Where are we, and where are we heading?

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oehansen
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Where are we, and where are we heading?

Postby oehansen » Sun Apr 17, 2016 12:23 pm

Not much news lately, so I'd like to ask some questions about what the plans are. But, to fire up the discussion, I'd like to "shine" my little dim light on some subjects I think are somewhat important.

1. Someone pointed out to me, that to use the Firebee in a real world environment today ... VNC is important, to be able to see other desktops. Now, I'd like to add to this and say that something like synergy is actually more important ... I'd like to have one screen, and one keyboard and switch between them with a virtual keyboard/mouse switch. The VNC option I think is good and important, but without faster graphics ... I don't know. Perhaps some FPGA acceleration, which I don't know how much speed gain would be with "compression" only, but obviously decryption would benefit from it.

2. Faster graphics. What is the news of the PCI Radeon option? My thoughts are still on this, which I think would be the best option.

3. I got myself an apple mac mini g4 thing here, it's quite nice ... but my thoughts are MorphOS on it. I don't like RISC's, still think CISC's are a better option as a processor for my taste. But are there any plans for a future "faster" version of the firebee?

4. I know there are a lot of things that need to be done, and people are like me ... free time is scarse. So, my question is, is there any working document anywhere, with a list of what "needs to be done". A list where we can "grab" a note and look into it, and maybe if it happens to be in the vicinity of what we do daily, we might even be able to do some real work? Personally, I've been wanting to do this for a long time, but have a hard time focusing on "what" I should do, that isn't to big for me to handle with my current life and working situation.

Ok, hope this gets us somewhere ...

vido
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Re: Where are we, and where are we heading?

Postby vido » Sun Apr 17, 2016 6:56 pm

Maybe it would be good for the start that people would tell how they can help, what they know and what they need?
This way we could define the tasks to be done and by who. People can volunteer and cooperate.

If I start by myself. I am taking care of the firebee.org server and I did cgi scripts/database behind it. Content and design is done by the others.
I am not the coder or FPGA developer os I cant help there :(

To answer you from what I know:

1. VNC is running on the FireBee. Server and client.

2. Radeon driver is included in FireTOS. We need right PCI backplane to be found/developed. Anyone can help to desin it?

3. I think there is quite some possibilities to accelerate some thing by adding some "accelerators/decoders/..." in FPGA but we need FPGA developers. Anyone? Also there are some possibilities to have faster Coldfire in the future but I dont know if those options are financialy real?

4. As you said, ppeople dont have much free time. This is all done by volunteers in their free time. There is no company behind this project to have dedicated people to take care of development. We have to organise by ourself to develop things further. There are some things in development. If you tell us how you can help I believe we can find the project where you could help ;)

Vido

oehansen
Captain Atari
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Re: Where are we, and where are we heading?

Postby oehansen » Sun Apr 17, 2016 8:56 pm

"I" am a "jack of all traits, and master of none". So to speak. I have "some" verilog knowledge, and can program in verilog. But, as I said, I'd rather have some "specific" task to do, that wasn't too large. Because if it's large ... the chances are I won't have time for it, is also equally large.

1. I'm going to "modify" the VNC server, to "not send the image". As the image is way to slow, to be useful really ... I want to be able to use my mouse and keyboard, but click the "source" button on my monitor to change the input source ... or possibly have it appear on the screen to my left or right (similar to synergy). I'm going to do this now, but it's going to be a "hack" really ... as I'm just going to scramble some code and force my changes in. As minimal changes, as possible.

2. I've been waiting for this for the longest time. I'd love to do something here ... been looking for backplanes, but been adviced not to as there is some issue with the PCI backplane support. So, I'm waiting.

3. I could help here, but I'd like to have some "support" concerning the algorithm to "decode".

4. I started this, because of (1) where I am going to modify something, and don't know if it's going to be useful for others (or perhaps others have already done it). And (3) as I've been wanting to do this, but feel the project is a bit too large for me lonesome. And I don't have enough "leader" material in me, to lead. That's what the military told me anyway, not a leader ... and don't follow orders :-)


Bjarne

vido
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Re: Where are we, and where are we heading?

Postby vido » Mon Apr 18, 2016 5:56 am

oehansen wrote:1. I'm going to "modify" the VNC server, to "not send the image". As the image is way to slow, to be useful really ... I want to be able to use my mouse and keyboard, but click the "source" button on my monitor to change the input source ... or possibly have it appear on the screen to my left or right (similar to synergy). I'm going to do this now, but it's going to be a "hack" really ... as I'm just going to scramble some code and force my changes in. As minimal changes, as possible.

Great ... this would be very usefull also for me. I have a monitor with many inputs and PIP functipnality. But as you have also verilog knowledge I have an idea how to make this also very usable. You (and maybe also someone alse) can do HDMI decoder (grabber) to decode HDMI signal directly into FireBees video memory. For instance you would connect RaPis HDMI output directly to FireBee and have RaPis video output on FireBees desktop in GEm window :) That would be really something! :)
and with your VNC server you would use FireBees keyboard and mouse!
With this FireBee would become my main computer at home!

oehansen
Captain Atari
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Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:05 pm

Re: Where are we, and where are we heading?

Postby oehansen » Tue Apr 19, 2016 1:01 pm

Now I'm sitting here, looking at fpga4fun, and seeing that hdmi pass through isn't that much of a deal. "Looks" almost as simple as a VGA ... except that the negotiations part isn't here, and the "grabber" must declare it's "image size", to the source. Which will make it a whole lot more complicated ... and then, "putting" it into memory, must require some memory fifo, to push to ... haven't taken a look at the firebee's verilog code yet.

Been snooping around, and saw a "ZVNC" in morphos, that actually does what I suggested. Except it does it from the client side, so perhaps the "server" doesn't have to be changed. Have tested it on the Firebee, by letting the g4 act as mouse/keyboard with zvnc and it works well.

To have the firebee work as the "main" work horse, as you suggested. Provided that such a "fifo to memory", where address/data can be pushed down into is present. Then it all becomes possible. Now, assuming some H.264 functionality in a VNC (for speedup or even some mpg) this would require a "block" of data to be sent to the fpga decoder. If the functionality is plain and simple "pixel data" then no problems ... if it's a decoder, perhaps even with decryption ... then it becomes complex. If not, then it's straight forward.

If it's "mere" pixel data ... then I see little speedup from doing it with a simple assembly routine. However, if it's some decoding, then yes I see a speedup.


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