Whopper wrote:Does the Q68 have any ethernet access? Or is anyone looking at providing ethernet access?
Good and bad news. First the good news:
Last summer I have already accessed the internet with the Q68 over ethernet. I successfully used ICMP ping, TCP echo, webserver, textmode webbrowser, POP3 email.
This was achieved by modifying my QLwIP software for the Q40 and Q60, mostly by replacing the RTL8019 driver by a (still rudimentary) CP2200 driver.
Now the bad news:
1. I did the original QLwIP work two decades ago and forgot too much to continue in a "nice" way. I was discouraged from further work when I saw there would be no free operating system for the Q60 except QDOS Classic. At the time, I was in the middle of massive code changes toward OS integration. Unfortunately I forgot what exactly I did back then, and in which exact state various source branches were. I can not even exactly reproduce my binaries for the Q60 anymore. E.g. sending emails no longer works, although I had certainly tested that a lot. So my successful Q68 demo was a quick workaround, that went back to an early "all in one" QLwIP version, which had the whole TCP/IP stack, most of the ethernet driver, and several user applications included within the same exectutable.
2. Compatibility issue. The existing QL emulator TCP/IP interface is not usable for native hardware, because it includes no support to bring up/down interfaces and manage IP setup. Very easy for emulators, they can simply assume the host PC has everything already configured and running. (Beside the fact that no actual TCP/IP nor ethernet code is included at all.) Also, the emulator API is quite unsuitable for QLwIP and would add overhead if added "on top" of the native TCP/IP stack.
3. There are open fundamental questions on which I have no clear answer. How about all the encryption requirements nowadays (which are huge work to implement as QL code and would be slow) ? Would my QL side internet applications like webbrowsing and email still make sense today, even if they were improved? What exactly should a Q68 be able to do over the internet? Or do people only want to use Q68 ethernet in the LAN , mostly for file transfer? Is a decent TCP/IP API still worth the effort (there was practically no application development for two decades) or do I better release a simple "all in one" executable, so people have something that works at all?
Whatever I decide, it will take time... I can maybe demonstrate working Q68 ethernet and TCP/IP at a meeting like Mahlerts - I'm not talking vapourware. On the other hand, I have no plans for a public release yet, so QLwIP should not discourage other possible projects. For example, I could imagine sort of "QLNET over ethernet" instead of a full-featured multitasking TCP/IP suite like QLwIP.