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Opening a dialogue for SpartaDOS Source Code

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Although not shown in the linked photos, mono is also very much involved in the project :)

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On 8/17/2020 at 8:05 PM, flashjazzcat said:

the proprietors of current SDX incarnations

At first glance I thought it was "the perpetrators" :)

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Unfortunately it appears that Mike Hohman has once again gone incognito and is no longer responding to emails. It's been a week since I sent an inquiry about SDX :( .

 

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Yeah. It's been a couple years since I have spoken with him.

He is a very nice man, but he tends to be a recluse.

 

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It's been probably more than a year since I last spoke to Mike. I did ask him at the time about releasing the SpartaDos source code that I have, and he said don't. He didn't care about the OSS stuff, and I didn't inquire as to why he didn't want the Sparta code let loose, since its commercial days are obviously long gone. I've tried leaving messages on his voicemail, which is still active, but it's apparent he no longer uses it. So I suppose it's up to those of us with copies to decide personally as to what we want to do with the code.

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Releasing the OSS code would be good (even OS/A+ and DOS XL, I have some weird little questions on _why_ the COPY command is so damned big).

 

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I spoke with Mike tonight and he’s going to think about it and let me know in a few days what he wants to do about SpartaDos.

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On 10/15/2020 at 11:30 PM, Alfred said:

I spoke with Mike tonight and he’s going to think about it and let me know in a few days what he wants to do about SpartaDos.

Its been 7 months, did Mike ever get back to you?

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Just reading this, if people here have contact info for Mike, I would appreciate it. The guy is a crook and ripped me off many years ago when he disappeared with several of my prototypes I lent him. Please message me if you can help. Thanks!

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11 minutes ago, cx2k said:

Just reading this, if people here have contact info for Mike, I would appreciate it. The guy is a crook and ripped me off many years ago when he disappeared with several of my prototypes I lent him. Please message me if you can help. Thanks!

What exactly did you lend him? If I can get back in contact with him I can ask him if he knows about this, and/or if he still has it.

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Unlikely he still has them. Curt Vendel had found his abandoned storage locker that was put up for sale years ago when he disappeared. Several people loaned him stuff including Curt and myself. He had an Atari XC-1411 color monitor and  several 1090XL cards that belonged to me.

 

 

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58 minutes ago, mytek said:

Its been 7 months, did Mike ever get back to you?

No, I've left a few messages on his voicemail and texted him and I've heard nothing in all this time.

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Just now, cx2k said:

Unlikely he still has them. Curt Vendel had found his abandoned storage locker that was put up for sale years ago when he disappeared. Several people loaned him stuff including Curt and myself. He had an Atari XC-1411 color monitor and  several 1090XL cards that belonged to me.

I do have his contact information, but that's not something I can give out without his consent. And although its been a while since I last spoke with him, I will try to reach out and see if I can find out what happened to your stuff. But please keep in mind that Mike was going through some terrible financial problems at the time, and there is a good likely hood that your stuff would have gotten lost in the shuffle of him loosing his business and storage due to no money for payment, and having to move out of California directly after. Basically what I'm saying is that Mike isn't the kind of person to outright steal from someone, although I know that's how a lot of people including Curt liked to perpetuate the story (I was going through some posts this morning from back in 2005-2007 where he did that very thing).

 

I also know Mike just like Curt (rest his soul) took peoples money in good faith as a pre-order for a future product, but neither one of those individuals probably thought that they wouldn't deliver, however that is apparently what happened. Obviously Curt had some medical issues that got in the way, and that is what I believe finally took him out of the picture. Mike of course didn't have that excuse, but loosing all your money, your place of business, and probably the place he was calling home can be just as impactful to delivering on one's promises. I'm not justifying, but just saying, life can deal you the short end of the straw sometimes. Bottom line the Mike Hohman I know isn't someone I would call a crook... just misguided and way in over his head at the time.

 

2 minutes ago, Alfred said:

No, I've left a few messages on his voicemail and texted him and I've heard nothing in all this time.

Thanks. I'll see if I have better luck via his email.

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When I talked to Mike last October, I did ask him why he was hesitant to release the code. So he talked a lot, people who know Mike know how that goes, but essentially he still thinks there is something to be made with it, and if he releases the code then that door is closed. I think he's seriously mistaken, if only the for the fact that DLT have released a superior version and Mike is never going to catch up. There is no market for commercial Atari products large scale and Mike is truly kidding himself if he thinks that sort of thing is possible. All I will say about him is that he works as a tech at a very large ISP.

 

Anyway, what's the point of releasing the source ? There is all kinds of source code on Carsten's wiki, and nobody has done anything with it in ten years. Jesus, there isn't even an 80 column editor for VBXE and that thing has been out since what, 2006 ? So the idea that anybody is going to study the Sparta code and do something useful with it is plainly wishful thinking, just like Mike. When somebody modifies Basic XE to use up to 1024K of banked memory, you let me know and then maybe I'll consider releasing the source to all the versions of SpartaDos in my possession.

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8 minutes ago, Alfred said:

When I talked to Mike last October, I did ask him why he was hesitant to release the code. So he talked a lot, people who know Mike know how that goes, but essentially he still thinks there is something to be made with it, and if he releases the code then that door is closed. I think he's seriously mistaken, if only the for the fact that DLT have released a superior version and Mike is never going to catch up. There is no market for commercial Atari products large scale and Mike is truly kidding himself if he thinks that sort of thing is possible. All I will say about him is that he works as a tech at a very large ISP.

Yes Mike is a bit quirky at times, but I know I and others are as well. However I think he's definitely being way too nostalgic to think he'll ever do something in this day and age with Sparta, especially considering how far the SDX project has already gone down the road. As they say, don't quit your day job ;)

 

8 minutes ago, Alfred said:

Anyway, what's the point of releasing the source ? There is all kinds of source code on Carsten's wiki, and nobody has done anything with it in ten years. Jesus, there isn't even an 80 column editor for VBXE and that thing has been out since what, 2006 ? So the idea that anybody is going to study the Sparta code and do something useful with it is plainly wishful thinking, just like Mike. When somebody modifies Basic XE to use up to 1024K of banked memory, you let me know and then maybe I'll consider releasing the source to all the versions of SpartaDos in my possession.

I totally agree with what you are saying. However from a historical viewpoint, it would be cool to have the original Sparta source in a public repository for reference as to how it began life back in the late 80's.

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9 minutes ago, Alfred said:

Anyway, what's the point of releasing the source ? There is all kinds of source code on Carsten's wiki, and nobody has done anything with it in ten years. Jesus, there isn't even an 80 column editor for VBXE and that thing has been out since what, 2006 ? So the idea that anybody is going to study the Sparta code and do something useful with it is plainly wishful thinking, just like Mike.

Seems you don't understand the importance of original source code. We don't need the source code for technical purposes. It is not too difficult to disassemble and, obviously, it has been reverse engineered already. But the original source code, with the original comments, may be with commented out code, has an enormous historical value.

 

Original source code (or original schematics for that matter) is simply invaluable and, sorry if I am being harsh, but I think that people that has original source code (not just Sparta Dos) and it keep it to himself, it not doing the community any favor at all

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4 minutes ago, ijor said:

Seems you don't understand the importance of original source code. We don't need the source code for technical purposes. It is not too difficult to disassemble and, obviously, it has been reverse engineered already. But the original source code, with the original comments, may be with commented out code, has an enormous historical value.

 

I guess I don't. I mean sure, it's fun maybe to read this once:

 

$title(SpartaDOS - Version 3.5)                                                
                                                                               
; 02-17-86                                                                     
;   Version 3.2 completed and released.                                        
;                                                                              
; 12-09-87                                                                     
;   Added Atari XF551 support for high speed and                               
;   double sided operation.                                                    
;   Source made compatible with the ICD XASM65 assembler.                      
;   Version 3.5 completed (never released).                                    
; 12-28-87                                                                     
;   Found and fixed update mode bug in RSLW.                                   
;   Between 12-09-87 and now, SIO has been kludged for INDUS,                  
;     XF551 and USD high speed mode.  Status command kludge added              
;     because INDUS accepts high speed commands normally and will not          
;     respond.                                                                 
;   Moved CLI instruction in SIO.  Caused lockup if errored out.               
; 12-29-87                                                                     
;   Updated source to use SEGLOAD functions just added to the assembler.       
;   Rewrote code in XERRORS.  Much shorter now.                                
; 12-30-87                                                                     
;   Finally have conditional assembly.  Modifying source to handle             
;     diskbased and cartbased DOSes.  Input flag is CARVER (1=cart             
;     based dos, 0=disk based)                                                 
; 12-31-87                                                                     
;   Removed minibuffers and increased speed for the file and drive             
;   data table save/restore routines.                                          
; 1-3-88                                                                       
;   Extensive rewriting and organizing so that cart version and disk           
;   version use same modules except for the boot code blocks for               
;   each version.                                                              
; 1-?-88                                                                       
;   Removed AINIT code and 256 byte buffer.  Rewrote the READY routine         
;   and update boot sector routines to not need the 256 byte buffer.           
; 2-5-88                                                                       
;   Combining of MENU program to SpartaDOS CP. Involves redoing GENIO          
;   module and much of the filename processing and formatted directory         
;   routines.                                                                  
; 2-15-88                                                                      
;   MENU and Command Processor fully combined.  Now have general error         
;   vector (GIO_ERROR) on GENIO.  All print statements also in that            
;   module.  The formatted directory listing has been generalized so           
;   that is useful from the MENU program.  In the process, some of the         
;   AtariDOS formatted directory stuff is lost.  Now working on Relocating     
;   Loader and Symbol Table.  Next step is to get ADOS.SYS as an external      
;   module!                                                                    
                                                                               
                                                                               
                                                                               
revnum  equ $35 ; SpartaDOS revision number                                    
    $if carver                                                                 
srevnum equ 'R' ; sub version number...                                        
    $else                                                                      
srevnum equ 'a' ; sub version number...                                        
    $endif                                                                     
                                                                               
exbufs  equ 16  ; Maximum possible number of buffers  

 

                        

but after that, so what. If somebody really wants to know the history, go ask Gustafson, he's on LinkedIn.

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Posted (edited)
31 minutes ago, Alfred said:

Jesus, there isn't even an 80 column editor for VBXE and that thing has been out since what, 2006 ?

Minor correction. The Last Word has had an integral driver which provides VBXE hardware 80 column support since about 2011. In addtion, any editor which outputs via standard CIO or SDX kernel device driver calls (FastBASIC, new SDX system text editor) can support hardware 80 column text by way of the S_VBXE driver.

Edited by flashjazzcat
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1 hour ago, mytek said:

But please keep in mind that Mike was going through some terrible financial problems at the time, and there is a good likely hood that your stuff would have gotten lost in the shuffle of him loosing his business and storage due to no money for payment, and having to move out of California directly after. Basically what I'm saying is that Mike isn't the kind of person to outright steal from someone... 

I can appreciate your views and of course, you can't compare the situation to Curt who was sick. But the reality is that Mike avoided my calls long before he had troubles that caused him to disappear. In fact, it got so desperate to get the items back that I sent him money to ship the items back to me. He gladly took the money and never shipped the items. Again, this was long before he had serious troubles.

 

So, I hope you'll understand my views and opinion.

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1 hour ago, Alfred said:

There is no market for commercial Atari products large scale and Mike is truly kidding himself if he thinks that sort of thing is possible.

 

Agreed. At this point it would seem if you aren't doing it for the love of doing it, you aren't going to be rewarded. I try to buy more than I would actually consider good value exchange from the Atari community, just to support it, but I don't see anyone making a living other than "last person standing" kind of situations list Best Electronics. The problem with something like SpartaDOS is that it is of value only to the true enthusiast, the hardware bound community. There's a much larger audience interested in the experience the 8-bits conveyed, but they can be satisfied by emulation and modern storage/usage. SpartaDOS isn't as important to them, when you can just drag a .XEX on top of Altirra - their interest revolves around the applications themselves, not the actual usage of the system.

 

1 hour ago, Alfred said:

So the idea that anybody is going to study the Sparta code and do something useful with it is plainly wishful thinking, just like Mike.

 

There are people interested purely in the historical evolution sense, how did it change over time and what were the motivations to that change. Sometimes pieces in a code base that were abandoned can improve over even newer versions, that kind of thing.

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1 hour ago, cx2k said:

I can appreciate your views and of course, you can't compare the situation to Curt who was sick.

I understand that, but he also put a tremendous amount of time and effort into the 40th anniversary booth at VCF, and at least in the video he looked to be quite healthy. One could say he probably should have been working on meeting a decade's long commitment to the people he took XM pre-orders from, instead of fragmenting himself by doing that show. However I do understand project burn-out, so he likely needed a good diversion, which preparing for that show would likely have done. Still...  I remember it didn't sit well with me when in earlier times he was putting Mike down for not meeting his commitments.

 

EDIT: Just so people don't think I'm being a total A'hole. Curt and I got along great, and we were working on some of the last little issues concerning the audio mixing circuit for the Pokey and the Yamaha chips in the XM just a few months before he passed away. If we had lived closer together, instead at opposite extremes of the US, I think we would of, could of, become great friends. None the less I still considered him a friend in spirit, although I only met him face to face one time many years ago. He is missed, and I often think about him, sometimes finding myself forgetting that he's no longer around.

 

EDIT2: I really shouldn't have gone off topic - Sooooo when and if I can contact Mike Hohman, I'll be sure to ask about the getting the source code, and maybe help him see the light on it being good for preservation.

 

Quote

But the reality is that Mike avoided my calls long before he had troubles that caused him to disappear. In fact, it got so desperate to get the items back that I sent him money to ship the items back to me. He gladly took the money and never shipped the items. Again, this was long before he had serious troubles.

 

So, I hope you'll understand my views and opinion.

I definitely do, especially considering what you just told me. Now more than ever I want to find out why Mike did that.

 

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4 hours ago, Alfred said:

I guess I don't. I mean sure, it's fun maybe to read this once:

Setting historical significance and preservation aside for a moment, comments in source for past revisions can be invaluable for understanding modern structure and how certain decisions came to be the ones that were implemented.  Given that we're now living in a world where 15-year-old kernel bugs permit attackers to take full control of a system, comments may be the only non-source insight into how this state of affairs came to pass.  And while I certainly doubt that there's much interest in escalating privileges on an Atari 8-bit machine running SDX, the basic theory of having something to fall back on when bug hunting remains relevant.

 

Besides, if you don't have the source tree, you can't grep it for naughty words.  And naughty words in the source tree are usually fun.

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2 hours ago, x=usr(1536) said:

Besides, if you don't have the source tree, you can't grep it for naughty words.  And naughty words in the source tree are usually fun.

You mean like this:

 

     lda    omode                                      
;    cmp    #omwrt+omrea    ; GODDAMN ATARI ASSHOLES   
;    beq    rerr        ; 2-20-86                      
     and    #omwrt                                     
     bne    posmid                                     
rerr      lda   #rnger                                 
      jmp   error                                      
                                                       
posmid  bit filpos+2    ; if filpos < 0 then error     
    bmi rerr                                           
 

There's really very little bad language in the code, Mike must have had the patience of a saint.

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I not long ago posted about some ICD catbox thing that the XM guy had complained about paying for that he never got.  Its somewhat ironic that history repeated itself for those who paid for the XM and never got it.  I don't see any difference between the two situations beyond I think a lot more people paid for the XM then the catbox.

 

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Well, we carefully preserve, archive and organize the software products and games. Why doesn't someone start a similar github - "The Atari Source Code Preservation Project" so to speak. Then people can donate source code to it for items of mainline interest as are being discussed here. Then we don't have to remember if person x has source code y and hope they are still alive.

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