Idea: "Propeller Plumbers" organization on Github.

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  • jac_goudsmitjac_goudsmit Posts: 415
    edited 2018-04-13 - 21:35:54
    The question whether GCC is dead is not even what this thread is really about. Sure, if everyone gives up on it and says it's dead, it's dead. But if it's in any way useful, there's always a minimal chance that some passionate individual might pick it up in the future. I've always been really interested in compiler building so I'd love to dive into it but I simply don't have the time.

    What this thread was originally about, was that I see an (arguably) important problem that potential developers don't have a place to go to get their tools. Parallax should provide such a place and sort of pretends that it does with their GitHub org page, but they don't. And if we (the tool makers) would provide such a place without a lot of noise and distraction, in the form of a GitHub organization where you can find all the tool repos, it would really help the developers that look for those tools.

    I still haven't heard anyone who even acknowledged that I was onto something. A few people are kinda going "meh I already don't care anymore" and others are going "I can add you to MY setup if you want".

    So this idea is going nowhere. Forget that I offered. Let's move on. I'm still open to ideas but let's quit the chatter.

    ===Jac
    Rancho Cucamonga, CA
  • And if we (the tool makers) would provide such a place without a lot of noise and distraction, in the form of a GitHub organization where you can find all the tool repos, it would really help the developers that look for those tools.
    We should definitely have an independent collection.
    It would be nice if Parallax would do so too. Only the independent archival guarantees redundance. And $WE should clone the plumbers' collection to GitLab too.
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  • What exactly do you want in this independent collection? What are the critical tools you're looking for?
  • yetiyeti Posts: 558
    edited 2018-04-13 - 22:01:41
    We should clone everything that's free and at least potentially useful somewhen.

    Nobody knows how Parallax will handle stuff they decide no longer to use or maintain. The world already has lost enough software and knowledge due to lack of independent archival.
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  • jac_goudsmitjac_goudsmit Posts: 415
    edited 2018-04-13 - 22:13:33
    David Betz wrote: »
    What exactly do you want in this independent collection? What are the critical tools you're looking for?

    Ask yourself: What would anyone who is dealing with a Propeller project like to download?

    When I put myself into their shoes, I'd say, for example:
    • For inexperienced programmers: Blockly.
    • For programmers that have some experience but no experience with the Propeller: SimpleIDE or PropWare.
    • For programmers who have already worked with the Propeller or are open to learning new things: PropellerIDE and PropTool.
    • For those who make Propeller projects and want to make it easy for others to update firmware without the need to know about how to program anything: an interactive version of the Propeller Downloader.
    • For those who have an Elev-8 or something: firmware that can be downloaded with the downloader tool.
    • (EDIT): For those who want maximum flexibility: command line tools.

    It would be great if all of those would available on a single webpage or on a website with a few pages, where you can go to download the latest and greatest. Where you could count on the developers of the tools to keep everything up to date. Whenever you see somewhere that there was a bugfix to GCC for Propeller, you should be able to go to this website and download the latest SimpleIDE build, that would have the latest GCC in it even though the editor might be exactly the same as last week, last month or two years ago. Right? And it doesn't even have to be a Github.io website: it's not too hard to think of a catchy domain name that can be attached to the Github site. I could do Propeller.goudsm.it but I don't think that would be catchy enough :)

    I don't think it takes that much effort from the developers of each tool to maintain everything in this new place; and the benefit towards developers is enormous. And I would argue that there's a benefit to ourselves too: I don't know about you guys but to me it would be much easier to remember one place where I can go to get whatever tools are available, instead of having to remember that tool X was developed by developer Y so I'd have to go to Y's github.com page to download that, but he used GCC from another site so I have to replace file such-and-such by the one from this-and-that place etcetera.

    ===Jac
    Rancho Cucamonga, CA
  • Hmmm... Nowhere do you list the command line tools.
  • yetiyeti Posts: 558
    edited 2018-04-13 - 22:10:56
    David Betz wrote: »
    Hmmm... Nowhere do you list the command line tools.
    I would have added that... but you were faster... ;-)
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  • jmgjmg Posts: 13,838
    The question whether GCC is dead is not even what this thread is really about. Sure, if everyone gives up on it and says it's dead, it's dead.

    I think it is still relevant, as it seems the summary is

    * GCC is an essential part of Blocky, and thus Parallax efforts
    * GCC does not need to be the latest version, to support Blocky
    * Some means to try to version track GCC (and other sw), seems like a good idea to me

    example:
    Other vendors have an 'Update' button, and one part of that is having a stable and known place to find updates.
    Users are then given a list of what could be updated they choose from.
    Should anything break, they can always re-install the master to roll-back.

    Such updates apply to ALL of compilers, libraries, documentation, examples, App Notes ...
  • jac_goudsmitjac_goudsmit Posts: 415
    edited 2018-04-13 - 22:14:14
    David Betz wrote: »
    Hmmm... Nowhere do you list the command line tools.

    Sure! The command line tools too. See, now we're getting somewhere.

    The idea is: Everything that's available, that someone is actually working on, should be available in one place.

    ===Jac
    Rancho Cucamonga, CA
  • Where you could count on the developers of the tools to keep everything up to date.
    This may be the big problem. Some tools probably aren't updated often or ever. One in that category is certainly PropellerIDE. Also, to put together a new SimpleIDE package with a new version of PropGCC means you'll need to test all of the code in the Simple Libraries to make sure it still works. This is a huge task and is probably the main reason that Parallax hasn't updated PropGCC in SimpleIDE. There is also the problem that people here demand that all tools run on all platforms and many developers may not have the ability or time to test a new release on Mac, Linux, RaspberryPi, Windows, TOPS-10, whatever.

  • yetiyeti Posts: 558
    edited 2018-04-13 - 22:23:54
    ...plus the GitHub adaption if the remaining parts from the anicent Wikispaces Propeller Wiki!

    Ping @rosco_pc ;-)

    ...it might get more traction in this context.
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  • jac_goudsmitjac_goudsmit Posts: 415
    edited 2018-04-13 - 22:32:27
    jmg wrote: »
    I think it is still relevant, as it seems the summary is

    Absolutely! I personally think GCC is quite possibly the most important software for the Propeller 1 and 2, because it potentially reaches the largest audience. Unfortunately it's also the "one"(*) thing that takes most effort to maintain:
    • It's not just the C/C++ compiler but it's also the assembler and linker that need to be maintained
    • These are largely based on huge amounts of old code that's pretty difficult to maintain, by the GCC and binutils teams' own admission
    • It involves a lot of integrating of changes in mainline into PropGCC and even more important, it would be great if it would be kept in a state where integration back into mainline is possible.

    ===Jac

    (*) I know it's actually multiple things: GCC, AS, Binutils...
    Rancho Cucamonga, CA
  • @jac_goudsmit ... we can start a Propeller Plumbers page in the already existing wiki to collect to do list and other stuff/ideas.

    ...and we can discuss later whether to move the whole wiki into the Plumbers' collection or only hold a readonly clone there. I hope @rosco_pc will show up here to mix into this discussion.
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  • jmg wrote: »
    I think it is still relevant, as it seems the summary is

    Absolutely! I personally think GCC is quite possibly the most important software for the Propeller 1 and 2, because it potentially reaches the largest audience. Unfortunately it's also the "one" thing that takes most effort to maintain:
    • It's not just the C/C++ compiler but it's also the assembler and linker that need to be maintained
    • These are largely based on huge amounts of old code that's pretty difficult to maintain, by the GCC and binutils teams' own admission
    • It involves a lot of integrating of changes in mainline into PropGCC and even more important, it would be great if it would be kept in a state where integration back into mainline is possible.

    ===Jac
    It would probably be better to move to LLVM. People have suggested that many times but no one has come forward to tackle the project. When work starts on C/C++ for P2 that would probably be a good time to switch to LLVM but we need someone who knows it to do the work. The learning curve seems pretty steep.

  • David Betz wrote: »
    This may be the big problem. Some tools probably aren't updated often or ever.

    I understand that. But we could start small, with repos of things that ARE still being maintained, such as my P1V repo. I could add the Downloader repo and do some work on an interactive version. For things thate are currently not maintained but are essential such as GCC or PropellerIDE, we could at least put the latest copy of the GCC binaries on a web page. Maybe later someone wants to get back into one of those and fork their repos into the organization.

    ===Jac
    Rancho Cucamonga, CA
  • jac_goudsmitjac_goudsmit Posts: 415
    edited 2018-04-13 - 22:36:42
    yeti wrote: »
    @jac_goudsmit ... we can start a Propeller Plumbers page in the already existing wiki to collect to do list and other stuff/ideas.

    ...and we can discuss later whether to move the whole wiki into the Plumbers' collection or only hold a readonly clone there. I hope @rosco_pc will show up here to mix into this discussion.

    I was unaware of this page. It could be a great start!

    ===Jac
    Rancho Cucamonga, CA
  • yetiyeti Posts: 558
    edited 2018-04-13 - 22:42:35
    Great idea. Github makes it possible to set up a Wiki for each project; I don't know if the syntax is the same as Wikispaces but it shouldn't be too hard to fork it, and I agree that might catch some serious traction.
    It already is converted to GitHub's style but still needs a lot of polishing.

    I've done a bit but as usual, RealLife and other distractions got stronger and so it's a while ago that I did something in there.

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  • yeti wrote: »
    @jac_goudsmit ... we can start a Propeller Plumbers page in the already existing wiki to collect to do list and other stuff/ideas.

    ...and we can discuss later whether to move the whole wiki into the Plumbers' collection or only hold a readonly clone there. I hope @rosco_pc will show up here to mix into this discussion.
    It needs a bit of updating. Most of the boards mentioned in the hardware section aren't available anymore. Also, I see Catalina C mentioned. I wonder if RossH will come back to do a P2 version of Catalina?

  • David,

    Even now and then people come asking about old hardware so it would be nice if there was a place with old documentation and software.
    And of course there might be someone who uses one of those old compilers also.
    Just think of all of the Propeller code that is buried in some Forum and not in Obex.

    We definitely need one place to find stuff even if it's not officially Parallax sanctioned or supported.
    The Parallax CDs were nice because they had all kinds of old documentation and code on them as well as nice photos.
  • yetiyeti Posts: 558
    edited 2018-04-14 - 05:35:37
    Genetix wrote: »
    Even now and then people come asking about old hardware so it would be nice if there was a place with old documentation and software.
    Old stuff definitely is not trash automagically!
    My favourite board still is a Gadget Gangster Propeller Platform USB SD clone and battles with D40-Propellers on breadboards for the title of my most used setup. I have more complex boards too but I prefer those simple setups.
    Genetix wrote: »
    And of course there might be someone who uses one of those old compilers also.
    Just think of all of the Propeller code that is buried in some Forum and not in Obex.
    I hope some librarian style like volunteers will add information from the forum threads to the wiki. We had enough forum upgrades and migrations losing link connectivity and even more than that.
    Genetix wrote: »
    We definitely need one place to find stuff even if it's not officially Parallax sanctioned or supported.
    I think we need a place which is managed independently from Parallax to deserve the attribute "Community". As long as we only use Parallax information and infrastructure, we might suffer sudden shutdown of all or parts of it. Nobody hopes so, but nobody can promise that such thing or loss of smaller parts of information because Parallax calls something outdated or a next aggressive forum migration takes place will not ever happen.

    Or think about the disappearing objects in the OBEX. They were set free with a license that looked like they would be there forever but they are (were?) gone!

    Simply caching and documenting what is there already would be a great benefit. It may need some time until there is own development in the P.P.O. but it never will happen if we do not try.

    Let's try to be ants.
    Just progress in small steps. Nothing to fear for each ant.
    Let's become many.
    Fast progress still with small steps per ant.

    We are many.
    We do not forget!
    Not even the old boards!
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  • jac_goudsmitjac_goudsmit Posts: 415
    edited 2018-04-14 - 06:33:30
    yeti wrote: »
    My favourite board still is a Gadget Gangster Propeller Platform USB SD clone and battles with D40-Propellers on breadboards for the title of my most used setup. I have more complex boards too but I prefer those simple setups.

    (Nods) My L-Star project was a PropellerPlatform board once. And I have a Propeller Education kit. Things might have gone different if the Propeller Flip would have been around.
    I hope some librarian style like volunteers will add information from the forum threads to the wiki. We had enough forum upgrades and migrations losing link connectivity and even more than that.

    The thing about Wikis is that it invites readers to be writers. Yes there are problems with insufficient review that plague Wikipedia too because of this, but on the whole, a Wiki can be incredibly valuable as a means to share information. If there are enough people looking at it. I would say a critical part is missing from @rosco_pc's wiki pages: Not many people know they exist. That's what I mean when I say we need a minimal critical mass of support. If we're going to go ahead and create some sort of... something, we need to keep it in the back of our minds and refer to it as often as we can. Eventually Google will pick up the references (just like it did with the Wikispaces pages which I thought were lost forever), and developers will be able to find essential information and software again.
    Genetix wrote: »
    We definitely need one place to find stuff even if it's not officially Parallax sanctioned or supported.

    Finally someone agrees (besides Yeti). Maybe there is hope?
    Or think about the disappearing objects in the OBEX. They were set free with a license that looked like they would be there forever but they are (were?) gone!

    I see OBEX more as a static, slowly growing library of sample code. Yes there is a lot of useful code in there but much of it was deliberately placed there without the intention of doing any maintenance. I agree that there are also treasures that could do with a move to Github, and I think it would be great if it would be stored on Github for posterity but I also think it's somewhat out of the scope of my idea.
    Let's try to be ants.
    Just progress in small steps. Nothing to fear for each ant.

    Right.

    ===Jac
    Rancho Cucamonga, CA
  • Yeti,

    I read old posts and the links don't work or I have bookmarks that don't work.
    Some I have been able to find but some I can't if the post title was changed.
  • Genetix wrote: »
    I read old posts and the links don't work or I have bookmarks that don't work.
    Some I have been able to find but some I can't if the post title was changed.

    Thanks for making my point. :)

    If everything is in one place on a service like Github which is unlikely to die anytime soon, links are much less likely to break.

    ===Jac
    Rancho Cucamonga, CA
  • Hi,

    finally waking up: yes no problem with using the old wiki as a start for this. As mentioned it needs quite some work: make it up-to-date with newer information, clean up the old info, re-organize, ....
    Stockholm, Sweden
    I am only an egg -- Stranger in a Strange land, Robert A. Heinlein
  • yetiyeti Posts: 558
    edited 2018-04-14 - 07:42:03
    Genetix wrote: »
    I read old posts and the links don't work or I have bookmarks that don't work.
    Some I have been able to find but some I can't if the post title was changed.
    There were several forum software changes that did break a lot of links.

    The current forum is tolerant to title changes ...

    https://forums.parallax.com/discussion/168351/NEW_NEW_NEW___Propeller5_will_be_released_NOW/p1

    https://forums.parallax.com/discussion/168351/Ant_Songs/p1

    ... but I have forgotten which older versions failed because of this. Definitely I have lots of failing old bookmarks too.
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