Digital Homesteading on my NN

Allin Kahrl osokuro at
Wed Sep 22 17:06:01 EDT 2010


Heheh. Point well-taken, and I sort of expected someone would make it.

I'm trying to cut a path somewhere between speed, portability, and
accessibility to users. Assembly only really hits one of the three.

I have no idea if the next NN will end up with another MIPS processor,
or maybe a MilkyMist unit. If I want to build a compact PC on an
embedded platform, will I be stuck with BeagleBoard if I want a USB
host without some Intel-derived heating element?

Even's very nice C code has barriers to entry, so Lua (or
maybe Forth, as Alan suggested) seems like a more appropriate option.

Lastly, one of the nice things about an interpreted language is that
there's no way to separate source from executable, right?

[Allin Kahrl]

On Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 1:42 PM, Ron K. Jeffries <rjeffries at> wrote:
> Love your bare metal minimalist approach.
> Remind me again why you don't write the editor
> in assembly language?
> Real men dream in machine code.
> ---
> Ron K. Jeffries
> On Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 12:20, Allin Kahrl <osokuro at> wrote:
>> Alan Post's posts have convinced me to do a quick writeup on my
>> Nanonote activities.
>> Teaching myself more about command shells and the Lua interpreter. I
>> don't adore any existing text editor so I'm working on writing my own
>> in Lua.
>> As an exercise I've decided to do this from scratch, which for the
>> moment means using cat and sed to make sequentially numbered
>> single-line files, and then using "cat * > newfile" to "build" them
>> into a usable script. (The numbered files are an idea I got from
>> childhood memories of BASIC.)
>> I've built a tiny shell script called which does the cat-splat
>> thing and dumps a snapshot along with the numbered snippets into a new
>> numbered directory. Editing without arrow keys or find/replace can be
>> frustrating but is a lot less so with good backups.
>> Once I get my editor to the point where it can open, edit, and save a
>> text file I can stop doing this the REALLY hard way, and continue
>> building the editor with itself.
>> My main goal is a menu-driven interface which visually mirrors the
>> structure of a more advanced set of keyed commands. I'd like the
>> editor to teach beginners to be experts without any RTFM attitude, and
>> without the kind of glossy processor-cycles-aren't-precious
>> wastefulness that we get from most mainstream UI efforts. I'm also
>> curious to see if I can accomplish all this without Lua-ncurses
>> bindings, as they seem to be fairly primitive at present.
>> I know that avoiding tools like libraries and other editors probably
>> seems masochistic, but I really want to keep my code as sane and sleek
>> as possible. By using the editor to build itself, the features I need
>> assert themselves as an organic part of the process. There isn't time
>> to mess around with gratuitous functionality. Having spent most of my
>> career building physical objects, I also prefer this more hand-crafted
>> approach for my pet project.
>> The NN is a great platform on which to do this. GUI multitasking has
>> made it very clear that I have trouble being productive among
>> distractions. As Alan Post suggested, I can take my NN pretty much
>> anywhere, which makes it much easier for me to zero in on the task at
>> hand whenever a good moment presents itself. I also see NN's modest
>> hardware as a big plus because it rewards good coding.
>> [Allin Kahrl]
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