[OpenBIOS] Even more findings to report about booting Mac OS 9

Tarl Neustaedter tarl-b2 at tarl.net
Sun Apr 17 02:09:47 CEST 2016

On 2016-Apr-16 19:17 , Programmingkid wrote:
> I added some code to the bootinfo_init_program() function in bootinfo_load.c file that changes all control characters to '\n'. This made Mac OS 9 boot. But when I changed the control characters to a single space, Mac OS 9 failed to boot. This seems strange to me. The space character is the ultimate whitespace character, so why would it fail when '\n' succeeds? My only guess right now is a bug with one of the words in Forth.

Well, changing end-of-line to space will probably fail for the following
standard words (doing a search through IEEE 1275 for EOL):


The last seven are supposed to be interactive commands, so no surprise
they need an EOL. "dev" is supposed to be as well, but it's too-widely
used in code (they should be using '" /" find-device' instead of 'dev
/', but poor programming isn't limited to C language). It's rare to see
a quoted string ended by end-of-line, but I have run into it.

I suspect that as Mark was suggesting, the CR vs LF is a red herring.
The issue is likely to be what happens to the return stack between
commands - the forth interpreter might trash the return stack between
commands - it could well be that in the process of parsing strings from
the boot code, it's resetting the return stack, and that's where we're
getting tripped up. Maybe some parsing code goes through a different
path for CR vs LF, for example. Apple's Forth code is known to take
advantage of Apple's interpreter's quirks, to the degree that plug-in
card manufacturers had to produce different code for Sun, IBM and Apple

It could also be that the parsing code is getting tangled up with this
code's use of "here", where it is allocating from the heap in the middle
of parsing. Perhaps the Forth parser is using the heap itself and things
are tripping over each other.

On the other hand, I can't think of much bad that will happen by
replacing all CR (0x0D) with LF (0x0A), other than some formatting
problems if you have code which is trying to be fancy with a spinning
wheel (sequence of  / - \ |). The main problem with that approach is
that we know something is wrong and we may be just hiding the problem.

One possible solution; take the boot-script code, and rather than
interpret it directly, try compiling it. E.g., before starting the boot
code, add:

: boot-script-container
<add boot code here>

That way we could separate the parsing of the forth source from the
execution of the forth. You'd have to watch out for the cases where
there are colon definitions already in the boot code, because the
openbios interpreter probably doesn't allow nested colon definitions. So
you might end up with something like

: boot-script-container1
<code from "here" to "release-load-area">

: do-translate ...
: release-virt ...

: boot-script-container2
<code from "1000 constant" to "go">

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