Recommended emulator for Linux?

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hjalfi
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Recommended emulator for Linux?

Postby hjalfi » Fri Oct 06, 2017 10:43 pm

I'm looking for a decent Linux BBC emulator with Tube and VDFS support.

Right now I'm using the version of b-em from https://github.com/stardot/b-em, but it hasn't been updated for months, and people aren't talking about it much --- it looks like a lot of the effort has switched to beebem, which is fine, except beebem only works on Windows. (The last Linux version I've found is really old.) Is this still the current recommended Linux emulator?

I ask because I've just found possibly the most awesome emulator bug ever:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4icSz0ks2pE

From looking at the source, VDFS always loads transient executables into the I/O processor, which means that when my program runs it scribbles hilariously all over the sound workspace. I've had a look at fixing it myself, and while making it load them on the Tube is easy, making it run them there appears to be much less so.

Should I be sticking with b-em, or looking elsewhere?

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sydney
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Re: Recommended emulator for Linux?

Postby sydney » Sat Oct 07, 2017 6:09 am

The windows version of beebem seems to work well with wine, although the debugger does not work .

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hoglet
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Re: Recommended emulator for Linux?

Postby hoglet » Sat Oct 07, 2017 6:53 am

hjalfi wrote:Right now I'm using the version of b-em from https://github.com/stardot/b-em, but it hasn't been updated for months, and people aren't talking about it much --- it looks like a lot of the effort has switched to beebem, which is fine, except beebem only works on Windows. (The last Linux version I've found is really old.) Is this still the current recommended Linux emulator?

It has gone a bit quiet, but I've just added Kieran's NULA work:
https://github.com/stardot/b-em/pulls
it's currently waiting for review (from Steve or Kieran).
hjalfi wrote:I ask because I've just found possibly the most awesome emulator bug ever:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4icSz0ks2pE

From looking at the source, VDFS always loads transient executables into the I/O processor, which means that when my program runs it scribbles hilariously all over the sound workspace. I've had a look at fixing it myself, and while making it load them on the Tube is easy, making it run them there appears to be much less so.

Should I be sticking with b-em, or looking elsewhere?

Would you mind filing an issue, then at least it won't get forgotten:
https://github.com/stardot/b-em/issues

Dave

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hjalfi
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Re: Recommended emulator for Linux?

Postby hjalfi » Sat Oct 07, 2017 10:17 am

No problem --- bugs added (I also found another less obvious VDFS crash).

I like b-em; it's good to know it's still being worked on.

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Re: Recommended emulator for Linux?

Postby kieranhj » Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:11 pm

hoglet wrote:It has gone a bit quiet, but I've just added Kieran's NULA work:
https://github.com/stardot/b-em/pulls
it's currently waiting for review (from Steve or Kieran).

Oop, yes. I did take a cursory glance and it looked OK. I am away this weekend but will review the PR properly and approve when I get back.

I have some other modest changes to propose of my own including the VGM logging and pause/single frame step feature.
Bitshifters Collective | Retro Code & Demos for BBC Micro & Acorn computers | https://bitshifters.github.io/

Coeus
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Re: Recommended emulator for Linux?

Postby Coeus » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:20 am

hjalfi wrote:Right now I'm using the version of b-em from https://github.com/stardot/b-em, but it hasn't been updated for months, and people aren't talking about it much --- it looks like a lot of the effort has switched to beebem, which is fine, except beebem only works on Windows. (The last Linux version I've found is really old.) Is this still the current recommended Linux emulator?


You're right that BeebEm gets a lot more talk on the forums. I think for Windows users the UI is nicer and Windows users are probably in the majority. I chose B-Em specifically because it had not gone down the road of a Windows-only UI and there had been an effort to make it portable.

I had a burst of enthusiasm a while back which resulted in porting the SCSI code from BeebEm to B-Em, implementing VDFS and, in co-operation with Hoglet, enabling the B-Em command-line style debugger to debug all of the tube processors B-Em supports. I also have some code, which I don't remember if it made it live, to emulate the non-Acorn floppy controllers. Around the same time Hoglet contributed the Music 5000 emulation. Unfortunately, I have not been able to keep up that rate of contribution as I have lots else going on. As you have seen I do respond to issues when I can.

I think B-Em has plenty of functionality as it stands now. The significant new development, NULA, is to emulate entirely new hardware that was never part of the BBC micro back in the day. At the moment it emulates a large range of BBC models with a large range of tube processors and a large range of filing options with tape, floppy, IDE and SCSI hard disks and VDFS. I expect new features will be occasional.

There is the issue that B-Em uses a tookkit called Allegro and the particular version it uses is quite old and tracking down the dependencies can sometimes be an issue. There is work going on to port it to something more modern and ThomasAllen is leading that.
Last edited by Coeus on Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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hjalfi
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Re: Recommended emulator for Linux?

Postby hjalfi » Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:57 pm

(belatedly)

Yes, thank you for looking at the issues! I hope my bug reports have been useful.

I really like b-em --- the debugger (particularly the tube debugger) has been invaluable getting Cowgol up and running. The speedup options help too. I haven't used the hard drive emulation stuff yet, because currently I can do everything I need to via emulated floppies (it's nice that they're quite fast, too). Thank you for all the work. I really appreciate it.

It's actually kinda nice to see Allegro again, as I first used it back in the mid 90s. It's surprisingly effective.

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Re: Recommended emulator for Linux?

Postby ThomasHarte » Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:21 pm

hjalfi wrote:It's actually kinda nice to see Allegro again, as I first used it back in the mid 90s. It's surprisingly effective.

I happened to need to look into some of my own history with Allegro recently and I happened to discover AllegroLegacy, which seeks to reimplement the classic Allegro API on top of the currently Allegro 5 release, which purports to support modern platforms well.

So that might be worth looking into if you're in an Allegro 4 jam.

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Re: Recommended emulator for Linux?

Postby kieranhj » Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:02 pm

The main reason to use b-em over BeebEm is that it is believed to be nearly 100% cycle accurate vs a real machine (although jsbeeb is more accurate, as we currently understand it.) If you're trying to push the limits of the machine, this is very important - it's quite easy to break BeebEm!

I agree also with the debugger comments - it feels like b-em is more for developers whilst BeebEm is more for users, but I'm generalising hugely.
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