PortAsm for M·CORE Frequently Asked Questions

Please note that PortAsm/68K for M·CORE is an older tool which is no longer supported. See here for our current range.

Do I have to buy a license to use PortAsm/68K for M·CORE?

No. Although PortAsm/68K is a proprietary and copyrighted product of MicroAPL Ltd, the version targeting M·CORE is being made available absolutely free of charge as the result of an agreement between Freescale Semiconductor and MicroAPL. So download PortAsm/68K for M·CORE and use it to get your 68K assembler code up and running under the M·CORE architecture - Freescale are picking up the tab! All you need to do is fill in Freescale's Registration Form before downloading.

Are there any restrictions on what I can do with PortAsm/68K for M·CORE?

Use of PortAsm is subject to a license agreement, and you should read this before downloading PortAsm/68K for M·CORE. As you will see, there are no restrictions on normal use of PortAsm/68K for M·CORE, but the product remains copyrighted.

Is translation totally automatic?

Not completely. In most cases you're likely to have to make some manual changes to the source, but these are usually limited in number and PortAsm will issue a Warning or Error message. Because PortAsm is a source-level translation tool, it is generally easy to see what is going wrong and how to fix the problem.

What about support?

Initial first-level support by e-mail is free. If you have queries regarding the use of PortAsm/68K for M·CORE, or if you are having problems getting started, send us an e-mail and we will try to help you. This free support service is limited to simple problems which we can answer without needing to understand the details of your code. Please be patient if we do not reply immediately to queries under this free service - we obviously have to give priority to customers who have subscribed to our full support contract.

If you are using PortAsm for a large-scale porting project, you should consider taking out a support contract. This will give you a 1 year membership of MicroAPL's PortAsm Support Service, by fax or e-mail. We aim to answer queries in 24 hours, and our customers tell us that the standard of our technical support is excellent. We also offer on-site support where our consultants can be on hand to assist your porting needs.

Is translation a one-off exercise?

Most of our customers maintain their code in 680x0 assembler, using PortAsm as part of their normal build process and thus retaining the ability to target either the original 680x0 target or a M·CORE processor. You can take advantage of specific M·CORE features by including M·CORE assembler in your original source, or by calling routines written in C or Pascal. However, if you want to do a one-off translation where you make subsequent changes in the M·CORE source, then you can do so.

What about debugging? Isn't it rather hard?

PortAsm includes a number of features to make debugging easy, including support for source-level debugging using the translated M·CORE files as 'source' for the debugger.

Can PortAsm handle in-line 68881 floating-point instructions?

No, at present PortAsm does not translate FPU instructions, but depending on how your application is structured it may be fairly easy to adapt the code to use an external floating-point library.

What about system software?

PortAsm can be used to translate system software (such as operating systems and drivers), but it does not automatically handle certain hardware-specific features and special operations like memory management. This means that the translation requires slightly more manual intervention than is normal for application porting.

What skills will our engineers need to carry out the translation?

No unusual skills are needed, but engineers carrying out the port will need good knowledge of 680x0 assembler. Before carrying out the work, they should acquire a general understanding of the M·CORE architecture and instruction set, and of the new runtime environment for the target system.

Are versions of PortAsm available for other porting problems?

Yes, PortAsm comes in a number of versions, including ones which translate 68K or 80x86 code to the POWER Architecture, and 68K code to ColdFire. Call us for more information on this and our other porting tools and services.