Logic Simulator Atanua Goes Free, Possibly Open Source

The history of software is littered with developers that built a great product, gave people a reasonable option to license the software, and ended up making a pittance. There’s a reason you don’t see shareware these days – nobody pays. It looks like [Gates] had a point with his Open Letter to Hobbyists.

Such is the case with Atanua. [Jari] built a nice little graphical logic simulator that has tens of thousands of downloads, and is being used in dozens of universities. [Jari] has sold only about 60 licenses for Atanua, netting him only a few thousand Euro. You can’t develop software with a pittance, so now [Jari] is giving Atanua away. This neat little logic simulator has reached the end of its life, the license is free, and [Jari] is out of the business.

This isn’t an ideal situation, but [Jari] is strongly considering open-sourcing Atanua. The code is a little bit of a mess at the moment, and cleaning it up will require a bit of work. [Jari] is leaving the option to buy a license for Atanua open, and anyone who wants to see this bit of software open sourced could buy a license or hundred.

While this isn’t great news for [Jari], if you’re looking for a neat tool to learn digital logic, you now have a very nice free option. Atanua simulates individual logic gates, 74-series chips, and even an 8051 microcontroller in real-time (up to about 1 kHz), with enough buttons, LEDs, and displays to do some very cool stuff. It’s more than enough to learn digital logic on, and good enough for a test bed for some odd and bizarre projects you might have floating around your head.

Hackaday Links: Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

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Need to connect a male pinheader to male jumper wires? [Scoops] came up with a brilliant method using jumpers meant for dual-pin headers like on motherboards.

Atanua, a real-time logic simulator, was just upgraded for the first time in a few years. We’ve liked this one since way back. The changes mostly involve performance improvements.

You can see what’s inside of Google Glass without shelling out $1500 for your own hardware. [Thanks Itay]

Coding a Minecraft clone in x86 assembly is pretty impressive. We had to install nasm and qemu to get it to compile but it does work. If you don’t want to build the project just check out the demo video. There’s no sign of creepers but dig too deep and you’ll fall out of the world. [Thanks Dmitry]

Here’s a way to use multiple Google Drive accounts as a RAID array.

[Sick Sad] produced some really trippy photographs using long exposures with a laser line on a servo. The result is a photorealistic image of the subject (faces in this example) that looks like it was melted à la [Salvador Dalí]. If you’re just interested in using the laser for light painting check out Hackaday alum [Jeremy Cook’s] work in that area.

And finally, two monitors are better than one. [Bryan] put his both together in portrait orientation using a laser-cut mounting bracket of his own design.

Intermediate Concepts: Building discrete transistor gates

[Simon Inns] has put together a lesson in digital logic which shows you how to build your own gates using transistors. The image above is a full-adder that he fabricated, then combined with other full adders to create a 4-bit computer.

Don’t know what a full adder is? That’s exactly what his article is for, and will teach you about binary math and how it is calculated with hardware. There’s probably at least a week’s worth of studying in that one page which has been further distilled into the five-minute video after the break. Although building this hardware yourself is a wonderful way to learn, there’s a lot of room for error. You might consider building these circuits in a simulator program like Atanua, where you can work with logic gate symbols, using virtual buttons and LEDs as the outputs. Once you know what you’re doing with the simulator you’ll have much more confidence to start a physical build like the one [Simon] concocted.

Finding this project a little too advanced? Check out our Beginner Concepts articles to help get you up to speed.

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