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From: lego-robotics@crynwr.com (Markus L. Noga)
Subject: Why legOS?
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Date: Fri, 11 Dec 1998 17:49:06 GMT
Original-From: "Markus L. Noga" <Markus.Noga@inrialpes.fr>
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Laurentino Martins wrote:
> Imagining I have a RCX (I might have one soon), why should I use the LegOS?
> What it has to offer that compensates the loss of so much (like the Spirit.OCX
> support) ?
> 
> If you think this is a general interest question, please post it in the mailing
> list.

This is definitely a general interest question. I'll try and summarize
the pros and cons appropriately for the Powerpoint age.


legOS cons:

 - System is unstable - this is beta.
 - gcc and binutils required.
 - C programming knowledge required.
 - No graphical interface on the host.
 - No spirit.ocx support. 
 
But spirit.ocx is Windows only, anyway, isn't it? What use would an OS
for your RCX be if you didn't even have one on your workstation? 


legOS pros:

 - User tasks are executed as native code, not interpreted.
 - More memory. Forget 32 variables. Think 32k.
 - Full-featured language. Use the same gcc that compiles Linux.
 - Priority-based preemptive multitasking.
 - Real process synchronization with POSIX semaphores.
 - Fine-grained hardware control:
   * supports CPU power saving.
   * complete LCD control.
   * raw mode IR.

Battling Creatures? You can force opponents to back up in fear. With
"Powerdown" or "Erase firmware", a legOS machine wins even with three
motors tied to its back. 


As Christmas heralds some spare time, I have already sketched out
several possible legOS extensions.

 - C++ support (possibly even STL)
 - IR networking for multiple PCs and RCXs. Forget 1-byte messages.
   * UDP networking.
   * host programming library.
   * 4x faster task downloads.
 - ECM against standard RCX communication.


In short, legOS isn't for you if

 - you are a beginner or
 - you prefer to control the RCX from your PC.

legOS is for you if

 - you want complete control or
 - you write software that runs on the RCX
   (for example, neural networks trained by genetic algorithms).

And, of cause, if you like to tinker with operating systems.
Contributions, bugfixes and suggestions are always welcome.

-- 
Markus L. Noga			noga@inrialpes.fr
INRIA Rhône-Alpes		http://www.inrialpes.fr/
IPR Universität Karlsruhe   	http://wwwipr.ira.uka.de/

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From: lego-robotics@crynwr.com (Laurentino Martins)
Subject: Re: Why legOS?
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Date: Fri, 11 Dec 1998 18:27:27 GMT
Original-From: Laurentino Martins <lmartins@marktest.pt>
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>But spirit.ocx is Windows only, anyway, isn't it? What use would an OS
>for your RCX be if you didn't even have one on your workstation? 

I'm sorry if I offend you, but I think this is one the lowest quality 
arguments I've ever heard :-(

Anyway, there were even worst choices for LEGO than making an OCX.
At least it reaches a huge percentage of children/teenagers (remember 
we are not the target of their sales), and let's say the truth, it's damn 
easy to start programming with it!
Using VC++, it took me a couple of minutes to grab the OCX control, put it 
in a dialog, generate a class for it, and make my first call to the 
CyberMaster!

Also remember that the OCX was originally designed for CyberMaster. We 
CyberMaster users tend to use it a lot since we don't have a lot of memory 
to work with, and it's common to use the OCX to give support to the 
CyberMaster unit.


Laurentino Martins

[lau@mail.telepac.pt]
[http://www.terravista.pt/Enseada/2808/]

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From: lego-robotics@crynwr.com (Markus L. Noga)
Subject: Re: Why legOS?
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Date: Fri, 11 Dec 1998 18:44:33 GMT
Original-From: "Markus L. Noga" <Markus.Noga@inrialpes.fr>
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Laurentino Martins wrote:
> >But spirit.ocx is Windows only, anyway, isn't it? What use would an OS
> >for your RCX be if you didn't even have one on your workstation?
> 
> I'm sorry if I offend you, but I think this is one the lowest quality 
arguments > I've ever heard :-(

That's not an argument. That's a passing joke. The arguments are the
phrases that have a dash in front ;-)

I'm very aware of the advantages of good Windows integration when trying
to sell a product. I'm also quite conscious of the fact that direct
control of any variable and setting from the PC is a feature not to be
underestimated, especially for the Cybermaster units.

> At least it reaches a huge percentage of children/teenagers (remember we are not
> the target of their sales), and let's say the truth, it's damn easy to start
> programming with it!

I agree about reaching teenagers. However, with >50% of the units ending
up in the hands of adults, their marketing research team seemingly
didn't do its homework.

-- 
Markus L. Noga			noga@inrialpes.fr
INRIA Rhône-Alpes		http://www.inrialpes.fr/
IPR Universität Karlsruhe   	http://wwwipr.ira.uka.de/

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