Dear AmForthers,

due to some unlikely fluctuation in probability space (or some
other excuse) I declared this weekend to be "AmForth weekend 1"
--- for me at least. While being working on this I decided to let
you know, what is happening, and what is going around in my head
regarding AmForth.


- Contributions

  I am very grateful for everyone who is sending anything to the
  mailing list. Thank you! This is imho an important way to show
  that this project is not dead. I am also very grateful that
  Tristan W. and Martin N. have been helping out answering
  questions. I will not be able to keep this project alive on my
  own, so "Thank you!"

  Along the same lines: "Welcome to all newcomers!"

  That being said: I have been asked whether I accept email to my
  private address. Yes I do. HOWEVER, every email not going
  through the list, for whatever reason, does not add to the
  "this project is alive" feature, does not inform all the others
  on the list. I admit that I have been guilty of this myself
  much too often. I herewith sincerely apologize --- while being
  practical and easy it will be wrong in the long run.


- Commits

  r2443: added one-line patch to amforth-shell.py, provided by
         Tristan Williams. Will now report filenames which occur
         more than once.

  r2444: AVR8: restored avr8/words/no-jtag.asm from release 5.5;
         removed not functional avr8/devices/*/words/no-jtag.asm
         files.

  r2445: added comment about last commit to index.rst

  r2446: Added refcard manually generated from 5.5 with a
         warning! This is outdated!

         Commented Projects/ClockWorks: added version from
         2018-12-15; they were apparently lost or never published
         on the website. This version features a clock reading
         the DCF77 time radio signal.


- Open Issues

  as far as I'm aware:

  - WDT (Martin Nicholas) patch

    Martin has provided a small patch (.asm) regarding the
    startup of the WDT (watch dog timer) on atmega2560
    controllers. I have honestly no idea, whether or not this
    will break something else, and under which conditions exactly
    this is needed.
    link to email archive (Martin Nicholas, June 2019)
    https://sourceforge.net/p/amforth/mailman/message/36682958/

  - Multitasker documentation

    This needs to be tested and enhanced in a few ways. It might
    be that the current example in the Cookbook section is simply
    broken. There have been questions about how to better
    populate the task local user area. Maybe this could be
    answered by a more complex example. There has been the
    question about producing output from a task (not the cmd
    loop), its collision with the shared HLD/TAB area, and
    possible ways to solve this (semaphores, task local HLD/TAB).
    link to email archive (Jan Kromhout Feb 2019)
    https://sourceforge.net/p/amforth/mailman/message/36596842/

  - " du< " is missing
    link to email archive (Martin Nicholas August 2019)
    https://sourceforge.net/p/amforth/mailman/message/36748496/

  - amforth-upload.py is broken for me, I use the file from 4.0.
    But I have not bothered to find out exactly what breaks on
    me/my code.

  - both amforth-upload.py and amforth-shell.py are using
    "python", which means python2. Since python2 is being
    discontinued, these should be ported to python3. Anyone
    interested?

  - The refcard generator is broken probably since release 5.6
    link to email archive (Martin Nicholas June 2020)
    https://sourceforge.net/p/amforth/mailman/message/37047630/


- Open Questions

  Apart from the code/documentation issues above there are more
  open questions for me:

  - How do I /reliably/ create the content of the webpage? How do
    I synchronize my local version effortlessly with the official
    copy? How can I diagnose changes, when sphinx upon generation
    changes /every/ file somehow? Did I say I'm not a web person?
    %^>

  - How do I actually create a new release? Copying the files is
    one thing, but where do I need to change the version? There
    is more than one place, I'm afraid. I also happen to know
    that after 6.9 there cannot be 6.10 due to a limitation
    created very early. Matthias told me that, otherwise I would
    be clueless.

  - How to run the testcases? How many test files are there? Can
    they be run reliably? Will errors show up in such a way that
    they will not be lost? Where should the test cases go? How
    about msp430, arm, risc-v? Folks, I break into cold sweat
    when I work on the source code and hit "commit".


- Whacky Ideas

  - git? -- With all the cool kids using git repositories, should
    I attempt do convert the existing repositories, webpage, etc?
    does sourceforge.net provide git repositories? Can the
    existing svn repository be converted on the server side?

  - Should we use a ticket system rather than mailing list?

  - Who of you is using which target controller? Would it be
    feasible to drop msp430, arm, risc-v in order to simplify the
    whole thing? yes/no?

  - Can we get rid of the Atmel/Microchip Avrasm Assembler?

    One big difference between the avr8 and the risc-v tree is
    the assembly language. avr8 is using Atmels assembly. Which
    is good, because it is thoroughly documented. And which is
    bad, because there is no working free/libre alternative to
    avrasm.exe. Yes there is the "avra" project but it has been
    abandoned long ago. I have been able to assemble AmForth with
    avra way back in releases 4.2 up until maybe 4.9. I have even
    contributed a small patch to make atmega644p working.
    https://sourceforge.net/projects/avra/

    Matthias has contemplated the idea to port AmForth/avr8 to
    use gnu assembly. He might even have produced a working
    branch, I don't know.

    For risc-v there is no avr assembly, naturally. That's where
    all the .s assembly files come into the game.

    I personally would love to have a free/libre assembler for
    avr assembly. AVRASM.EXE is the only thing that forces me to
    install wine on my system.


- Happy Häcking

  I have been working with AmForth lately. Yes really!

  The Code in my RS485 bus project is showing its age.
  http://amforth.sourceforge.net/Projects/RS485/RS485Bus.html
  First, I was able to reduce the assembly part of this game
  considerably, after Matthias has included a few goodies just
  for my beloved use case :-) That is working and needs to be
  documented again.

  Along the way I was bitten by the "because I can" bug and
  created my own hardware:
  https://erwaelde.gitlab.io/posts/0005-avr-boards.html
  Two iterations down the road I do have functional boards.
  Another board with rs485 and power is needed, but heck, one
  thing at a time.

  So I have a few controllers distributed about my home. They are
  taking measurements. There is a collector (perl script)
  collecting the measurements periodically. The data is going to
  a sqlite database. The data is viewed using another perl script
  with a very old extension: pgplot5. This has been working for
  10 years or more, however, pgplot5 is not being ported to the
  new worlds of visualization, so a replacement is clearly
  needed.

  My current plan is to rewrite the collector script, (perl plus
  EV, AnyEvent, MQTT) let it report the data to a mosquitto
  daemon. A component called telegraf will subscribe to mosquitto
  and report all configured messages into a new and shiny influx
  database. The visualization is currently done with grafana, but
  I am aiming for R and some javascript component to make it
  interactive. The results to be shown on a MagicMirror2 info
  terminal. This is all working in principle, but not yet in the
  desired detail.

  Yes, yes, there is still a long way to go. But that keeps me
  out of trouble :-)


  That being said, I would love to hear from you, what you are
  using AmForth for. Show off your projects, even if too small or
  too unpolished to show anyone else. We will all be kind to each
  other, promised!





One last thing: Matthias was a regular participant in the net2o
forth chat. I'm there almost every Thursday (20h Germany local
time). This chat round is open to anyone, however, since the
technology used resembles a "dark" net ;-) you need to get your
key "invited". Feel free to join and bother me about how to
participate, details are here:
https://fossil.net2o.de/net2o/doc/trunk/wiki/net2o.md
https://fossil.net2o.de/net2o/doc/trunk/wiki/get-it.md
https://fossil.net2o.de/net2o/doc/trunk/wiki/try-it.md



Still reading? Yes?
That's very kind of you.
Thank you for your precious time.

I would be very grateful for any comments, ideas, contributions
from you. I would love to hear what you are using AmForth for.
Thanks.

I herewith declare the next AmForth Weekend to be on
2020-08-01,02, right after "SysAdmin Day".
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sysadmin_day


Cheers,
Erich

PS: Halfway through this weekend I can only express deepest
admiration for Matthias juggling all these pieces so well!


-- 
May the Forth be with you ...


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