Let's develop an open-source media archive standard

From: Steve Thatcher <melamy_at_earthlink.net>
Date: Wed Aug 11 18:19:09 2004

Hi Fred, this is exactly what I have been talking about...

best regards, Steve Thatcher

At 04:02 PM 08/11/2004 -0700, you wrote:
>On Wed, 11 Aug 2004, Steve Thatcher wrote:
> > to re-iterate, the separate sections I am proposing let the emulator do
> > this very easily. Embed the format and the data together as pyhsical
> > information and then the matter of extracting a file for emulation
> > becomes difficult and not universal.
>That's an important point.
>Each person has different uses for it. Steve and I want
>something that is practical for file extraction (I could
>replace the sector read code in XenoCopy with some file
>And for regeneration, there is such a thing as TOO MUCH
>data. If you try to replicate a disk, where every single
>bit/flux transition is specified, it is not feasable.
>There is a reason for "GAP" fields! If you try to
>replicate the disk, you will not be able to recreate
>some of the mangled bytes in the write splice fields.
>Unless you are trying to replicate sopy-protection,
>you would be WAY better off storing JUST the data,
>and the specs of the format, and recreating the format
>instead of trying to replicate it!
>Instead, a 360K disk should have 360K of data, whether
>as 360K of binary bytes, or as 720K+ of ASCII hex dump,
>PLUS just the information that it is 9 512 byte sectors
>per track. Any exceptions to "standard" formatting
>could be documented in the header, OR within the data
>as necessary.
>For example, a DS Kaypro disk should have the head number
>field of the sectors on the second side wrongly set to 0.
>But OTHER people, such as the CAPS project feel a need to
>replicate every flux transition.
>Therefore, since this is an extensible spec,
>I propose that it have a multi-layer structure:
>(I realize that this will grievously offend those
>who are insisting on a single invariable structure!)
>Mundane mode:
>Header with physical format data, including a flag
>of whether the data is in binary or ASCII hex dump,
>followed by a stream of all the user data.
>In mundane mode, with trivial processing, a machine
>with an FDC could format the disk and write the
>data to it, for disks with no abnormalities.
>File size in binary mode would be only a few blocks
>(header) larger than the original disk.
>File size in ASCII hex dump mode would be 3 times
>the size of the original disk.
>Either file size could be reduced a bit through RLE.
>In mundane mode, one CP/M format could be trivially
>converted to another in cases where the number of
>reserved tracks and records per block match, just
>by stepping on the bytes per sector and sectors per
>track data!
>In mundane mode, reading alien disks consists of
>parsing the directory data on the disk enough to
>determine where each file starts and ends.
>Minimal quirks mode:
>Similar to mundane mode, but header could specify
>(IF KNOWN) any logical interleave, and simple
>variants from normal formatting (such as the
>Kaypro DS)
>Medium quirks mode:
>Specify the formatting for each and every sector
>Maximum quirks mode:
>Specify every miswritten byte, the contents of every
>gap and sector header field, etc. With minor processing
>and sent to a CatWeasel/Option board, etc. would produce
>a decent duplicate of the disk.
>A binary form of maximum quirks mode could look like the raw
>bit stream from a Catweasel/Option board.
>But for practical study, ASCII hex dump mode would be preferable.
>(look at the TE.COM program of the Option board)
Received on Wed Aug 11 2004 - 18:19:09 BST

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