Full Screen Editor-based Operating System

A project log for Kestrel-2DX

The Kestrel-2DX, a specific embodiment of the Kestrel Computer Project (also on Hackaday), will help with new hardware bring-up.

Samuel A. Falvo IISamuel A. Falvo II 10/16/2017 at 06:540 Comments

This past week, I've been working on an experimental piece of software that I hope will be relatively easy to port to the Kestrel-2DX.  It's an operating system, but unlike Unix and much more like IBM mainframes, it's based on the concept of presenting a user with a set of editable fields on "panels", which are presented to the user a full screen at a time.  Any 3270 terminal user of an IBM mainframe would feel quite at home using it.

Thankfully, the programming model is substantially different, and easier to get working.  ;)

For expediency, I wrote the first major version of this environment using GForth 0.7.0 on a Linux environment.  I am currently using this environment to write a set of filesystem utilities (e.g., format volume, allocate file, etc.), which accomplishes two goals simultaneously:

I can work out the kinks of using the FSE environment, so when it comes time to port the software, I can do it the right way, and,

I can build up a library of code to manipulate Kestrel-2 SL-5 volumes.  As some may remember, SL-5 filesystems came into existence with the introduction of STS, my operating system for the S16X4-based, 16-bit Kestrel-2.  This time, I intend on fixing some long-standing problems with SL-5 (e.g., each file having only one extent).

The software is written in ANS Forth for the moment; however, it should be relatively easy to target-compile into RISC-V assembly language when the time comes.  It'd be nice to have the same basic set of routines working on both my Linux PC and the Kestrel-2DX.  :)