What kind of format should we upload on Atari Legend?

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Re: What kind of format should we upload on Atari Legend?

Postby Marcer » Fri Dec 02, 2016 2:40 pm

Easy choice here..

1. MSA
2. whatever needed to make it work :)
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Re: What kind of format should we upload on Atari Legend?

Postby EmpireAndrew » Fri Dec 02, 2016 3:10 pm

Floppy images (as in byte based stuff like ST or MSA, not flux images) are, well, around 720k with no compression (so not even RLE).
A 1TB drive that costs next to nothing can store *one and a half million* or so uncompressed floppy images?
A 10GB basic web hosting account can store 15,000 such images.
Even a lowly 1Mbps internet connection can download a floppy disk image in under 5 seconds.

With that in mind I'm not sure why we feel the need to use processor intensive compression/decompression. You'll spend more time decompressing on say an ST then you save in download time.
I'm not opposed to RLE, or even zip or ARC as long as it's in a version an Atari can decompress, but I still question the need for it tbh.
Obviously you're not downloading a flux image onto an Atari and they are nigger so compressing them is fair game.
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Re: What kind of format should we upload on Atari Legend?

Postby npomarede » Fri Dec 02, 2016 3:18 pm

EmpireAndrew wrote:With that in mind I'm not sure why we feel the need to use processor intensive compression/decompression. You'll spend more time decompressing on say an ST then you save in download time.
I'm not opposed to RLE, or even zip or ARC as long as it's in a version an Atari can decompress, but I still question the need for it tbh.
Obviously you're not downloading a flux image onto an Atari and they are nigger so compressing them is fair game.

This is not always the case. For example on ST/Amiga, I remember a lot of cases where it was faster to load smaller compressed files and use the CPU to decompress them, because disk IO were relatively slow.
Same goes for toady's modern PC : it all depends on the speed ratio between your CPU and your disk, even if it's not noticable at human's eyes, it's sometimes faster as a whole to load a 200 KB zip file + unpack it, than to load a 800 KB file.
Also, zip filed has the advantage to add a CRC to the data, so if your files are corrupted one day (hard drive failing or file system errors after a crash), you have no way to tell if a .ST image is corrupted or not, at least a zip file or similar will report a CRC error and you know sthg went wrong.

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Re: What kind of format should we upload on Atari Legend?

Postby dlfrsilver » Fri Dec 02, 2016 5:14 pm

i was not aware that the ST file format had no CRC. It makes it then weaker than the Amstrad CPC dsk format, which has a track length header, indicating if a track contains multiple sectors, indicating that some are corrupted, making it more easy to correct them.

So it means that correcting *.ST files is almost impossible :/ Or else, this would need to add a CRC in the format, and reprocess all the known ST files for Atari ST.
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Re: What kind of format should we upload on Atari Legend?

Postby EmpireAndrew » Fri Dec 02, 2016 6:05 pm

Agreed although with disk sub systems being so fast these days (think NVMe SSD's doing 2.5GB per second) it's less of an issue.
I used to use Pack ICE on my ST back in the day...

But if we're talking about disk images that we intend to write to floppy on an ST, I don't think it applies.
Not say that if an app if designed to run from a folder it couldn't be compressed with Pack Ice or something similar.
But I think that should be up to the end user.
Once a format for a floppy image is selected I don't see the benefit of compressing it.
I'm not against it, but I think it's a waste of time and simply adds an extra decompression step on the ST before it can be written to disk.
simply put I'd rater download a .St (or whatever) file to my ST, and use an app to write it to floppy, vs download a ZIP on the ST, uncompress it on the ST which will involve another disk write, and then write it to disk. Because it's slower and less convenient.

But that's still better than having a .ST and compressing it with 7zip or something to gain another 10% of inconsequential disk space and which means a modern machine is required to uncompress the damn thing.
And of course sometimes it uncompresses to an emulator only format which for a library, is frankly perverse.
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1993 Atari Falcon030, 14MB, Int 4GB IDE2SD, TOS 4.04 -> Atari PTC1426 Color CRT Monitor
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Re: What kind of format should we upload on Atari Legend?

Postby npomarede » Fri Dec 02, 2016 6:21 pm

If you want to download files directly from your ST, this might indeed be slow, but I think most of the people here are first downloading files on a "modern" computer, to either use it under emulation, or unzip it first, then have your ST download the file from your PC instead of downloading it directly from a web site.

I'm afraid there're very few people like you nowadays that download the file directly from a web site to their ST to copy it to disk (If I understand correctly that's what you're doing ?)

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Re: What kind of format should we upload on Atari Legend?

Postby EmpireAndrew » Fri Dec 02, 2016 7:29 pm

Sadly you're probably right even though it was the easiest way to get stuff onto my Atari actually.
Having to download onto a Mac or PC for which I don't have a floppy drive and transfer them over the network to the Atari so it could write it to floppy was slow and clunky. But not even an option if the file wasn't in a real ST useable format to begin with. A secondary option was then to buy a USB floppy drive for the PC (none even have a connector for a floppy disk any more on their motherboard) and write that to the USb floppy, except USB floppy drives can't handle non standard formats whereas the ST can.
Then I ended up buying a Kryoflux...
etc etc etc.
The whole situation was avoidable by having the file in a format the ST could handle and if compressed using 7zip or whatever:
I could download to the PC, decompress the modern compression, transfer the resulting file to the ST over a cable or an SD card (the read being yet another purchase) and write the floppy on the ST. Clunky but at least possible.

But.. if the file was online in a format the ST could natively handle (ST, MSA, even an ST ZIP of an .ST although again, imho not necessary) I can download direct to the ST (actually TT) and write to floppy. This is the fastest and most convenient way.

But none of these methods are possible if the file is not capable of being written back to a real disk, not just an emulator, this is of course the most important thing.


So my preference is:

1. A file writeable to floppy by an ST (and a PC if possible) with no additional compression wrapper.
2. the same as above but inside a compressed file that an ST can decompress (ST ZIP, ARC etc)
3. the same as above but in a modern compression format a PC can decompress
4. a format that can be written back to a floppy disk by a PC (e.g. via Kryoflux or a real motherboard connected floppy drive)

But emulator only formats? Frankly... useless.

Again, this is all from my perspective. But I'm all about keeping the hardware going.
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: What kind of format should we upload on Atari Legend?

Postby npomarede » Fri Dec 02, 2016 8:36 pm

If you have a kryoflux board, then you can use HxC software to convert ST/MSA/whatever to a kryoflux compatible format and write it directly on your PC. This will be the simpler/faster way.
As for format directly writable from an ST/TT, you're stuck with ST/MSA files. This can be fine with cracked games and other compilations, but such versions were often drimmed down / compressed / altered (to fit more data on a floppy), in such a way that many people also prefer a more "complete" copy of the game (made with STX, KF or SCP).

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Re: What kind of format should we upload on Atari Legend?

Postby EmpireAndrew » Sat Dec 03, 2016 7:18 pm

Agreed.
Copy protection / DRM is nothing more than evil and aside from making life difficult for owners of genuine purchased software (it certainly never seemed to inconvenience pirates for more than the shortest of time) it also causes problems with long term preservation. Sigh...
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
Amiga, Mac, DOS, Newton, SGI, Sun, NeXTStation and more!


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