[Coco] Any news on the so called CoCo4 or Next CoCo

Frank Swygert farna at att.net
Sat Oct 23 08:24:00 EDT 2010

Sounds good, but the way they both work could be a problem. Now 
"building" a "CoCo4" with "DECB4" enhancements in software then 
committing it to hardware would work. The hardware just needs to be 
based on readily available output, like standard 600x480 VGA at a 
minimum instead of analog RGB like the CoCo3. Maybe a composite output 
option, but with VGA monitors so cheap nowadays is that really 
necessary? I'm still of the mindset that using a standard PC motherboard 
with integrated emulator/OS (or native coded emulator under stripped 
down DOS or Linux -- Windows brings in too much overhead) is the 
quickest, easiest, and cheapest way to go. If the emulator can be 
integrated with the OS much like DECB is in the CoCo everything should 
boot up rather quickly. I'm sure there could be -- even needs to be -- 
some parallel development. Otherwise you end up with more than one 
version of "DECB4" that aren't fully compatible with each other. Not 
good!! So I would think emulator first, then commit that to FPGA.

It's not hard to use a stripped down version of DOS and Jeff Vavasour's 
DOS emulator like that now. I tried it on an old Pentium 1 laptop, but 
unfortunately it was an old HP with a proprietary video driver of some 
sort that never would work right. I may try it on one of the Athlon 
boxes I have just for kicks. An old P3 or P4 laptop might be better for 
most users though. And if you're concerned about usage, have it come up 
with a multi boot menu then choose Windows (or Linux) or CoCo. Then you 
could have a CoCo to play with AND a machine to use like a netbook. The 
P3 or a Celeron is marginal for any heavy work with Windows, but would 
still make a good portable internet computer. And you could download 
stuff to a shared drive then reboot into the Coco.

Legacy hardware is easy to emulate. Recreating the cartridge connector 
can be difficult, and I agree is where the expense would be. The 
expansion pins on the DE1 might be configurable to mimic the cart 
connector, then a simple adapter board would be all that's necessary. A 
PCI slot card could be made also, but would cost more. I looked at a 
parallel port and I'm pretty sure there isn't enough pins of the right 
configuration to fully emulate a cartridge connector. Would be nice if 
an adapter for the existing PP would work though!

Date: Fri, 22 Oct 2010 23:09:04 -0400
From: "RJLCyberPunk" <cyberpunk at prtc.net>

Maybe the project should be chanelled so it can satisfy both camps. A fully
emulated version and a hardware run one then?

Frank Swygert
Publisher, "American Motors Cars"
Magazine (AMC)
For all AMC enthusiasts
(free download available!)

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