Which ports should be cared of first?

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Which ports should be cared of first?

• Floppy
15
14%
• SCSI
11
10%
• MIDI
25
23%
• PS/2
13
12%
• ACSI
8
7%
• ROM-port
8
7%
• MFP serial port (legacy Atari serial)
3
3%
• Printer port
8
7%
• Game port
18
17%
 
Total votes: 109

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Which ports should be cared of first?

Postby Mathias » Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:02 am

Which of the recently not working ports at the FireBee boards should the developers take care of FIRST. Tell us which ports are most needed. You have 3 options.
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Re: Which ports should be cared of first?

Postby TheNameOfTheGame » Mon Feb 17, 2014 5:34 am

I put my vote in! :D

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Re: Which ports should be cared of first?

Postby Mathias » Mon Feb 17, 2014 6:32 am

TheNameOfTheGame wrote:I put my vote in! :D
Great, that means involving people works :mrgreen:
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Re: Which ports should be cared of first?

Postby joska » Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:18 am

Implementing SCSI and ACSI is a waste of time. The current memory layout of the Firebee doesn't allow the FPGA (and thus the SCSI/ACSI "chips") to access ST-RAM anyway.

The Firebee is fundamentally incompatible with classic Atari architecture in this aspect. It does not make sense to implement legacy chips until this is properly fixed.
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Re: Which ports should be cared of first?

Postby Dal » Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:20 am

I agree with Jo here. Have voted Floppy, MIDI and ROM ports
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Re: Which ports should be cared of first?

Postby mfro » Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:50 am

joska wrote:Implementing SCSI and ACSI is a waste of time.

I fully agree to this statement since I can't think of any device that I'd really need to connect to these ports anyway. There are better and cheaper ways for storage devices than SCSI/ACSI on the Firebee.

joska wrote:The current memory layout of the Firebee doesn't allow the FPGA (and thus the SCSI/ACSI "chips") to access ST-RAM anyway.

I doubt this, however. It's true that the Firebee has a memory layout that doesn't allow to put video RAM to arbitrary addresses within the ST-RAM address range without MMU help.

The above is currently true for the dedicated Video RAM. But ST-RAM != video RAM. As far as I can see, the FPGA has full access to the FlexBus of the Coldfire and I naively assume it should be perfectly possible to access any SDRAM memory address from the FPGA if somebody would implement the missing Bus master configuration in the FPGA. It might even be possible to control the Coldfire Multichannel DMA unit from wihin the FPGA through legacy addresses if only somebody would implement it.

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Re: Which ports should be cared of first?

Postby wongck » Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:24 pm

LOL.... the hardware will be as much backward compatible as the software....
The software... everyone is asking for recompile to native CF code.
The hardware... everyone is asking for newer ports being implemented.

Frankly, I only have one real SCSI device... and that is my Syquest, which I don't use but it is hooked to my SCSI chain.
The HDD storage, I fake it with a SCSI-IDE adapter, and it is only used to transfer software between my Falcon & TT within the backup.

So now I can use SD-card to do software transfer between my PC-Falcon-Firebee.

But even then at least sometime it is good to be able to transfer between the FB & TT or to do a backup that is readable on all(most) Atari.

Of all the unimplemented ports, only SCSI is of use to me.

But of course most musician will want MIDI, so I am not surprise if that will come 1st.
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Re: Which ports should be cared of first?

Postby Mathias » Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:02 pm

mfro wrote:
joska wrote:Implementing SCSI and ACSI is a waste of time.

I fully agree to this statement since I can't think of any device that I'd really need to connect to these ports anyway. There are better and cheaper ways for storage devices than SCSI/ACSI on the Firebee.


I´d like to ask for some respect, towards users with different needs. It may be true for several people that ACSI and SCSI is useless for them, but others may really need it. Arguing against the needs of others with the own needs is senseless. The above voting may help to see the needs. I for example never used the GamePort at all, ... so the voting is really interresting.
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Re: Which ports should be cared of first?

Postby oehansen » Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:20 pm

Mathias wrote:
mfro wrote:
joska wrote:Implementing SCSI and ACSI is a waste of time.

I fully agree to this statement since I can't think of any device that I'd really need to connect to these ports anyway. There are better and cheaper ways for storage devices than SCSI/ACSI on the Firebee.


I´d like to ask for some respect, towards users with different needs. It may be true for several people that ACSI and SCSI is useless for them, but others may really need it. Arguing against the needs of others with the own needs is senseless. The above voting may help to see the needs. I for example never used the GamePort at all, ... so the voting is really interresting.


I'd like to put in a few "remarks" on the SCSI comments. And like to remark, that I "feel" that people are disregarding it, is more out of ignorance than need. A modern USB thumbdrive, uses SCSI commands. So does an SD drive, and to my knowledge so does an CF card.

So, utilizing "SCSI" in hardware, is most certainly not a waste of time ... although it can be argued, wether the interface to SCSI, through a SCSI port, or ACSI port are. In that regard, one might also argue that utilizing an IDE drive is also a waste of time, because it's out dated as we speak. And yet, such a statement is equally false, as that with SCSI. An IDE port is merely an interface, to communications set, which is currently still the heart of ATA, which is used inte Serial ATA, known as SATA.

So, wether it's ACSI (which is merely 6-byte SCSI), SCSI, IDE ... there is a real benefit in creating a hard core, that supports these commands. Concerning the FPGA, the interface itself is merely a set of parameters to a module ...

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Re: Which ports should be cared of first?

Postby mfro » Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:39 pm

Mathias wrote:I´d like to ask for some respect, towards users with different needs. It may be true for several people that ACSI and SCSI is useless for them, but others may really need it. Arguing against the needs of others with the own needs is senseless. The above voting may help to see the needs. I for example never used the GamePort at all, ... so the voting is really interresting.


I'd surely respect the vote if the vote would respect me ;).

Just tried if I could vote without selecting anything (because my personal needs would be first and foremost fixes to what is already there - known bugs like screen resolutions, for example), which I can't.
My next best choice would be "fast Blitter" since the Firebee stays well behind its true video hardware capabilities at large bit depths, IMHO. Not there.
Next choice would be "MMC mode" for the SD card slot which would dramatically increase SD card throughput and allow clean media change routines (with the hardware switch supported by the FPGA). Not there.

Of course I only express my own personal favourites with full respect to other's (which is what this poll is all about, isn't it?).

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Re: Which ports should be cared of first?

Postby mfro » Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:52 pm

oehansen wrote:...A modern USB thumbdrive, uses SCSI commands. So does an SD drive, and to my knowledge so does an CF card...


Even if they would - none of the devices you mentioned (except the USB stick to some extend) uses the SCSI command set - it won't help any of them if the FPGA would support an obsolete NCR5380 SCSI chip on an interface thats incompatible with theirs.

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Re: Which ports should be cared of first?

Postby Mathias » Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:53 pm

mfro wrote:I'd surely respect the vote if the vote would respect me ;).

Perhaps there is a huge missunderstanding. This is no "what should be done" question, I intended the question "which of the non implemented ports should be the first ones". Not more not less.

That does not mean that someone should not care about blitter, videl or anything else. And as you know very well, it is finally up to developers what happenes at all, not to this quetsions here.
So there is no disrespect towards your ideas in asking the users here!
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Re: Which ports should be cared of first?

Postby simonsunnyboy » Mon Feb 17, 2014 5:11 pm

I personally think, ACSI is not necessary. Software that comes on ACSI devices is likely to be incompatible with the CF anyway.
SD cards are already supported, SCSI could be interesting to connect that ole CDROM drive...otherwise I think USB support should be main priority.

But regarding the legacy ports, my vote goes "game ports", ofcourse ;)
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Re: Which ports should be cared of first?

Postby Mathias » Mon Feb 17, 2014 5:52 pm

simonsunnyboy wrote:But regarding the legacy ports, my vote goes "game ports", ofcourse ;)
Are you, and others aware that Joysticks via RJ12 (Atari KBD) are already working? The GAME-Port is just additionally and should be Falcon compatible.
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Re: Which ports should be cared of first?

Postby oehansen » Mon Feb 17, 2014 5:58 pm

mfro wrote:
oehansen wrote:...A modern USB thumbdrive, uses SCSI commands. So does an SD drive, and to my knowledge so does an CF card...


Even if they would - none of the devices you mentioned (except the USB stick to some extend) uses the SCSI command set - it won't help any of them if the FPGA would support an obsolete NCR5380 SCSI chip on an interface thats incompatible with theirs.


First, there is no need to implement SCSI in the form of an obsolete chip ... at all. An FPGA can be used to implement any state machine one wants, there is no need to limit that to an obsolete device.

I looked up CF, and see it utilizes the ATA-4 set. Whic I am "guessing" was the reason it was used in the bee ...

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Re: Which ports should be cared of first?

Postby mfro » Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:44 pm

oehansen wrote:First, there is no need to implement SCSI in the form of an obsolete chip ... at all. An FPGA can be used to implement any state machine one wants, there is no need to limit that to an obsolete device.


Yes, certainly. But implementing an "incompatible" SCSI chip within the FPGA would make even less sense, IMHO.

You'd not only had a device you don't really need, you'd even lack drivers on the software/OS side.

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Re: Which ports should be cared of first?

Postby oehansen » Tue Feb 18, 2014 3:11 pm

mfro wrote:
oehansen wrote:First, there is no need to implement SCSI in the form of an obsolete chip ... at all. An FPGA can be used to implement any state machine one wants, there is no need to limit that to an obsolete device.


Yes, certainly. But implementing an "incompatible" SCSI chip within the FPGA would make even less sense, IMHO.

You'd not only had a device you don't really need, you'd even lack drivers on the software/OS side.


I think we are talking passed each other. My take on it, is that you are focused on SCSI being the transport device. My focus, is that SCSI is in reality the communications protocol, which can be transported by any medium. Thus, you have FCP, SAS, USB transported SCSI, Ethernet transported SCSI, etc. Which is why on modern linux, all these storage devices are ... SCSI devices internally. So, to me ... the "chip" per say, is not important.

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Re: Which ports should be cared of first?

Postby Zogging Hell » Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:20 pm

Made the mistake of trying to fill this in on my form on my phone and missed the right options and ended up voting for just one, the game port, which is a bit down my list, so please scratch one vote from that. Instead I would (given the chance to vote again) actually vote for the floppy port, the midi and the printer (although the midi might not be so good without some sort of cartridge port for dongles). Apologies! :oops:
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Re: Which ports should be cared of first?

Postby Knezzen » Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:31 pm

I vote for the ROM-port. This would make the FireBee useful to me since I could use my Emagic/C-Lab MIDI-interfaces and dongles.
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Re: Which ports should be cared of first?

Postby joska » Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:17 am

mfro wrote:
joska wrote:The current memory layout of the Firebee doesn't allow the FPGA (and thus the SCSI/ACSI "chips") to access ST-RAM anyway.

I doubt this, however. It's true that the Firebee has a memory layout that doesn't allow to put video RAM to arbitrary addresses within the ST-RAM address range without MMU help.

The above is currently true for the dedicated Video RAM. But ST-RAM != video RAM. As far as I can see, the FPGA has full access to the FlexBus of the Coldfire and I naively assume it should be perfectly possible to access any SDRAM memory address from the FPGA if somebody would implement the missing Bus master configuration in the FPGA. It might even be possible to control the Coldfire Multichannel DMA unit from wihin the FPGA through legacy addresses if only somebody would implement it.


Yes, that's why I wrote that this has to be solved first :) Without this in place the legacy chips can't be used with existing software.

I disagree in your statement "ST-RAM != video RAM". On the contrary - one of the design goals with the Firebee was to build a faster Falcon. And this means that the "Videl" must be able to display a framebuffer put anywhere in ST-RAM.

From the Atari Coldfire Project website:

The FireBee is similar to an Atari Falcon and works very much like that. It will run most of the Atari compatible software that would run on a Falcon.


IMO the Firebee is far from this right now. It has the potential to be a fast Falcon, but to achieve this a few things must be in place.

1. ST-RAM (0-14Mb) must be like on a real Falcon. I.e. this memory range must be available to the complete chipset without any software kludges or hacks.
2. The "Videl" must be compatible with the real Videl and be able to use the complete ST-RAM as a framebuffer without software hacks. Extended videomodes should ofcourse be able to access the complete 128Mb of RAM connected to the FPGA.
3. The floppy controller must be an Ajax and not a 1772. TOS 4.x doesn't support the 1772.
4. Actual Falcon DMA sound is impossible to implement on the Firebee, atleast not without hardware modifications. But maybe Falcon DMA sound can be emulated in the same way as STE DMA sound.

And let's not forget the DSP.

In short I think spending time on stuff like SCSI is a waste, as it does nothing to solve the real compatibility issues. SCSI and ACSI should IMO be considered a bonus.
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Re: Which ports should be cared of first?

Postby joska » Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:37 am

Mathias wrote:Which of the recently not working ports at the FireBee boards should the developers take care of FIRST. Tell us which ports are most needed. You have 3 options.


You are missing the most important question - "why do you need the port(s) you've voted for?". I'm not sure how many Firebee's that's been sold so far, but how many of these are missing the ability to use PS/2 mice or SCSI devices? I fear that much work will be spent on implementing stuff that at best only will be used by a few.

E.g. SCSI - can some of you who have voted for this please tell me why you would need SCSI? I don't use SCSI (or spinning disks of any sort) on any of my retro hardware. I'm just very happy to get rid of that junk ;) Are there any good reasons to stick with a powersucking, big, noisy and fragile old SCSI disk when SD-cards costs about the same as small burger?

And the printer port - hands up anyone who has a good, working printer with a parallell port. I don't even know when they stopped making this, I haven't seen one in atleast ten years.

IMO the MIST solved this in a much better way - instead of implementing the physical ports, only the registers of the device in question is implemented in the FPGA. The data is then piped to the microcontroller which then takes care of transporting it to the outside world via modern devices. This is much more flexible and user friendly than a parallell port which no current printer can be connected to. And most importantly, it's a lot less work.
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Re: Which ports should be cared of first?

Postby joska » Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:41 am

oehansen wrote:My focus, is that SCSI is in reality the communications protocol, which can be transported by any medium.


Which is completely irrelevant in this case. We're discussing implementation of the legacy chips to allow as much legacy software as possible to work. Not a new driver/software concept for TOS.
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Re: Which ports should be cared of first?

Postby joska » Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:53 am

simonsunnyboy wrote:SCSI could be interesting to connect that ole CDROM drive...otherwise I think USB support should be main priority.


I could not agree more. It's much, much easier to get USB CD-ROMs working than implementing a full SCSI controller. Even easier - connect an ATAPI CD-ROM to the already existing and working IDE-bus.
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Re: Which ports should be cared of first?

Postby mfro » Wed Feb 19, 2014 4:06 pm

Fully agree to everything you wrote not quoted.

joska wrote:
The FireBee is similar to an Atari Falcon and works very much like that. It will run most of the Atari compatible software that would run on a Falcon.


IMO the Firebee is far from this right now. It has the potential to be a fast Falcon, but to achieve this a few things must be in place.

1. ST-RAM (0-14Mb) must be like on a real Falcon. I.e. this memory range must be available to the complete chipset without any software kludges or hacks.
2. The "Videl" must be compatible with the real Videl and be able to use the complete ST-RAM as a framebuffer without software hacks. Extended videomodes should ofcourse be able to access the complete 128Mb of RAM connected to the FPGA.


Even this is debatable with the same questions you asked before: who will be using it?

Nearly every Firebee screenshot I have seen uses screen resolutions and bit depths a real Falcon cannot display. People ask about connecting 1920x1400 monitors, not about ST low or Falcon compatible TC.

This will not be possible with a "traditional" Falcon setup, at least not at reasonable speeds. Even a FPGA blitter implementation would need to have a "legacy Falcon mode" _and_ something much more advanced (and likely completely incompatible) to achieve reasonable speeds at high resolutions.

How many SV users use Falcon resolutions (besides an ocassional gaming session with games that won't run on the Firebee anyway)?
We really have to avoid situations of sacre FPGA developer resources putting huge efforts into the implementation of legacy modes, chips and ports nobody will use afterwards.

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Re: Which ports should be cared of first?

Postby Zogging Hell » Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:35 pm

joska wrote:
And the printer port - hands up anyone who has a good, working printer with a parallell port. I don't even know when they stopped making this, I haven't seen one in atleast ten years.



I have three or four, one laser and three inkjets all of which are perfectly capable of photo printing (bar the laser which is back and white). :twisted: Although you are right, USB would be far better, but there aren't any drivers..
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