Archiving Software

Cini, Richard Richard.Cini at
Fri Dec 16 07:16:24 CST 2005

For archiving MSDOS disks I use ZIP files unless the disk is bootable, in
which case I use readimg/writimg (Microsoft utilities).

For cross-platform archiving, the only thing I've done so far is on the
Apple, using ADT.

However, ADT brings-up an idea. In my Altair emulator, we have a CP/M
utility on one of the disk images which allows you to transfer files from
the host to the emulator space and back ( and I think).
The program uses an invalid opcode trap to communicate with the host file
system. You would use a program to convert a CP/M COM program on the host to
an Intel HEX file which is then read into the CP/M environment through the
trap mechanism. The reverse would happen except that the "write" does not
convert it to Intel HEX -- it deposits it as a CP/M COM file.

The source is on one of the disk images. There's no reason why it couldn't
be enhanced to move entire disk images instead of just files, and since it's
a CP/M utility it should work on any CP/M system. Unfortunately I don't have
enough experience in programming for CP/M, nor the time right now, to do it.


-----Original Message-----
From: cctalk-bounces at [mailto:cctalk-bounces at]
On Behalf Of Jules Richardson
Sent: Friday, December 16, 2005 7:02 AM
To: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts
Subject: Re: Archiving Software

M H Stein wrote:
> Aside from bootable system disks, for which Dave Dunfield's imaging
> 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
> 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
is viable I don't know; certainly Linux seems to give you all sorts of ways
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
field of unlimited length for any useful metadata, and is able to record
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,
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
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
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
won't even run under DOSEMU though.



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