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Sinclair BASIC comes to Raspberry Pi

Or Linux, Windows and Pandora

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The 80's are so now, as hot on the heels of the RISC OS' Raspberry Pi debut comes the equally retro-tastic news that the BASIC version used in the Sinclair ZX Spectrum can also run on the Pi.

The BASIC in question is SpecBAS, is a project run by a chap called Paul Dunn.

Full Pi support came to the project with the recently-released version 0.755.

SpecBAS is billed as offering “all the features of Sinclair BASIC” , but also adds the following:

  • Procedures, with both referenced and normal variable parameters
  • Flow control with DO..LOOP, WHILE..LOOP, DO..UNTIL
  • Better array handling, with variable BASE settings and FOR..EACH support
  • Better string handling with LEFT$, RIGHT$, MID$, REPEAT$ etc
  • Memory banks which can be loaded, saved and utilised to hold a variety of data types
  • Many, many more maths functions, with both radians and degrees support
  • Graphics with 8bpp in any supported resolution with full palette changing, rotation, scaling etc
  • Sound support with MOD/S3M/XM/IT/MP3/VOC/WAV etc
  • Turtle graphics, sprites, tilemaps.

The language also offers mouse support, which will sadly make the Kempston mouse redundant. On the upside, SpecBAS busts the 48K memory limit, which may or may not be a good thing depending on your appetite for large BASIC projects.

To get SpecBAS working on a Pi, you'll first need to run a linux distribution with hard floating point support. Raspbian Wheezy, the distribution recommended by Raspberry, fits the bill.

The software is free and available here. ®

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