Archiving Software

Jules Richardson julesrichardsonuk at
Fri Dec 16 06:01:51 CST 2005

M H Stein wrote:
> Aside from bootable system disks, for which Dave Dunfield's imaging program
> seems to be a much better solution than Teledisk, what's the best way to 
> archive software in a way that makes it as universally useable as possible and 
> downloadable/emailable?

ImageDisk seems like a definite step in the right direction - it's certainly 
done a brilliant job when I've tried it.

What it now needs IMHO is multi-platform support so that you don't *have* to 
use DOS and so that it can be used by more people. (Whether a Windows version 
is viable I don't know; certainly Linux seems to give you all sorts of ways to 
reach the bare hardware though - presumably *BSD would be the same)

Other than that it seems a viable tool to use - the file format has a comment 
field of unlimited length for any useful metadata, and is able to record where 
bad spots were on the original disk.

> For example, I have original distribution diskettes for CP/M Wordstar, 
> Supercalc, etc. on 8" disks. Obviously images wouldn't be very useful for 
> someone with only 5" drives or no 8" drive on the PC; on the other hand, 
> a DOS ZIP file of the files on that disk would have to be copied/converted 
> back to a CP/M format disk somehow. 

Well the ImageDisk file format's public - I suppose there's nothing to stop 
someone writing utilities to pull data out of an image at the file level, then 
spitting them across a serial link with a terminal app to the original 
hardware. Or converting them back into a 5.25" image file, say.

Getting the data off (and knowing you've captured it all) and onto modern 
media is probably more important than what tools someone may use in the future 
to interpret the data. Providing it's all captured of course!

> So, how are the rest of you dealing with this?

Burying heads in sand I suspect :) I've finally got a PC that'll handle FM 
data (I think it was the 7th one I tried!), so I can start imaging my own 
collection. Luckily I just have soft-sectored MFM/FM disks here; no 
hard-sectored stuff, GCR encoded media etc.

I need to make the host machine dual-boot DOS/Linux so I can just use DOS to 
the actual reading/writing, then Linux for everything else (archival, any 
processing of the files, taking advantage of being able to use longer 
filenames etc.).

I'll give DOSEMU a try under Linux to see if it'll run ImageDisk, but I 
suspect it won't allow the necessary direct access to the hardware... but I'm 
happy to dedicate a box to disk imaging, so it doesn't really matter if the 
Linux floppy subsystem gets clobbered in the process. I suspect that ImageDisk 
won't even run under DOSEMU though.



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