MISC tunes, merlin and mySelf

Jecel Mattos de Assumpcao Jr. jecel@lsi.usp.br
Tue, 1 Nov 94 17:50:46 EDT

Sorry about the MISC subject - I didn't know where to fit this.

It is not going to be easy for me to keep up with over 200K of
email per day over my 1200 bps line, but I'll try.

First a comment about merging Merlin and TUNES ( I don't know
how PIOS fits into this ) - as my project is already well defined,
I think we should wait and see how TUNES turns out. I am willing
to change most things in Merlin, but not all - so if TUNES ends
up close enough I will gladly merge. If not, we'll still be
good friends ;-)

I think it might be a good idea if I wrote a little about my
OS experience, to help place my comments in a more understandable

I first wrote a small OS for a 68000 prototype in C ( the very
first program I wrote in that language ) in early 1983. Later
that year we started the SINDE project at LSI-USP which had
multiple 68010s and a pure message passing Unix-like OS. I worked
on the hardware side of the project, but helped design the system
software architecture.

Also in 1983, I designed a small computer and wrote an object oriented
Logo for it.

In 1985 I worked with QNX ( I hope Quantum never finds out about what
I did, exactly ;-).

In 1986 the Merlin project got a major boost as I associated with a
PC clone maker to develop it. Three generations of 680X0 hardware
were built and a lot of low level software was written. In 87 a
programmer joined the group, so I moved from coding to just designing.
As the Smalltalk port on the bare hardware was proving a little complex
( you should see how much code just to read a byte from disk! ) we
developed MerlinDOS, more of a bug library like DOS than a real OS,
but it had a few neat features.

I'll skip to the end of 87, when my partner canceled Merlin and
requested a QNX replacement for the PC-AT. We created our own
Objective-C like language and wrote an object oriented microkernel
OS using the 286's protected mode features. By mid 1988 we had
the kernel and several key modules ready, but I ended up splitting
up with my partner - so the OS is still unfinished.

I worked in LSI-USP again from 1989 to 92 in several projects
related to massively parallel computing, but left to restart
Merlin. There are two ARM based prototypes for Merlin, but I am
moving the project to stock hardware.

BTW, I participated in last years Internet Programming Contest
but got a big, fat zero :-(, but I am not as bad a programmer
as this would indicate :-)

I would also be interested in hearing about other people's
experiences ( I hope I have not bored you guys too much with
this quick biography... ).

--- Jecel Assumpcao Jr
Merlin Computers
+Laboratorio de Sistemas Integraveis - University of Sao Paulo - Brazil
+Pontificia Universidade Catolica de Sao Paulo