Abacuc is going remote

Photo by Harrison Broadbent on Unsplash

I have entered a rabbit hole with Abacuc. I have spent much of my free time on time in the past few days.

I run the Abacuc 6502 breadboard computer using a Raspberry Pi Model 2B. I also purchased a Raspberry Pi 5 to get some more speed. When the courier delivered the new Pi, I set it up as a perfect copy of the Pi 2.

I use PyCharm as my Python development environment. I can easily set up a remote SSH connection to the Pi, automatically sync my project files, and run the debugger from my Mac if needed. I wish I had these kinds of tools when coding was my job.

The Raspberry Pi 5 does not play very well with RPi.GPIO. You can use it without a problem by running your program as a privileged user. This is not something that I like. It’s a security problem that I should not care about, but I wanted a neat solution.

This is the reason why I switched from RPi.GPIO to gpiozero. No significant differences between them. I should make some tests about speed, but as I previously wrote, Abacuc will be a snail, and speed should be fine here.

I ported my code to gpiozero, and everything worked as expected. I had some issues with the gpiozero on the Rpi 2. From the repository, the installed version is version 1.6.something, while my code was written for gpiozero version 2.0. something. There is a little difficulty in moving to version 2.0 on RPi2, but I made it.

While porting my code to gpiozero, I read the gpiozero documentation and found something exciting.

You can use the library with a Python program on one computer and drive the GPIO pins of a remote computer over TCP/IP thanks to the services of pigpiod on the RPi.

Cool, I can run the code on my Mac without the need to have the code running on the RPi. There may be some speed issues, but that will not be a problem.

I can run the Abacuc code on my Mac. How do I drive the three MCP23017 using the RPi I2C bus? Well, there are I2C remote libraries as well!

This is even better than the plans I had. My original idea was to connect a terminal to Abacuc for input/output. It would have been a console application on my Mac talking to abacuc via TCP/IP. I considered using the original VT220 fonts on this terminal in a classic 40×80 screen resolution. This would have made the terminal really rétro.

I must give this a try!

P.S. I don’t write much about the usual things I talk about these days. Reality is I use coding as an escape from the trenches.

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