Floppy preservation in 2016

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Floppy preservation in 2016

Postby AtariZoll » Thu Oct 06, 2016 2:27 pm

As we know floppies are barely used in last 20 years - somehow from time when cheap CD readers and writers arrived. Especially in last 5-8 years when new PC motherboards have no floppy controllers, so PCs are without practically useless drives too.
Of course, with retro machines it is different, but it seems that not that much, and there is less and less floppy usage gradually. Main reason would be low reliability of drives and now old disks - which aren't manufactured anymore. Prices of new medias are low, so economic factor is important too.
So, the main question here is: is it wise at all now to force preservation of floppies in form of faithful images, which can be written on other floppies including copy protections, non-standard formats and like ?
I write this in forum where surely this is most discussed and supported way of preservation. Although, count of people involved is not big. Of course, not much people own some of those devices like SCP, Kryoflux. And even not much people own lot of original SW. I really have no clue is number of active Atari ST and compatibles users changing, how is with aging machines ?
What see is that there is intention to share images by most. But there are some strange groups, persons who talk about copyrights and restrictions. What is by me just pathetic and really nonsense. WEB is full with images of DOS games, floppy versions, which are usually of later release date than some Atari ST game. And they have usually no copy protection - main complicator of whole preservation.
Things are that this are last years, probably last decade of floppy usage. And not only that. Machines are already too old, and need lot of fixing. And that will be just worse. So, the future is indeed in emulators - HW emulators like HxC floppy emulator, and even better FPGA clones like MIST. SW emulators too, but that's not much interesting here because they already use images.
Important is that none of it uses floppy disks and drives, contrary - some replace then (as weakest part). So, my point is that we should focus on that type of preservation. It is nice thing what SCP and Kryoflux, then older devices like DC could achieve, but that simply has no future. +, I'm sure that many people were never interested in making/having exact copies of originals. Will not go here in reasons - that was discussed several times. Just general question: must we consider as preservation only faithful strict copy of original floppy ? Answer can be yes. But then, it will be soon only for museums and SPS (Software Preservation Society). Average users, who want to play little on their oldies or HW clones want something cheap, reliable. And here we are at not exact copies. Some may say cracks. I don't like that word. I removed lot of protections, maybe most from all Atari people (although in easier way - most using Steem Debugger), but that was not to show my cracking skills and sending messages to copy protection makers, not to sell pirate SW and like. Only to make it usable with different media, to make it replicable, faster loading, less floppies and like. While doing it, I discovered lot of poor coding, even bugs, so there are fixes in many cases. Plus some trainers - funny thing is that there is some people talking against it - like it is mandatory to use optional trainers :D

In case of some mainly floppy oriented machine, as Atari ST it is still good to have some level of floppy support. Even if it can work well without it if there is some mass storage. Here I mean not using HW floppy emulator too. In last couple years I attach floppy drives barely - only for testing some floppy release - like this here: http://atari.8bitchip.info/ASTGA/P/potswco.php
That is great late Atari ST game, less known. Lot of time is spent on hard disk version, so I decided to use it and do floppy version too.
It has benefits over original: 1 floppy only - nothing is missing except unnecessary floppy swap request pictures. Selectable start level and unlimited lives options. And it is really welcome, believe me - game is pretty hard.
In any case, I really don't see why someone should play it from Pasti image instead that 'spiced' release. Unless thinks that it is more safe way. But it is tested completely. Too bad that it is not case with most of hard disk adaptations.
I prepare new Floppy Image Runner concept - where images will be not in RAM, but stored on special partition of Flash card. That has some nice benefits: less RAM needed, while speed will be still very good, possible to make very large floppy images - up to 32MB - imagine that then can put some 7 floppy SW on single image, so no need for floppy/image swaps. And will need not extra RAM in most cases - in other words RAM usage will be same as with floppies. despite using mass storage.

Finally, some thoughts about people making copies of own original floppies, even if it is available online. There may be some logic - they paid for it, and in most countries is legal to make it, but for me it is waste of time and risk to produce not flawless image. Only way is to share it, using shared - then we can filter out bad images much more efficient.
I hope that hosting problems will be resolved soon. SW support seems fine, and Pasti is again alive :cheers:
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Re: Floppy preservation in 2016

Postby EmpireAndrew » Fri Oct 07, 2016 1:57 pm

Preservation of any old content is very important.
And ti should be stored and offered up by as many people as possible.
Relying on someone who did the original floppy imaging to always keep their website up is not a good idea.
Anything can happen and it could disappear any time as have several links I've tried to follow in the past from posts on this site.

People get funny about you offering up images they originally made, which has me questioning their motives. You either spent the time doing it because you wanted to give to the community, or you did it for fame, to be a big fish in a small pond. Which is it? Why do you need credit or control?


As I've been buying old hardware and finally getting around to using what I already own I've been nothing but frustrated by the stuff I'm finding online.
And it comes down to 2 issues (for me):

1. Emulators.
I can't tell you how much stuff I've come across that was ripped in order to be run on an emulator and in the process of doing so has been put in a format that is inaccessible to the original hardware, or has been damaged. In the case of the ST there are floppy image formats that will only run in an emulator and can't be put back onto a floppy. That's insane. There is no argument strong enough to use such a format. I'm not storing any such images.

2. Preservation of file integrity
This is more an issue on non ST/PC file systems, such as Macs. People creating and uploading images with the best of intentions have done so by storing the files on systems that are not really compatible without adequate protection. An example is Mac files which consist of 2 forks, data and resource. When saved onto a non HFS style disk you lose the resource fork. This means that at best the system doesn't know what kind of file it is or how to open it requiring you to drag and drop everything, at worst the file is damaged beyond use.

3. Storing the images in a format that cannot be accessed by the original machine.
I see people storing images in 7zip archives because they are ever so slightly smaller than other compression systems or they just like 7zip (it's my favorite too but I don't use it for retro stuff). If I use my TT or an old 68k Mac to download stuff directly from the net and then can't open that file because it's compressed in a format for which a client doesn't exist on teh target system that's again insane. This is mostly down to users of emulators yet again.

4. DRM. This is a total PITA and preservation is another reason it should not exist. If stupid tricks were present on say a floppy disk such that a track can't be written by consumer hardware then having a disk image of it is pointless imho. At which point I prefer to preserve a cracked version.

5. Storing the images on a service that can't be accessed by old machines.
Some online storage places need javascript. If you click on a link to download a file it uses javascript to send you to the real unguessable link and streams the file down to you. This doesn't work on the likes of the Cab browser. It's also unnecessary.

6. Copyright saints
Self righteous types who have blindly accepted the laws on copyright which were created, and extended, at the request of big business such as Disney. I wouldn't offer up an image of something that is for sale by the author today for an old system. They should be rewarded and encouraged to continue their support of old systems. I have no moral issue offering up images of software that you literally cannot buy from the maker today, ergo they are not being denied revenue. To ensure they can still sell their latest product instead of ppl settling for older stuff I wouldn't offer up anything newer than about 15 years. If I was King copyright on a given version of software would expire 10 years after it was last sold or 15 years after it's initial release, whichever comes first. But I'm not King so some people who consider copyright and intellectual property (I hate that term!) as sacrosanct forever no matter what will try and report any site that offers such software. These are bullied people who have failed in life and want to lash out.



I'm building a large library of software for all sorts of retro (pre 2000's) platforms to put on several servers I host and mirror around the world.
I'm in the middle of building a site to front it that is designed to run on as low as a 640 pixel wide screen (as in without horizontal scrolling or any other page display issues) and does not need css or javascript (yes, the return of tables, or tables revenge if you will). I'll also be offering up the files via FTP and there is other stuff planned.

I'm also testing every image I've made or downloaded before I offer them up.
It's a slow process, but it keeps me out of trouble...


So what was the point of this long post?

Basically to encourage anyone and everyone to preserve and offer up whatever floppy images they can, but make sure it's in a format that can be put back on a floppy and can be read by software on the target platform.
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1991 Atari TT030, 2/64MB, Int 8GB Gigafile SCSI2CF, TOS 3.06, CaTTamaran Accelerator -> Atari TTM195 19" Mono CRT Monitor
1993 Atari Falcon030, 14MB, Int 4GB IDE2SD, TOS 4.04 -> Atari PTC1426 Color CRT Monitor
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Re: Floppy preservation in 2016

Postby lp » Fri Oct 07, 2016 2:55 pm

It's definitely frustrating going to google and getting a hold of bad disk image. Wasted over an hour the other day with a dud version of Paintworks. :( Then another point of annoyance is trying to determine the correct combination of video mode, system ram, TOS version, etc to get a particular old title to run. Has anyone ever thought to add like meta data or a comment section to these disk images with information regarding system requirements?

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Re: Floppy preservation in 2016

Postby EmpireAndrew » Fri Oct 07, 2016 3:06 pm

I'm adding such a section on my site, and I've seen it on some other Mac download sites.
I'm also adding a "verified on" section to mine.
1977 VCS Heavy Sixxer (Boxed)
1990 Atari 1040STE, 4MB, UltraSatan, TOS 2.06, TT Touch -> Atari SC1435 Colour CRT Monitor
1991 Atari TT030, 2/64MB, Int 8GB Gigafile SCSI2CF, TOS 3.06, CaTTamaran Accelerator -> Atari TTM195 19" Mono CRT Monitor
1993 Atari Falcon030, 14MB, Int 4GB IDE2SD, TOS 4.04 -> Atari PTC1426 Color CRT Monitor
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Re: Floppy preservation in 2016

Postby lp » Fri Oct 07, 2016 5:10 pm

EmpireAndrew wrote:I'm adding such a section on my site, and I've seen it on some other Mac download sites.
I'm also adding a "verified on" section to mine.


Nice. I look forward to your efforts.

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Re: Floppy preservation in 2016

Postby Steven Seagal » Fri Oct 07, 2016 5:17 pm

Originals, cracks, menus, demos, freeware, we want to save it all (as STX, IPF, SCP, MSA or of course STW). :)
That's preservation. For example, the Automation collection, with all its bugs and its silly scrollers, is an asset of the Atari ST.

What we don't need to do, is to keep bad versions of the same disk image if there's a good version (all the [a] in TOSEC). But that's much work to sort it out.

Of course, it would be silly to preserve 50 versions of a particular game while some other would remain missing.

And if we preserve originals, we need to copy the documentation too (passwords...).

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Re: Floppy preservation in 2016

Postby EmpireAndrew » Fri Oct 07, 2016 5:48 pm

Agreed. And yes, box art, manuals, all the stuff the SPS want is good. Of course if it's too onerous most people just won't bother.
And something is better than nothing for a given app/demo.
1977 VCS Heavy Sixxer (Boxed)
1990 Atari 1040STE, 4MB, UltraSatan, TOS 2.06, TT Touch -> Atari SC1435 Colour CRT Monitor
1991 Atari TT030, 2/64MB, Int 8GB Gigafile SCSI2CF, TOS 3.06, CaTTamaran Accelerator -> Atari TTM195 19" Mono CRT Monitor
1993 Atari Falcon030, 14MB, Int 4GB IDE2SD, TOS 4.04 -> Atari PTC1426 Color CRT Monitor
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Re: Floppy preservation in 2016

Postby JimDrew » Fri Oct 07, 2016 6:04 pm

7zip was chosen for compressing flux images for two reasons. First, the size is dramatically smaller than any other compression format - >10% better compression over standard zip. When you are dealing with thousands of large files (15MB or more for multi-rev dumps) that can mean a huge difference in total storage space that is required. Second, there are open source 7zip decompressors that can be integrated into applications. E-UAE, FS-UAE, and WinUAE (Amiga emulators) can open any .scp image that is in 7zip form directly. This means that you don't have to decompress any image you want to use before hand, you can just select and use it. I don't know if Steem has that capability, but if not, I am sure it wouldn't be that difficult to add.
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Re: Floppy preservation in 2016

Postby AtariZoll » Fri Oct 07, 2016 6:27 pm

Yes, surely is best to have it in all possible (popular) formats. And as Steven says keeping good ones, sorting out bad ones. Indeed lot of work, but that's important. Manuals are important too, but I don't think that passwords are so critical. That can be patched :D Missing instructions not.
Someone complained about using 7z packer. Myself do not hold on Atari anything packed even with simple ZIP - storage is cheap now, and no need to bother with slow depackers on Atari. But packing is used a lot, just that user should not think about it at all. In other words - depack it, and copy so on Atari medias - simple.
Then, accessing Internet with old machine is really not much present, and I think that only few people cares about it. There are efficient ways to transfer files, images on floppies and Flash cards.
File integrity: some use M5 checksums, but I think that simple ZIP, RAR or like does job well. So, why not storing so on oldies ? Because they are less reliable than some newer computer. Best is to keep files on multiple computers, cloud storage ...

With this thread I wanted to point that real floppies will be not much in usage in some years from now, except in rare cases.
So, even if many don't like idea, emulation - HW and SW wise, and images and not real floppies will be what waste majority will use. Unless someone will make FPGA clone with floppy controller :mrgreen: I bet that it will not happen.
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Re: Floppy preservation in 2016

Postby EmpireAndrew » Fri Oct 07, 2016 6:37 pm

7zip for flux images is different as old hardware (e.g. ST/TT) is probably not going to write said flux images as far as I know?

However I don't agree with using 7zip for "normal", disk images that are to be written to floppy for a real machine to use. i.e. an image I could download directly on an Atari and write to a real disk. And if it's a special format that cannot go to a real floppy but can be mounted only by an emulator that's a daft way to do preservation, tying the preserved image to a software emulator app instead of the real hardware. It should be in a format that is readable (and thus writeable to floppy) by the original hardware and having modern hardware (or an emulator) be able to read that same image is easy. Emulator only formats make no sense, at least from a preservation perspective (and I can't think of any other purpose for them either off the top of my head if I'm honest).

Obviously everyone can make images in whatever format they like and store them however they like, but if they're not directly useable by the original hardware without some sort of intermediate transformation by (what today is considered) a modern machine they're of limited benefit.
1977 VCS Heavy Sixxer (Boxed)
1990 Atari 1040STE, 4MB, UltraSatan, TOS 2.06, TT Touch -> Atari SC1435 Colour CRT Monitor
1991 Atari TT030, 2/64MB, Int 8GB Gigafile SCSI2CF, TOS 3.06, CaTTamaran Accelerator -> Atari TTM195 19" Mono CRT Monitor
1993 Atari Falcon030, 14MB, Int 4GB IDE2SD, TOS 4.04 -> Atari PTC1426 Color CRT Monitor
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Re: Floppy preservation in 2016

Postby JimDrew » Sat Oct 08, 2016 2:42 am

Flux images will never be usable by real Atari hardware without some additional hardware.

I am making a floppy controller (interface) for the FPGA Arcade Replay, which is getting an Atari ST/TT/Falcon emulation to go along with its other emulators. The Replay system core already supports .scp flux images.
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Re: Floppy preservation in 2016

Postby TheNameOfTheGame » Sat Oct 08, 2016 3:51 am

JimDrew wrote:Flux images will never be usable by real Atari hardware without some additional hardware.

I am making a floppy controller (interface) for the FPGA Arcade Replay, which is getting an Atari ST/TT/Falcon emulation to go along with its other emulators. The Replay system core already supports .scp flux images.


Well it is if written to a real floppy :wink:

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Re: Floppy preservation in 2016

Postby AtariZoll » Sat Oct 08, 2016 12:18 pm

quote="JimDrew"]Flux images will never be usable by real Atari hardware without some additional hardware...
[/quote]
Not only flux images, but STX ones too - one of popular questions on forums is "how to run STX on some Atari ?".
But I think that with some not so expensice extra HW, like HxC, most of images is usable, if not directly, then after conversion. In that case probably STX is in worst position.
And it made me to rephrase whole thing: beside floppy preservation we need to talk about user support here. Because whole preservation is almost worthless if it is not accessible for average users, without some extra investments. We have connection (Internet), so transferring SW is easy. Need to make in format what will benefit users. If preservation would be only for some academic circles, museums , there would be no need for many formats, new storage solutions, only for working retro machines, some count of good floppies and old monitors. But that's just expensive. We have nice computer museum in my town. There are much older working computers than Atari ST. But there are paid people to maintain them. So, I really don't get those talking about that only floppy is real way and like.

Back to all this format mess: on real ST with floppy drive you can write only few formats - ST and same format with different ext. like DSK, DIM, then MSA (just added header and simple packing). That is what is known. May be some less popular formats, there are some copy programs what can do more than writing 512 byte sectors, but all it is barely used, and simply not for copy protected things. No wonder - that was the intention - to make writing with Atari impossible. Even if image is made with bare Atari - like STX or less used STT, that is not writable with Atari in case of some better copy protection.
OK, some people want not to write it to floppies, but to run images - like with Floppy Image Runner . There are multiple reasons why can not do it on some Atari:
1: Machine is too slow to process it.
2. Atari is not PC, so not all floppy access goes via OS calls, but with direct HW access - what means that without changing SW code self you can not do it then. That's main reason why many SW works not with Floppy Image Runner.
3. Even if would do changes in code it is total bad idea - image takes lot of RAM, you need hard disk access, what is killed normally by games with direct HW access. So, use what is already done for mass storage.

Nobody tied images intentionally to emulators. You need to buy SCP for instance, and then can write it on floppies. Again, copy protection is what makes such images not writable with some Atari. STX is special case - possible to make image of protected SW on bare Atari. That has it's price. Still, not entirely impossible to write. But I don't think that today it should be some problem.
After all, people who want different (writable) images. let start thread with your demands for SCP, Kryoflux images of specific SW.
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Re: Floppy preservation in 2016

Postby dlfrsilver » Sat Oct 08, 2016 1:17 pm

The HxC is the answer, any IPF image can be read with it on a real ST or STE machine. The STX format is good, but only usable in emulation, you can't write them back in most cases.
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Re: Floppy preservation in 2016

Postby JimDrew » Sat Oct 08, 2016 2:24 pm

The HxC also supports .scp images, which are a better representation of a disk than an .ipf (which doesn't support 100% of all protections). The KF .raw would also be a better choice than an .ipf, and that is also supported by HxC.
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Re: Floppy preservation in 2016

Postby JimDrew » Sat Oct 08, 2016 2:26 pm

TheNameOfTheGame wrote:
JimDrew wrote:Flux images will never be usable by real Atari hardware without some additional hardware.

I am making a floppy controller (interface) for the FPGA Arcade Replay, which is getting an Atari ST/TT/Falcon emulation to go along with its other emulators. The Replay system core already supports .scp flux images.


Well it is if written to a real floppy :wink:


Exactly. An image itself is not usable without extra hardware (like HxC). A disk is not an "image". :)
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Re: Floppy preservation in 2016

Postby Steven Seagal » Sat Oct 08, 2016 3:57 pm

JimDrew wrote:7zip was chosen for compressing flux images for two reasons. First, the size is dramatically smaller than any other compression format - >10% better compression over standard zip. When you are dealing with thousands of large files (15MB or more for multi-rev dumps) that can mean a huge difference in total storage space that is required. Second, there are open source 7zip decompressors that can be integrated into applications. E-UAE, FS-UAE, and WinUAE (Amiga emulators) can open any .scp image that is in 7zip form directly. This means that you don't have to decompress any image you want to use before hand, you can just select and use it. I don't know if Steem has that capability, but if not, I am sure it wouldn't be that difficult to add.


Well, you should know as we discussed it at some point. Steem (SSE) supports 7zip since v3.7.2 because of the size of SCP images.

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Re: Floppy preservation in 2016

Postby JimDrew » Sat Oct 08, 2016 5:00 pm

Yeah, I went back and double-checked that after my post. I know we talked about it long ago, but I was not sure it had been implemented. Nice to see it was!
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Re: Floppy preservation in 2016

Postby EmpireAndrew » Mon Oct 10, 2016 1:19 pm

The problem with relying on something like HxC is that it is a niche bit of hardware.
When they stop making them and some lose theirs, they go faulty or whatever we are left with few options.
Millions if not billions of floppy drives were manufactured. No preservation effort should rely on 1 thing, especially if it's a niche item.
And a lot of us have no intention of fitting modern stuff into our old machines (I certainly don't) especially if it involves cutting or soldering (just as a for example). I did however buy a cartridge based ethernet port for my ST and my TT and installed CAB and FTP software so I can download directly to them.

Personally I don't see a problem with 15MB images, I have CD-ROM images that are 600 odd meg so...
And using 7zip, which cannot run on old platforms to squeeze another 10% out of the compression is not wise imho.
Unless... the destination of those images is modern hardware.

And it's not just 7zip. I have downloaded several pieces of software (most recently yesterday for a 68k Mac) that was compressed in a format of Stuffit (the main Mac compressor) that needs a higher version of Stuffit to decompress than is available on that platform. Obviously whoever created the image was well meaning, but they were also either uninformed about this stuff, or lazy and didn't care. Maybe they saved 10% on the compression, but at a time when storage is cheap does it matter if something uses 6MB instead of 5MB? Even if you have *1 million* items like that and saved 1 million megabytes that's only 1 Terabyte.

When dealing with retro stuff, we should stick to common retro formats. A chain of machines and OS's and software to download, decompress 1 or two levels of compression, and mount and write (to whatever media) is begging for trouble long term.
1977 VCS Heavy Sixxer (Boxed)
1990 Atari 1040STE, 4MB, UltraSatan, TOS 2.06, TT Touch -> Atari SC1435 Colour CRT Monitor
1991 Atari TT030, 2/64MB, Int 8GB Gigafile SCSI2CF, TOS 3.06, CaTTamaran Accelerator -> Atari TTM195 19" Mono CRT Monitor
1993 Atari Falcon030, 14MB, Int 4GB IDE2SD, TOS 4.04 -> Atari PTC1426 Color CRT Monitor
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Re: Floppy preservation in 2016

Postby AtariZoll » Mon Oct 10, 2016 1:46 pm

EmpireAndrew wrote:The problem with relying on something like HxC is that it is a niche bit of hardware.
When they stop making them and some lose theirs, they go faulty or whatever we are left with few options.
....

In case of HxC that should not happen - it is open source project. SW for sure. HW probably too - as I know at least 2 people assembled/sold it so far.
As real danger I see that you will have not where to attach HxC, or some other HW floppy emulator, because oldies with floppy port will stop to work gradually in next years.

Considering troubles with packers, depackers - I experienced similar things. But, you self said that storage space matters not now. So, why at all storing it in some ZIP, ARJ, Stuffit or whatever archive on retro machine's disk ?

I started with moving/converting Sinclair Spectrum SW from tapes to floppies, little later to hard disk. It was much-much simpler than in case of Atari ST. But I used some packing right from start. Was not big deal, because most of SW was singleparted - after start no more tape access. So, should pack only 1 file. It depacked pretty fast on ZX, without user even knew about that it is packed - like some SFX (executable depacker).

Here is one tip for compatible packing, probably not good for MAC, unless there is Total Commander (clone) for it: use ZIP packer of it with basic settings - STZIP will deal with such archives - but only if you are short with disk space.
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Re: Floppy preservation in 2016

Postby EmpireAndrew » Mon Oct 10, 2016 2:17 pm

Having something be open source is one thing, the ability to manufacture it is something else.
I have nothing against the HxC but I don't personally believe that its should be relied on to always be available.

As for why pack things at all, a fair point. In fact I don't pack ST images at present, if I did it would be with something like STZip.

For stuff that is not necessarily on floppy but is a collection of files then of course I put them into one archive for storage.

However, on some systems (and off the top of my head, Mac comes to mind) you have to pack a file, even a compressed one like a stuffit archive, contrary to some popular opinions on Mac forums, if you want to store the file on a non Mac HFS file system (e.g. a Linux FTP server) and preserve the forks. So you encode the file into a binary format that encapsulates both forks, like hqx or bin. You can safely store that on any system. The Mac, even the oldest ones, can decode that back to the sit file which will be completely intact and thus "double clickable" with the correct icon vs needing to be dragged on top of the right app to open it.

But I digress, this forum doesn't care about Mac problems, lol!

I'm personally not interested in any format that can't be written back to floppy and I'm not interested in any container format that can't be opened/unpacked on the original machine. That's just a personal opinion.
1977 VCS Heavy Sixxer (Boxed)
1990 Atari 1040STE, 4MB, UltraSatan, TOS 2.06, TT Touch -> Atari SC1435 Colour CRT Monitor
1991 Atari TT030, 2/64MB, Int 8GB Gigafile SCSI2CF, TOS 3.06, CaTTamaran Accelerator -> Atari TTM195 19" Mono CRT Monitor
1993 Atari Falcon030, 14MB, Int 4GB IDE2SD, TOS 4.04 -> Atari PTC1426 Color CRT Monitor
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Re: Floppy preservation in 2016

Postby KLund1 » Mon Oct 10, 2016 11:43 pm

I think this whole thing can be fixed by one or more of the really smart programming people here (I'm not one) writing a file converter program. It can take any crchive format and convert it to another format. It would include to and from a real FD. This program would have a version that runs on an 520ST to Firebee and another for Win/Mac/Lenix. Both would be able to do the same conversions. It would have to easily updated as new formats are started, or old ones found.
It would be great if all Atari ST users could agree to use a 'to be written ultimate archive file format'. But that is not likely. So we have to deal with what has been and what currently is. Hence the file convert program...
There are lots of Atari software repositories out there. Most are very good, but all serve different needs. The one place that seems, in my little opinion, that is a great place, but is VERY under utilized by the ST Atari world is Atarimania. It is actively updated with new versions of software people send to them. They vet the uploaded software pretty well. They accept corrections to errors when found, and verified. It can hold the manuals, and box art, and all can be downloaded. All with a usable front end. (Oh, I am not associated with them!)
Ultimate File Converter (to-be-written) plus AtariMaina might be our best combination.
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Re: Floppy preservation in 2016

Postby AtariZoll » Tue Oct 11, 2016 5:33 am

I don't think that some "any archive format converter" is realistic idea. Popular archivers are mostly closed source. Possibly can use some DLL in Windows, but question is how fast it will be available for latest methods. On Atari that would be huge work to implement them, and some will work extremely slow. Not to mention that they may fail because lack of RAM.
Solution is that people take care when packing it on their PCs, MACs, as said already.
Additionally, whole this archive issues are actually not part of floppy preservation. Yes, we need to store it somehow, but archiving self is just another area of expertise.
We have already utilities to create Atari floppy images from selected files and like. Ways, utilities to copy on Atari mass storage.
What we need is more people contributing. Here not mean programmers, but average users, who can do some tests, imaging ..
I see often people trying to make money by selling some rare original floppy SW, instead imaging it. There is still lot of titles without good copy of original.
Maybe we need more guides, up to date guides, placed on well visible locations (in online meaning).
English language is like bad boss on workplace: it expecting from you to strictly follow all, numerous rules, but self bending rules as much likes :mrgreen:

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Re: Floppy preservation in 2016

Postby Brume » Tue Oct 11, 2016 11:09 am

AtariZoll wrote:I see often people trying to make money by selling some rare original floppy SW, instead imaging it. There is still lot of titles without good copy of original.

Do you mean titles without any copy of original (missing dump) or bad dump? If so, do you have some examples?
Thanks.

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Re: Floppy preservation in 2016

Postby troed » Tue Oct 11, 2016 11:31 am

Brume wrote:
AtariZoll wrote:I see often people trying to make money by selling some rare original floppy SW, instead imaging it. There is still lot of titles without good copy of original.

Do you mean titles without any copy of original (missing dump) or bad dump? If so, do you have some examples?
Thanks.


Audio Sculpture? ;)

(I know there are people on this forum with originals, although I don't know if they're v1.4 .. )

http://www.atarimania.com/utility-atari ... 25173.html


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