Interlude: a bit of history

Bear with me if you are here for insights about Raspberry Pi development. This will all come together eventually. I hope.

FORTH book

In the early 1980s I studied Computer Systems Engineering at the University of Warwick. During the second year of the course I shared a student house with three friends and we had all sorts of geeky discussions. As it happened, at the time I was quite keen on the programming language FORTH; and it has a place in my heart even today. I had worked and played with FORTH implementations on Microtan 65, TRS-80, BBC Microcomputer, PDP-11 and VAX computers by then and had a couple of (failed) stabs at writing my own.

Add these things together with my love of puns and wordplay and you may be able to see my smug delight at discovering our shared house was in the “Cheylesmore” area of Coventry, pronounced by the locals the same as “Charles Moore”, the inventor of FORTH!

As our discussions ranged around I recall deciding at one point that it would be a great idea to create my own computer platform which included both a micro operating system and a stack-based system language, inspired by the work of Charles Moore. The wordplay continued, as I decided to name it CORNELIUS (Communication-Oriented Runtime Nucleus + Extendible Language Interpreter Using Stacks), co-incidentally also the name of the street where we lived.

Over the years I have kept this odd vision, and had several goes at various bits of it, learning and developing along the way. Most of my efforts have focussed on the ELIUS part of the system, producing at least half a dozen different stack-based languages with varying degrees of completeness or usability. I have not done much with the CORN part of the system, though. I have never had the right combination of platform, development tools and inspiration to push forward with it. I have also often pondered what the accidental neologism “Communication Oriented” might actually mean. It seems to sit along side terms such as “Object Oriented”, “Process Oriented” and the like but I have never been able to come up with a clear meaning. Looking around the web now it seems as if some people are using the term, but not quite in the context I had in mind.


What does this mean for Raspberry Pi? You have likely guessed that my next plan is to have a serious go at building a 21st Century version of CORNELIUS, using the bare metal Raspberry Pi as the hardware platform, and all the software development skills I have picked up in the 30 years since the original idea to make it work. Sounds like fun!

Oh, and Happy Christmas!

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  1. Pingback: Programming a Problem-Oriented Language | Raspberry Alpha Omega

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