Enabling ALT-RAM flags?

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Fujiyama
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Enabling ALT-RAM flags?

Postby Fujiyama » Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:21 am

Which software is used to enable the ALT-RAM flag so that programs can be assigned to use that instead of the regular ST-RAM?
I've got a MonSTer board in my Mega STe and want to make some software (like the "Thing" desktop) use part of that 6MB ALt-RAM memory instead.

I did find a German CPX module called "Change flags" which appears to do what I want, but selecting a combination of "fload", "lalt" and "malt" without any explanation has left me confused.

By the way, can any software be configured to use ALT-RAM? It would for instance be great if Notator SL could use that 6MB of additional memory I now have!
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Re: Enabling ALT-RAM flags?

Postby vido » Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:30 am

Thing desktop is a software in which you can set ALT-RAM flag :)

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Re: Enabling ALT-RAM flags?

Postby Atarieterno » Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:44 am

Please; where can I download that CPX module "Change flag"?

P.S. Musical samplers programs could also get a huge benefit from that memory expansion. For example in the TT I have 256 Mby of TT-RAM.
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Re: Enabling ALT-RAM flags?

Postby ThorstenOtto » Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:02 pm

You can also use the "flags" utility from the mint binaries, "prgflags" from the TOS developer kit, or "runopts" from Gemini. All are command line tools.

Fujiyama wrote:but selecting a combination of "fload", "lalt" and "malt" without any explanation has left me confused.


"fload" means fastload, ie. only the memory used by the program is cleared on startup instead of all memory. This flag is available since TOS 1.04. "lalt" means "load to ALT-RAM", ie. the program itself is preferably loaded to ALT-RAM. "malt" means "Malloc from ALT-RAM".

Fujiyama wrote:By the way, can any software be configured to use ALT-RAM?


Not generally. If it allocates some memory that must live in normal ST-RAM (like video buffers for double-buffering, or disk transfer buffers used for DMA), and is not aware of Mxalloc() (which is very likely when the program is so old that it does not have the flags already set accordingly), then it will not work. But for "normal" applications like Thing it should work in most cases.

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Re: Enabling ALT-RAM flags?

Postby jvas » Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:18 pm


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Re: Enabling ALT-RAM flags?

Postby Fujiyama » Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:28 pm

ThorstenOtto: I'm not too fond of using the command line, but found FlagSet which appears to work. It asks about available TT-RAM and gives me the option up to 2048 KB (the MonSTer has 6 MB available in the Mega STe). Is this how much memory is set aside for the program in question?

I tried it with Notator (using that CPX module) but it didn't give me any more memory for MIDI so I assume it just loaded into normal ST-RAM even though I changed its flags (enabled all three: fload, lalt, malt). I'm guessing MIDI software in general is basically non-standard Atari software which can't normally take advantage of this sort of thing as they (at least Notator) used a lot of "dirty programming tricks". I expected that actually, so I'll probably do it the other way round: have Notator use the standard ST-RAM, then have as much of the other software (Thing, ACCessories etc.) use ALT-RAM if possible.

Regarding "Fastload" (fload): this sounds like a nice thing, but since it's an option, what are the disadvantages of not clearing up all memory instead of just the memory for the program itself?
So "lalt" (load to ALT-RAM") is really the flag I'm looking for if I want something to use the MonSTer board's ALT-RAM memory?
Please explain what "Malloc from ALR-RAM" (malt) means and what it does.

Atarieterno: you can download the "change flag" CPX module from here.

Vido: glad to hear that Thing can utilize ALT-RAM. Actually I tried running Sysinfo first to see the available ALT-RAM, then ran Thing and from there I ran Sysinfo again to see that the available ALT-RAM had become less, so obviously it's been using that memory :D
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Re: Enabling ALT-RAM flags?

Postby Atarieterno » Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:39 pm

Fujiyama wrote:Atarieterno: you can download the "change flag" CPX module from here.


jvas wrote:http://atariage.com/forums/topic/209236-emutos-with-fast-ram/#entry2702109
http://www.seimet.de/atari/files/setfl200.zip


Thanks!
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Re: Enabling ALT-RAM flags?

Postby joska » Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:16 pm

Fujiyama wrote:Regarding "Fastload" (fload): this sounds like a nice thing, but since it's an option, what are the disadvantages of not clearing up all memory instead of just the memory for the program itself?


The disadvantage is that a few programs might expect RAM to be zeroed when they're started, and thus misbehave if it isn't.

Fujiyama wrote:So "lalt" (load to ALT-RAM") is really the flag I'm looking for if I want something to use the MonSTer board's ALT-RAM memory?
Please explain what "Malloc from ALR-RAM" (malt) means and what it does.


"Malloc" is what a program does when it requests memory from the operativ system. If you allow it to "Malloc from alt-RAM" then it will do exactly that. If you don't, the program will only be able to allocate memory from ST-RAM.

Most programs can safely both be loaded to alt-RAM and allocate from alt-RAM.

Fujiyama wrote:Vido: glad to hear that Thing can utilize ALT-RAM.


I believe you misunderstood vido. What he said was that Thing! can be used to change those flags. Look at the file info for any executable file with Thing!.
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Re: Enabling ALT-RAM flags?

Postby ThorstenOtto » Fri Sep 22, 2017 11:41 pm

Fujiyama wrote:I'm not too fond of using the command line, but found FlagSet


Those were only examples that i knew without having doing search for it. There are most likely dozens of programs capable of setting the flags.

Fujiyama wrote:It asks about available TT-RAM and gives me the option up to 2048 KB


The flags alone are independent of the available TT-RAM. There is also a not-so-well-known setting for specifying the heapsize, but that is rather rarely used by programs (it has to handled by the program, while the flags are handled by TOS).

Fujiyama wrote:Regarding "Fastload" (fload): this sounds like a nice thing, but since it's an option, what are the disadvantages of not clearing up all memory instead of just the memory for the program itself?


Joska answered that already, there might be some very old (buggy) programs that expect all memory to be zero. But these are quite rare.


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