Thanks again, Dave!

Dave Dunfield dave04a at
Wed Jan 11 13:09:25 CST 2006

> My feeling on the matter is that when a computer is being used to
> image and/or salvage data off of non-native disks, it is being
> used as a piece of test equipment, not as a general purpose
> computer.  As such, it's 'legitimate' to run it as root, dig deep
> into the driver hierarchy and kernel, etc.  A lot of the real
> power of a diskette imaging/analyzing system will be deep within
> the system.  So making distinctions between 'user space' and
> 'kernel space' might be interesting, but ultimately are
> irrelevant.  A piece of test equipment is designed for a specific
> purpose, and a computer repurposed to something like this will be
> as well.

I agree with this, which is why I keep DOS machines around in my
workshop - I've got lots of specialized stuff that I created which
manipulates various hardware directly, and DOS is the best platform
for this - also it gives me the most real-time stable environment.
Even if you don't want to dedicate the whole machine as a DOS box,
you can put on a small partition containing the stuff that needs access
to the "bare metal" (like ImageDisk) and boot it as needed.

Regarding ImageDisk and Linux - all I see needed to do it properly are
some enhancements to the floppy driver - the ability to configure for all
possible formats the 765 can do (if Linux does not do this already which
I think it might), and the ability to do track-by-track analysis. These things
would be easy to do in the driver. Then the "ImageDisk" program becomes
a simple application which makes IOCTL calls to analze the disk, and
configures the controller, and then simply reads sectors off and writes the
.IMD file.


dave04a (at)    Dave Dunfield
dunfield (dot)  Firmware development services & tools:
com             Collector of vintage computing equipment:

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