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This was the forerunner project to OpenPilot, which revolved around putting a RiscPC at the centre of a vessel's monitoring and navigation system. It isn't maintained, and the old software is presented here for interest and posterity as much as anything. The code was written in BBC Basic V, with all hardware IO operations done using system calls. A simple GUI outline was produced, but that was as far as it went.

In some ways it is a shame that the ACORN computers and RiscOS have slipped quietly into the annals of history, overshadowed by the brash alternatives. These machines were revolutionary though, not just in their ROM-based OS, but in providing a simple, stable, powerful machine on the desktop, in a time when PC users could only dream of a graphical interface. However, there was another advantage of the ACORN era; Programming. The BBC Micro was developed to support education, and part of this was in making it easy to program. The later ACORN machines improved the language, but BBC BASIC was and is (especially with v6) one of the finest examples of the BASIC language ever produced.

It is only recently that we have seen a system which can offer a similar level of new-programmer-friendliness; Linux. The whole mindset behind Linux is that you develop what you need and share it for the good of all. Because of this, the system becomes written for developers, and that produces a nice environment to develop under. Linux has for some time been the OS of choice for embedded platforms, for financial and development reasons, and as the prevailing embedded technology appears to be ARM, perhaps we will see OpenPilot running on an ARM chip after all, just under a different OS.

-- TimB - 20 Nov 2010

Topic revision: r1 - 20 Nov 2010 - 17:02:41 - TimB
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