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CASIOWIN is the name of the Operating System used on the Prizm and other Casio calculators. Note that despite the name being the same across devices, CASIOWIN is actually quite different from system to system, even though the editions on newer models are usually the result of the evolution of the previous model edition. In the case of the Prizm, its CASIOWIN is the result of the port of fx-9860G’s edition of the OS to a SH7305 CPU, high-resolution color screen and big flash (with a new filesystem for the storage memory).

On the Prizm, the OS is located in flash from address 0x80020000 to 0x80B5FFFF (a bit over 11 MB) - that is, from after the bootloader to before flash regions that are used to store data that varies from device to device, like currently selected add-in language, user information (that is shown on power off), Main Memory backups, and of course, the Storage Memory.

Features unique to the Prizm #

Here are some features of CASIOWIN which were introduced with the Prizm, some of which have not yet found their way to updates for older models:

  • Full-color, high-resolution screen support;
    • Color picture displaying in proprietary format (g3p);
    • Colored graphs;
    • Color-link on Statistics and Spreadsheet;
    • Brackets coloring on certain expression inputs;
    • Addition of a color option to lots of things.
  • Status area (current angle unit, display mode, complex mode…);
    • Battery meter on the status area, along with “battery type” setting;
  • USB mass-storage function (previously, link software was necessary);
  • “Proper” flash file system, with support for sub-folders (3 levels on the native OS file browsers, theoretically unlimited in custom add-ins);
  • Support for Chinese language (the OS includes Hanzi/kanji, Hiragana and Katakana characters);
  • Dual screen (Graph+Graph or Graph to Table);
  • Inclusion of more fonts

Start-up/shutdown processes #

Note: this is very incomplete, things may be in the wrong order, etc. More investigation is needed.

Cold-boot start-up #

This is what happens when the OS starts up for the first time after batteries having been removed, after the RESTART button is pushed, or when a software reset is performed.

After execution jumps to the OS entry point, thanks to the bootloader, it proceeds to initialize various memory areas, mounts the storage memory file system using the Fugue API, loads MCS and setup backups from flash, if they exist (at this point the brightness is set to the user-chosen level) and shows a set-up wizard where users can choose for example language, display brightness and battery type. This wizard is shown even if the users have already set these settings and the OS still remembers them; it is skipped on the “fx-CG10/20 Manager” emulator. Finally, the Main Menu is shown.

User-requested standby #

After the user presses Shift+AC/On, GetKey calls PowerOff with its parameter set to 1. This way, the Casio logo is shown. After a delay for showing the logo, the current VRAM, stack, heap, setup and MCS contents, are saved to flash and the code for coming from the standby state is copied to RS memory. The screen is turned off. After this, the CPU enters R-Standby Mode, where all peripherals are turned off, clocks are halted except for RCLK and power is cut to most CPU areas except I/O areas. The contents of the RS memory and some registers are held in memory.

User-requested power on after standby #

After the user presses AC/On, an interrupt is generated, the CPU is woken from R-Standby, and the interrupt handler code that was copied to RS memory on power off takes care of turning on the screen, displaying the busy-indicator, and restoring the stack, heap, VRAM and MCS contents. Possibly Setup is not restored because it is stored on RS memory which was kept, it only is backed up on shutdown in case batteries are removed. Finally, the program execution continues, and the PowerOff syscall returns - application execution continues. If the responsible for calling PowerOff was GetKey, to the running application the result is no different than any other call to GetKey.

User-requested power off #

There are no known methods for safely powering off the calculator to the point where no state on the running application is kept. The recommended method is to issue a user-requested standby, which saves the important RAM areas, then take off the batteries. Since RS memory is not kept, the next boot will be a cold one, and only MCS, setup and possibly other settings will be restored from flash, but not the stack or heap.

Add-in software and language #

The OS supports add-in software in the form of g3a files and add-in languages in the form of g3l files. (It also supports BASIC scripts that are stored in Main Memory, but they are much less powerful than add-in software.)

The g3a files consist of a header, containing the add-in name, icons, other values and checksums, followed by the executable binary. More information can be found on G3A_File_Format.

The g3l files consist of a header, containing the language name and other values, followed by a list of multi-byte_strings.

To date, Casio released five official software add-ins (usually simply mentioned as “add-ins”): Geometry, Picture Plot, Conversion, Physium and ProbSim. The first three add-ins were released on launch day, with Conversion being just a placeholder that the OS checks to enable the conversion function on the built-in apps. Physium was released with OS 1.03 and that is the lowest version it will run on. ProbSim was released with OS 2.00 but can work on earlier OS versions.

With OS 2.00, Casio also released the Russian language add-in, which seems to work with problems in earlier OS versions. More information on add-in versions can be found on Versions_and_versioning.

For a long time (since at least April 2011) the community has been able to run custom machine code in the form of unofficial add-ins. Since then, dozens of unofficial add-ins have been developed (possibly over a hundred), with varying degrees of stability, user experience and OS integration.

Add-ins use OS functions as syscalls. Most OS functions, even insignificant ones, appear to be exposed as syscalls, but apparently certain libraries (such as zlib, included for decoding and encoding of g3p pictures) are not exposed. Most system settings and flags can (and should) also be read and set using syscalls, but there are some omissions (see for instance SetGetkeyToMainFunctionReturnFlag).

Syscalls are called by jumping to address 0x80020070 with a syscall number in r0, and after the syscall is executed, execution jumps back to the calling function. More details can be found in the article Syscalls and a list of the known syscalls can be found here.

Shared libraries are not supported by the OS. This means each add-in has to be statically linked to any necessary libraries, and the only external code is in the form of OS-provided syscalls.

Structure in memory #

The OS is stored in Flash as a single connected binary which contains the machine code to be executed and data used by it (messages, bitmaps, etc.). Unlike what happens with full computer operating systems and some other embedded systems, the OS doesn’t use a filesystem to store its assets and built-in applications; these are stored entangled with the OS code. Some things like the syscall table and language data have a fixed offset in memory that stays constant between OS versions, but these are in the minority.

Data stored by the OS such as Main Memory backups, backups of stacks and heap for the User-requested standby function, and owner name / organization pairs displayed when going into standby also have their own fixed, dedicated locations in Flash, separate from the Storage Memory filesystem. This has its advantages: such data does not take storage space, operations like the backing up system state for standby never fail due to lack of storage space, and are generally faster since they do not have to deal with filesystem overhead (including potential problems like fragmentation of state files).

In terms of RAM usage, usually fixed allocation is used (i.e. each thing has its own preset location), and even though the OS has a heap, it is small compared to the size of the stack, and accounts for less than 7% of the total RAM address space. Many variables and assets change address depending on the OS build, but are constant for a given build - the addresses appear to change at the whim of the compiler used. It’s possible that things that haven’t changed until now, like the VRAM address, will change in the future versions (hence the need to use syscalls like GetVRAMAddress). Some variables of interest and locations of resources can’t be retrieved using the known syscalls, meaning indirect means of obtaining such information must be used (see SetGetkeyToMainFunctionReturnFlag for an example).

Process and task model #

The OS does not present any multitasking or multithreading mechanisms, other than Timers, which at a stretch can be considered a very basic multithreading mechanism. A predefined number of “processes” is supported. For more information, see the article Processes.

OS versions #

See the article Versions_and_versioning.

Secret key combinations #

See the article Secret_Key_Combinations.

Behavior on program error #

See the article Error_handling.

Locale #

See the article Locale.

Bitmaps #

A notable part of the flash occupied by the OS is used to store bitmaps, from icons and screen backgrounds, to font glyphs. See Bitmaps for more information.

Checksum #

The OS has a checksum at address 0xA0B5FFF8, which is the sum of the bytes in the address range 0xA0020000 to 0xA0B5FEAF plus the sum of the bytes in the address range 0xA0B5FEF0 to 0xA0B5FFF7. The checksum is verified by the bootloader and possibly the OS itself, and in case of a mismatch special behavior will be triggered, like entering a emergency OS update mode.