Sinclair QL

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Sinclair QL

Postby MasterOfGizmo » Mon Aug 10, 2015 7:29 pm

There's a new core for you to play with. It's now available via github at
https://github.com/mist-devel/mist-bina ... r/cores/ql
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Re: Sinclair QL

Postby punkrulesok » Mon Aug 10, 2015 8:26 pm

that's great.
as an owner since 86, I'd love to see some QL games appear in digital format for use in Emulators.

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Re: Sinclair QL

Postby MasterOfGizmo » Tue Aug 11, 2015 1:32 pm

punkrulesok wrote:that's great.
as an owner since 86, I'd love to see some QL games appear in digital format for use in Emulators.


The QL community for some reason never agreed on a format to conserve the original microdrive cartridges. Most software is distributed as ZIP files which have to be unpacked on the QL using the QL version of ZIP since otherwise some magic header info from executables is lost.

I am using the mdv format that was invented for the QLAY emulator. It's basically for a microdrive what the SD disk images are for floppies: Just a dump of the data stored in the sectors.
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Re: Sinclair QL

Postby punkrulesok » Tue Aug 11, 2015 7:08 pm

yeah i've read that .. bit of a catch 22 situation sadly. it's how you get the unzip on the QL in the first place as it's zipped!!

I'd love to see a MDV version of the QL games Cartridge that came with the QL. Many an hour on Pirate or Breakout!

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Re: Sinclair QL

Postby punkrulesok » Tue Aug 11, 2015 7:09 pm

Something else ... I've got loads of original games in the box with my QL but the website i've found wants £5 for MDV versions, which is a bit much in my opinion.

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Re: Sinclair QL

Postby vebxenon » Fri Aug 14, 2015 9:54 am

Great :) Thanks for porting this new core :cheers:

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Re: Sinclair QL

Postby MasterOfGizmo » Thu Aug 20, 2015 6:07 am

vebxenon wrote:Great :) Thanks for porting this new core :cheers:


This is not a port of an existing core. It's a completely new one.
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Re: Sinclair QL

Postby MasterOfGizmo » Mon Aug 24, 2015 9:20 am

I am now basically done with that core. Technically and from a user point of view.

It's rather easy to re-do a QL in HDL. But there is no way to get access to some of the more interesting commercial games from back then. There's one distributor that tries to get in touch with all the original authors to agree on a distribution scheme. Some programs are released for free then. Some are made available commercially (anyone interested in an Atari ST to QL image converter for only 5 british pounds? Scroll down on http://www.rwapsoftware.co.uk/leisuresoftware.html). And the rest is sold in form of cracks converted to emulator packages as part of a commercial "update" service. Anyone else trying to do the same is threatened with legal action.

As a result none of the old software is available to people like you and me ...

I've put two game cartridges that are free to the repository and also a free remake of the operating system. But that's basically all you can do with the ql. Most freeware software is distributed in the form of ZIP files which need to be unzipped on the QL as some header flags are lost when using "normal" ZIP. That of course requires you to get a version of unzip onto the QL first ... don't ask me ...
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Re: Sinclair QL

Postby Newsdee » Mon Aug 24, 2015 1:09 pm

No wonder there aren't many QL emulators around. :(

Here's hoping a kind soul will get wind of the project and dump some cartridges...

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Re: Sinclair QL

Postby TomPhobos » Wed Aug 26, 2015 5:36 pm

Yes, the QL scene is really strict. But here you can find a DVD with some nice software, emulators etc.: http://www.sinclairql.net

There are also some games included. So at least you can check out the QL core with it :)

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Re: Sinclair QL

Postby punkrulesok » Fri Aug 28, 2015 10:28 pm

thank you for that site, i've never seen it.
QL dumps seems to be a business still .. £5 a Game. The problem with the QL, is that you can't unzip files on Windows, as it breaks the EXE headers.
Hopefully with that archive release, MDV images will spread.

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Re: Sinclair QL

Postby vebxenon » Fri Aug 28, 2015 10:29 pm

MasterOfGizmo wrote:
vebxenon wrote:Great :) Thanks for porting this new core :cheers:


This is not a port of an existing core. It's a completely new one.


Oh :-) Much better :cheers: Thanks for your great work!

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Re: Sinclair QL

Postby Newsdee » Sun Aug 30, 2015 4:02 am

I can't get this core to work... the red LED of the MiST just blinks forlornly :(

I already upgraded to firmware 150528, and tried both ql.rom and a renamed minerva rom...
Am I missing something?

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Re: Sinclair QL

Postby MasterOfGizmo » Thu Sep 03, 2015 7:36 pm

Newsdee wrote:I can't get this core to work... the red LED of the MiST just blinks forlornly :(

I already upgraded to firmware 150528, and tried both ql.rom and a renamed minerva rom...
Am I missing something?



The red one closer to the SD card slot? That means there's some basic problem with the SD card or the core file itself. How often does it blink? Anyone else had success with the core?
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Re: Sinclair QL

Postby vebxenon » Thu Sep 03, 2015 7:47 pm

MasterOfGizmo wrote:
Newsdee wrote:I can't get this core to work... the red LED of the MiST just blinks forlornly :(

I already upgraded to firmware 150528, and tried both ql.rom and a renamed minerva rom...
Am I missing something?



The red one closer to the SD card slot? That means there's some basic problem with the SD card or the core file itself. How often does it blink? Anyone else had success with the core?


I've tested the core for the first time, I'm using Minerva 1.98 rom. It works well :-) :cheers: Now I'm going to test some software.

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Re: Sinclair QL

Postby vebxenon » Thu Sep 03, 2015 10:10 pm

I see that this forum http://www.qlforum.co.uk/viewtopic.php? ... d&start=50 is now very active with the QL Core :)
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Re: Sinclair QL

Postby Newsdee » Thu Sep 03, 2015 10:44 pm

MasterOfGizmo wrote:The red one closer to the SD card slot? That means there's some basic problem with the SD card or the core file itself. How often does it blink? Anyone else had success with the core?


Yes, its the same as when there is no SD card. The card boots fine on another core though (ST), and this happens when I switch. I suppose I can try with a different SD card and an older version of the file.

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Re: Sinclair QL

Postby Newsdee » Fri Sep 04, 2015 3:38 pm

It was the SD card :oops: Now I can get it to boot and go to the screen with a blue background.

I tried using both roms available, but nothing seems to happen after I select an MDV cart.
Do I need to type a command to load it?

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Re: Sinclair QL

Postby MasterOfGizmo » Sat Sep 05, 2015 5:55 am

Newsdee wrote:I tried using both roms available, but nothing seems to happen after I select an MDV cart.
Do I need to type a command to load it?


Try reset from the menu after the mdv has been inserted so the ql can boot from it.
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Re: Sinclair QL

Postby rwap » Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:33 pm

Just came across this topic and there are a few questions here...

a) Getting software onto the QL. You can download zip files and unzip them from within an emulator - QPC2 (now freeware) and q-emulator are probably the easiest ones to use - and you can then copy the files onto a QL formatted floppy disk.

b) Getting unzip into the QL - read the guide on the Sinclair QL Homepage - http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/gen/pcqlxfer/index.html This includes a version of unzip which does not have the QL specific file header, and is self-extracting from within the QL.

c) More and more former QL commercial titles are being made freeware once the consent of the copyright holders is obtained. There have been over 120 titles made freeware since 2014 (although some are still missing in action) - they are then added to the Sinclair QL Homepage - http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/

d) Yes, I do offer a service to provide people with a working copy of commercial titles where they can prove to me that they own the originals. The charge of £5 basically is towards the time and expense involved in making working copies (from what are normally very poor condition microdrive cartridges), changing the programs to get them working from disk, expanded memory, other operating systems, and/or working from within q-emulator, and then the time spent providing support to the user once they get the copy.

However, if you order several programs, then I am approachable and normally package them together.

To be honest, not many people ask about the service, as not many people still have the original microdrive cartridges (although the manual, receipt or even an inlay will do).
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Re: Sinclair QL

Postby MasterOfGizmo » Thu Jul 28, 2016 8:41 pm

So according to d) you are basically earning your money as a commercial cracker of ql software ...

Is it true that you threatened someone operating a site with free ql downloads with legal action until he closed that site?
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Re: Sinclair QL

Postby rrmagro » Sun Jul 31, 2016 12:16 pm

rwap wrote:Just came across this topic and there are a few questions here...

a) Getting software onto the QL. You can download zip files and unzip them from within an emulator - QPC2 (now freeware) and q-emulator are probably the easiest ones to use - and you can then copy the files onto a QL formatted floppy disk.

b) Getting unzip into the QL - read the guide on the Sinclair QL Homepage - http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/gen/pcqlxfer/index.html This includes a version of unzip which does not have the QL specific file header, and is self-extracting from within the QL.

c) More and more former QL commercial titles are being made freeware once the consent of the copyright holders is obtained. There have been over 120 titles made freeware since 2014 (although some are still missing in action) - they are then added to the Sinclair QL Homepage - http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/

d) Yes, I do offer a service to provide people with a working copy of commercial titles where they can prove to me that they own the originals. The charge of £5 basically is towards the time and expense involved in making working copies (from what are normally very poor condition microdrive cartridges), changing the programs to get them working from disk, expanded memory, other operating systems, and/or working from within q-emulator, and then the time spent providing support to the user once they get the copy.

However, if you order several programs, then I am approachable and normally package them together.

To be honest, not many people ask about the service, as not many people still have the original microdrive cartridges (although the manual, receipt or even an inlay will do).


Since you need proof that the order made by a user has the originals do you in return show proof that you also have the originals and have a license to distribute them?

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Re: Sinclair QL

Postby squid4 » Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:44 pm

Is this core still being developer? I find it runs about 4x faster than a real QL. Still awesome work, it works great. Managed to get an old game of mine, "space pods" (published in QL World) I wrote 30 years ago, working on it using mdvtool, not much of a game but brings back so many memories!

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Re: Sinclair QL

Postby rwap » Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:02 pm

rrmagro wrote:Since you need proof that the order made by a user has the originals do you in return show proof that you also have the originals and have a license to distribute them?


These updates are in effect upgrades to the original programs.

In my opinion, it is not breaking copyright, as it does not increase the number of copies in circulation - it basically provides a support service (in the absence of any support from the copyright holder) to those who previously purchased the programs, but are no longer able to use them because of having moved to emulators, or the microdrive cartridges are corrupt.
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Re: Sinclair QL

Postby rwap » Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:11 pm

MasterOfGizmo wrote:So according to d) you are basically earning your money as a commercial cracker of ql software ...

Is it true that you threatened someone operating a site with free ql downloads with legal action until he closed that site?


No to both questions....

a) I sell maybe 3 or 4 copies of updates to original software a year - providing a support service where the original copyright holder cannot be found or has no interest in providing continued support.

b) As for legal action - I and several copyright holders asserted our rights over software which we own the copyright to and which was illegally offered for free download. The short version of the story is that the person operating the site initially refused to remove the copyright material (despite saying that they would remove it if approached by the copyright holders!), and then proceeded to smear my name (and that of my business) in forums, until we took stronger action to have the titles removed.

That person then decided to remove all of the software downloads from his site, rather than just the titles we owned the rights to, so that he could blame me for stopping all of the software downloads!

I continue to support the QL and have spent a lot of time tracking down copyright holders and obtaining permission (as required under copyright law) to make the old titles freeware or (where the copyright holder prefers) available again on a commercial basis. If you don't believe that - have a look at how many titles have been added to the Sinclair QL Homepage in the past 2-3 years mainly as a direct result of my efforts -
http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/history.html
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