AppleDOS write support

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OCMoe
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AppleDOS write support

Post by OCMoe » Fri Mar 23, 2012 7:01 pm

Hi!

Just to finish off our wishlist of write support, we'd also love to see Apple support. Our devices range from Apple II (5.25) through all the Macs, so this is a rather large wish, given the multitude of formats. So just in case you were done with all the other wishes people have and are wondering what to do next, how about Apple write support? ;)

We did manage to create all needed disks for our Apple exhibition last year, but it was a major PITA (like, via CD -> PowerMac G3, then via Ethernet -> Performa, then write and hope the Mac 128k reads it), and luckily there are audio-based solutions for the Apple II. As you can see, there are ways around it, but it would be a real time-saver.

TeaRex
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Re: AppleDOS write support

Post by TeaRex » Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:20 pm

It's really not such a multitude of formats. Once you create an image, Apple 1.44MB disks can be easily written in a PC drive with rawrite.exe etc. That leaves just two: the 800k 3.5 inch format that was used both for old Macs and for the Apple IIgs; and the 16-sector "6+2" format that covers about 98% of the Apple II 5.25 inch stuff, including the ProDOS, Apple CP/M, Apple Pascal and DOS 3.3 operating systems. The only outlier is the 13-sector "5+3" format of DOS 3.1/3.2 and really old Apple CP/M versions, but they were so short lived (early 1978 to mid-1980) that I'd assume support for writing this format is not too high on anybody's priority list.

It's true that there are several common image formats for both the 800k and the 16-sector, but they all map to just those two physical disk formats.

And by the way, maybe instead of integrating write support for those, and D64/G64, and PC MFM, and all those CP/M formats, and Atari 8-bit XFD, and whatevere else: it would be better to have a really good IPF format documentation, so that other people could then program converters from those formats to IPF, removing the workload from the main SPS people. That way the KryoFlux software could stay closed-source, and other people could still contribute more than they do now.

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OCMoe
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Re: AppleDOS write support

Post by OCMoe » Sat Mar 24, 2012 10:45 am

That last suggestion is interesting. It would solve the "who wrote this sh*t?" problem (see MFM thread) as well. Only there should be a way to discern ad-hoc IPFs from true hand-made ones. Maybe add a variant named "IDF" (interchangeable duplication format) or so, which is 99% like IPF, just some other magic number or so.

TeaRex
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Re: AppleDOS write support

Post by TeaRex » Sat Mar 24, 2012 5:20 pm

OCMoe wrote:Only there should be a way to discern ad-hoc IPFs from true hand-made ones.
The obvious solution to that has been discussed before on this forum and, as I understand it, has been called desirable for some future time by the main programmers (but don't quote me on that): public-key kryptography. The IPF library would need to contain a list of digital signatures for all IPFs created by the SPS to date, and then new IPFs would need to extend the format a bit, to embed a signature. The library would also contain the matching public key, so that the API for checking whether any IPF is "real" or not devolves into a simple boolean-returning function call.It would simply link to libssl or some such to do the hard work. The private key would be retained by the SPS of course, so that only they can create good signatures. The dtc and its GUI could simply display some big fat red underlined italic bold inverse blinking :D warning cum discalimer before writing a non-SPS IPF file.

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AppleDOS write support

Post by mr.vince » Sat Mar 24, 2012 6:11 pm

TeaRex is da man...

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OCMoe
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Re: AppleDOS write support

Post by OCMoe » Sat Mar 24, 2012 11:19 pm

If it has already been discussed, I will not resurrect that discussion. I expect your/their solution will be solid, as usual.

Actually, I don't care too much about IPF authenticity, because that's of minor importance to us. For day-to-day operation, we need the ability to create custom media for all our exhibits with a single system (instead of jumping through hoops like shown above). That, and being able to take backups of original media. The latter works (assuming the backup isn't actually needed until write support has matured ^^), but any time we want to show something new, it's the old question of how to create the discs. Having a single system has another very relevant advantage: If it has proven the ability to write working discs once, there is one less source of errors to check for.

What we had to do for our Apple exhibition last year was a nightmare, including repairing floppy drives of the target system and finding a source system that writes discs actually readable by DD drives. And you never know if it's the target's drive, the disc, or the source's drive. What I described above was just the Mac 128k boot disc. Apple II and IIgs media were as bad, just in different ways (think bootstrapping a disk image transfer utility via audio and non-standard serial ports, adding another set of failure sources). I hope you can see why "work most of the time" is already a huge improvement.

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Re: AppleDOS write support

Post by TeaRex » Sun Mar 25, 2012 2:45 am

mr.vince wrote:TeaRex is da man...
Yeah, as long as just talk is needed and no action. :D

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