seastalker wrote:I didn't know if the ao486 would benefit the most from this because of the mentioned compatibility issues like Amiga disks on a Windows floppy drive.
The following is all IIRC - I researched the whole stuff when looking at doing an USB driver for Acorn RISC OS floppies, probably in 2007.
"Windows floppy drive" is a bit misleading. It is an issue of "actually existing USB floppy drives". The USB standard that governs floppy devices makes only support for certain standard formats mandatory - basically standard DOS 720 KiB and 1.44 MiB formats. The actual implementation is free to detect any format it wants, but the defined API to drive the floppy makes it hard to go as far as supporting copy protection methods, because you actually only get something like LBA addressing, you can't access information about the disc geometry or address tracks and sectors. So you'd need a device that, additionally to the standardized access API, would also provide vendor-specific calls. As far as I know, no mass-market device provides such things.
Even in PC world (i.e. ao486), there were "special" formats that were sometimes used for software distribution - e.g. IBM PC DOS 7 shipped with floppies in XDF format (only the first floppy had standard format and loaded a special driver to allow access to XDF), which is no readable on USB floppy drives.
Though I think a 'flux' type of feature being able to backup floppies for the benefit of software preservation would be the motivation for devs. Speculation of course. I know the Mister project is for roms and real cartridges are for Analogue, yet wonder if real floppies will one day find a place in all of this.
Full read/write support for all cores for all existing disc image formats for the respective platform would provide all you'd really ever need (like Sorgelig said) - well, once the cores also get true floppy sound of course
A connection method for a real floppy could be done via already mentioned projects like Supercard Pro, KryoFlux, FluxEngine, Greaseweazel or SlamySTM32Floppy via USB. It would "just" need some drivers on the MiSTer side, but this is not easy - ideally, you'd want to translate the simulated core floppy controller commands into USB commands for one of those projects (and I am greatly simplifying here). I don' even know if you'd run into timing problems when trying to simulate "the real thing".
It is a similar discussion to the "how to connect the original gamepads" or "I want to connect my Zorro expansion card and Podule to Minimig and Acorn Archimedes core". If you want the 100% retro experience, you'd either need the real hardware or do it yourself for MiSTer.