[NTLK] Restarting Newton development?!

Steven Frank stevenf at panic.com
Wed Aug 1 12:10:18 EDT 2018

In further researching this idea, I discovered some unknown-to-me projects on GitHub that seem relevant:

Walter Smith's (yes, that Walter Smith) "Prota", which is an open-source implementation of the NewtonScript runtime.  I was able to build and run it successfully.

https://github.com/wrs/prota <https://github.com/wrs/prota>

It does not include a compiler.  Which brings me to Eckhart's tntk:

https://github.com/ekoeppen/tntk <https://github.com/ekoeppen/tntk>

Which I was able to build, but it crashes when run.  This appears to be because both tntk and its dependency NEWT/0 are targeting 32-bit processors.  At least here on the Mac, 32-bit is dead, so we would need to look into getting these running on 64-bit.  I have no idea at this time if that would be easy or difficult.

That would potentially give us a native, open-source NewtonScript compiler and runtime.

Also of significant interest is Simon Bell's Newton Framework:

https://github.com/newtonresearch/newton-framework <https://github.com/newtonresearch/newton-framework>

It seems like there's a lot of great and interesting work going on in here.  A partial native reimplementation of NewtonOS, via reverse-engineering.  I was able to get it to build and run, but it's not entirely clear to me what's done and what isn't, and what could be reused.  There appears to be a NewtonScript compiler in here too, but I haven't tried extracting it to build it separately.

It seems like between these three projects, we have a pretty good headstart on this idea -- it's just not clear to me yet where each of these other projects stands in terms of what's working and usable and what isn't.

The "view" layer is missing.  It seems like it would not be hard to provide a framebuffer with a cross-platform library like SDL, but we still need an implementation of all the Newton views.

And of course, the object store, which can be much simpler than the original one in the Newton, since we have so much more powerful computers now, but it does still need to exist.

Matthias, could you explain if you had intended to use any of these existing projects as a starting point, or if you had other ideas?


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