4744boot disk archive - can we - how to - etc
- Dec 30, 2006Happy happy everyone,
A boot disk and OS utilities archive would be a fabulous project. There are many web sites offering boot disk images but none (that I have found recently) are oriented to the vintage hobbyist. None offer non-Microsoft operating systems or even DOS for incompatible systems like the Xerox 820 or Zenith Z-100. As Herb points out, downloading a file from somewhere is the easy part. Writing the software to an actual floppy disk that works in the target computer, is another issue entirely. Sellam covered the basic issues surrounding a software archive in his session at VCF East (yes, our event). The central issue is sort of why we are interested in these machines at all - they are obsolete.
Someone (BillD?) has built a machine with various size floppy drives. The next challenge is an OS that can read/write to all of the drives in the formats required (single/double density, single/double side, etc.) and create an image file like an ISO file of a CD. This needs to be a current OS that is in current development so that it can be run on modern (and future) equipment. Linux is probably the best option for long term support. Unfortunately , there is precious little interest for this in the general computing community. Most people want to do what's new, not what's old, so new is where the energy goes.
We had a thread about what format to use when creating archival copies of a floppy disk. Whatever format is used, we will need programs that can create and write the resulting files on various platforms. The *NIX program "dd" may be an option. dd copies disk sectors one after another and writes them somewhere, like to the screen or a file or vice-versa. There are versions that run on DOS, Windows, Linux and (naturally) UNIX. I use a program called RawWrite (http://www.chrysocome.net/rawwrite) which is limited to 1.4M floppies, so another program ddWin (same web site) may be better suited to our purposes. Fortunately (for me) I don't have the resources to test this for other size floppies (I have enough to do).
Perhaps this will give one or more of you a starting point or more ammo for work already in progress.
Safe New Years,
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