Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 25th Jul 2013 21:41 UTC
General Development "Forth is a simple, natural computer language. It has achieved remarkable acceptance where efficiency is valued. It evolved in the 1960s on a journey from university through business to laboratory. This is the story of how a simple interpreter expanded its abilities to become a complete programming language/operating system."
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Comment by Drumhellar
by Drumhellar on Thu 25th Jul 2013 22:55 UTC
Drumhellar
Member since:
2005-07-12

I think this is the first time I've seen Forth mentioned outside of the context of OpenFirmware, which in a lot of ways is still better than UEFI.

Using Forth, an expansion card could provide a basic level of service in firmware at boot time, so an OS (or the OpenFirmware itself) could boot off of or install on to a SCSI card before an optimized driver was loaded, or write text/graphics to a screen in the case of a video card.

Since OF was used quite widely (Sun used it for SPARC, IBM used it for their Power systems, and even Apple used it for their PPC systems), a company could make an expansion card, and it would operate at a basic level for any system using OpenFirmware.

The Forth was compiled into FCode, an interpreted bytecode, and placed on the expansion card's firmware. This would let an operating system to use the hardware before loading a driver.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by Drumhellar
by bartgrantham on Thu 25th Jul 2013 23:09 in reply to "Comment by Drumhellar"
bartgrantham Member since:
2011-12-31

OF was great. The actual implementation of the OF drivers was sometimes suspect, but the ideas behind it really deserved to win and become a widespread standard. Imagine if any OS on any cpu family could enumerate and make basic use of peripherals without having specific drivers for that architecture and platform. Such a shame that it's ancient history now.

I once read an apocryphal story that the stack-heavy design of the JVM was influenced by the success Sun had with OpenFirmware. It makes some sense that there'd be a thread of design from OF to the JVM.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Comment by Drumhellar
by fithisux on Fri 26th Jul 2013 07:48 in reply to "RE: Comment by Drumhellar"
fithisux Member since:
2006-01-22

It is really a shame. The lack of proper OS initialization kills the user experience and small OSes. The OF idea should deserve a second look instead of UEFI.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Drumhellar
by Drumhellar on Fri 26th Jul 2013 20:33 in reply to "RE: Comment by Drumhellar"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

Have Oracle and IBM moved away from it? Or, was it never really updated to work beyond regular PCI? I'm pretty sure it's used for the OLPC XO.

Reply Parent Score: 2