Thanks for the thought stream Erich.

I have one other wacky idea for the list.  Maybe for next year when life in 
theory will settle or possibly over the 2020-2021 winter.  

I’d like to re-engineer a device called the CNC FROG.  It was originally a kind 
of 1.5 or 2.5 axis CNC gizmo but really it was just a flexible stepper motor 
controller and driver built into a single quite ingenious UI.  I think it sold 
for around $USD 150 with some bits of hardware for Sherline and Taig lathes.  
You could do ordinary turning and threading with it.

As it turned out though what it was really good at was just driving random bits 
of machinery via stepper motor.  The UI (a generous term) was very clever and 
flexible so you could configure it to operate in any units you liked after a 
short setup period.  So you could advance a machine in thousands of an inch of 
hundredths of a millimeter or fractions of degrees or radians or anything else 
you could cook up.  This flexibility had it selling into light industry for 
operating turntables, indexers, etc.

There were and are lots of solutions for the very computer literate but this 
was for the illiterate.

The flavour of the FROG reminds me of forth somewhat.  Small, fast, flexible 
and a bit obscure.   A niche in other words.

The project would need a new hardware platform - probably an open source hobby 
platform with PCB’s and assembled gizmos with options and cases which would be 
fun but the key functionality would be the firmware.  Developing a small, 
simple, elegant UI I suspect would be very controversial and difficult.  There 
is something of a template in the original but much could be done to introduce 
more elegance.  

I’d try to fund the project so it would be a paying proposition for major 

If you are interested in the FROG CNC it is hard to find now.  This might get 
you started. 

> On Jun 28, 2020, at 10:29 AM, Erich Wälde <> wrote:
> - Whacky Ideas
>  - git? -- With all the cool kids using git repositories, should
>    I attempt do convert the existing repositories, webpage, etc?
>    does <> provide git repositories? 
> Can the
>    existing svn repository be converted on the server side?

sourceforge is OK but github seems easier to use to me.  The thing that occurs 
to me is perhaps in github we would get more exposure?  I’m so out of date.

>  - 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?

I’m Atmel but have not touched embedded really for a few years.  Life needs to 
settle down. Will it?  I don’t know. 

>  - 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.
> <>
>    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.

I agree.  I’m sorry that the opensource AVR assembler has gone by the wayside 
also.  I used it in early days.  I’m somewhat surprised that it is in suspended 
animation given the popularity of Arduino as a platform.   I find 
virtualization a big complicated hammer to solve problems that could be 
resolved in a more elegant manner.  Simplification isn’t very popular today 

Ian - lurking on.   

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