A simple bare-metal forth for the PDP-10
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README.md
as.c
as6.c
tenth.s

README.md

Tenth

A simple bare-metal forth for PDP-10

Why?

Ever since I got to play with Jörg Hoppe's awesome KI10 front panel at the VCFB 2014 I wanted to do something with the PDP-10. To have something to show at the VCFB 2015 I wrote a simple assembler and started to write some basic console IO functions. I began to really like the instruction set and started porting my very primitive PDP-11 forth. Since this time I used an assembler it was much faster to modify the code and I got the basics working in time for the VCFB. The next few days after the VCFB I extended it a bit to make it presentable. I used jonesforth as a guide or inspiration for some things but the main code was written independently.

Notes on the assembler

This is a very simple assembler. Its syntax is neither that of MACRO10 nor that of MIDAS. It reads from stdin and outputs a.rim, which can be loaded by simh with load a.rim.

Notes on forth

This forth is case sensitive, use upper case.

The PDP-10 is word and not byte addressed so I had to think of a way to store strings. Storing an ASCII character (7 bits) into 36 bits seemed wasteful so I used the PDP-10's byte instructions to pack 5 characters into one word. This makes handling strings a bit awkwards and currently all code handling them is implemented in assembly. I've not decided how to expose this in forth yet.

Only a subset of forth words are implemented as of now. Since the only input method is via terminal all definitions must be compiled by hand. The plan is to write a paper tape driver and to load forth code from there.

Defined words: EXIT INTERPRET QUIT ABORT CREATE : ; CONSTANT VARIABLE BRANCH 0BRANCH (LITERAL) , [ ] . .S DROP SWAP DUP ?DUP OVER ROT -ROT >R R> R@ RSP@ 1+ 1- + - * /MOD / MOD = <> < <= > >= 0= 0<> 0< 0<= 0> 0>= AND OR XOR NOT ABS NEGATE MIN MAX WORD ! +! @ HERE STATE BASE >IN IF THEN ELSE BEGIN AGAIN WHILE REPEAT DO UNLOOP LOOP +LOOP I J EMIT KEY CR SPACE

There is no real error handling. When a word isn't found in the dictionary it panics and goes into an endless loop.

I did not implement any standard although I used FORTH-79 for reference often.

Lastly I hope my assembly is at least somewhat idiomatic. I've been programming PDP-10 assembly for only 1-2 weeks now so my experience is limited and I have not read much other PDP-10 code yet. I'd like to hear your criticism.

How to run in simh

Compile as.c and assemble tenth.s with ./as < tenth.s. Start pdp10 from simh and load a.rim to load the paper tape into memory. Start execution with go