Retrix : the Phoenix (RetroHack related post)
Thomas Harte

Although Retrix corporation 1.0 unfortunately failed to bring their product to market, due to public request a hostile takeover has resorted in the formation of Retrix corporation 2.0 and the design of a brand new machine - the Retrix 2.0! This machine is so well spec'd, it will almost certainly last well into the 1990s. A brief hardware reference :

... one dose of reality later ...

Seriously, if anybody still wants to do the RetroHack, the library in that doc is finished but for sound output, and I can knock that up in a few hours. If people are still up for it, then how about we start the competition on the 24th, as previously, and since interest is limited, I'll try and judge the entries myself. So, umm, the full rules would be :

- competition starts at 00:00 GMT, on the 24th
- all entries to be received, in C or C++ source form, by midnight GMT on the 31st
- entries must use only libc and Retrix 2.0 library calls. I will be compiling against a version of the Retrix 2.0 libs written for a non-Allegro target, so I will know.
- entries which blatantly abuse the virtually unlimited CPU bandwidth of a PC, or in other way neglect the spirit of the competition will be disqualified, at my discretion. The idea is to constructively use the Retrix hardware.

Also, if the hardware reference doesn't makes sense, please say. I've tried to keep it simple but incorporate many clever and interesting ways of using the hardware.

Interest, anyone?


hmm, let me just check out the specs, but I'm def. interested !!

Thomas Harte

oh, extra brownie points for anyone who can name and shame my blatant reference points for the hardware design!

Bruce Perry

First of all, let me link to the other thread. There's one quote I'd like to emphasise: "Development on the library will continue, however, and the competition is still going to happen eventually."

Now I'm not gonna stand in Thomas's way if he wants to run this competition. However, permit me to quote from IRC EFnet #allegro, where TDRH is Thomas Harte and entheh is me:

--> TDRH ([IP woz ere]) has joined #allegro
<TDRH> GASP the cheek of me!
<TDRH> [Link to this thread] !!
* TDRH realises that no-one must have visited that thread, and absorbed his full cheek
<entheh> ?? TDRH
<Allegro> <TDRH> Fine. Well perhaps I will come up with my own rival library and my own rival competition, and skank everything up for everyone. NB I will not.
Allegro is one of the channel bots; what he just gave was a quote of what TDRH said a week or two ago.
<TDRH> I said Allegro's quote was prescient, didn't I?
<TDRH> didn't I say that, this very day?

prescient. Having knowledge of coming events; foreseeing; conscious beforehand. -

As you can see, Thomas has stolen our idea and now he's rubbing it in.

I said I'm not going to stand in the way; however, I must insist that you use a different name. Retrix and RetroHack refer to our competition.

Thomas Harte

As you can see, Thomas has stolen our idea and now he's rubbing it in.

I do have to quote myself, making a particular word bold for clarity :


Although Retrix corporation 1.0 unfortunately failed to bring their product to market, due to public request a hostile takeover

If I were petty I would point out that your idea seems to have been to announce then not run a competition, whereas mine is to run a competition announced by someone else, which are entirely different ideas.

Seriously though, I really didn't think anyone would care. And for reference purposes, that quote is about three months old! Also, a better edit of my original statement :

I said it was prescient, didn't I?

is :

I said Allegro giving that exact same quote earlier today was prescient, didn't I?

Now, one quote I wish to emphasise from the other thread :

"Both entheh and I have other things to do this summer and we don't really want to spend it all on this competition"

To me, this implies no competition this summer. Therefore my competition is not doing anything other than establishing a precedent for yours and helping promote the idea, which I acknowledged from the start of this thread was not mine. It is therefore beneficial to you and your competition, and there is no reason for it to cause conflict.

Bruce Perry

I edited my last post. Please re-read it.

The quote is not three months old. The Retrix (the original one) has only been under development for a week or two, and the idea is no older.

With regard to the (subsequently added) end of your post, I shall reiterate: I'm not standing in your way, but I must insist that you change the name.

Now I'm going to spend my time more usefully and congratulate Rash on a brilliant parody in the other thread ;D

Thomas Harte

Names are cheap. I hope you'll accept its too late to change the discussion thread name, but I have the feeling that won't bother you!

But I must take issue with "The quote is not three months old", since I happen to know it to be substantially older than two weeks based on when I am near a computer that IRCs and when I am not, and also with "the idea is no older", both I and the search engine disagree with that, citing e.g. A thread which also proves that me underestimating how important some people think some things are and producing offense isn't new either!

A thread that would demonstrate the idea was even older is probably the 'New competition suggestion' one that comes up second if you search for 'retro competition'. Although, as is not unexpected for the search engine, the produced link doesn't work.

So, anyway, I'm off to come up with new names (I don't see why I should abandon RetroHack, although NostalgiaHack is appealing - but I can understand that Retrix is not so obvious a name). If anybody wants to beat me to it, the thread is right here!


How about Back2Hack?

Bruce Perry

I've been talking to Thomas on IRC for a while now. I've come to agree with him about the competitions being run at different times and therefore not being rivals in reality. That's why I'm not standing in the way - as I already said.

What gets me is the way he introduced it. First he implied in his post on the forums that ours was cancelled, not postponed. Secondly he labelled his as a newer version of ours, clearly implying that his is superior, which it most likely isn't considering he wrote it in a day (I think). You have all the information in front of you; first he made the post, then he logged on to IRC and you can see what he said in my first reply.

If I saw that a competition were postponed and wanted to run a similar competition in the meantime, I would first ask the people involved if they minded. They would probably be a lot more amenable as a result, and I might even get to use the same name or even finish off the code already started. Instead, Thomas left me feeling pretty sore (Goodbytes too most likely when he sees this).

It's not impossible to be considerate towards people. I manage it pretty nicely though I say it myself :)

Now that that's said, I'm willing to consider the matter closed. Proceed with the competition by all means. Ours may be ready soon after the release of Allegro 5.

Thomas Harte

:) A quote from me first, to save retyping it and not to imply that Ben Davis was not reading my post :


me underestimating how important some people think some things are and producing offense isn't new

When I look at life I see that a lot of the time people do things like die and get serious disease and so on, I see the front page of the newspaper says 'Blair plans 'strikes tsar' as union crisis grows' and I fail to comprehend how important a particular programming competition on a particular well known theme will be taken. Which is probably a sign of emotional detachment, but I feel this is not the forum in which to discuss that.

But, to reply to a few points :

  • "First he implied in his post on the forums that ours was cancelled, not postponed" - I was working under the mistaken assumption that you had used postponed as a euphemism for cancelled, as programming people tend to do. I have already explained why I did not believe myself to be stepping on your toes.

  • "he labelled his as a newer version of ours, clearly implying that his is superior" - I meant to imply that in this fictitious non-reality that our machines exist, mine is chronologically later, i.e. technologically less limited - than yours. Although all of the technology I have put into mine is bastardised from real machines that existed in 1987 or very close to, it is unrealistic that the all the elements would have been brought together as I have done, therefore I imagine a date more like 1989 or so

  • "it most likely isn't [a technically superior library implementation] considering he wrote it in a day" - I have just discussed this on IRC with you, and neither the implementation nor the hardware are as complicated as yours. This is partly a reaction to what I saw as the reason for your competition being postponed. As I pointed out to you though, I'm fairly sure the internationally most popular machine during the 1980s, allowing for communist and other general non-USA countries, was the simple old ZX Spectrum, which programmers used to be quite happy with. So I do not believe that complexity is everything, however I appreciate that my library requires the programmer to do a little more cooperation with the idea that this is all just a ruse than yours

  • "You have all the information in front of you" - this I do not agree with. To quote our entire conversations over today would take up many pages and would be wrong. The fact is that we have not covered much more ground than has been covered in this thread, but a related point is that it is easier to misjudge someone's intentions when only a small quantity of information is available. However I trust that no-one observing this thread cares, and that I've communicated to you personally how little I comprehended the idea that you'd be at all fussed.

  • "It's not impossible to be considerate towards people" - in my, horridly flawed, consideration, I did not think you would even care, let alone mine. Notice my use of 'cheek', not 'barefaced audacity' ala Teddy, Lenny & cheese sandwiches in Harold Pinter's 'The Homecoming' (if you haven't, read it!). People say Robbie Williams is cheeky, they rarely say he is offensive.
  • Well, thats my closing shot, did you enjoy it? Well?

    Back to the infinitely more important issue of what to call the 'machine' and competition! I like Back2Hack (although anyone who now sings 'back to hack. back to reality' should notice the absurdity of exactly what they've just said), what about something like the BackMobile for the machine?

    Matthew Leverton

    Ok, let spend more time writing the lib and less time fussing (I hope in a tongue-in-cheek way) over it.

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