Digital Homesteading on my NN

Ron K. Jeffries rjeffries at
Wed Sep 22 17:16:14 EDT 2010

Thanks for taking my comment in the tongue-in-cheek
spirit it was offered .

Lua is an under appreciated language. It strikes an almost
perfect balance between resources used and features

Forth is powerful fast and compact, but to my taste
it's a low level language. I admire hose who are fluent
in Forth. Unfortunately, I fail that particular IQ test.
Ron K. Jeffries

On Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 14:06, Allin Kahrl <osokuro at> wrote:
> Ron-
> 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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