[Coco] Why do a next Gen CoCo? was Any news on the so called CoCo4 or NextCoCo

Aaron Wolfe aawolfe at gmail.com
Thu Nov 18 18:28:19 EST 2010

Some good points, perhaps part of the reason there are such diverse
opinions on what a "coco 4" should be is that we have different ideas
of what a coco 4 should do.

For me, there are two goals...

First is preservation of the CoCo experience.. all those little things
that make the CoCo the great system that it is.  Instant on, simple
programming in both assembly and high level languages, hardware that
is easy to interface with.. a platform that encourages
experimentation.  Beyond the tangible details, there is just something
special about turning on a CoCo and seeing that green screen.  I don't
know how to put it into words properly, but I think the CoCo 'magic'
is what keeps a lot of us interested in the platform.

As real coco hardware gets older and older, we will hit a point where
it isn't easy to run a real coco system.  I don't think it's happening
yet, but seems inevitable.  A 'coco 4' to me needs to ensure that the
full CoCo experience is available even when CoCo hardware is not.

The second goal is to just make doing CoCo stuff easier.  I personally
am not interested in adding new capabilities as much as making it
easier to access the existing ones. I am interested in being able to
compile a C program in seconds rather than minutes, or a better
debugging system, or to easily transfer program source back and forth
between another computer for editing, or just to be able to easily
share programs with other users.   I'm not so interested in creating
new languages for the CoCo, after all there are a lot of choices in
modern languages on modern platforms for just about any need.  Mostly,
I just enjoy being able to use the existing languages more easily.

For me, the FPGA solution provides 90% of everything I'd want in a
CoCo 4.  The remaining piece of the puzzle is interfacing with coco
peripherals.  I don't know what is possible on that side of things.
Having joysticks and a rompak connector would make the fpga solution
complete in my eyes.  Maybe that is asking a lot :)

I think some people might be looking for a "modern" computer, one that
you would use for everyday computing tasks.  That is what Mr. Bjork's
coco 4 sounds like.  I think that's a difficult goal.. modern
computers become outdated computers every few years.. a coco 4 that
attempts to be a modern system is going to be shooting at a moving

On the other hand, I think there is value is trying to bring parts of
the CoCo experience onto a modern system.  Maybe a CoCo BASIC type
environment that ran on modern systems would be a way to approach
that.  If SuperBasic 4 ran on PCs instead of a dedicated platform, it
would be accessible to a much wider audience and more adaptable to the
constantly changing definition of what a modern system is.

That'll be $0.02.  Opinions expressed in this email do not necessarily
reflect the views of anyone important, and are subject to change
without notice.

On Thu, Nov 18, 2010 at 5:50 PM, Steve Bjork <6809er at srbsoftware.com> wrote:
> I've been watching everyone speak their minds on what the next gen CoCo
> should be.  Pulling in four directions is getting nowhere, as some have
> pointed out.
> But you are putting the horse before the buggy, literally.
> I don't hear is what you are planing to use this next gen CoCo for?  In
> other words, what will use it for when you are done?
> Are you trying to build a faster CoCo to run programs on?
> Oh, there is some talk about FPGA board approach can run programs about 10
> times faster.  Big deal! I can build a Linux box for the price of a FPGA
> board that will run software 1,000's times faster with better graphics,
> sound and the Internet to boot. But the FPGA board has no (or little)
> interface for CoCo hardware. (if I reading the messages right.)  Nor will it
> use any modern computer technology directly.  Not much of a next gen CoCo.
> Or are you trying to make modern technology accessible to the casual CoCo
> programmer?
> This was one of the main goals of the CoCo4.com project.  (Besides making a
> CoCo emulator that could run on cheap modern computers.)
> The Super CoCo 4 BASIC was to support the new display graphic modes of a
> modern Digital TV along with better and easy to use sound system.  Add in an
> easy to use (and understand) Internet command set (under BASIC) so you can
> use the internet like a hardcore net programmer.
> As you can see, the CoCo4.com project was all about unlocking modern
> computer technology in the same the computers did back in the 80's.
>  Something that modern computer designers just don't do any more.
> All I'm saying is to layout just what you want the new computer to do before
> you put that time and $$$ into it.
> Steve Bjork
> On 11/18/2010 1:07 PM, jdaggett at gate.net wrote:
>> Frank:
>> This is my observation of where the COCO4 concept is at this point:
>> The COCO4, what ever it is or will be, is like a person with ropes tied to
>> each arm and leg
>> with four horses pulling in all different directions. Right now the DE-2
>> FPGA board approach
>> is winning out and the rest is going to be left behind. Rip to shreads and
>> the pieces left for the
>> buzzards to pick.
>> Any other idea or suggestion will probably meet with some resistance and
>> really is not totally
>> worth persueing. Unless it solves a personal niche, it probably is no
>> longer worth persueing.
>> just my thoughts
>> james
>> On 18 Nov 2010 at 9:41, Frank Swygert wrote:
>>> Still two camps -- hardware (FPGA) and software )streamlined emulator/OS
>>> combined). I'm of the software camp because it would be easier, cheaper,
>>> and quicker to accomplish. If you bought all new hardware cost would be
>>> comparable, but even an old Pentium 1I computer can be had for a song
>>> and would still have the computing power to emulate a CoCo at a
>>> relatively high speed -- though there's no reason to go so far as a P1
>>> when even P4 machines are relatively cheap now. And most of us have an
>>> older board that would be great for this at little to no cost.
>>> What I really advocate is both -- do the streamlined emulator with an
>>> advanced DECB and use it to develop a higher level Nitros, then put the
>>> resulting "machine" in an FPGA hardware configuration. Both would be
>>> compatible software wise, but for those who needed/wanted a compact
>>> board it could be done. Of course the emulation/OS combo would run
>>> easily on something like an ITX or embedded Intel board too.
>>> -------------
>>> It's the attempt at a "coco4" by Steve b. that's dead. The dream lives
>>> on!! :-)
>>> On Wed, Nov 17, 2010 at 08:29:28AM -0800, Steve Batson wrote:
>>>>> I know many would love to see a CoCo 4 come into existence, but I
>>>> thought
>>>>> the project was dead. Says it's dead on coco4.com
>>>>> Is there new info or activity on this, or just more discussion?
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