VOGONS


Retro Software Development?

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Reply 20 of 53, by bttr

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That reminds me of going back to my DOS dev works instead of scrolling through gaming threads here. 😁

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Reply 21 of 53, by gerwin

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Gered wrote on 2022-10-31, 13:08:

I've seen this topic has come up multiple times here on Vogons over the past few years, and it never seems to get a huge amount of traction.

I am not in the loop or anything. But I Imagine the guy(s) making decisions about the vogons website direction, are not deciding things based on popularity. But more on other factors. Like is it part of the original vision, is it easy to moderate etc.
There is a VDMsound section here, with a Speedset subsection which has 20 topics totaling 92 posts. Last one from 2010. This sole topic "Retro Software Development?" may be able to top that post count.

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Reply 22 of 53, by akula65

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It's not just a question of having a critical mass of interest. If a new sub-forum is about helping newbies, then you really need a sufficient number of mentors with the experience, wisdom and willingness to answer questions. Given the fact that many learning resources are sparse compared to back in the day (relevant books, online info, etc.), this need is all the more important.

On the other hand, if there is interest in say group projects among people that have at least some technical competence, then it might be a worthwhile endeavor.

So what exactly is the need? Mentoring, sounding boards for ideas, or something else?

Reply 23 of 53, by ViTi95

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akula65 wrote on 2022-10-31, 20:10:

It's not just a question of having a critical mass of interest. If a new sub-forum is about helping newbies, then you really need a sufficient number of mentors with the experience, wisdom and willingness to answer questions. Given the fact that many learning resources are sparse compared to back in the day (relevant books, online info, etc.), this need is all the more important.

On the other hand, if there is interest in say group projects among people that have at least some technical competence, then it might be a worthwhile endeavor.

So what exactly is the need? Mentoring, sounding boards for ideas, or something else?

Having all retro developers in one single dev subforum, will be much more productive, and that will be insanely good for the community. There are incredible good devs willing to share they're ideas and tricks and that will result in more people trying to learning those tricks and maybe discovering new ones. And personally I think VOGONS deserve it, it has been my reference retro PC forum since long time ago (I visited this site long before registering), and that's why I decided to create FastDoom and release it for the first time here.

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Reply 24 of 53, by Gered

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gerwin wrote on 2022-10-31, 17:10:
Gered wrote on 2022-10-31, 13:08:

I've seen this topic has come up multiple times here on Vogons over the past few years, and it never seems to get a huge amount of traction.

I am not in the loop or anything. But I Imagine the guy(s) making decisions about the vogons website direction, are not deciding things based on popularity. But more on other factors. Like is it part of the original vision, is it easy to moderate etc.
There is a VDMsound section here, with a Speedset subsection which has 20 topics totaling 92 posts. Last one from 2010. This sole topic "Retro Software Development?" may be able to top that post count.

What I meant by that comment was not that a forum for it here on Vogons did not ever end up getting created as a result of people asking for one (though, obviously that is true), but rather that whenever a topic comes up with people asking this question, the topic in question never ends up with a ton of replies. Indicating that there isn't a huge demand for it, on Vogons anyway. It was just an observation, not meant to sway any of the side admin/moderators one way or the other.

For the record, I still think it'd be a good addition to the site.

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Reply 25 of 53, by Namrok

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Count my hand raised as well. Been having a blast doing some 8088/8086 assembly lately. But many of the sources I use are old books published in the 80's and early 90's, and they are rather pedestrian. For example, I keep wondering what utility I can wring out of the EGA CRTC registers, but none of the documentation I can find in print provides answers. It's a weird mixture of highly technical, but also very high level. It's like you basically have to already know how the CRTC works to understand how to use the registers for it.

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Reply 26 of 53, by vstrakh

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bttr wrote on 2022-10-26, 04:58:

From what I understand from Hamby, this new section should be about programmers talking about programming new stuff for new old machines. No release announcements.

This. It's not about specific product development and support. It's not about tutoring the caste of noobs by the caste of mentors (who's to define the criterias?).
It's about living in the process of one's ideas development, and sharing it with people who feel the same. Getting some feedback or asking for hints, or simply to get involved in general.
Stackoverflow is too formal, the questions must be of "good quality" to increase the overall value of the knowledge accumulated. But I do feel the need in occasional chatting around the process, and not to bring absolute value to the encyclopedia of a sort.

Reply 27 of 53, by gerry

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I do think the vogons 'culture' in as far as that exists does suit a programming forum. Other forums are slow to the point of oblivion (page down on them and check the last update date...), stackoverflow isnt really a forum its a q&a.

I also think there is a huge scope for 'vintage programming', it isn't just 8086/DOS minutiae anymore (though i like that!)

in the same way that the era of vintage moved onto somewhere in win xp era for many so the vintage programming now covers everything from cp/m days up to later win32 days

and it should reach from very technical to fairly simple, from creating a low level tool in assembly to having some fun running things in qbasic or VB

there are lots of existing applications that could be ported back to dos or win32, an ever increasing wealth of software with sources

resurrecting and talking about old and perhaps forgotten development tools would be interesting too - there's borland and ms offerings but who remembers moonrock basic, pacific c, vpascal ?

then there are all the old game maker tools that were made for DOS and earlier windows

hopefully more than enough to keep things going 😀

Reply 28 of 53, by enaiel

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+1 for a retro programming forum where noobs like me can learn the dark arts of DOS programming.

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Reply 29 of 53, by ldeveraux

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bttr wrote on 2022-10-31, 13:00:

If vogons.org disappears some day, all content is gone. (I didn't check archive.org.)
So it's probably better to split knowledge between forums, although registering account after account for the different forums is inconvenient.
"Federation" and "Fediverse" spring to my mind. Hubzilla supports forums, but I never tried.

That's not the point, nobody cares if the site was to go black what happens to the archived material. The point is nobody wants to be pointed to another forum to discuss a topic, they want to discuss it here. Why is this such a tough ask people??

Reply 30 of 53, by bttr

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ldeveraux wrote on 2022-11-01, 12:59:
bttr wrote on 2022-10-31, 13:00:

If vogons.org disappears some day, all content is gone. (I didn't check archive.org.)
So it's probably better to split knowledge between forums, although registering account after account for the different forums is inconvenient.
"Federation" and "Fediverse" spring to my mind. Hubzilla supports forums, but I never tried.

That's not the point, nobody cares if the site was to go black what happens to the archived material. The point is nobody wants to be pointed to another forum to discuss a topic, they want to discuss it here. Why is this such a tough ask people??

Yes, probably nobody except me cares about preservation. I just wanted to bring in this point, before it's too late.

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Reply 31 of 53, by keenmaster486

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Namrok wrote on 2022-11-01, 02:18:

Count my hand raised as well. Been having a blast doing some 8088/8086 assembly lately. But many of the sources I use are old books published in the 80's and early 90's, and they are rather pedestrian. For example, I keep wondering what utility I can wring out of the EGA CRTC registers, but none of the documentation I can find in print provides answers. It's a weird mixture of highly technical, but also very high level. It's like you basically have to already know how the CRTC works to understand how to use the registers for it.

Yes. Information on stuff like this is pretty sparse on the internet, maybe unless you go searching in deep dark corners of plain HTML files where no one's been since 1997.

It would be nice to have a forum and maybe a wiki also that would serve as a place for the people who know to document their knowledge for the people who don't know.

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Reply 32 of 53, by gerwin

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Gered wrote on 2022-11-01, 00:30:

What I meant by that comment was not that a forum for it here on Vogons did not ever end up getting created as a result of people asking for one (though, obviously that is true), but rather that whenever a topic comes up with people asking this question, the topic in question never ends up with a ton of replies. Indicating that there isn't a huge demand for it, on Vogons anyway. It was just an observation, not meant to sway any of the side admin/moderators one way or the other.

Ah, OK. I understood it differently.

I remember in the past there was no "Marvin" section, no section about actually messing with old hardware, for the interest in the hardware itself. I cannot find now, the year when it was added. Anyways, the amount of posts on that subject had been growing, when a moderator mentioned that it was out of place. People asked what was the proper section for it?, which was hard to answer. Eventually, Vogons had the Marvin section added for this.
Much appreciated of course. But I can also understand if the founders want to draw the line somewhere, and not drift off again, into unexpected directions.

There is also that other subject, never anticipated back then: the Do-It-Yourself hardware projects.

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Reply 34 of 53, by gerry

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keenmaster486 wrote on 2022-11-01, 15:58:
Namrok wrote on 2022-11-01, 02:18:

Count my hand raised as well. Been having a blast doing some 8088/8086 assembly lately. But many of the sources I use are old books published in the 80's and early 90's, and they are rather pedestrian. For example, I keep wondering what utility I can wring out of the EGA CRTC registers, but none of the documentation I can find in print provides answers. It's a weird mixture of highly technical, but also very high level. It's like you basically have to already know how the CRTC works to understand how to use the registers for it.

Yes. Information on stuff like this is pretty sparse on the internet, maybe unless you go searching in deep dark corners of plain HTML files where no one's been since 1997.

It would be nice to have a forum and maybe a wiki also that would serve as a place for the people who know to document their knowledge for the people who don't know.

there is so much stuff that was out there in the 90's - websites, text files, ftp sites all full of things that now lie in bitrot ruins. Much of it still exists surprisingly - via archive or hidden among the still alive remnants of old websites. many esoteric software tools and huge swathes of amateur / hobby code may be lost forever

but a vogons forum would have the effect of slowly 'regrouping' some of that lost world and perhaps more practically would help those seeking to maintain & modify old applications, try out new things, port code 'back' onto dos and win32 and maybe finally get that old qbasic game to work properly!

Reply 35 of 53, by DosFreak

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If there's any interest I can create a vogons repo on github and enable discussions. This would not mean that those projects could not have their own discussions in their own repo just be aware that the amount of eyes you get will likely be less since people would have to go to different places instead of just one or two places.
Also the the rules that apply here would apply there except there wouldn't be any technical enforcement over there as there is here so possibly would have to new ban users from the entire repo when they break the rules. Would have to see about getting a list of current banned users. Also those users can always use different email addresses and usernames and may not have access like we do here to see who is who.

The benefits would be that the discussions would be easily exportable by anyone with access to the repo, it's seperated from vogons so possibly more "work" focused so less distractions and it moves you more towards sorting your projects in a repo instead of littered on your filesystem.

There could be a thread here listing the projects with links.

Let me know.

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Reply 36 of 53, by Namrok

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Honestly, for my purposes at least, I'm not sure that would work. A lot of the discussion I'd like to have around retro programming has less to do with specific projects I'd have checked into a repository, and more random technical details.

Like for instance, right now I'm trying to figure out if a VGA bios returns any information in the registers after it's initialized. Maybe? I think I found a scrap of IBM documentation that says BH is set depending on the video hardware?

There is also the curmudgeonly friction in figuring out how discussions on github work, and however it works, already preferring and being familiar with the format here.

I mean, if that's as far as things go, I donno. Maybe I'll give it a gander at some point. But I'm not chomping at the bit to use github for idle retro dev discussion. Maybe for a more formalized code example repository.

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Reply 37 of 53, by ViTi95

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Namrok wrote on 2022-11-04, 15:04:
Honestly, for my purposes at least, I'm not sure that would work. A lot of the discussion I'd like to have around retro program […]
Show full quote

Honestly, for my purposes at least, I'm not sure that would work. A lot of the discussion I'd like to have around retro programming has less to do with specific projects I'd have checked into a repository, and more random technical details.

Like for instance, right now I'm trying to figure out if a VGA bios returns any information in the registers after it's initialized. Maybe? I think I found a scrap of IBM documentation that says BH is set depending on the video hardware?

There is also the curmudgeonly friction in figuring out how discussions on github work, and however it works, already preferring and being familiar with the format here.

I mean, if that's as far as things go, I donno. Maybe I'll give it a gander at some point. But I'm not chomping at the bit to use github for idle retro dev discussion. Maybe for a more formalized code example repository.

+1

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Reply 38 of 53, by bttr

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Namrok wrote on 2022-11-04, 15:04:
Honestly, for my purposes at least, I'm not sure that would work. A lot of the discussion I'd like to have around retro program […]
Show full quote

Honestly, for my purposes at least, I'm not sure that would work. A lot of the discussion I'd like to have around retro programming has less to do with specific projects I'd have checked into a repository, and more random technical details.

Like for instance, right now I'm trying to figure out if a VGA bios returns any information in the registers after it's initialized. Maybe? I think I found a scrap of IBM documentation that says BH is set depending on the video hardware?

There is also the curmudgeonly friction in figuring out how discussions on github work, and however it works, already preferring and being familiar with the format here.

I mean, if that's as far as things go, I donno. Maybe I'll give it a gander at some point. But I'm not chomping at the bit to use github for idle retro dev discussion. Maybe for a more formalized code example repository.

+1

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Reply 39 of 53, by doshea

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I've been reading this thread for a while and I don't think I have anything very interesting to add to this discussion, but I'm replying since people are gauging the viability of a new forum based on how many people are replying 😀

vstrakh wrote on 2022-11-01, 08:24:

It's about living in the process of one's ideas development, and sharing it with people who feel the same. Getting some feedback or asking for hints, or simply to get involved in general.

Yeah, I probably would have posted this thread about my projects (only posted about one so far) in such a forum instead of Milliways if it was an option, because I rarely read Milliways! I generally only read the DOS, Windows and Software forums, and I'm probably missing out on some things because of that, but otherwise it's too hard to keep up. I would definitely read a programming forum too if there was one.

vstrakh wrote on 2022-11-01, 08:24:

Stackoverflow is too formal, the questions must be of "good quality" to increase the overall value of the knowledge accumulated. But I do feel the need in occasional chatting around the process, and not to bring absolute value to the encyclopedia of a sort.

I don't know if the retro computing SO is different, but on other SO sites questions like "what is a good programmer's editor for DOS" would be closed for being too subjective or something. A discussion forum would be nice!

bttr wrote on 2022-10-31, 13:00:

If vogons.org disappears some day, all content is gone. (I didn't check archive.org.)

Yes, that would be very sad! It looks like archive.org scans the site reasonably regularly so hopefully not too much information would be lost, but it wouldn't be very accessible either. This is probably a completely separate discussion though.

Namrok wrote on 2022-11-04, 15:04:

There is also the curmudgeonly friction in figuring out how discussions on github work, and however it works, already preferring and being familiar with the format here.

Maybe there's some Twitter hashtag that is useful for asking retro software programming questions? Maybe Meta's metaverse has some kind of virtual environment that would be useful, like a virtual computer you can use to dial into a virtual BBS and post questions on a virtual FidoNet? I still like forums though! 😀