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tritonium
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Posted: 20 June 2018 at 9:23pm | IP Logged Copy link to clipboard   Quote tritonium

Hi

This is probably a stupid question- but...
There are all sorts of micromites- maximites- picromites- arduinomites etc.
Various versions of mmbasic run on these and also there is a dos version.
For the most part as far as I can see the micromite connects to a terminal running vt100 coms to input programs.
The output from these programs is by default directed to the vt100 terminal which is limited to text only. If graphics are required an external lcd must be connected and graphics are directed to these with lcd commands.

Now some micromite versions are able to drive their own vga lo res displays with a full range of graphics. I think the colour maximite is one such. They are lo res because the display timing is done by bitbashing within the pic micro and is therefor limited in number of pixels and lines it can generate in a given time.

Its easier to control external lcd displays (like the 3/4/5/7/8 inch available on e-bay) that have their own memory and refreshing built in so all the micromite has to do is write to the displays memory and the lcd display takes care of the rest- so theoretically any resolution could be catered for. The thing is large computer displays we use on our pc's with resolutions in the 1000's (unlike those smaller ones) expect the pc to supply a steady stream of signals to keep them updated which is beyond a pics ability.

Now there is the picromite, ie mmbasic running on the raspberry pi.
It can run mmbasic and the pi has the ability to drive a hi res display- but it seems as far as I can tell from what I have read that the hi res graphics are still only available for attached small lcds as before.
Question:- is this actually the case or have I got it entirely wrong (wouldn't surprise me!)
I hope I'm wrong but if not- the question is why are the pi's graphic abilities not used?
Is it because it hasn't been tried- or access to the pi's graphics drivers are difficult- or its early days and thats a future project?

As I say I may be completely wrong, but please somebody explain the situation to me so I can stop pulling my hair out.

Thanks

Dave


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robert.rozee
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Posted: 20 June 2018 at 10:36pm | IP Logged Copy link to clipboard   Quote robert.rozee

just my opinion here, but:

the RPi represents incredible value-for-money in terms of computing power, display ability (via the HDMI port), and accessibility/availability to the general public. far more so than any of the system-on-a-chip type solutions (MX processors, MZ processors, STM, etc).

but to shine, there needs to be work towards having an RPi version of mmbasic that runs on (or very close to) the bare metal, making use of the RPi's frame buffer to provide a console similar to that provided by the colour maximite. ie, plug in a USB keyboard and an HDMI monitor and be presented with a terminal screen on the monitor on which one can also draw graphics.

btw, GFXterm provides both VT100 text console capabilities, along with graphics that are drawn on a 'glass' layer sitting in front of the text screen. have a look at the several .bas demos supplied with the download, graphics commands consist of an escape character (chr$(16)), followed by plain text.


cheers,
rob :-)
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matherp
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Posted: 20 June 2018 at 11:38pm | IP Logged Copy link to clipboard   Quote matherp

Quote:
but it seems as far as I can tell from what I have read that the hi res graphics are still only available for attached small lcds as before.


The Pi-cromite supports high res graphics on HDMI displays - see the manual for how to set this up (Appendix E)

Quote:
but to shine, there needs to be work towards having an RPi version of mmbasic that runs on (or very close to) the bare metal,


This makes no sense. The power of the Pi-cromite is its ability to use the OS facilities for networking etc.

Edited by matherp on 20 June 2018 at 11:42pm
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robert.rozee
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Posted: 21 June 2018 at 12:01am | IP Logged Copy link to clipboard   Quote robert.rozee

matherp wrote:
[QUOTE]This makes no sense. The power of the Pi-cromite is its ability to use the OS facilities for networking etc.


just because the ability exists there in the linux kernel, one is not compelled to therefore use it. the RPi zero, for instance, can be treated as simply:
1. a very fast processor with,
2. masses of RAM,
3. an HDMI port, and,
4. a USB keyboard port. all at an incredibly low price. nothing more.

the task then comes down to making the baremetal graphics work (and only so far as a frame buffer, no GPU acceleration), and a USB keyboard interface. you then have a colour maximite successor, for less than $10.


cheers,
rob :-)
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matherp
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Posted: 21 June 2018 at 12:05am | IP Logged Copy link to clipboard   Quote matherp

Quote:
the task then comes down to making the baremetal graphics work (and only so far as a frame buffer, no GPU acceleration), and a USB keyboard interface. you then have a colour maximite successor, for less than $10.


Yes but that is many 100s of hours of work for very little advantage over a privileged task on the OS. The Pi-cromite code already uses various tricks to run in pseudo real-time mode so the marginal speed improvement would be negligible. It takes less than 10 seconds to boot a Pi into MMBasic

See this demo for high res HDMI framebuffer graphics, or this one

Edited by matherp on 21 June 2018 at 12:12am
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robert.rozee
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Posted: 21 June 2018 at 12:31am | IP Logged Copy link to clipboard   Quote robert.rozee

true, and i in no way wish to diminish the amazing job you've done in creating the picromite port of mmbasic to linux.

but there are still only relatively few using picromite basic, and every new user seems to have to surmount various hurdles to get everything aligned 'just right' for things to work successfully.

what i'm suggesting is an alternative route that could be pursued, that in no way precludes, overshadows, or is a replacement for the one taken thus far. for those who require network support, running mmbasic as a process under linux certainly makes good engineering sense. the same holds true for those who want to use mmbasic on a RPi that is also used for other general-purpose computing tasks (eg, RPi as a desktop computer).

however... for those who want a $10 colour maximite replacement, with embedded-system reliability, guaranteed real-time execution, and close control over the runtime environment, the alternative of a bare-metal route makes good engineering sense.


cheers,
rob :-)


Edited by robert.rozee on 21 June 2018 at 12:34am
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tritonium
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Posted: 21 June 2018 at 8:47am | IP Logged Copy link to clipboard   Quote tritonium

Hi again

Aha the problem is that I didn't have the latest picromite manual- there was no appendix E in the one I had.

So following the instructions as well as I understood I loaded the picromite firmware and wrote it to a directory called picromite in the home/pi/ directory. Then I typed chmod +x mmbasic followed by sudo ./mmbasic, after cd'ing to the directory picromite.
Phew- well out of my comfort zone.

when the terminal came up I typed in OPTION LCDPANEL HDMI
and I got a black screen with as expected a few icons from the desktop peeking through and the terminal dead centre with
LINUX MMbasic Version 5.4.16.
Copyright etc
Copyright etc
and the prompt
the terminal looked odd as all that was showing was the rhs scroll bar.

mm.hres reported 1280 and mm.vres is 1024

Anyway
experimenting I typed in a line command and in the corner of the main screen got a line.
typed edit entered a silly program with line and box and circle commands and a 10 second pause, and it ran when I hit F2.
BUT the terminal stayed up and obscured some of the graphics.
The fill for the circle and box didn't fill.
The text rendered in different scales and colours ok

Before I get told off I havent yet disabled the desktop, cursor or done the lite install as I was wondering how I could use the pi with all that disabled.

So I'm getting there, but Ive made some mistakes and hopefully in time it will all work swimmingly.
control z got me back to command line then exit back to pi- with a mostly black screen. Running the mouse around got the icons up and running the web browser got the normal pi scrren back. All good fun.

I realise the immense amount of work that someone (mathers?) is doing goes unpaid and I am sure we are all extremely grateful. Any observations are not criticisms.

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JohnS
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Posted: 21 June 2018 at 7:04pm | IP Logged Copy link to clipboard   Quote JohnS

robert.rozee wrote:
every new user seems to have to surmount various hurdles to get everything aligned 'just right' for things to work successfully.


That's hardly an argument for 100s of (Peter's scarce) hours to make fuller bare metal support.

It might be an argument for SOMEONE to make a foolproof (caution!) step by step guide aimed at people who've never used Linux or any RPi. That SOMEONE does not have to be Peter, thus letting him use his time for things he'd rather do.

That's not to say no-one should attempt nearer to bare metal mmbasic if anyone feels inclined and has the time, of course. You may need to sign an NDA to get the info.

John
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matherp
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Posted: 21 June 2018 at 7:24pm | IP Logged Copy link to clipboard   Quote matherp

Quote:
Before I get told off I havent yet disabled the desktop, cursor or done the lite install as I was wondering how I could use the pi with all that disabled.


If you want to use the HDMI as a graphics screen you should log into the Pi via SSH from another computer and then disable the other uses of the screen as per Appendix E. Run MMBasic from the remote shell then nothing will disrupt the graphics.
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tritonium
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Posted: 21 June 2018 at 9:04pm | IP Logged Copy link to clipboard   Quote tritonium

Hi

Quote:
If you want to use the HDMI as a graphics screen you should log into the Pi via SSH from another computer and then disable the other uses of the screen as per Appendix E. Run MMBasic from the remote shell then nothing will disrupt the graphics.


Yep- was coming to that conclusion.

Thanks for your time and patience.

Dave
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