Monotron - A 1980s Style Home Computer Written in Rust

By Jonathan Pallant

Rust is a systems programming language from Mozilla that’s been around a few years now. In this talk I will give an update on the state of Embedded Rust, and illustrate the talk with "Monotron" - a toy 'home computer' with a ROM written in Embedded Rust.

Monotron started out because I found I missed the simplicity of of computers like the C64 and the Apple II. I wondered - can I recreate something like that, but using the Cortex M4 devboard on my desk and as few external parts as possible? Could I generate VGA without a video chip? Could I render text without enough RAM for a framebuffer? Could I read from a PS/2 keyboard? Could I generate audio, while doing video at the same time? Most importantly, could I do it all in Rust, and run unit tests on an proper PC? And would it run fast enough to be useful?