Author Topic: Let's hack the HP Prime!  (Read 79061 times)

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Offline Lionel Debroux

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Re: Let's hack the HP Prime!
« Reply #75 on: August 25, 2013, 02:29:12 am »
Looking at the list of recent changes on the HPWiki hosted under the tiplanet.org domain (nothing since 3 days ago :( ), I've noticed that a highly weird-looking username was registered: "BXCBOOT0_BIN_pastebin_com_SKw5xtev".

So I thought... that seems to contain an obfuscated URL, right ?
And yeah, everyone can easily see that the URL points to interesting information related to this topic - namely, partial reverse-engineering of the first 4 KB of some version of BXCBOOT0.bin :)
Clear-binary firmware upgrades are a good thing... which is why TI keeps using encrypted upgrades (which delayed, but fail to prevent, reverse-engineering), certainly.


EDIT: as far as emulating the Prime is concerned, I keep thinking that we should definitely base an emulator of ours on an existing, versatile, full-featured, GPL'ed framework, instead of reinventing a new emulator from scratch. QEMU is such a framework, and what's more:
* there is already some code for similar S3C24XX chips, even though it would need adaptations for both newer QEMU versions and the slightly different processor model;
* we have datasheets of the processor, NAND Flash memory, etc.;
* we can use the Linux support for members of the S3C24XX family, including S3C2416.
Useful links: https://dev.openwrt.org.cn/browser/feeds/device (lots of things in the subfolders), http://docs.openmoko.org/trac/browser/trunk/src/host/qemu-neo1973/hw/s3c2410.c
Needless to say, development should be performed with an aim at upstreaming quickly, just like we did for the Nspire port of Linux.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2013, 03:46:12 am by Lionel Debroux »
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Offline DJ Omnimaga

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Re: Let's hack the HP Prime!
« Reply #76 on: August 25, 2013, 01:02:26 pm »
One hope I have about a third-party emulator is that I hope the ones making it makes it friendly to lower end computers as much as possible.
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Offline Lionel Debroux

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Re: Let's hack the HP Prime!
« Reply #77 on: August 25, 2013, 01:51:34 pm »
Sure, QEMU uses dynamic translation :)

BTW, several hours after my previous message, the user page of BXCBOOT0_BIN_pastebin_com_SKw5xtev has been filled with an expanded version of the information previously on pastebin.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2013, 01:56:42 pm by Lionel Debroux »
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Offline TIfanx1999

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Re: Let's hack the HP Prime!
« Reply #78 on: August 26, 2013, 01:31:14 am »
EDIT: as far as emulating the Prime is concerned, I keep thinking that we should definitely base an emulator of ours on an existing, versatile, full-featured, GPL'ed framework, instead of reinventing a new emulator from scratch.

I agree. It should make things go quickly. No need to reinvent the wheel.

Offline Juju

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Re: Let's hack the HP Prime!
« Reply #79 on: August 27, 2013, 08:01:06 pm »
Also said emulator should use the same file format as the official simulator, for convenience. I finally got around documenting it \o/

http://tiplanet.org/hpwiki/HP_Prime/Skins

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Offline Lionel Debroux

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Re: Let's hack the HP Prime!
« Reply #80 on: August 31, 2013, 12:52:58 pm »
A discussion with Andreas Färber on #qemu, following my posting:
Quote
Hi, as you might know, HP is in the process of releasing a new graphing calculator, dubbed "Prime", based on a S3C2416 ARM chip, but not running U-Boot + Linux. The hardware is more powerful, and the software is less closed-minded, than those of the TI-Nspire, which is based on undocumented chips.
For the purpose of making a portable community emulator for this platform, QEMU seems an obvious choice, especially since it's easy to find (very old...) forks of QEMU with support for the pretty similar S3C2410 & S3C2440 chips. Writing everything from scratch (which was done for the Nspire emulator) seems a poor way to use our free time.
I'm writing here because I'm not clear about, for instance, 1) the making of a portable UI with clickable buttons interacting with the emulation core, 2) the bootup of something based on neither U-Boot nor Linux, and 3) the creation of memory images / savestates suitable for QEMU.
I've already used QEMU for installing standard Linux distros on emulated x86, x86_64, ARM, PowerPC, Sparc and MIPS - but for those, either there's a BIOS which can consume ISO images, or the user points a Linux kernel and an ISO image, and no need for displaying a graphic, clickable keyboard.
So... could you explain me / point me to the right, up to date, information ? TIA :)
learnt me that:
* there's no official documentation for extending QEMU. Therefore, we're on our own, starting from the links I posted above (especially the Openmoko one: I checked that the MMIO addresses are nearly the same on the S3C2410 and S3C2416) and looking at other up to date forks of QEMU with additional platform support, e.g. Linaro QEMU;
* forks such as the Android QEMU have additional GUI buttons, which clears one of my worries.
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Offline DJ Omnimaga

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Re: Let's hack the HP Prime!
« Reply #81 on: September 01, 2013, 01:21:24 am »
What I hope is that if such emulator comes to fruition, that it can easily let us copy/paste code from programs to the computer or vice-versa, that it runs at the exact same speed as the calc (and can be speed up/slowed down to test very hard games or skip loading) and that it emulates everything perfectly.
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Offline Lionel Debroux

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Re: Let's hack the HP Prime!
« Reply #82 on: September 17, 2013, 04:34:43 pm »
Hey, where is everyone ? ;)

Don't forget the challenge of running Linux on the Prime ASAP, ideally before the end of the year (i.e. several months after the Prime hits the market). It's largely doable if we are collectively interested in the platform enough - especially since we have clear-binary firmware upgrades, a datasheet, Linux support for most of the devices in the chip, and also an old, sadly out of tree and unmaintained, QEMU fork for the close S3C2410 chip :)
We had none of those goodies for the Nspire series.
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Offline DJ Omnimaga

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Re: Let's hack the HP Prime!
« Reply #83 on: September 17, 2013, 04:50:10 pm »
I think most people who have an HP Prime are on HP Museum forums it seems. It's hard to attract HP fans on a TI forum when there is an established HP-only board around, same problem we had with Casio people. Certain people might see TI boards as the "enemy" or something.

The two problems, though, with HP Museum, is that

1) Their most active contributor hates TI-Planet, Critor and the rest of the team with a passion, and he's banned from both Omni and TI-Planet, two sites which are affiliated together. You know who I am talking about. If we try to lure HP Museum people here, I am unsure what his reaction (via public posts and private messenging) would be, and I already notice that some people such as CompSystems and Tim Wessman hardly ever post on Omni anymore for unknown reasons.

2) The HP Museum registration system is absolutely restrictive in the way that any common e-mail address such as Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc, are not allowed to register. Not everyone can get an obscure e-mail in less than 5 minutes, and most people don't want to spend more than 1 minute to register on a website anyway. Why not use Facebook connect or StopForumSpam if spam is such a problem?


As for hacking the calc itself, the issue is that on Omnimaga, there are hardly any ARM assembly programmers anymore, which is required to hack the calc, and most people who are interested in HP Prime programming wants it primarily for the BASIC language (since they find high level languages more user-friendly). There might also be some doubts about the popularity of the calc, since it just missed the school start sales by 2 months.


That said I am absolutely unsure about why the sudden drop in interest towards the HP Prime in the last month or two from the people who used to post in this thread and other ones in this section. Is it due to people being busy with school? Do they just prefer to wait until next August when the calc will meet back-to-school 2014, to ensure that the calc will be popular enough to warrant efforts to hack it? Has anything else have happened behind the scenes that could have caused our HP fanbase to migrate to HP Museum or something?


Also I notice lately that every single Youtube video that TI-Planet or Critor3000 posted got at least one downrating.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2013, 04:56:27 pm by DJ Omnimaga »
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Offline critor

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Re: Let's hack the HP Prime!
« Reply #84 on: September 17, 2013, 05:05:21 pm »
Just ask Tim Wessman and Compsystems... And explain things if necessary if you think he's been badmouthing Omnimaga to HP guys and HP-Museum users.

Too bad such a great topic did die...
« Last Edit: September 17, 2013, 05:09:37 pm by critor »
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Offline DJ Omnimaga

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Re: Let's hack the HP Prime!
« Reply #85 on: September 17, 2013, 05:10:07 pm »
I guess I would probably need to ask CompSystems first, since he was the first to go away. It's possible, however, that Tim has to try to avoid participating to HP hacking discussions, since he is working for HP.

In my case, don't count on me to hack the calc, as I don't do ASM/C myself. I was more busy working on game sprites, but given the way sprites are imported into programs, I would rather have them completed before starting to do anything. I also didn't have any free time where I am healthy enough to sit down for 30 minutes and try to code or learn to. I want to try to contribute via HP games, though, so maybe it gets more people interested in buying the calc then hopefully those people will want it hacked to do better stuff in the future.
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Offline SpiroH

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Re: Let's hack the HP Prime!
« Reply #86 on: September 17, 2013, 05:21:01 pm »
Well, don't forget the fact that the "HP Prime" not having been released worldwide so far, does clearly have a negative impact on people's enthusiasm. Hacking does require a lot of testing with the real thing. So, i'd say as soon as it becomes available and we can play with the real toy, the hacking interest will certainly increase all of a sudden. So, it's also HP's fault :P. My 2 cents.

Offline Keoni29

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Re: Let's hack the HP Prime!
« Reply #87 on: September 17, 2013, 05:21:50 pm »
As for ARM programming: Learning a new programming language is not a huge deal to me. Asm dialects are pretty easy to learn, but difficult to master.
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Offline critor

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Re: Let's hack the HP Prime!
« Reply #88 on: September 17, 2013, 05:24:46 pm »
I think most people who have an HP Prime are on HP Museum forums it seems. It's hard to attract HP fans on a TI forum when there is an established HP-only board around, same problem we had with Casio people. Certain people might see TI boards as the "enemy" or something.

Then they have some maturity problem. TI-Planet is for maths and programming, and I don't see why we should restrict ourselves to one manufacturer when things are similar with other manufacturers models.

Both Cemetech and Omnimaga also deal with non-TI calculators, especially Casio. Omnimaga was affiliated with Planete-Casio long before TI-Planet.


And we're not being nicer with TI or less nice with other calculators manufacturers.

I'll easily admit that the TI-84 Plus CSE is a bad product although it seems to have been adopted by many people (based on the ticalc.org uploads).

I don't approve the latest TI-Nspire CX hardware.

I'll also admit that the Casio Prizm fx-CG10/20 is a very good product (and I'm sad it failed to be adopted and that interest for it did apparently die).

But I'll tell you that the Casio ClassPad II fx-CP400 is currently a bad thing (only the main (calculator) application can be rotated, Basic is far slower than on the TI-81/80 from the last century, except for the home screen the rest of the OS just copies the heavy black & white GUI of older Classpad calculators with many borders and hasn't been adapted at all for the color screen...). Let's hope for an OS update although they tend to be quite rare with Casio...
« Last Edit: September 17, 2013, 05:53:03 pm by critor »
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Offline DJ Omnimaga

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Re: Let's hack the HP Prime!
« Reply #89 on: September 17, 2013, 05:46:17 pm »
Yeah I mean like that one debate topic there about why should there be a Wiki on TI-Planet when there is already wiki4hp that have been around for years, located at http://www.hpmuseum.org/cgi-sys/cgiwrap/hpmuseum/forum.cgi?read=249854#249854 . One person in particular wasn't fond of the idea that HP Prime info and fans go on a TI website instead of their own and only HP forum. They probably don't want any other website to budge on their thunder. That said, it might be partly due to "ti" being part of TI-Planet name, so they might have the impression that the site focuses exclusively on TI calcs. Granted, Omnimaga and Cemetech focuses less on TI calcs than TI-Planet, but TI-Planet still has plenty of Casio and HP news, along with visible links to Casio/HP stuff in navigation. All three sites have been particularly virulent towards Texas Instruments in recent years too, even more than HP.

Also Omnimaga and Cemetech forums have been around for almost a decade (and the respective groups existed for even longer). If people here got more and more interested into Casio and HP calcs, couldn't this be because TI has done an huge mistake and that people are disgruntled TI fans who decided to look for alternatives? ;)

Anyway, personally I don't see the point in trying to establish a monopoly on the entire HP programming community if certain TI/Casio website decides to expand their horizons. I know that there were certain negative remarks towards everything Omni related in Planet-Casio news a year or two ago, meaning that there were people there too who might have been upset that a TI website competes directly against a Casio one. Besides, there are younger people who might prefer modern forum interfaces to messageboards that takes you way back in 1995, or vice-versa (people who prefer less CPU/bandwidth-intensive, but simpler interfaces), along with people who find the registration process too complicated on one of the website.


But I'll tell you that the Casio ClassPad II fx-CP400 is currently a bad thing (only the main (calculator) application can be rotated, Basic is far slower than on the TI-81/80 from the last century
In CP400 defense, however, the line command is much faster than on the PRIZM (although still slower than on the 84+CSE). :P
Well, don't forget the fact that the "HP Prime" not having been released worldwide so far, does clearly have a negative impact on people's enthusiasm. Hacking does require a lot of testing with the real thing. So, i'd say as soon as it becomes available and we can play with the real toy, the hacking interest will certainly increase all of a sudden. So, it's also HP's fault :P. My 2 cents.
Yeah I agree. Only Critor and Gilles59 had the calc until recently and it was not necessarily the final release. Kerm only got his sample recently and I don't have one (although I already pre-ordered the calc anyway). The emulator is more like a simulator, so ASM programs most likely won't run on it, and BASIC game speed is innacurate on the emu. Missing the bts rush didn't help either, since most people already got their calcs by now.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2013, 05:56:03 pm by DJ Omnimaga »
In case you are wondering where I went, I left Omni back in 2015 to form CodeWalrus due to various reasons explained back then, but I stopped calc dev in 2016 and am now mostly active on the CW Discord server at https://discord.gg/cuZcfcF


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