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[MachineForth] [ColorForth] Forth CPU question!

I think chip design should be a different list.  While
some of the discussions of Chuck's Color Forth will
no doubt to about the application written in Color
Forth, OKAD II.  But I think the many issues of
chip design should be separate from discussions
of Color Forth.

I see Color Forth as just one stage in the evolution of Forth,
a stage that will come and go.  It has expaned the concept of
a space.  There are multiple kinds of spaces that are used as
tokens to direct the compiler in a prefix fashion.  It simplifes
Forth IMHO.

There are now a number of versions of ColorForth from various 
people, and I am I sure I will write a variation on of these
days.  This evolution of the Forth language is mostly independent
of the issues of chip design since all you need is a a "virtual"
machine as always.

And chip design covers so much ground.  Most people don't write all
their own tools from scatch.  They use FPGA or standard cells or
standard languages and tools.  It is important to remember that
these people are interested in understanding the issues that Chuck
Moore and John Rible have been working with since the Novix days,
the issues of computer architecture and the constraints of
development environments.

There is a connection between the evolution of the language, and
the Machine Forth and the evolution of Chuck's machines.  The
connection is weaker with ColorForth.

I any event I think a ForthCPU mail list is appropriate.
Just look at http://www.ultratechnology.com/chips.htm 
to see that there are already 40 families of existing Forth
chips and/or experiments in progress.  Lots of people
dealing with similar issues and nothing really to do with
ColorForth except for one person, Chuck, and he is not
likely to bother with any mail lists.

The most unlikely connection is the potential for the option
that Chuck mentioned the other day, that he might put ColorForth
and OKAD II into the PD one of these days.  He figures it might
be a way to jump start the chip work.

His ColorForth is quite spectacular.  It is of interest to those
who design compilers and/or want to understand them.  It is of
interest to those who want to understand the big picture of the
history and direction of the Forth language.  

As a fast simple OS Chuck's ColorForth is impressive,
hardware accelerated screen repaint in the background
in 2D or 3D close to video display rates, very tiny
Forth, lots of memory, colorful tools, fast compiler etc.

But the CAD system is really the proof of what the ColorForth
can do and it is just amazing as are the chip designs that
he is currently working on.  But I think the topics of the native
code on new machines (Machine Forth), ColorForth, and ForthCPU
all deserve mail lists.  Although I might occasionally crosspost
to multiple lists and have to read (and delete) a couple of 
copies of the mail myself.

Many people are now looking into Chuck's thinking from twenty years
ago when he started to look into building custom computers to run the
Forth language.  That really should be a separate topic for discussion
than MachineForth or ColorForth.  Most people who will make, simulate,
or experiment with ForthCPU will create them with conventional tools
and then use Forth to write code and test them.  For a long time they
may only really be interested in the design tradeoffs related to
the kind of chips (or brand of device and tools) and the software
problems and will be willing to be flexible on exactly what the
Forth CPU will actually do.   I think there will be interest
in discussions of such subjects, nothing to do with MachineForth
or ColorForth, perhaps at a later stage for them.

If a third list is setup I will post a link from the chips.htm
page where all the links to people's FPGA projects exist.

I also think it would be nice if we had a faq for
all three mail lists.  I guess I will put one together
based on this message, a bunch of links, and which
can be updated and which can be referenced regularly.
If anyone else would like to do it, host the web
page mail list faq let me know.  I have lots of
stuff to do right now.

Jeff Fox

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