A little history lesson

2020-12-10

It occurred to me recently that there is a lot of history in the Minimig project, with many people making important contributions over the course of some 15 years.

It also occurred to me that as developers come and go, and new users encounter the latest Minimig cores without having seen what came before, there’s a real danger that some of that history will be forgotten.

In the early days of this blog I was a regular on the Minimig.net forum, discussing the project with other developers (mostly Rok Krajnc, who is the person we have to thank for the AGA core) – but that forum has been offline for several months now. Archive.org’s wayback machine has archived some of it, but by no means all – so a lot of those discussions have probably been lost.

For these reasons I had the idea of sketching out a Minimig “Family Tree”, charting the creation of the various Minimig-related projects that I’m aware of. Some of these were tangential, some didn’t derive from Minimig as such. I expected this to be a relatively simple tree-like diagram. It turned out to be rather more convoluted, as ideas were tried out, features added, then ported to new boards, and backported to old boards.

In many ways it’s a triumph of open source, since had Dennis van Weeren’s original Minimig been a closed source project this tree would probably have just one single node. In other ways its a disaster-area of fragmented codebases, copying-and-pasting, discarded development history and duplicated effort!

One thing is for sure, though: FPGA recreations of retro systems are becoming ever-more mainstream, and as new users come onboard and are introduced to the various Minimig cores in their current form, it would be shame if the pioneering work done during the project’s earlier days was forgotten.

I believe the information in this “Family Tree” is broadly correct but I’m sure there will be some errors – and even more likely, some omissions. Please leave a comment if I’ve missed out anyone important or if you spot any incorrect information.

2 thoughts on “A little history lesson

  1. Nice chart!
    I wonder whether parts could be broken out to make them more common to share development. like the TG68 itself, people seem to have copies of it in every repo’, rather than reference the original repository

    • I think that’s partly because the other projects were created before the official TG68K repo came into being, which was only a little over a year ago. We migrated Minimig to draw it in as a submodule when that became possible – but I guess plenty of other projects have yet to be updated to do the same.

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