Monday, July 28, 2014

PPCJITBETA04b (Hundreds and XThousands)

There is something new each day, I haven't done this before: a Fast Follow to the previous beta release.

Let me sprinkle the life of the suffering Amiga X1000 owners, here is a


After I had done some investigation, it turned out that MickJT was right for a long time. We don't need unique changes for Amiga X1000 (for the P.A. Semi PA6T processor), because it is similar to the already supported G5 (PowerPC 970) processor.

So, I have decided that we must not delay the beta for Amiga X1000 any longer. This new build is exactly the same Beta #4 release feature-wise; which was done for the other platforms already. Except that it is compiled for AmigaOS4 with the same minor changes which increase the performance on G5 significantly.

Since the code base is the same I kept the same beta version tag with a postfix. For the first and the last time... Úttörő becsület szavamra! :)

Caveat emptor

This build is not fully optimized for PA6T processor, since there is no support for that processor target in the AmigaOS4 SDK yet. It is still running much better than the previous generic builds.
Hopefully the PA6T support will be resolved sooner or later in the SDK and then I will add any necessary changes to the E-UAE build too.

In the meanwhile the binary for this build target will be added to the upcoming releases.

Credz

Actually, the credit goes to the following good people:
  • Tobias Netzel - who implemented the G5 support and helped MickJT with advices;
  • MickJT - who was experimenting with the build for a long time already and pushed me to do this release;
  • Sven Ottemann & Sebastian Bauer - who helped me with the documentation for PA6T;
  • Tommysammy - who was kindly doing the testing.
Thanks guys!

Feedback

This was a blindfolded build again: I have no access to an Amiga X1000, so I couldn't test the build by myself.

I would like to invite all Amiga X1000 owner to give me some feedback regarding the performance or any issues what turns up with this special build.

You can find my email address at the end of the README file.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

PPCJITBETA04 (FourFOurfOurfoUR!)


Four is a nice, round number. Power of 2, not too many, not too less. You know, four is referring to many good things, like: the Fantastic Four, 4th of July, AmigaOS4, The Magnificent Four... Err.. Maybe not that, scratch that last one.

Therefore, without further ado, here is Beta #4:


I had an irresistible urge to RickRoll you guys with the link, but that video has been blocked recently on YouTube in many countries, so maybe next time.

Tickets please

I had my sweet time with a very weird bug related to Quake, which is not resolved yet and probably related to the failure to implement the soft cache flushing. These two tickets are pushed back to Beta #5 for now. Previously I had no intention to do one more beta release before the first Release Candidate, but as it seems I need one more round of testing period.

I had to shuffle around some tickets while I was rethinking the upcoming Release Candidate. You know, changing priorities, agile development, whatnot. What is listed in the milestones now is the plan, although it is not set in (mile)stone... Heheh... (Huh, that was a really lame pun. You should do better than that!)

The idea is: I am going to fix every issue which is known and give you guys some time to test before the final release (candidate).

SAM440

After a few rounds of pushing and pulling some SAM440/Flex related codes hopefully we have sorted out all the various problems related to those machines. If you were still experiencing issues then please let me know.

G5 again

Thanks to Tobias Netzel, the flag extraction on G5 is fixed, this will resolve a number of problems with various programs.

The compiling for G5 is still not resolved for MorphOS, no G5-optimized binary again, sorry guys. If you could tell me how can I (easily) compile the files for G5 on my iBook then I give it a go, I promise.

What's next

As you can see: Beta #5 is coming, there are already a handful things lined up for it.

Please do test Beta #4 and please do report bugs you have found. It is important to sort out as many problems as I could. It is equally important to help me reproducing the bug. So, please read the instructions. Thanks a bunch!

Best Boys

I would like to give a big thanks to Luigi Burdo. He helped me with a great deal of things, reported lots of bugs and he is so enthusiastic that he inspired me to keep walking on the road. Thanks a lot, Luigi! Keep up the good spirit!

And, of course, my dearest sidekicks, who just couldn't stay away from the project:
MickJT and Tobias Netzel. Cheers!

Also would like to thank the helps, bug reports and overall support to:
Samir Hawamdeh, Kicko, Chris Handley, Allan Ullmann.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Here is your Captain speaking

Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to have a word with you about bug reporting...

Please do not report E-UAE JIT compiling related bugs to:
  • a forum at your favorite portal (because they are going to give you advices, unless it is a cooking portal, but they won't fix it anyway);
  • your "friends" on Facebook as a status post (because your hot ex-classmate doesn't care, not to mention that she put you to the acquaintances list for a long time and I am prettty sure she won't fix it anyway);
  • Runinuae author (because although Chris is a good guy, almost certainly he won't fix it anyway - hey Chris!);
  • your fellow Amiga-enthusiasts at the Club (because they might listen to your theory on what is the root cause of the bug, but they won't fix it anyway);
  • your neighbor's cat (because the poor thing doesn't want to hear anything about "fixing", I guarantee).
Why? Quite simple: if you try to report bugs anywhere else than my mailbox there is zero guarantee that your bug report ever lands on my computer.

You know, there is some chance that I wake up one day and realize:

Ah, some Amiga-fan while playing Superfrog on level 6 encountered a graphical glitch which is caused by a mis-used flag dependency in the JIT compiler optimization, so I must fix it. I need coffee!

Yes, there is some chance, very-very-very low chance. (As opposed to there is high chance that I wake up one day and realize: Hrrgrhh... I need coffee!)

Golden Rule

If you want to get the bug fixed then report it to me, preferably by e-mail.

Or you can create a ticket at the projects SourceForge page.

(If you really-really must then you can use the contact box on this blog at the right to the post.)

One more tiny thing

Please do your due-diligence before reporting, if I might ask you to.

What would I like to ask from you is summarized in the README file (yea, like anybody would read a README file). Here is a link to the current version on SourceForge code repository.

You can also find my e-mail address at the end of that file.

Thank you for your attention! Now go back sipping your cocktail, the dinner will be served at 6pm. Wearing Boing Ball pin is mandatory.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

PPCJITBETA03 (Switch to Ludicrous Speed)

Welcome back, long time no see, my friend. Please be seated.

I can tell you I have some good news to you again: here comes Beta #3!

Get it here if you must:


I held this release back for a while just to fix the emulated cache checksum feature, but I have been chasing a bug for two weeks without any success. So, that fix is postponed to the next beta, in the meanwhile you can enjoy some significant speed enhancement and increased stability.

Without going into the details regarding the changes (see the included README for all changes) I would like to mention the most important change:

Vroom-vroom

The major feature of this beta release is the register and flag optimization fix. You can turn it on in the configuration, just set comp_optimize to true.

If you are interested in the details I explained it already how the optimization works in an earlier post, but in case you are too lazy to read through that post: here is my old diagram (just because it is beautiful, you know):

Code translation flow diagram

Let me summarize it for you: the JIT compiler is collecting information about data-flow dependencies between the various macroblocks and tries to remove the ones which won't have any effect on the outcome of a certain block of macroblocks.
This is not a new feature in the JIT implementation, but previously a few (tons of) bugs prevented it from working on more complex codes than my Mandelbrot test.

In this release I have fixed every issue I have found so far with the optimization and it seems working quite nicely. You can boot the AmigaOS and it runs just fine, also games and demos will benefit from this feature too.
I was planing to do a comparison video where the speedup is clearly shown, but I haven't had too much time yet, so this is your job now, dear EUAEPPCJIT fans! Just post the links to the videos into the comments here. :)

PPC970 aka G5

Not everything is sunshine and happiness, though. Supporting G5 processor architecture target turned to be much more complicated than I thought, especially because I don't have any hardware to test on.

In the previous release the MacOSX G5 binary was not working properly on G5 (neither on any other PowerPC as matter of fact). Thanks to Luigi Burdo for the report and Tobias Netzel (again) for the help with the compiler. This is fixed in this release, hopefully. (Fingers crossed, I still don't have hardware to test on.)

While the situation with the MorphOS G5 version is not that hunky-dory: as it seems there is no official compiler with G5 support yet in the MorphOS SDK and it is rather complicated and unreliable to compile any source for that processor. Until this situation is improved the G5 version for MorphOS won't be available from the beta binaries.

However, nothing stop you from compiling your own version from the sources, as these are always available at SourceForge.

Upcoming

As I mentioned: I postponed the fix for the block checksum to the next release and also picked up some things to do. You can find the planned list here:


I also had a look on what is planned for the first stable release and moved some items around the various milestones. If you are curious just click at the milestones on the Sourceforge page.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

PPCJITBETA02 (The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship)

We have just arrived to another exciting milestone on the long road: all the important instructions for the initial release are implemented under the JIT compiling.*

Lots of bugs were fixed, the emulator is much more stable now than the initial beta release.

Some new features are added too: I have merged the SAM440EP/Flex support (thanks to Soft3) and the CGX overlay for MorphOS (thanks to Thunder and Fab). See configuration documentation regarding how to set the overlay up.

As I already mentioned in the previous post: this beta release was delayed for a couple weeks due to a bug that slipped into the code base long time ago. It was discovered on Mac first, but I was able to reproduce it on MorphOS too. Took me a while to figure out what was going on, but it is fixed now.
This was a very tricky bug, it could be blamed for random crashes and endless loops also, not only on Mac, but on all supported platforms. It was triggered randomly based on the distance between the main application code and the code buffer in memory. (Thanks to Mike for discovering this right before I released the beta.)

I have spent a significant amount of time on figuring out how can I do the build for all supported platforms (AmigaOS4, MorphOS and MacOSX-PPC) using my environments. It wasn't easy, but finally I managed to do most of the release on my own.
As it seems MorphOS SDK does not support G5 yet, so I was not able to do the compiling by myself, but thanks to Fab the G5 executable is also available in the release package.
So, as of now users on all major supported platforms can grab the package and start using the right version.
(Sorry, Linux and BSD folks, you are still on your own.)

 

And the World trembled...

 ...or at least that tiny part which I am involved in when I am wearing my crazy latex suit with a huge letter "A" on my chest for my secret identity: the Amiga Software Developer.

After the first beta release forum posts, emails, news sites, blogs had risen in an enormous unmanageable thunderstorm, struck on me with insane amount of communication. (While the rest of the World barely noticed what have just happened.)
Finally I crawled through messages from every possible (and impossible) source and answered the questions to my best knowledge, accepted the good advices, kindly rejected some nonsense.

 

Aftermath

Since I received tons of feedback (good and bad), I inclined to draw some conclusions from the reaction to the very first beta release. Here is the summary for your benefit:

Some people don't understand how the JIT works and what is the exact purpose of it. All I can say is: please read the documentation... Some other (knowledgeable) folks stood up on the forums and educated the others, well done! I hope this helps, because I really don't have time to deal with it.

Many of the users have irrational expectations for how much the JIT compiling will speed up the emulator. (According to somebody: it supposed to be "ten times faster than the interpretive"... Err... Not likely. How did they come up with any number anyway?)

Well, the implementation is not finished yet, some of you guys don't really understand the concept of "beta release". Okay, I admit I was cheating a bit: technically the JIT compiler wasn't feature-complete when the first beta was done. Yet the remaining pieces were related to not too often used instructions anyway.
For the second beta the instructions are done*, yet there is clearly room for improvement regarding some bugs. Probably as soon as I will be able to fix up the optimization of the register- and flag-flow there will be a significant bump for the speed. (No, not "ten times" fold.)

It is hard to measure how much faster the programs are running and some lovely people baffled on this too. Since there is usually no obvious visual clue for the speedup and a 30%-50% increase in the processor speed is probably hard to notice while your favorite jump-and-run game is jumping and running.
Yet, you can feel that the whole emulation is more snappy than before probably even when you simply run Workbench. Except when it crashes. But even then: it crashes 30%-50% faster! :)

Too bad that some good souls are obsessed with their favourite game/program and keep saying that the JIT is worthless because it doesn't make any difference for that particular piece of software. As it seems this JIT compiling is not for you then.

There was one more interesting thing what I have noticed too late unfortunately: G5 support for MorphOS. Since I don't have a G5 machine I never considered that there is a need for that. But there were some murmur about the speed of the MorphOS version on G5 on some forums. No wonder: it needs a special version, which can be compiled from the sources for some time now. (Thanks to Tobias Netzel and to Fab for the special build.)
Probably the same applies to the PA Semi processor and the Amiga X1000, but I don't have that one either. (Donations? :)
Also the mysterious support for SAM440EP/Flex, what I have never heard of before. No wonder it was missed.

Fun fact from the Outer World: I tried to explain to my colleagues how I spent my Summer vacation. However, I am significantly older than almost any of them, so they were looking at me with confusion in their eyes mixed with a little pity. "Yea, my father loves fooling around with those old machines too!" - was one of the comments. Well put, Sir, well put.

 

Anyway...

To make you (some other geeks around the World) happy: here is the new beta...


In case you stop reading here (or you already skipped the first cheesy part):
as always, please read the README for your comfort and safety. Thanks.

Since I bought an iBook for 50 NZD, now I can produce the MorphOS and the MacOSX versions too which were also included in this release together with the AmigaOS4 version. (And by buying a Mac I broke one of my principles: no Apple product crosses the door of my house. I hope you guys are content what you were doing...)

You can find the changes since the last beta in the README file, or in the changesets at the SourceForge repository from R67 down to R53.

 

Fragmentation

I must admit I have learned a lot in the past month about the sorry state of the E-UAE project. I didn't know what is the current situation of the various binary releases until I received some references to modified AmigaOS4 and MorphOS binary versions.
I guess this is the destiny of any abandoned open source project: lots of good people is trying to improve it, but nobody is standing up and takes over the maintenance of the project.

Well, I am of the same kind, as it seems. It was never my goal to take the ownership of the E-UAE project or fork it into a new iteration.
However, as soon as I released the first beta of the JIT compiled version the watching eye of the public turned to my little scared pet project and I received lot of questions about whether this-or-that particular fix from various developers were included or not. (Mostly not.)

To satisfy at least some part of the user base I tried to gather the various fixes from every corner of the Internet and applied them on the source code. This means no way new base source repository for the E-UAE project, but at least it will help whoever wants to grab the torch and probably it will be useful for you, dear user in the meanwhile in the form of the beta releases.

 

Progress indicator

As of now I switch from batch release strategy to immediate update. This means: I will commit each change one by one to the SourceForge repository as soon as the change is ready instead of buffering up lots of changes locally and commit them in a big changeset.
So, if you look for the repository changesets and the tickets then you can watch the progress of the project closely.

I also make use of the tickets in the completion of the various fixes and tasks:

https://sourceforge.net/p/euaeppcjit/tickets

I added milestones to the tickets, so you can get a feeling of the upcoming beta and the included changes, fixes.
Open tickets are defining the majority of the outstanding work. I am currently working on the accepted ticket, while pending tickets are already committed to the repository, but not released in binary form yet. Released tickets are the closed ones.

For PPCJITBET03 you can find the planned changes here:

https://sourceforge.net/p/euaeppcjit/tickets/milestone/PPCJITBETA03

There is also a milestone named "PARKED" which is a holding box for the various bugs and problems that are not considered for this project (yet).

 

Thanks

Finally, big thanks goes to: Thunder, kas1e, MickJT, Fab, Tobias Netzel and Mike Blackburn for helping me with lots of things regarding bug finding, fixing, platform support and constantly watching out for the updates on the repository.

I am still waiting for any (detailed) bug reports, just have a good read of the README file before you jump to your email client.

Footnote
*There is a fine print here: I was struggling with CMP2 instruction and finally I gave up after a couple days. The binary code for the instruction is bundled with CHK2 and I couldn't figure out how solve the exception handling for that. So, this instruction remains unimplemented for now, not a big deal luckily.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Stepping into the fourth year

And here we are again: the development of the PowerPC JIT compiling for E-UAE
passed the third year, stepping into the fourth.

Original image by OpenClipart


But what a year! Yes, finally we are getting very close to the Real Thing(tm). Even a beta version is available from the project, although probably it is not particularly useful to anybody who is not the adventurous type. There are many bugs to chase and also there is room to improve.

I know everybody is eagerly waiting for the second beta. It was prepared more than two weeks ago, the sources are released to SourceForge, the post is ready to launch...

But then suddenly Mike Blackburn came back to me (big thanks for that) and mentioned a show-stopper bug on Mac. In the meanwhile I confirmed that the same bug does exist on MorphOS too, so probably it is just a coincidence that the emulation works on AmigaOS4.

Right now I am trying to figure out what is going on, but for that I needed access to a Mac. So, it took me a while to set up everything and getting ready to debug this. After spending a couple days on chasing my own tail already I am no closer to the solution yet, but I promise I put all my free time into this.

Please relax and enjoy the beautiful Summer at the Southern Hemisphere and try not to freeze to death in the Winter at the North.

Saturday, January 4, 2014