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Streck

The quest to use an Apple II+ as a viable VT100 terminal...

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At first, I was content to use my II+ as purely a game machine, but the perfectly-working Videx VideoTerm card led me to explore various applications involving 80-column text. One of these was to use it as a terminal to a Linux box.


There are, so far as I've found, two programs that might fit the bill: Kermit (Kermit-65, to be exact, v3.87), developed by the well-respected cabal at Columbia University, and DCOM 3.3, an ambitious effort by then-student at UCSD Jim Hayes. Both are available on the Asimov FTP site. Other communication apps like ASCII Express or ProTerm either don't run on the II+ or don't offer anything better than VT52 emulation at best.


Results from each have been mixed.


DCOM's Videx driver was all written by Hayes himself, and its initial implementation is, well...


FKTdASk.jpg


No, the vertical sizing on my monitor doesn't need adjustment - the VideoTerm stays obediently within the screen in all other applications. For whatever reason, Hayes' driver puts the VideoTerm's text out of bounds. The input bar for the IRC client is well below the white bar at the bottom.


The only way to compensate for this is to shrink the vertical size, which yields a distracting effect where text gradually gets longer as you go from top to bottom - and also renders the top inch or so of the screen unused. Look carefully:


Hx3XCWw.jpg


This, of course, has to be reverted back when I'm finished, lest all other games and apps look squished.


Hayes posted two different patches for the driver, but the first one seems to completely break the process - DCOM just asks me to switch to my output device, as though it doesn't even know the VideoTerm card is there - and the second produces garbage characters combined with an out-of-whack vertical sync. Not good.


On top of that, DCOM leaves, as far as I can tell, absolutely no way for you to input capital letters unless your II+ has the shift-key mod, or even up/down arrow keys, which are vital for certain UNIX/Linux programs such as Lynx.


So, it was time to turn to Kermit. Initially, it looked very promising - none of DCOM's awful video stretching! The display was as perfect as anything I'd seen on professional-quality applications like Magic Window II.


My joy was short lived...


OlgCkGU.jpg


The issue here seems to be with the VT100 emulation itself. The Kermit manual does in fact say that the emulation is not complete, but that seems to be an understatement. The scroll region in any IRC or chat program is limited to the bottom few lines, rendering those programs useless. You can see where the ASCII art that's supposed to say "irc.choopa.net" just writes over itself at the bottom. And there doesn't appear to be any setting in Kermit to tweak in order to overcome this.


It's quite a shame, because Kermit is wonderful in all other respects. The full character set is available for you to input (although, as with DCOM, I haven't determined how to input up/down arrows, or even if that's possible) and the VideoTerm display is top-notch. In scouring the Internet, I did find old USENET posts and scans of Washington Apple Pi showing evidence of a v3.88 of Kermit-65 - but that version seems lost to the ages... and, even if it were found, there's no guarantee that it would possess a more complete VT100 emulation. I also came across posts about NovaTerm for the C64 and other emulators that claimed to do VT100, but, like Kermit, fell short. Apparently this was not an uncommon issue back in the day: "true VT100" didn't always mean that!


So, I'm curious to know if anyone else has embarked on this crazy quest, or at least if they have any advice to share. I'm willing to accept the possibility that the II+ is juuuuust far enough on the trailing edge of technology to make what I'm after impossible... but I'm not willing to concede that until I've exhausted my options (short of writing my own Videx driver, because frankly, that's beyond me).

Edited by Streck
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Hi,

 

Will Modem MGR work on your Apple II+?

 

It's a fantastic terminal emulator, and features VT220 emulation. I use it on my //e, but I'm not sure if it requires the extra RAM or not.

 

http://apple2.org.za/gswv/a2zine/Utils/MMGR_PDOS_DSK.zip

 

 

It'll run, I just can't have VT100. From the documentation:

 

"VT220/VT100 emulation runs on the ProDOS version only and requires a IIGS, //c, or //e with Apple 80-column capability. This emulation will not run on the DOS 3.3 version or on a II+ or with other video cards."

 

:sad:

Edited by Streck

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It'll run, I just can't have VT100. From the documentation:

 

"VT220/VT100 emulation runs on the ProDOS version only and requires a IIGS, //c, or //e with Apple 80-column capability. This emulation will not run on the DOS 3.3 version or on a II+ or with other video cards."

 

icon_frown.gif

Ah, that's a shame. I do really like that one.

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I got as far as creating all four floppies for it, and running it, before discovering what I could've known if only I'd read the docs. :P

 

(Also, I see you're in CT as well. Head up route 8 to Carbone's Market in Torrington for the biggest sandwiches you've ever had.)

Edited by Streck

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So, here's what I have so far:

 

ASCII Express - VT52 only

MODEM.MGR - no VT100 on II / II+

VisiTerm - no VT100

Kermit - incomplete VT100

DCOM - bad Videx driver (two patches posted; neither worked for me)

ProTerm - indeterminate. II / II+ version not available for download; can do VT100, but unknown if this extends to II / II+ with Videx

Z-Link - no II / II+ support

 

The search continues...

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I got as far as creating all four floppies for it, and running it, before discovering what I could've known if only I'd read the docs. icon_razz.gif

 

(Also, I see you're in CT as well. Head up route 8 to Carbone's Market in Torrington for the biggest sandwiches you've ever had.)

 

I'll definitely check our Carbone's. I have a friend in Torrington so I go up there occasionally.

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Apple Access is a but ugly piece of software, but it does seem to do a reasonable VT100 implementation. If you get to adventurous in linux though you'll probably still confuse it though.

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Needs a //e or //c, doesn't it?

I'm actually not sure, the copy I have came with my Clone IIe.. I can't try it on anything else... It looks primitive enough to II+ plus I don't know for certain. Maybe early versions 1.0? They are prodos based though..so I guess thats a bit of a heads up..

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