Let's develop an open-source media archive standard

From: Dwight K. Elvey <dwight.elvey_at_amd.com>
Date: Wed Aug 11 14:10:31 2004

 Nether of these formats is totally a match for what we need.
These are all just data image formats for bits. None of these
describe the format of the bits. We can use the parts of these
specifications we like but what ever we use will still be
embedded as part of a larger file format. As Sellam says, that
format needs to be extendable to handle anything that comes
along. Both Intel HEX and Motorola S formats are such a small
part of the picture.
 One thing that could be done but I'm sure many will think
I'm crazy. If the files contained OpenBoot source code to describe
the data, one can then create almost anything one wants.
This would be something like how postscript files are done now.
These file would have code that would transform the data into
whatever format the user needed. One could extract the bit
stream to feed as raw information to a drive or simply extract
the sector data. Using something like OpenBoot code has the
advantage that the source is human readable, just as postscript
is human readable ( although tedious ).
 There could be some guide lines on standard ways to describe
common formats. These would also help other describe more
obscure formats.
 We need to remember that what normally comes out of a floppy
controller chip is not the actual data on the disk. The information
on the disk is a more complex. It contains things like special
marks for indexing, headers and even errors. These need to
be represented as well. We need to be looking at capturing the
raw data from the disk. And at methods of post processing this
to a form similar to what comes from the floppy controller.

>From: "David V. Corbin" <dvcorbin_at_optonline.net>
>You might want to consider Motorola rather than Intel.
>The only reason I suggest this is the motorola format alread has a (semi)
>extensible record type description [the second char of each line].
>S2 and S3 are already defined for 16MB and 4GB memory spaces...
>A (non-standard) record type "could" be used for media format, etc...
>Just my 16.3875 milli-EUR comment...
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: cctalk-bounces_at_classiccmp.org
>>>> [mailto:cctalk-bounces_at_classiccmp.org] On Behalf Of Cini, Richard
>>>> Sent: Wednesday, August 11, 2004 10:02 AM
>>>> To: 'General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts'
>>>> Subject: RE: Let's develop an open-source media archive standard
>>>> I haven't read the entire thread on this but I did read
>>>> Steve Thatcher's idea and it describes about where I was
>>>> coming out on this myself.
>>>> I might have missed what the ultimate use of this archive
>>>> would be. Will the archive be used to (1) re-generate
>>>> original media; (2) operate with emualtors; (3) both?
>>>> To ensure integrity of the data I would propose recording
>>>> the data in the Intel Hex format -- it's text-based and has
>>>> built-in CRC. Now, we'd have to modify the standard format
>>>> a bit to accommodate a larger address space and to add some
>>>> sort of standardized header (a "Hardware Descriptor"). This
>>>> data would be used by the de-archiver to interpret the
>>>> stream of data read from the data area (the "Hex Block").
>>>> I agree that a multi-layer approach offers the best
>>>> combination of platform neutrality and portability. I don't
>>>> really know if we need two or three layers as Steve
>>>> described to describe the file in a standard fashion. Using
>>>> an Intel Hex-like format would increase the "de-archiving"
>>>> time, but in my view it's a fair trade-off. De-archiving
>>>> software could translate the platform-neutral file into
>>>> another format better suited for use in emulators.
>>>> I think that we should start compiling a list of the
>>>> various media we want represented and how that media is
>>>> organized natively. I don't mean "well, it has blocks and
>>>> sectors" either. We should examine the exact format down to
>>>> the actual numbers (i.e., "2048 blocks of 256-bytes
>>>> recorded twice"). Seeing how the various data stores are
>>>> organized should bring some clarity to how we should represent it.
>>>> Just my $0.02.
>>>> Rich
Received on Wed Aug 11 2004 - 14:10:31 BST

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