of this forced separation of users and developers.

They say if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day... in the beginning, Linux was like teaching him to fish. Self-reliance and knowledge and skill are good things, but if you're just hungry and don't enjoy fishing, you just want the fish. Most people who use computers these days don't want to program - they just want to be given a fish.

Re:bar for awesome graphics is a tad higher today (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about 7 months ago | (#46752251)

I gotta chime in on this one.

Luckily I was a young enough whippersnapper that I didn't know better. But "Keypunch Software" took the IgNoble-80's prize.

They were notorious for using *Ascii* graphics moved by keystroke in their games!

I on the other hand... (1)

Narcocide (102829) | about 7 months ago | (#46749851)

Give it a 10/10 for cool and an 8/10 for interesting. I guess not everyone's experiences with the C64 had the same value.

Also, of the other machines that existing c64 emulators run on, how many of them can be powered by two 9v batteries [repairhub.co.uk] ?

Re:I on the other hand... (1)

MtHuurne (602934) | about 7 months ago | (#46751555)

The real question is why a C64 emulator would require a dedicated OS instead of just running it under Linux. If you want to reduce boot time, just turn off all unnecessary features in the kernel config and put the emulator in the initrd, you should be able to have a C64 BASIC prompt in less than 3 seconds.

C64 on the BBC B Successor (4, Funny)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about 7 months ago | (#46750063)

Ah but there is something amusing about someone taking the successor of the BBC Model B and then using it to reproduce one of its main competitors from the period. However it's good to see that the 1980s 8-bit home computer religious wars finally ended in mutual cooperation! ;-)

noisy autoplay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46750067)

Has anyone else noticed that Slashdot has started putting noise-making autoplay ads on some of the stories?

Does anyone else think this sucks balls?

Re:noisy autoplay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46751941)

I can't see those; my doctor put me on a Beta blocker!

Bah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46751735)

It's nothing unless they emulate the 1541 and 1571 floppy drives, right down to their odd behaviours!

Now get off my lawn.

We know.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46749765)

That this has been done before.
That board X from Y could do it too, and probably faster and cheaper and with extra shiny.
That your smart phone can already do this.
That you still need a keyboard and a mouse and a monitor.

Now how about some originality in the trolling for a change.

This could be cool (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 7 months ago | (#46749805)

I currently have a dresser full of over 2000 C64/128 disks , system tools, etc. I have 2 working 64s 2 broken 64 and a working 128. I play with them from time to time but its so much work to keep them up and running (the 2 broken ones are used for parts these days) I wouldnt hate on this

Re:This could be cool (1)

guytoronto (956941) | about 7 months ago | (#46750353)

Most likely the majority of those floppy disks will have issues. Magnetic media doesn't last forever.

Re:This could be cool (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 7 months ago | (#46750589)

you are correct. I keep them in a climate controlled area, but id say 1 out of 10 that I try are corrupt. Its a shame but I just cant bring myself to throw it all away eventhough the truth is they are 100% useless, even if they work in todays world

Re:This could be cool (2)

jandrese (485) | about 7 months ago | (#46750837)

If you love them, get them all backed up on to a HDD ASAP, and make sure your HDD is backed up regularly as well. You can fit an insane number of C64 floppies on a modern HDD, so keeping the images around won't take much space at all. The only way to really preserve data long term is to maintain it by bringing it with you as you upgrade.

Re:This could be cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46751543)

Sounds about right, I doubt those fail more than 10% as that is about what I get from my old 360k and the C64 was even less dense. Much like everything else the newer they are the faster they fail :(

No one screaming about the random headline generator yet? This is nothing about 'reviving' a C64...sigh. Verbs are hard.

Re:This could be cool (1)

Mr Foobar (11230) | about 7 months ago | (#46751757)

you are correct. I keep them in a climate controlled area, but id say 1 out of 10 that I try are corrupt. Its a shame but I just cant bring myself to throw it all away eventhough the truth is they are 100% useless, even if they work in todays world

I still have my old Kaypro's, an '83 IV and a 10, loved them then and love them still today. It was fun running the IV as a terminal to an old 386 running Minx and a highly modified Apache, just for shitz 'n giggles. Anyway...

Oddly, the media included with both the IV and the 10 are all good, and run perfectly. I copy them to floppies (which are getting increasingly very hard to purchase), and after a good while, the floppies start going bad. I took the time to make images of all the media I have, still do when I have time. A spare 250G has thousands of images, hardly any space taken. Then I start to find a floppy I made a couple of years ago has gone to crap and have to start over. Gonna run out of blank floppies, and I'm sure as hell -not- going to use the original floppies for work.

Re:This could be cool (1)

no1nose (993082) | about 7 months ago | (#46750623)

I wonder if they will be able to emulate the long, loud, load times of the 1541 :)

LOAD "*",8,1

Re:This could be cool (2)

jandrese (485) | about 7 months ago | (#46750883)

translates to:

file= open(firstavailablefile());
sleep(disksize(firstavailablefile()) / 1000);
read(file, memory, disksize(firstavailablefile()));

Re:This could be cool (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about 7 months ago | (#46751131)

I had a 128 for a while. The only 128 command I used regularly was GO 64.

Re:I had a 128 for a while. (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about 7 months ago | (#46752297)

Awww, I gotta chime in here too.

I was at the crucial intersection of age, difficulty, and timing between C64 and C128. C64 proved too difficult to Non-Genius me at 9. C128's extra commands allowed me at 12 to create some thirty programs, just enough to taste programming, but still hit Go64 to play the old games. A couple times in the passing decades Commodore Basic was the only language I could whip up a quick test experiment without learning entire new languages. RIP C128.

NEAT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46749819)

...that is all

Time to start patenting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46749825)

... on a rasberry pi. I'm going to start patenting things already patented like a round shape... on a rasberry pi, rounded corners... on a rasberry pi, A closed SOC... on a rasberry pi, calculating taxes... on a rasberry pi, perpetual motion machine... on a rasberry pi and sue you all.

Re:Time to start patenting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46750097)

Good luck with that. Patents are really fucking expensive [uspto.gov] .

Re:Time to start patenting... (1)

Adam Colley (3026155) | about 7 months ago | (#46750605)

It's okay, he can pay for them with the power generated by his perpetual motion device and the winnings from his nobel prize.

Vice and Frodo 64 (5, Informative)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | about 7 months ago | (#46749885)

I use Vice [sourceforge.net] on my desktop computer and Frodo C64 [google.com] on my Android phone. Accordingly, I don't need an extra gadget to play with my Commodore 64.

Gamebase64 [gamebase64.com] has everything you never needed to know about C64 games, Girls of '64 [c64.org] for everything in 8-bit nudity, and AppsnToolsBase64 for everything in utilities, business and productivity applications.

All c64 programs are tiny in modern terms; an uncompressed 1541 floppy disk image is only 170k. So you can carry every significant Commodore 64 program that was every released on a single flash drive or on your phone, and have plenty of room to spare.

Re:Vice and Frodo 64 (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 7 months ago | (#46749907)

Thank you for the links. I knew of some of them but not gamebase, Ill be checking that out tonight

Re:Vice and Frodo 64 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46750565)

gamebase is a windows program. If you are a Linux user check ixbar3000 (or jGamebase).

Re:Vice and Frodo 64 (1)

ChrisSlicks (2727947) | about 7 months ago | (#46750007)

Vice is Linux compatible and written in straight C, so technically all this should take is a re-compile for ARM and you're up and running - barring any issues.

These guys seem determined to do it the hard way, and rather than have it run as an emulator under a host OS, they are running the emulator as the OS. Primary advantage is load time (much smaller kernel), performance improvement would be negligible.

Re:Vice and Frodo 64 (1)

Minwee (522556) | about 7 months ago | (#46750419)

I use Vice [sourceforge.net] on my desktop computer and Frodo C64 [google.com] on my Android phone. Accordingly, I don't need an extra gadget to play with my Commodore 64.

I was about to say something nice about the Android port of Frodo and how great it was that the developer must have finally figured out how to swap disks without entering 'LOAD"*",8,1' and had a keyboard that looked even vaguely like the original but...

No. Never mind. It's still nice to have but bordering on unusable for anything complex.

Re:Vice and Frodo 64 (1)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | about 7 months ago | (#46750447)

A lot of stuff isn't up to much on the Android C64 emulator, but I highly recommend that you try Leaderboard Golf. Leaderboard Golf looks and works just like it was made for Android phones.

What a waste of time!! (0)

jhswope (716605) | about 7 months ago | (#46749889)

Can you not think of something better to do with your money and time.

Re:What a waste of time!! (2)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 7 months ago | (#46749977)

Can you not think of something better to do with your money and time.

Well, he could try posting on Slashdot -- or was that what you were referring to?

Re:What a waste of time!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46749987)

At least they stopped wanking to furry porn while working on it.

Re:What a waste of time!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46750057)

[citation needed]

They might not have stopped.

Re:What a waste of time!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46750069)

Link to said furry porn?

Re:What a waste of time!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46750975)

Can you not think of something better to do with your money and time.

You really came back to Slashdot after over 8 years [slashdot.org] just to say that?!

Or did you hack into someone's old account using the latest Heartbleed vulnerability... just to say that?!

old tech (1, Offtopic)

ecorona (953223) | about 7 months ago | (#46749917)

Can someone please explain this obsession with the Commodore 64? I don't understand why they would fixate on old technology when what we have now is far superior.

Re:old tech (1)

Narcocide (102829) | about 7 months ago | (#46749947)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com]

If you weren't there, this video may sum it up the best.

Re:old tech (2)

ecorona (953223) | about 7 months ago | (#46750753)

I want those 5 minutes of my life back. That explains nothing.

Re:old tech (3, Informative)

Narcocide (102829) | about 7 months ago | (#46751595)

Ok, you're right. I'm sorry, that was completely pointless. In all seriousness, what is probably most telling about the time period in computing and why there is still such a following today is in the second sentence of its wikipedia page [wikipedia.org] ; "Listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the highest-selling single computer model of all time, independent estimates place the actual number sold between 10 and 17 million units."

While its true that shortly after that era the "IBM PC revolution" effectively fragmented individual model counts so far that counting sales based on single model figures became a pointlessly obscure metric to gauge the total picture of the market, it also remains true that at that point the highest-end IBM models could only do 4 screen colors simultaneously (compared to the Commodore's 16) and 1 sound at a time (compared to the Commodore's 3) even for years after the practical extinction of the C64 from a sales perspective, and that there is still to date no single other model of personal computer that ever achieved such market penetration, and most likely there also never will be again.

Re:old tech (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46749991)

It's called nostalgia. You'll know what it is when you get older.

Re:old tech (1)

CubicleZombie (2590497) | about 7 months ago | (#46750313)

It's called nostalgia. You'll know what it is when you get older.

Will he?

I'm typing this on a commodity laptop - I don't even remember the model number. In a year it will be in the trash. It will never be as cool as my VIC-20 or Apple 2+, which I still have more than 30 years later.

Re:old tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46750583)

Kids today or from not too long might not remember specific hardware, but will remember software that they first learned on. A lot of people remember specific hardware because at the time there was either a lot of difference between features they cared about, or more likely because the software they used was tied to it. So now there won't be so much as remembering a specific piece of hardware (unless someone is learning on something like the Pi, or some other system on a chip or embedded system), but will still have nostalgia for the language of platform they learn on.

Re:old tech (1)

thedonger (1317951) | about 7 months ago | (#46750701)

Kids today or from not too long might not remember specific hardware, but will remember software that they first learned on. A lot of people remember specific hardware because at the time there was either a lot of difference between features they cared about, or more likely because the software they used was tied to it. So now there won't be so much as remembering a specific piece of hardware (unless someone is learning on something like the Pi, or some other system on a chip or embedded system), but will still have nostalgia for the language of platform they learn on.

But keep in mind the ubiquity of said hardware in software in today's world. I cut my teeth on the Vic-20 and later the C64, but back then I was one of the only kids in school who had a computer. That is what makes this type of nostalgia so, er, nostalgic. 30 years from now a kid who is ten today will not have been the only kid on the block with a computer. Shit, they got toddler laptops these days.

Re:old tech (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 7 months ago | (#46751219)

Yes, he will. He'll have an Android or iPhone emulator instead, or whatever was relatively 'new' and novel at the right time in his life for him to remember how much of a good time it was.

Everyone gets nostalgic, but its not for the same thing. He'll have his own thing to get misty eyed over, what it may be, I can't say. May even be something like going to 2d movies, or hanging out in smoky bars (since they seem to be vanishing) ...

Re:old tech (4, Funny)

leathered (780018) | about 7 months ago | (#46750371)

He'll be disappointed though, nostalgia isn't half as good as it used to be.

Re:old tech (3, Insightful)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | about 7 months ago | (#46751313)

I laughed at the joke, but it is actually true, you can't compare the feeling one got in the early 80s when computers were new and mysterious (and expensive) and they got a C64, the vast majority of things now are commodity, there is going to (predictably) be a new and (slightly) improved model next year or in a couple of years at the most, there is not as much attachment as there used to be.

When the C64 came out, you didn't already know that next July/September the C65 was going to come out, and the year after the C66, etc. you didn't need a credit card to play your C64 games, you didn't need to pay $0.99 every 5 games of Archon or wait 1 day for the 'crystal' to 'recharge', most games were not thinly veiled attempts to nickle and dime you to death. You didn't have Archon 1983 knowing that Archon 1984 was going to come out next year with slightly reskinned pieces, and Archon 1985 the year after that with maybe a rule tweak or two.

In order to have nostalgia you need a unique time to think about, and nowadays electronics (and increasingly games) are anything but unique: there is no money in fostering feelings of attachment to what you bought, the money is to make you want to get rid of it and get a 'better' model basically as soon as you got home from the store.

Re:old tech (1)

Minwee (522556) | about 7 months ago | (#46750381)

Nostalgia used to really mean something, but nowadays it's just not the same.

Re:old tech (5, Insightful)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 7 months ago | (#46750095)

Superior in specifications, maybe. But I'd say that 99.999% of today's programmers have no fucking clue what code optimisation really means. This is nostalgia about a time when people actually gave a fuck about what they were doing.

Re:old tech (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46750135)

Lies. There were tons of shit programmers even in the C64 days.

Re:old tech (1)

Crimey McBiggles (705157) | about 7 months ago | (#46750873)

Maybe there were, maybe there weren't. Point is, now days it's relatively easy for a shit programmer to get their shit app plastered all over the 'net and downloaded into a million smartphones. Back then, if your program sucked, no one would bother redistributing it, since it required floppy disks and physical action. Ergo, those shit programmers never got recognized, and those programmers who could cook up something pretty sick within 64K of RAM got mad street credit because it was actually impressive in the very real sense of the word.

Re:old tech (2)

CaseCrash (1120869) | about 7 months ago | (#46750629)

But I'd say that 99.999% of today's programmers have no fucking clue what code optimization really means..

CPU power is cheap, let the compiler optimize what it can, take care of larger bottlenecks, and who cares? The rapid development we have now allows us to progress at an amazing rate because it usually doesn't matter if we waste a few cycles. You can continue to do F1 at the edges, but the mass in the middle is fine with a Civic.

Re:old tech (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 7 months ago | (#46750103)

Can someone please explain this obsession with the Commodore 64?

Nostalgia.

These were the first computers many people used, and and the games were quite legendary to some people.

Because they can.

Now that they're all grown up and have these spiffy new toys to play with, you have to do something with it.

Vanity.

It has always been true that programmers tend to play with projects that appeal to them and which they find fun and interesting. That there's already a crap ton of the same kind of app is irrelevant. This one is mine dammit.

Why not?

So if in the process of learning to use something new, you decide to re-implement/emulate something old, what's the harm in it? Do you care that someone nerded out and created an emulator?

Girls.

Because, really, the ultimate pick up line is "Hey baby, wanna see my C64 emulator on my Raspberry Pi"? Right? Anyone?

Re:old tech (1)

ruir (2709173) | about 7 months ago | (#46750277)

Ease of programming too. Nowadays it is so much more difficult to do something useful with/or small programas. Just a box popping up with hello word involves often installing and leading with an IDE, learning an API, and some hundred lines of code...nothing like 10 PRINT "HELLO WORD!"... or MOV AH,9 MOV DX,ADDR MESSAGE, INT 21h....good times.

Re:old tech (1)

Mryll (48745) | about 7 months ago | (#46751433)

Just LDA and JSR to $FFD2 :)

Re:old tech (1)

MichaelJ (140077) | about 7 months ago | (#46751645)

$-terminated string output. Bless ya for bringing back good memories. Gotta go now ... INT 20h.

Re:old tech (1)

olsmeister (1488789) | about 7 months ago | (#46750433)

Also, because I felt like on the C=64 I really understood what was going on at the hardware level. You knew the machine inside/out, top-to-bottom (at least a lot of people did). It's really hard to get that same kind of feeling these days with high level languages, code libraries and code bloat, and hardware abstraction layers.

It would be naive to think the same kind of system could exist in this day and age of networked computers and malicious hackers, but back then it was nigh impossible to get into something that a simple power cycle wouldn't fix.

Re:old tech (1)

Mryll (48745) | about 7 months ago | (#46751509)

Agreed, if you read the reference guide you really had an understanding of the way it worked.

By the time the DOS architecture machines reached the point that a pointer was a pointer was a pointer, I gave up my grip on trying to fully understand the machine from outside to inside to focus on what I could accomplish within the framework of ANSI C. Things feel increasingly squishy each year with layers upon layers. There's too much for me to really grok in the same depth that I used to. The focus shifts to consistent understanding of a number of adjacent domains in an appropriate depth to get work done.

Re:old tech (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 7 months ago | (#46750143)

I don't understand why they would fixate on old technology...

Revoke his Nerd Card immediately. He is not one of us. I bet his computer chair is completely free of pizza stains too.

Re:old tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46750205)

Yep his chair has a vibrating butt plug sticking out of the seat. It's wired up to turn on when he spreads his ass cheeks, sits down and opens up his MacBook Pro.

Re:old tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46751905)

Mod redundant. All Macbbok Pros come with that - always have.

Re:old tech (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | about 7 months ago | (#46750207)

Nostalgia.

Reliving past glory.

Interest in computing history.

Some guys collect classic cars even though newer cars can get better mileage and have lower emissions.

Some people like to make their own cabinets, even though it's cheaper and easier to go to Ikea.

I collect WWI/WWII vintage guns. I have guns made as far back as 1923 even though a new AR is cheap, easy and available.

LK

Re:old tech (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 7 months ago | (#46750415)

I collect WWI/WWII vintage guns. I have guns made as far back as 1923 even though a new AR is cheap, easy and available.

I have an Austrian Lorenz rifled musket that has been in my family since the Civil War. I win. But seriously, one gun I really want to add to my collection is an M1 Carbine made by either GM or IBM, because that's just plain cool, and one hell of a conversation starter.

Re:old tech (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 7 months ago | (#46751201)

I have a large mechanical wall clock made by Simplex. Simplex was a division of IBM back when IBM made wall clocks and time clocks for business. Because they are a Business Machine company. I wish it was older and branded IBM, and not branded by the split-off company. As it stands it's kind of like the 1960's version of a Lenovo.

Re:old tech (2)

confused one (671304) | about 7 months ago | (#46752105)

See, this is where it goes all sideways.

I have a 44 year old truck. I get the collecting cars thing. I understand the collecting old guns thing. I get the being creative and building your own furniture thing. But he's not collecting old computers and keeping them alive. He's making a copy of the old machine using a new one, that acts somewhat like (but will never behave exactly like) the old one. The guy's creating yet another emulator using an ARM processor board.

Car analogy again: my truck has the original engine castings. It's basically an 1970 LT1 engine, tuned for truck use, which makes it doubly cool; but, it's still the original castings. It's still carbureted. It still has the mechanical voltage regulator. It's as original as I can make it, reasonably speaking (the A/C may need to be upgraded because R-12 is damned hard to find and expensive). If he wanted to do it right, he'd start with an actual C64 or at least with a 6510 processor, which might require he make one...

Re:old tech (3, Interesting)

bjdevil66 (583941) | about 7 months ago | (#46750309)

While schools had Apple computers, many 40 somethings first cut our teeth with computers at home on the C64 or Vic-20. With the C64, I first saw a modem (300 baud) and connect to a BBS system, a floppy disk drive (5.25" - holepunched to use both sides), and compressed digital music (at a C64 club meeting someone had a 10 second snippet of compressed, digital music on a C64 - sounded like crap and took (the usual) 2 minutes to load, but it was a decade ahead of MP3s.)

It also had BASIC programming capabilities with the disk drives for storage. You could draw sprites/graphics, program songs, do basic word processing, etc. Save it on your floppy disk and you were set.

Finally, the C64 had great games that made the pre-NES home consoles like the Atari 2600 look like garbage. The game selection was big enough to where a lot of good games were eventually produced: Ultima III/IV/V (or Bard's Tale, Temple of Apshai, Sword of Fargoal) = World of Warcraft. Arcade/Adventure/Pinball Construction Kit(s) = Minecraft. Karateka/Yie Ar Kung Fu = every fighter game ever. Beachhead = a 2D Call of Duty. Other great games off the top of my head -- Mission Impossible, Raid Over Moscow, Summer/Winter Games (Epyx), Raid on Bungeling Bay, etc.

It was also our first exposure to pirated software trading and beating DRM (Fast Hack'Em, etc.). To play our pirated version of archon (a great cross of chess and 2-D shooter):

load"*",8,1 (,8,8)
sys 24832

The system is a fossil today, but it was great for its time... You just kinda had to be there.

Re:old tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46750519)

...Impossible Mission, Raid Over Moscow, Summer/Winter Games (Epyx), Raid on Bungeling Bay, etc.

Minor correction

Trivia about Yie Ar Kung Fu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46751873)

Was the first 1 on 1 fighting game to have health bars.

Re:old tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46750373)

I constantly wish I had a time machine and could go back to the 1980s and buy an Atari 800 brand new from a computer store.

Understandable (5, Insightful)

BrainRam (939611) | about 7 months ago | (#46750439)

The Commodore 64 was right at the cusp of technology where a device could be almost fully understood by a dedicated layperson. If you picked up the Commodore 64 Programmers Reference Guide, you got 504 pages (1.4 lbs) of technical data, including a full system schematic. Low-level programming involved tweaking memory locations that were (effectively) hard-wired to chip pins, directly manipulating the state of the SID or modem chips. Want to watch tape I/O coming in through the bus? Just watch the right memory location.

Today's systems are far more powerful. But I bet most professional developers can't say they fully understand all of the timing, pipeline, memory I/O, bus architecture, video pipeline, and everything else that makes these machines great. There's a lot of "black box", even for the experts. Read Abrash's Graphics Programming Black Book Special Edition if you want to see how much there is to know about optimizing even a single function in what is now a 20 year old machine.

The power of computing comes from abstraction. But the Commodore 64 (and the Apple ][) marked a tipping point when you could dig into the abstraction as a motivated beginner and strip away the layers until you were dealing with the bare metal. And there is power in that understanding. A bottom-to-top stack of knowledge that helps develop mental models that make more complex systems easier to understand. While my daughter has a very powerful laptop for school, way more powerful than a C-64, it highly unlikely that she or any of her peers will be able to peel the onion back to the physics of electricity like my generation was able to.

So I'd rather have today's tech. But I'm glad that I got to spend a lot of time with a C-64 in my youth, or I'd be nowhere near the programmer I am today. That's where the nostalgia comes in. Greatness in (relative) simplicity.

Re:Understandable (3, Insightful)

Mryll (48745) | about 7 months ago | (#46751549)

Another thing is that you really had the sense that you were on the edge of something new back then. These were some of the first computers that were adopted by the public in significant numbers, and if you had one, you were really one of the few early computer owners. If you happened to be a teenager, more exciting and better yet

In those days using a computer was really a choice of love, because it was NOT CONSIDERED COOL. You had to pay some social stigma price to stick it out. We did. The younger folks never really faced it.

Re:Understandable (4, Interesting)

bender647 (705126) | about 7 months ago | (#46751879)

Indeed - I still have my original Commodore VIC-20, and a second one, because I was careless with the first one day while poking around in it with a voltmeter as I executed code. Schematic and memory map were not only fun but really needed to do anything powerful beyond BASIC. I'd never want to go back to hand-assembling and poking machine code or laying out arrays of ASCII characters on the screen, then changing their bitmaps to plot graphics on screen, but having done so once was priceless.

Re:old tech (5, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | about 7 months ago | (#46750913)

It's the first computer many people had access to, and especially the first computer they could actually program themselves. In an era where PCs cost thousands of dollars, a C64 cost only a couple hundred. Parents could afford them and the default shell was a BASIC prompt. Plus, it had built-in hardware to support making games (sound chip, sprite generator, joystick port) which made interesting to the kids first learning how to program on it.

Re:old tech (1)

ecorona (953223) | about 7 months ago | (#46751045)

I totally get it. This explanation makes sense. My first computer was a 100 Mhz Mac with Mac OS 7.5. I was so excited about the computer that I read an entire book explaining every detail of the OS. America Online was pretty much the only ISP. I used to love finding people of various professions, instant messaging them, and asking questions I could never normally get answered. About 9/10 times I'd get ignored, but those people in a good mood would explain fascinating stuff. I know how you C64 peeps feel. If I could recreate that original AOL atmosphere where I had a different epiphany each week, I would do so wholeheartedly.

old habits die hard (pun intended) (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 7 months ago | (#46750093)

Man, the hoops people jump thru over nostalgia for pixellated pr0n.

Grab your holsters (-1, Flamebait)

delta98 (619010) | about 7 months ago | (#46750127)

Here comes the bullshit. Let's just see what turdfest this turns out to be.

Gameboy (1)

Lennie (16154) | about 7 months ago | (#46750283)

Sorry, I liked the life size Gameboy better:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

Re:Gameboy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46752089)

Perhaps my memory of Gameboys is a little off, but that looks to be way way bigger than life size. Unless you mean human size.

Commode 64? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46751367)

Make it duplicate my original Atari800 and my TRS-80mkI and we'll talk....

Finally, some decent use for my Raspberry PI (1)

MindPrison (864299) | about 7 months ago | (#46751575)

It was collecting dust, c'mon - admit it - yours was too.

I've got plenty of these one-board wonders, Texas Instruments Stellaris Launchpad anyone? Collecting dust? What? I still use my old JR51AC2 - (8051 type) devboard with my gazillion 87c51fc3 mcu's without needing yet another devboard for yet another processor & concept..., but hey...kudos for trying Braben.

Now...if I could only find an original cable for the SX-64 Computer (yes, for you noobs out there, that is a Commodore 64 all-in-one computer from 1984, featuring a small 5.5 inch Color screen, floppy disk and psu all-in-one, luggable) Worlds first color portable AFAIK. Yeah yeah, I can make one, but I'm a geezer...I prefer the original round cable one...got one? PM me!

I will just fire up my 64 no need for an emulator (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46751677)

if I want to see my c64 all i have to do is dig it out of the closet and hook it up my mm C1702 monitor and fire it up who needs an emulator LOL

why (1)

confused one (671304) | about 7 months ago | (#46751909)

OK, I learned on the Apple ][, PET, VIC-20 (all 6502's) and a C64 (6510) as well... I also owned a Tandy CoCo (6809). And I remember how things were back then... But what's the point of all this nostalgic development effort to recreate the old machine, again? Hell, there are emulators that run on Linux that would work fine on the Raspberry Pi. Unless you're trying to recover some fundamentally necessary data or program, I just don't see the point. Move on man... Move on.
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