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Developers Try Again To Upstream Motorola 68000 Series Support In LLVM

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  • Developers Try Again To Upstream Motorola 68000 Series Support In LLVM

    Phoronix: Developers Try Again To Upstream Motorola 6800 Series Support In LLVM

    Hobbyist developers are trying once again to get a Motorola 6800 back-end merged into the upstream LLVM compiler. Yes, the M68k processors that are some 30+ years old...

  • #2

    Originally posted by phoronix View Post
    Hobbyist developers are trying once again to get a Motorola 6800 back-end merged into the upstream LLVM compiler. Yes, the M68k processors that are some 30+ years old.

    The Motorola 6800 series 8-bit processors have been around since the mid-70's and gaining popularity through the 80's thanks to the likes of the early Apple Macintosh computers. Fast forward to 2020, the Motorola 6800 is still a popular target for vintage computer enthusiasts and hobbyists. Community developers have worked on improving the Linux kernel support for M68k hardware like early Apple Powerbooks as recently as a few years ago and the compiler support is a continued target.

    GCC 11 due out next year was looking to drop the M68k target over its unmaintained status. Hobbyists though stepped up there so the M68k support will remain in GCC. Now developers are also looking at adding M68k support to the LLVM compiler.

    This isn't the first time that M68k support for LLVM has been brought up albeit never successfully landed to date. Building off the past failures to get the Motorola 6800 series support upstreamed, developers last week sent out new patches proposing this back-end -- this time they are showing more clarity about the developers involved and being committed to supporting the code, the sustainability of the code, and responding quickly to code review comments.

    This patch series is the latest attempt at upstreaming Motorola 6800 series support in LLVM. Besides all the back-end specific code there is also some common LLVM code changes that fall under greater scrutiny.

    We'll see how this attempt pans out over the weeks ahead if LLVM could finally see a mainline Motorola 6800 series back-end in 2020/2021.
    Do you mean 68000 .-.


    • #3
      For the fuc**** what purpose?


      • #4
        The 68K family is a 16/32-bit CPU. The 6800 is an 8-bit CPU used as a microcontroller and as the CPU of some early arcade, console, and home computers. The 6800 falls somewhere between a Z-80 and a 6502 for features and performance.


        • #5
          Yeah. The 6800 and 68000 are quite different beasts...
          Knowing that, this article is a confusing read.


          • #6
            Looks like a typo in the subject line for the first email in the patch series. This appears to be for the 32-bit 68000, not the 8-bit 6800.

            IIRC the last code I wrote for a 6800 played a tinny version of "Hoedown" on a 1-bit speaker output while scrolling an approximation of "Emerson Lake Palmer" across the 7-segment displays in ~1977, but I worked on 68000-family graphics drivers and accelerator hardware (initially for X/Unix then MacOS) from the early 80's through to the early 90's. That extra '0' made a big difference.

            Anyways, it's worth checking the article and bumping 6800->68000.
            Last edited by bridgman; 29 September 2020, 12:55 AM.


            • #7
              A great little 8bit design. One of the very first kit based home computers in 1975 came with the Motorola 6800. One of the main designers of the 6800, William Mensch, went on to design MOS Technology's famed 6502 8 bit processor which went into the Apple II, the Commodore 64, Atari's 8 bit computer and their 2600 game console.


              • #8
                It's nice that 68k support was preserved in gcc and that it may extend to LLVM. Practical uses may be vanishing (even still, 68k-derivitives aren't that far out of embedded designs) but 68k is found in so many classic computing and game machines (Macs, Amigas, Next, BeBox, Sega Genesis, NeoGeo, and countless other arcade boards) that viable compilers are important to preserving those communities, and being able to bring them new software. LLVM in particular could open up some new languages on those platforms, which is near if nothing else.


                • #9
                  If it's the 68000 then that WOULD make more sense seeing as how the 68000 is still being produced and used as a microcontroller. Now THIS chip was truly consequential. It was the heart of the Apple Lisa and Macintosh, the Commodore Amiga, and the Atari ST. Just with these three you saw the birth of GUI computing and Desktop publishing with the Mac, desktop video production with the Amiga and desktop music production with the Atari ST. Not to mention just about every Arcade board in standup video games and also consoles like the Sega Mega Drive / Genesis. Also high end workstations from Sun and SGI running UNIX. Even IBM considered using the 68000 in the original IBM PC but Motorola couldn't get it out the door in time so IBM went with Intel. Just imagine a computing world not encumbered by x86.


                  • #10
                    Does anyone know what motorola 68000 has evolved into today?
                    Has such a famous cpu been simply abandoned?