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morelenmir

SpartaDOS X 'distros'

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I think FlashJazzCat runs the 'http://www.atari8.co.uk' "A8" website?

 

I wonder if he could explain to me the differences between the version of SDX446 that comes from the official website - with a SIDE flasher - and the SIDE ROM available from A8?

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Yes - that's me. Right now there is no SDX446 for SIDE 1 on my website. SDX445 is there... simply because I haven't done 446 yet. The more recent SDX build is available for SIDE2, though.

 

EDIT: and if it's the technicalities of flashers you're interested in - please check with Trub. There were so many issues with and confusion regarding flashers in the past (and now two different base addresses for SIDE / SIDE2) that I now just leave this stuff to others who know more about it...

Edited by flashjazzcat

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Hey flashjazzcat!

 

Before I even started using Altirra I became interested in IDE for atari 8bit after looking through your site and It is only recently I realized you and a8 were one and the same!

 

Really I was just trying to get a hold on the SDX releases and the different versions there are. In the base SDX446 archive for instance there is an atr file that flashes SIDE with the newest DOS version. I am not quite clear how that release is different to the finished-article ROM that you allow for download from a8. The same case is true for IDE+. I am guessing you include extra tools and drivers on your versions that are not included with the official SDX distro?

 

To be honest I am not quite sure about all the different ROM images that come with SDX either... Often you get an atr flasher, a ROM and sometimes a CAR file as well, all for the same device. It puzzles me greatly!!!

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I tend to change the contents of CAR: (the SDX ROM volume) by adding the odd extra program and updating the drivers. Only my distributions can be guaranteed to contain the latest soft-drivers... and this is only natural since it's always hard to keep things synced on different websites. Consider the official builds on the SDX website perfectly usable base versions. I wouldn't expect the DLT team to obsess too much about getting hold of the latest SIDE drivers from me before putting up the images for download. I change the drivers often, anyway.

 

Honestly, it was getting pretty time-consuming creating SDX ROMs containing these SIDE/MyIDE drivers for different platforms (on top of keeping Incognito/U1MB PBI drivers up to date), so I just provide the essentials now and assume that all but the most casual users will get hold of the SDX Imaging tool if they want to build customised ROMs which deviate from those I provide.

 

As for ATRs, ROMs and CARs... CAR images are usually for emulators, ROMs are the "raw" binaries which you edit with the SDX Imager, and ATRs are the finished flashers (which themselves include the aforementioned ROM files).

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MANY thanks sir - that does make it all a lot clearer!

 

I am going to have to have a proper look at that SDXImager programme. I recall WAY back in the late eighties when I first got a 1050 there was a thing called something like the "SpartaDOS Construction Set" which 'Page 6' got very enthusiastic about and that sounds like it may have been a predecessor of the modern day app. I did gave it a fair try when I was attempting to get on top of the whole 'MaxFlash studio' process for MyIDE/II, but sadly I just couldn't get a good hold on it and I didn't really have the patience to persevere at the time. Could you perhaps point me in the direction of a good tutorial? Also, do you get the various drivers you include from the websites of their manufacturers or are they a special - I guess Assembler - project of your own?

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I believe the "SpartaDOS Construction Set" was simply a description of the disk-based SpartaDOS 3.x distributions, possibly so called because the DOS came in several different configuration flavours. It bears no relation to the modern SDX Imaging tool, which is a Windows application written by Trub (IIRC), the sole purpose of which is to edit modern SpartaDOS X ROMs.

 

Perhaps you're remembering some other SpartaDOS-oriented software?

 

As for the SDX imaging tool: I think it's simplicity itself to use, but I don't know any tutorials as such. Perhaps you could ask Drac030 or Trub?

 

Regarding the drivers: they're my original work, and yes - they're written in assembler.

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Once again, hat well and truly off to you sir!!! Part of my motivation to get back into the Atari 8Bit was I thought it would give me a fairly simple introduction to assembly language that was necessarily limited by the hardware itself. I hoped I could then transfer the techniques and perspective to PC assembler... Still working on that!

 

I'll go and give the imager another try - I guess I must have been looking at in the wrong way.

 

The article I am thinking of was to do with the reviewer getting a 20mb external hard drive. I think he talked about how he used the Sparta DOS construction set to 'roll his own' DOS to run it. I am thinking back to 1990 though... A second-hand copy that was initially out in something like February 1988 I think!

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Heh... yeah - it's an ongoing project of mine to try and transfer my programming skills to the PC too. ;)

 

I remember a Supra hard disk review in Page 6 magazine (I still have the issue) which stated that the review drive came with MyDOS because Frontier Software had problems licensing SpartaDOS. That was a back-issue I'd ordered after I started reading Page 6/New Atari User in 1988... ah, the memories. :D

Edited by flashjazzcat

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As for the SDX imaging tool: I think it's simplicity itself to use, but I don't know any tutorials as such. Perhaps you could ask Drac030 or Trub?

Unfortunately there is no such tutorial (or any other documentation :(). So I have yet another todo ;)

In the meantime please ask if you (morelenmir or someone else) have any problems with the imager tool.

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That was the one!!! I recall the 'Supra' label - it came in a large metal enclosure and was unthinkably large at 20mb for those days! I guess I must have conflated a couple of articles together in my mind. I actually have that magazine too - my uncle gave me a couple of Page6's when he delivered my 1050 and MANY boxes of... Lets say 'archived' disks from his local cracking club!

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Wouldn't say no to one of those 20MB Supras (and I have the source code for the PBI ROM here), but I have NEVER seen one since. I guess at those prices (around £700), few people bought them over here in the UK - or anywhere, for that matter.

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Also, when you think how much £700 was back then... I don't know what the exchange rate would be but easily ~£1500 now perhaps? Maybe more? Wow...

 

Given a few pointers by avery I have finally got SIDE working in Altirra with the 446 flash installed. This is probably a really simple answer, but each time I exit to basic and then attempt to go back into DOS I get "Disk error while saving memory!"... It sounds like the RAMDisk is not working, although I get no message to that effect when booting SDX.

 

I have set up a 20MB disk in Altirra, partitioned it and formatted. The system being emulated is a 128k 130xe. I am still floundering with the SDX commands though, although I have managed to get my basic programs transferred onto the hard disk.

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AUTOEXEC.BAT add these two lines.

___________________

SET BASIC=B:BASIC.SAV

SET CAR=B:CAR.SAV

-------------------------------

B: is an example drive could be any partition on the installed hard drive.

  • Thanks 1

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MANY thanks rdea6! That was getting under my skin a little.

 

I am going to give customizing the SDX rom another shot. My next question is then, once customized how do you package the rom file up as an atr to flash the SIDE cartridge?

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More info need:

What SDX product side or side2

???

several methods of including into an atr...

 

Use Makeatr and open the existing atr and install rom there after deleting original rom.

Post here your rom and let someone do it for you..

 

EDIT: I just remembered you are using an emulator for this IF so just close emulator and replace the previously saved SDX ROM with the new rom of the same Name.. then start emulation again..

Edited by rdea6

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MANY thanks rdea!!!

 

I kept plugging at it this evening and came up with pretty much the same process you suggest - although in a circuitous way, mainly because makeATR would not read the sdx446 flasher atr directly. Starting with the side ROM from the official distribution I removed the MAN files, which on an emualtor are not especially useful as the full pdf manual is only a click away. That left more than enough space to house the APT tools and a few of the sdx tool utilities. So far so good!

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x.00 96 02 E8 B3 00 01 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
x.10 00 03 00 30 E0 07 4C 80 30 06 00 40 0B E5 05 02
x.20 04 00 5B 05 11 00 54 6F 6F 6C 6B 69 74 20 D0 00
x.30 21 00 01 7E 00 01 E6 65 45 00 00 00 00 00 00 00

 

MakeAtr does not like the 21 in the forth line of the ATR.at byte 48... SDX44x version 21 code.. Previous and file versions of SpartaDos have a 20 there and I think that MakeAtr was coded before SDX442 came out of development also MakeAtr doesn't know about file sizes over 16MB.

So if you have or can get a HEX editor open the offending Atr and make that 21 into a 20 and save change..... then try opening the ATR again with MakeAtr..

Edited by rdea6

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VERY useful info rdea - I'll give it a shot in EditPad Pro. I'm guessing the same is true for all the other sdx atr's it didn't like such as the tools disk and so on?

 

Yep! Works a treat, which simplifies the task somewhat. Previously I was having to open the original disk as 'D1:' in Altirra and then copy its contents using a SDX cartridge on to a new disk made in makeATR and mounted as 'D2:'! Possible, but tedious.

 

A question about flashjazzcat's APT tools. Does the 'mount.com' from those supersede the 'mount.com' which comes with the official sdx SIDE ROM?

Edited by morelenmir

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rdea6, you mentioned yesterday that in order to squash the "Disk error while saving memory!" message I needed to alter the autoexec.bat files. Which does work indeed. However, reading the spartados x manual it mentioned that by default a ramdisk is set up. It also says those environment variables you mentioned are set by default to point to the ramdisk. Now, as I am getting that irritating message does it mean that a ramdisk has not been set up by spartados? When I attempt to change to device 'O:' - the default ramdisk - I get a 'Device does not respond' error. Again, this would also point to the default ramdisk not firing up?

 

Answering my own question again!

 

It looks like the varieties of SDX for SIDE/II IDE+ and so on do not have a 'DEVICE RAMDISK' line in their default config.sys. Putting the rapidly becoming indispensable "SDXImager" to use again I edited the appropriate line, re-packaged and then flashed... And there is the Ramdisk! Better still the "Disk error while saving memory!" no longer appears.

 

I am starting to feel like I finally have a bit of a handle on old SDX446!!!

Edited by morelenmir
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Yes this is true, but since a hard disk with 512 bps is nearly as fast as a ramdisk l tend to not use the ramdisk for programming and have my source and SAV files go to a partition (drive) #.. This also keeps me from having to remember to save the ramdisk to FLOPPY SIO or partition..

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The hard disk is generally faster than a RAMdisk, in fact, since unbuffered IO is possible.

 

MOUNT.COM hasn't changed much of late, but you won't get more up to date than whatever is found on my website.

Edited by flashjazzcat

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I'll swap that out the next time i reflash than flashjazzcat.

 

I've got a good one this time... You guys probably know Avery/Phaeron has recently added 'Axlon Ramdisk' feature to Altirra. Is it possible to get SDX to use the Axlon ramdisk instead of using up system memory with its soft-ramdisk? To be honest I am not sure at all how you even use the Axlon. Something to look up for general use also - I guess there might be a specific SDX drive to use in a "DEVICE=AXLON" config entry for instance?

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Right you are Avery! I think it only works when Altirra is running in atari 800 mode though. A bit of further reading suggests the physical axlon could only be installed into an a800 - so I wonder if at some point in a future test version it might not be a bad idea to grey out the Axlon option unless 800 hardware is chosen?

 

Next question (Altirra specific) - 'MapRAM', any takers??? Roll up, roll up - in for a penny, in for a pound and so on!!!

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Next question (Altirra specific) - 'MapRAM', any takers??? Roll up, roll up - in for a penny, in for a pound and so on!!!

 

AFAIK, this is a bizarre invention which reveals 2KB(?) of RAM under the hardware registers at $D000-D7FF on a modded (non-standard) machine. As it's only available on a handful of modded Ataris, it's of limited practical use.

Edited by flashjazzcat

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