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Slack is Now Available on C64

The team messaging app receives a port on the Commodore 64.

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Slack is a cloud-based messaging app designed around collaboration and co-founded by Stewart Butterfield, Eric Costello, Cal Henderson, and Serguei Mourachov. It began as an internal app for their company Tiny Speck, in the development of their now defunct video game “Glitch”. The name slack is actually an abbreviation of “Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge.” After Glitch, the creators realized the tool’s potential and began developing it for a range of different platforms. The latest such platform is 1982’s personal computer,  Commodore 64.

Software engineer and hobbyist game developer Jeff Harris created the C64 port, which runs native in 6502 assembly. The biggest problem for building his port was how to make the Commodore communicate with the internet. The C64 features something called a “userport”, a connector which far predates our modern USB ports. The port can however, communicate with a USB connector featuring RS-232, and so, Harris created a cable with a USB plug on one end and a userport plug on the other. This way, he was able to hook up the Commodore to a Raspbery Pi single-board computer, and use that to connect to the internet.

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I see no reason to upgrade

The slack client itself is written in 6502 assembly. The Raspberry Pi bridges the gap between old and new technology, using a NodeJS app to help the Slack API communicate with the old computer. The end result works without a hitch. You can see Jeff Harris’ video where he shows off the client, below.

source: 1amstudios

David F.
A grad student in experimental physics, David is fascinated by science, space and technology. When not buried in lecture books, he enjoys movies, gaming and mountainbiking

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