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Chipmaster Chuck

November 25, 2008

Chuck MooreCharles "Chuck" Moore is the designer of the SEAForth 40C18 and a principal at Intellasys .

He invented the Forth programming language which became in the 1970's and 1980's a sort of Zen school of programming.

Chuck has been sneaking out the back door of The Way Things Are ever since he got tired of picking up tipped FORTRAN card trays in the 1960's. Around 1990, his independent spirit led him to code his own x386 protected-mode operating system, ColorForth (assembled in MSDOS DEBUG one instruction at a time), and then replace the entire toolchain of microprocessor design software with his own ColorForth tools, producing working chip after working chip along the way.

Chuck spoke briefly by phone on Nov. 25.

Jack: For me the fact that you could do it, climbing up your own toolchain to fab your own chips, overshadows what the chip actually does.

Chuck: I'm very proud of what I've accomplished.

Jack: Is VentureForth your own, your disciples, or some combination of ...?

Chuck: My environment is ColorForth on Intel exclusively. There's a little "creative tension" there.

Jack: Is that because you can't be constrained by their tastes?

Chuck: I suppose, but mostly because they like Windows. Windows is complicated. Things are not simple anymore.

I'm not much enthralled with the industrial complex. I'm getting a nine-chip [SEAForth] board and hope to make that my ColorForth development computer. Once I have the development environment up, and a browser and email under ColorForth, I'll be totally independent.

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