To DrawWindow() or JustWriteToStdOut() ..

I knew one of the first mental showdowns when porting FrontDoor would always be the windows part. The visual windows that is, those silly “beautifully” framed squares displayed on the screen while just about any part of FrontDoor is running.

And now, I’m at a crossroads. There are a few ways of doing this, of course. There always are. The problem is that I’m not so keen on spending my time on something that nobody really wants or needs, when I would be much better off spending my time implementing new (to FrontDoor) protocols, methods, concepts.

I have ideas on how to do this much better than it’s currently implemented. It has to do with pipes and streams and similar concepts. But again … where is time best spent?

Finding other bugs, that I cannot fix

It’s bound to happen. When looking for your own crap, you find someone else’s crap :)

Serial device I/O is probably not at the top of the list for any product these days. But when you’ve reached a version level of 5.x, you’d expect the product to be at least “mature”. Enter VirtualBox which seems to have problems when transporting data between the Host and the Guest. I’m not sure this is entirely related to “Serial I/O” or “UART” as VirtualBox likes to call it. But since that’s where I ran into it, that’s what I’ll label it as until they tell me different :)

There are, obviously, ways to get serial I/O working in VirtualBox. But this particular scenario, where I wanted to run NetSerial on the Windows 10 Pro (64-bit) host, and access the virtual COM ports in a Guest OS, does not seem to be the optimal way of doing things in VirtualBox. (Moving NetSerial into the Windows XP Guest solves the issue, but that sort of defeats the purpose, since I want to be able to use the emulated COM ports from any Guest OS, and not just Windows-based OSs).

The VirtualBox bug filing is here:


FidoNet 2:20/4609

It took me by surprise, but I actually forgot some of the FM (Editor) keyboard shortcuts! #LOL

Messing around with FastEcho, AreaFix, ARCmail, nodelist compiling, TCP/IP port overrides, and setting up some sensible routing.

It seems like many years later, I’m finally re-connected to and with FidoNet. Who knows, I might just be posting in FDECHO soon, or possibly start a flame war in NET_DEV. I’m sure some things have changed, while others haven’t.

Well, 2:20/4609 is semi-alive. It’ll be a while until I have it online 24/7. But considering I do some of the compiler builds around 03:15 in the morning, I guess you can almost say I’m 24/7 :)

Why the “4609”? Well, there are historical reasons!

Gah! It’s the dreaded “Direct Console Output” problem #WTF :)

The last few days have seen progress. Some very widely used libraries have been ported (that is not to say they will actually work of course, but it’s a damn good start).

When “going back” to a unified library (RTL) as the one found in FreePascal, it’s actually sometimes more work than continuing using your own code. So I’m trying to keep this somewhat balanced. One “issue” with FreePascal is actually the number of platforms it supports. Because of this, it needs to do some thing in a fairly generic manner. That isn’t to say it’s slow or bad, but I often want to be one layer closer to the operating system (specially if it gives the application some sort of edge vs the generic stuff).

And there is a *lot* of code to port …

Not to mention the dreaded “Direct to screen writes” that used to be a requirement for DOS programs, unless you wanted the user to enter retirement before the BIOS screen updates had finished. No, that was not a joke, the PC BIOS screen handling code sucked, in a word. Fortunately, there were alternatives, and since FrontDoor has already been ported once to OS/2 (i.e. “not DOS”), some consideration has already been taken for the portability issues. But it’s not all that exciting to sit down and re-invent the weel … I’d much rather spend my time implementing things FrontDoor isn’t doing at the moment.

Oh well. Another few thousand lines of codes done. G’night!