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Subject: some basic dev questions
From: Stuart Martin (Stuart.Martin_at_valtech.co.uk)
Date: 2002-01-02


Hi guys

I have a background in programming, but little in the way of electronics,
and as such, I have a few questions about the project. Forgive me if my
high-level mindset misses the mark too often.

 o Are the character font sizes fixed on the LCDs or are they variable?

 o What is the quality of the gcc generated code? With such a small
   footprint available, would assembler be a better bet? I've no idea,
   just thinking aloud here.

 o Are there any (tiny or otherwise) OSs already written
   that we could obtain/use/modify? If there are, would such an approach
   be sensible? After all, an OS typically provides raw services
   for client applications, whereas we would have just a single
   application, no? Is this right, or can anyone envisage a need
   for scheduling/multiprocessing? Does this require CPU support?

 o Is there any argument for the immediate development of high-level
   components of prospective applications before the low-level
   interfaces are completed? I know that this is the hacker mentality
   coming to the fore :) but application developers could make
   progress on core features (music control, playlist manipulation, etc)
   independently of the work being carried out on the metal itself.

 o Is the CPU capable of decoding other music formats in real-time,
   or is dedicated chip support necessary for this?

 o Which low-level components need developing before we can begin to
   replace the archos-provided code? I know the MP3 en/decoding is done
   on chip - do any more of these come for 'free'?
    o USB driver code?
    o IDE controller code?
    o LCD driver code (exciting to see the preliminary work done here)
    o MP3 decoding drivers?

an aside:

 o Is it possible to write code to dump the *rom* firmware to a file? If
   so, would this be directly usable as (or convertable into) a mod file
   for others? I'm thinking about newer models with firmware on rom
   (rather than shipped as updates).

regards,
wavey

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