Free42 on a Palm TX


Hi, i'm running Free42 on a Palm TX. It works great for the most part but the TX is a 320X480 device with a virtual graffiti area. The problem when running Free42 is that the virtual graffiti area remains on screen, with the collapse icon greyed out. I believe the Ehrling42sm skin would use the entire display but the graffiti area partially blocks it.

Also, does anyone know a way to run it off of a card? When I install it there it will run but none of the skins work.

Thanks for any help.


Guess what? I updated to 1.4.12 from 1.4.1 and the graffiti area now collapses automatically when using the Ehrling42sm skin. Beautiful!
Thanks for the (potential) help anyway.


Sorry for the late response -- glad the problem took care of itself already! :-)

The support for large (320x450) skins was added in version 1.4.9, so that explains why the Ehrling42sm skin didn't work properly when you first tried it; before 1.4.9, all versions just assumed that all skins were 320x320 or 160x160.

BTW, stay tuned for the ARM-native version. I need to get the start-up time down (3 seconds on my Zire 21 -- too slow) but it's pretty sweet when running CPU-heavy programs. In the decimal version, trigs are up to 30 times faster than in the 68K version.

- Thomas


Also, does anyone know a way to run it off of a card?

I've never tried that myself. I'll look into it.

- Thomas


I haven't looked at the source, but I was wondering how difficult this would be to port to, say, the HP95LX. Or is the processor speed of the 95LX too slow for such emulation?



Theoretically, it should be possible to port Free42 to just about anything. It was designed to be portable -- all the user interface code is well separated from the HP-42S simulation code, and the simulation code only needs your basic old stand-alone C++ support.

Regarding the HP-95LX, I can see two potential sources of trouble. One is RAM size: the 95LX has 512 kilobytes, and the Free42 simulator core takes up about 300 kilobytes minimum (for the binary version; the decimal version needs even more). The other is development tools: to compile Free42, you need a development environment that supports a "large" memory model, with 24-bit pointers at least.

It's probably doable -- but it would be a lot easier for someone who has some knowledge of MS-DOS (which I don't)...

Re: speed: on the 95LX, Free42 would probably run at more or less the same speed as a real HP-42S, at least if you use the binary version. The decimal version will be a lot slower, though.

- Thomas

Edited: 9 Apr 2006, 7:12 p.m.


Thanks for the help Thomas, and most importantly thanks for creating this terrific program!


My pleasure!

Regarding your question about running Free42 from a card: from what I remember, what happens when you run an app off a card, the Palm temporarily installs it in main memory, and then removes it again when you exit. Basically, in order to be able to use any database, it has to be in main memory, hence that sleight-of-hand.

When Free42 build the Skin menu, it searches for installed databases with type 'Skin' and creator 'Fk42'. The skins must be installed or they won't be found -- Free42 can't open a raw *.prc file on an SD card, and it won't even look for them there.

So, in conclusion, it's OK to run Free42 off a card, but if you want to use some other skin than the built-in ones, you'll need to install that skin on the Palm itself (in main memory). Also note that the Free42 state, print-out, filesystem, and bcd-conversion databases are all stored in main memory, no matter where you run Free42 from.

Hope this clarifies things somewhat.

- Thomas

P.S. The ARM-native PalmOS version is done and available for download. It still starts slowly -- about 2.2 seconds on my Zire 21. Then again, the Zire 21 is one of the slower ARM-based Palms, so your mileage may be better. And when it comes to running 42S programs, it does the job! If there is a faster hand-held SOLVE out there, I don't know about it. :-)


Yea thanks for making it clear about running from a card. It starts up and runs plenty fast on a TX (312MHz).

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