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Amoeba: newly discovered proto software

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I recently acquired a batch of APX disks, and one of the disks appears to be unreleased prototype software. I have no idea what it is supposed to do. A utility of some sort? Let's figure it out.

 

It is labeled:

AMOEBA

© 1982 atari inc

REV # Prototype

SERIAL # 21

 

post-803-0-12893300-1491258026_thumb.png

Amoeba.atr

Amoeba_kyroflux.zip

post-803-0-13857100-1491258138_thumb.jpg

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ok, so first of all, it needs OS B, will not work in XL or XE. When placed in memory, it displays something very much like an in-memory debugger.

 

-Thom

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ok, so.. definitely a combo of an in-memory disassembler and re-assembler for doing quick patches to code that's been assembled into memory.

 

-Thom

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Oh! I should have though of using OS B given the copyright date. Duh.

 

Backstory: not interesting. I bought this on ebay as part of a batch that had some unpreserved APX disks. I have asked the seller if s/he can give me more info, but haven't heard back yet.

 

-Kevin

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When I run it from DOS 2.0S under Atari800MacX, after I enter a two-digit number I get THANK YOU PLEASE WAIT, then it hangs or crashes.

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after I enter a two-digit number I get THANK YOU PLEASE WAIT, then it hangs or crashes.

 

What memory location are you putting it at? I used 38 and it crashed, but it worked at 40.

 

Bill

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What memory location are you putting it at? I used 38 and it crashed, but it worked at 40.

 

Bill

 

40 works!

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Well, I just loaded it with DOS 2.5. I used 60 (based on long-ago fooling-around-with-tiny-ML-routines memories as a teenager) and it worked.

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ok, so first of all, it needs OS B, will not work in XL or XE.

 

Interestingly, it will work in Altirra with 600XL/800XL or 65XE/130XE hardware selected and Altirra OS for XL/XE/XEGS. It doesn't like 1200XL or XEGS hardware with this OS, though.

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Starts good in version 3.0 :-)

 

post-32599-0-49562000-1491271419_thumb.jpg

 

 

As Thom said, an debugger like DDT and BUG/65...

 

With Select one can switch...

Edited by luckybuck

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I've made a video showing it's usage and workflow:

 

 

Enjoy.

 

p.s. took longer than expected, because OBS and Altirra DO NOT like playing with one another!

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Man - that would have been great to have something like that in ROM rather than the self test. I'm sure there's way more than 2K of code. Could this by chance be used in place of built in BASIC?

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Wow, this actually looks like it could be a useful tool for current development - I'm kind of inspired to try it out for developing my PBI handler. Not knowing how complete or bug-free it may be is a concern, of course...

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Looks like the mini-assembler, and patching functionality already set this debugger above most of the others.

 

-Thom

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Would be great if we could discover the author. Given the early date, I'd assume it would have had to be an internal Atari project.

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keep digging this was not the last rendition of Amoeba if memory serves.. I don't remember it as a protoype but it should have a serial number in this case the custom vtoc says prototype 21 but 21 is actually the serial number of the program disk, not the revision of the prototype... The name said it all, it could be be moved about in memory and could muck about with whatever was in memory... and you could even move it after your program ran into it's space and continue on. Leave and pick up where you left off... Thom you are doing an excellent explanation of the Amoeba toolkit, I really do enjoy watching this. Please play with Amoeba just a bit more :). How high have you moved it in memory and what memory expansions have you tried axlon/mosaic? Wonderful work.

Edited by _The Doctor__
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keep digging this was not the last rendition of Amoeba if memory serves.. I don't remember it as a protoype but it should have a serial number in this case the custom vtoc says prototype 21 but 21 is actually the serial number of the program disk, not the revision of the prototype... The name said it all, it could be be moved about in memory and could muck about with whatever was in memory... and you could even move it after your program ran into it's space and continue on. Leave and pick up where you left off... Thom you are doing an excellent explanation of the Amoeba toolkit, I really do enjoy watching this. Please play with Amoeba just a bit more :). How high have you moved it in memory and what memory expansions have you tried axlon/mosaic? Wonderful work.

 

Ok, you need to spill. What do _you_ know about it? Particularly the Patch functionality? :)

 

-Thom

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tschak909's questions, plus : how did you know about it? Did it get out of Atari internal use, or were you inside Atari?

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it's almost like somebody wanted something as close to a full ICE (in-circuit-emulator) system as they could get, and was willing to pull off some crazy gymnastics to make it work (For those of you who haven't dabbled in 6502 machine language coding, making code to _EXPLICITLY_ set processor flag states in EACH possible state is not trivial, it takes a lot of crazy gymnastics to do so for some flags in some states.)

 

-Thom

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