The Plan

Welcome fellow reader of ‘el Reg’... you might have come here due to this The Register post from Dec. 6th 2021… thanks for the free ad chaps!

Yeah, it is a somewhat dusty project but that might be due to the fact that I’m working on this alone. Since years. On and off… more off than on honestly. Because there’s no fun in soliloquies.
But I will be happy to chime in again as soon I see active forks on github

So have fun browsing this time-killing page… 150+ posts are waiting to make you wonder where the time went 😉

There’s a rough schedule where this project should go, given there are enough clever people joining in or at least display a certain degree of interest. So there’s a skech of the main-phases, aka “The Plan”  (without dates):

Sköll

As said in the intro, Sköll is about “catching” the sun, i.e. get the original Helios 1.31 sources to compile on Solaris. This includes

  • cleaning up the code
  • weed out unneccesary parts (e.g. the TI DSP code)
  • smooth the edges (There are multiple strange code-constructs which should be cleaned)
  • get a general understanding of it all

Hati

Next phase/release/step after that will be “Hati”, the other wolf who chases the moon – less mystic, this means getting the “Helios-Sköll” sources to compile on Linux.
Some tools already do, e.g. the Transputer Assembler ‘as’… the Norcroft-C compiler is another story.

And as we all know, when Sköll and Hati finally managed to hunt down the sun and the moon, the world will be destroyed and reborn:

Ragnarök!

It’s certainly not the end of the world. I leave it open for now what that means in terms of Helios, but maybe there will be a critical mass of participants in the community to push “Helios-Hati” forward into version 1.4 running on x86 or current ARM implementations like Raspberry Pi and the like?

Secondary theater of War

Well, then there’s another part of Helios which needs some attention: The server.
This is the piece of software handling the communication between the Host (e.g. your DOS Box) and the connected Helios System (e.g. your Transputer(farm)).
There are several Server sources in the [HeliosRoot/]ioproc/server folder like DOS, Windows, RS6000, HP9000, Interactive UNIX, Sun3/4/i386, SCO etc… obviously all supporting very old versions of their OSes, e.g. Windows 3.x or Solaris 2.

So this part will need some love, too. I will mainly concentrate on DOS (that’s the [HeliosRoot/]ioproc/server/ibm folder), because that’s what I use to talk to Helios.
To support more recent ways of communication than ISA/SBUS/VME-cards, we have to create a new server, for example for Mikes USB-Link Interface.

2 thoughts on “The Plan”

    1. Thanks Liam!
      Yeah, this is the outer corner of an outer corner of the web – very special interest.
      For all of you who are interested in getting started with Transputers etc. I can provide help and hardware, even if you like to use your Apple II or C64 as host 😉

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