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Armitage

Why I love JiffyDOS

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Hey all, hot off the press is a new video about JiffyDOS with a little background, demonstration, and benchmarking. Might be useful to folks who have never used it before.

 

 

 

Enjoy!

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A few comments:

 

  • I would strenuously disagree that the lack of dedicated disk controller was a disadvantage.  The lack of dedicated controller meant all disk access had to be "abstracted", since you could not access the direct hardware.  As such, the Commodore (like other machines that had such abstraction) has had the easiest transition to newer storage technologies, like the sd2iec.  Compare to the Color Computer and other units with dedicated controllers.  The sd2iec-like devices have to focus lots of attention on emulating the actual disk controller, presenting disk images of fixed sizes and format, as opposed to the native FAT32 functionality of the sd2iec.
  • Along with that, it's wasn't the lack of disk controller that prevented the inclusion of disk commands.  Commodore had placed nice disk commands in BASIC 4.0 (CATALOG, DLOAD, etc.).  They could have put the same BASIC in the VIC and the 64, but the disk drive was not considered a must have peripheral for the VIC-20, since it was primarily designed as a cartridge game machine, and so BASIC 2.0 was smaller and cheaper to implement and thus was included.  The 64 was essentially a VIC-40 in early stages of development, so the same thought was applied.
  • You espoused the value of the product, but didn't note how folks can legally obtain it. I'm biased, of course, but I think that's a good comment in general.
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4 minutes ago, brain said:

A few comments:

 

  • You espoused the value of the product, but didn't note how folks can legally obtain it. I'm biased, of course, but I think that's a good comment in general.

Buy it here: http://store.go4retro.com/

 

There is a downloadable option as well as physical.  I think I got "free" versions from somewhere years ago too, but finally paid go4retro for it to be more legit.

 

I have one C64 that is modded, so I use JDOS on my 1541 Ultimate AND whenever I use VICE.  It used to be an almost absolute requirement, but now that there is so much EasyFlash software out there it has fallen back a bit to something like . . . highly recommended.

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24 minutes ago, brain said:

Commodore had placed nice disk commands in BASIC 4.0 (CATALOG, DLOAD, etc.).  They could have put the same BASIC in the VIC and the 64, but the disk drive was not considered a must have peripheral for the VIC-20, since it was primarily designed as a cartridge game machine, and so BASIC 2.0 was smaller and cheaper to implement and thus was included. 

Actually BASIC 2.0 in the VIC-20 and C64 is based on BASIC 4.0 with the disk commands stripped away, but further optimizations and improvements. It is fairly common to think that BASIC 2.0 in the earlier PET/CBM machines is the same as BASIC 2.0 in the VIC/64 but it isn't the case.

 

Also I think it was mostly for cost saving measures Commodore stripped away 4K of disk commands from 4.0 for the VIC-20, not so much because it didn't need it. Since it was the first model with colours, sound, custom graphics and joystick inputs, if they anyway had 4K to spare they could have extended BASIC with commands for that, the space saved from removing the disk commands. But as noted, the lower production costs, the cheaper they could sell it. Besides, isn't there a wedge program on the 1540 Test/Demo disk? At least on the 1541 disk, there are two wedges, one for the VIC and one for the C64.

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1 hour ago, wongojack said:

Buy it here: http://store.go4retro.com/

 

There is a downloadable option as well as physical.  I think I got "free" versions from somewhere years ago too, but finally paid go4retro for it to be more legit.

 

I have one C64 that is modded, so I use JDOS on my 1541 Ultimate AND whenever I use VICE.  It used to be an almost absolute requirement, but now that there is so much EasyFlash software out there it has fallen back a bit to something like . . . highly recommended.

 

"brain" should be very familiar with that site, as I believe he is the owner!

 

Good job on the video Armitage.

 

I picked up a download version of JiffyDOS from  RETRO Innovations that I use for my Turbo Chameleon 64.

 

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2 hours ago, brain said:
  • You espoused the value of the product, but didn't note how folks can legally obtain it. I'm biased, of course, but I think that's a good comment in general.

Hi Jim,

 

I just tried adding a card in the video to link to your site but Youtube won't allow it until I sign up for their partner program which requires a minimum of 1000 subscribers and 4000 watch hours 😕  In addition, they have removed the ability to even do a text overlay (e.g. "See Description for Purchase Link") recently too. I'm sorry the link in the description isn't great but it's the only option I have available to me until (and if) my channel ever becomes a real boy.

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I have a legal copy of JiffyDOS in my EasyFlash 3 cart. Quite a nice improvement over stock. :) 

 

That said, it’s not really fair to pick on Commodore for leaving out disk commands from BASIC in the C64. Atari did exactly the same thing several years earlier. Standard Atari BASIC has a nice set of abstracted commands such as SAVE, LOAD, etc. but these are simply “hooks” that are pointed at CIO devices built into the OS. The only devices directly built into the OS that BASIC (or any language) can use are cassette storage via the C device; printing via the P: device; and directly manipulating the screen editor via the E: device. But it left stuff out of the OS itself that most users in 1979/80 weren’t likely to need such as disk access (D:) (disk drives were terribly expensive in 1980!), or RS232C serial access (R:). If you bought a disk drive or a modem, you booted a DOS disk to load commands into the OS for disk access; or connected your modem to a serial interface that loaded its own device handler into the computer’s RAM when the machine boots with the interface connected. 

 

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Great point. It's easy, and probably a mistake, to criticize these design choices in retrospect after using newer systems for the last 30 years. It's all about frame of reference. When I think about it, a lot of Commodore's contemporaries were the same way and it wasn't until the 16 bit generation that we started seeing real disk operating systems.

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29 minutes ago, Armitage said:

it wasn't until the 16 bit generation that we started seeing real disk operating systems.

 

What is considered a "real" disk operating system?  My first experiences with computers was the Apple II and its DOS was pretty much central to much of I did with it.  Mind you, late to the game I was, and I missed the days of mostly cassette operations with this system.  IIRC, Apple's DOS was bootstrapped from its on-board ROM and loaded from disk, but still all you needed was the interface card in slot 6 and you were off to the races.

 

Commodore machines of the era which had BASIC 4.0 in ROM included disk operating commands.  Those days also saw dual disk drives like the 8050.  (I have a B128 and 8050 in my possession I need to get running for display, should we ever have a VCF again.)  BASIC 4.0 notwithstanding, all Commodore BASIC and Kernal ROMs include the basic functionality to manage disk drives: LOAD, SAVE, OPEN#, PRINT#, etc. all include the necessary logic for BASIC to access disk drives; CHROUT, CHRIN, and other Kernal routines give assembly programs access to disk.  Using disk drives on a Commodore requires no additional software to be loaded or RAM to be sacrificed, other than optional DOS "wedges" which graft disk operating shortcuts into BASIC.

 

All in the 8-bit world.

 

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I'm not super familiar with Apple II. Didn't you have to boot ProDOS from a floppy? How much was implemented in ROM? 

 

What I meant by real disk operating system was where you have a full set of user-friendly commands to move, copy, rename, delete, format, navigate directory trees, etc. without loading any special software. While you can do all of that with OPEN in BASIC, it's not what I would consider user friendly to the lowest common denominator set of end users.

 

I was specifically thinking of the Amiga when I wrote that but later realized that it wasn't a good example since it still loads the OS from disk. The ST has all those functions in ROM, but doesn't really expose a CLI. So in retrospect, it's comparing apples to oranges.

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For that timeframe, I would prefer the architecture they used for DOS (i.e. some sort of ROM-based boot loader, and the bulk being loaded from updatable media). How many versions of DOS did ATARI themselves release? How many other versions have been around for the 8-bit series? If it was embedded in ROM, also taking up space in the memory map, it was have been much more difficult to update.

 

The AMIGA had the Kickstart boot, that loaded what would become ROM, from floppy, back when the 1000 was released. IMHO, it was the correct choice for the product, at the time.

 

Today, we'd use things like flash-ROM, but that wasn't the state of the technology back in the 80's. The ATARI OS was actually well thought out for adding functionality to the system, over time.

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I kind-of guessed at that, but preferred your answers to my suppositions.  I, too, thought about including Amiga, but left it out as 16-/32-bit.  For your criteria, then, I submit the Commodores with BASIC 4.0 as an early 8-bit example of built-in DOS functionality.

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1 hour ago, Armitage said:

I'm not super familiar with Apple II. Didn't you have to boot ProDOS from a floppy? How much was implemented in ROM? 

Nothing. There were nothing in DOS related in ROM for the entire life of the Apple II series. The difference between a II and II+ and later was that there was a hook to look for a Disk II interface card. A few bytes at best, which requested DOS be loaded from a disk if present.

 

And the very same applies to ProDOS. All loaded into RAM at startup. Thankfully the drives were fast and booting DOS was no big deal.

 

There were third-party add-in cards that let you put DOS in ROM.

 

1 hour ago, Armitage said:

What I meant by real disk operating system was where you have a full set of user-friendly commands to move, copy, rename, delete, format, navigate directory trees, etc. without loading any special software. While you can do all of that with OPEN in BASIC, it's not what I would consider user friendly to the lowest common denominator set of end users.

I'd consider ProDOS and Copy II+ (utility) to fit the bill nicely here. Except of course you're loading into RAM. I also argue that this loading-into-RAM thing was a good thing. Allowed for amazing flexibility in a time when computers were first finding their way.

 

 

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18 minutes ago, Keatah said:

I also argue that this loading-into-RAM thing was a good thing. Allowed for amazing flexibility in a time when computers were first finding their way.

Certainly makes upgrading DOS easier, as well as rolling back if/when needed.

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2 minutes ago, OLD CS1 said:

Certainly makes upgrading DOS easier, as well as rolling back if/when needed.

 

Yes that. And all sorts of little customizations, fast-dos, big-dos, hi-mem dos, and loads of copy-protection and tools to defeat it.

 

Messing with DOS on the Apple II was a whole game in and of itself.

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1 minute ago, Keatah said:

fast-dos, big-dos, hi-mem dos

heheheh this got the Armor hot dog commercial going in my mind :)

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I'm so old I still have real CMD ROMs for the C-128 and 1571. (which is rather amazing since so little of original stuff has survived)  One of these days I'll upgrade the C-64c too.

 

 

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