8" floppy project

From: Tony Duell <ard_at_p850ug1.demon.co.uk>
Date: Mon Aug 9 16:59:10 2004

> Tony's point is very well taken, and you seem to have missed it, and
> substituted something else that Tony did not even imply.
> First of all, a pure DOS computer is a VERY handy tool to have around. At

Agreed. I will admit to running an MS-DOS machine here (actually, I run
several, but most of them are totally non-PC-compatible, things like the
DEC Rainbow, HP110, HP150, etc). And yes, I do use it.

But I don't want to _depend_ on it. In other words while I use it, and
while it is often the most convenient tool to use for what I use it for,
I don't save data in a format that requires that I use a PC to recover
it. I could, in principle, write a program to interpret the file on any
machine that was capable of physically reading the media.

> least it is for me. There's a lot you can do with a simple DOS box and
> some good tools (like ProComm for example).
> But to use Teledisk as the de facto standard for archiving floppy disks
> would be an awful mistake, not the least of which is because Teledisk, as
> Tony rightly pointed out, does not deal at all with GCR disk formats.

Does it handle single density disks correctly?

What about controllers at a non-standard address (Modern PC controllers
handle a maximum of 2 drives, but you'd probably want to have at least a
5.25" 40 cylinder (360K), a 5.25" 80 cylinder (probably a high density
one), a 3.5" 80 cylinder, mybe a 35." 40 cylinder (yes they do exist!), 8"
single sided, 8" double sided, 3" single-head 'flippy' , 3" double head,
and maybe even things like 3.25".

> Any format that is going to be adopted as the de facto standard for
> archiving disks (and other media) must be able to handle ANY format, and
> must also be OPEN, DOCUMENTED, and most importantly, NON-PROPRIETARY.
> I think this is pretty much what Tony said.

Indeed it was, even if I didn't express myself clearly.

My objection is not to PCs, it's not that people use PCs (I do so
myself). It is that I don't want to be _forced_ to use a PC. And I
certainly don't want to find a PC in 20 or so years time to recover the data.

If the format is open and documented, then if you, say, want to archive
an Apple ][ disk, then the Apple ][ can read the disk and squirt the
archive data over a serial port to, say, a PC. It can then be saved on
disk there, in a docuemtned format that could either be sent back to
another Apple ][, or used with a software emulator, or used with a
programt that could extract infromation from the archive (say it could
turn a printable text file into a PC text file).

To give some idea of what I mean (and this is no way a universal
solution) you might look at my LIF Utilities for Linux (on the HPCC web
site). This is an ongoing project which started off as a way to archive
HP9114 disk images (the disk drive used with the HP41/HP71/HP75
calculators) on a linux PC. It then grew, with me adding filters to turn
HP LIF1 format text files into normal text files, to produce printable
listings of HP41 programs, and so on. And I'll add more when I have time.

OK, I used a linux PC _but I documented everything_ (and open-sourced the
progrmas for that matter). If you don't like linux, well, don't expect me
to write a version for your chosen OS or computer. But I have given you
the information to write it yourself -- the file formats are all

Received on Mon Aug 09 2004 - 16:59:10 BST

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