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5) And after, what’s going next?

A project log for A2Z Computer

A computer invented, designed and built from scratch. Custom CPU on FPGA.

f4hdkf4hdk 12/17/2017 at 07:172 Comments

One year has passed without any blog post...

Several people asked me what I plan to do next on this A2Z project.

Probably nothing, I will explain why. 

Porting Linux ? Retargeting a compiler?

What A2Z is not:

This question was asked several times. Some people consider A2Z as a 100% open source platform which could run a 100% open source Linux. They are wrong, I will explain that.

There is a misunderstanding.

I’m afraid, Linux and a C compiler is totally not feasible.

A2Z lacks many things to achieve the goal of C retargeting and Linux porting.

What A2Z is :

A2Z is “just” a very simple and didactic project. The DIDACTIC aspect is the most important.

I started this project in my mind 3 years ago, the goal was to make things very simple, and start from a blank page. I didn’t want to copy other CPU architectures.

I didn’t want to take the constraints of “being compatible”, or using one existing compiler / language. I wanted a lot of freedom in this project.

Therefore, A2Z is compatible with… nothing.

I don’t think that lots of people have made such usable computer starting really from scratch, from a blank page.

I’m very proud of the result.

Anyway, What’s going next?

I consider A2Z totally finished, so there will be nothing more on A2Z project.

Of course, I have several ideas to improve the A2Z, with the same principle, the same CPU architecture. There is a list:

BUT… I will not make any of these improvements. I simply don’t have time, and I have already moved to other projects. Robotics and amateur radio projects (F4HDK is my amateur radio callsign).  Even if I come back to CPU architecture study sooner or later, it will be with a brand new project.  

Your turn!

But I remind you that all the source code is freely available for download, everythink is open source. So you can play with it, improve it. I will be very happy if someone proposes improvements for A2Z. Of course, I can bring support about topics that I have not well documented.

Discussions

R Morgan wrote 04/20/2018 at 21:19 point

Where can we get the files for your project? I while I realize the limitation of the A2Z computer, I believe it would be a great tool for a series of class I will be giving at our local maker group on how to get from hardware to software. I have considered many designs including the Hack, MIPS, etc. but would prefer something a bit different.

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f4hdk wrote 08/28/2018 at 17:07 point

Oups, I totally missed your message, I answer 4 month later.

All the files are at the start page of my project. Here is the "big ZIP".

https://cdn.hackaday.io/files/18206778925504/A2Z_full_project.zip

Everything is there : the FPGA code (Verilog compatible with Altera quartus), the emulator and its source code, the cross-compiler, the assembler, all programs for A2Z (including the OS), etc...

Do not hesitate to sollicitate me if you have questions. And if you use A2Z in one "training course", please let me know.

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