The website is back. It was hacked sometime in 2018 during the great Drupal Armageddon of 2018. I decided that it was time to convert the site away from Drupal to something a bit more long term maintainable and the wisest choice seems to be Hugo. Hugo is a static site generator for bloggers, CMS authors and more and it basically takes the “dynamic” part of your site and generates it once.
- One of the first comments made about RPMint was the issue of performance. Specifically that RPM package builds should be done on a PC using a cross compiler. This is reasonably sound advice but not all the packages are going to be cross compiler ready. I have 3 solutions that I think work pretty well though when combined together that I'll talk about. The first thing is configure cache. I specify as part of the configure script a static configuration file.
- One of the challenges of developing RPMint is rebuilding all of the packages using a modern compiler. Sparemint was built with gcc 2.95.3 almost exclusively which is incredibly dated. We are on GCC version 7 now! Unfortunately for ease of use, building software for the coldfire variant is going to require GCC 4.x at minimum. Often rebuilding an older package with a newer compiler exposes source code errors or incompatibilities. The typical path is.
- Once upon a time there was Sparemint. A term used to collectively describe a group of RPM packages for FreeMiNT. RPM packages - for those that don’t know - are basically just software archives like a zip file with a bit of metadata built in. More importantly the system includes instructions and patches for compiling. Sparemint isn’t gone since what was built still exists and all.. But the domain no longer points at a valid website and nobody really controls it or maintains it.
- I’m still alive and I’ve noticed that some other people are starting to return and regain interest. It seems that interest in these old computers is cyclical. My Firebee is broken and I hope to repair it but so far I’ve not found a good way to do so. The components are very small and the one in particular is tough to get off the board, even with a hot air rework tool.
- In the eternal words of Bender from Futurama - I’m Back Baby! This site has been sitting neglected for a long time and for good reason. Nothing much has been happening. Let’s see if I can recount the history. First my Falcon broke, then my TT’s both. Then we became expecting our first child. Then we had our first child. Then I had to put everything in attic storage because we were selling our house.
- A few days ago the postman brought me a late christmas present. When I saw the german writing on the package I knew what it had to be…. The firebee… So initial thoughts? Well for starters, it’s super tiny! For a full computer, it’s really really small. Looking at all the pics in development it really doesn’t convey, but seeing hte dvi connector beside it you start to get a feel.
- Well it seems appropriate that I should comment on our collective ages as my first comeback. It’s been 25 years since our first beloved Atari 16⁄32 computers have been released in the form of the 520 ST, one of which sits on my desk and works fine after the occasional 6 inch drop. It’s hard to believe that this computer came out when I was just 4 years old but that’s reality.
- Well much time has passed since the original rumblings of a Coldfire based Atari clone has been discussed. I’m pleased to announce that after such a long absence of progress things are moving at breakneck pace! Hardly like the Atari community I know ;) but who can complain right? :-P I have officially joined the Atari Coldfire project at http://acp.atari.org. This project has been revived using some original members and many new members to create a coldfire clone.
- Click through to read my synopsis of the current coldfire activity in the Atari world. Current Projects: Firebee!: An entire community of people is working with no compensation whatsoever to bring you this board hopefully within just a month or two left of development. Probably it will be longer but we can all be hopeful right? Amazing contributors include (but are by no means limited to!) -Mathias Wittau: diligently rounded up the entire community to get the project moving.