Machine Independent Storage Idea...

Jules Richardson julesrichardsonuk at
Thu Dec 7 11:02:42 CST 2006

Jay West wrote:
> I haven't been following this thread too closely... but if it's going to 
> be a machine independent storage device, why is there talk about it 
> being a replacement for a floppy drive?

I think some of us (myself included) sort of hijacked the thread (sorry Warren!).

Personally I don't think that true independence (i.e. a device for any 
machine) is possible, partly because as you say some systems lack the 
necessary abilities, and mainly because it's so much work (heck, how many 
different systems have been built over the years? How many different interface 
  boards would have to be made and software written to access them?)

Targetting a specific storage medium - such as the floppy, whose days are 
numbered - does seem like a worthwhile project, though. Even there there are a 
lot of access methods to rotating removeable magnetic media, so picking the 
most common (such as SA400/800 drives) seems a sensible starting point.

> There was also talk of 
> holding the flux transitions in a memory buffer.

Only within the context of the on-board memory for a device which emulated a 
floppy drive, I think. Such a device doesn't make any assumptions about the 
system's hardware other than needing to know the data transfer rate across the 
floppy interface.

> In other words, let the same device that can act as an RL02 on an DEC 
> 11/20 also act as a 7900A on an HP 2100. I'd sure be willing to attempt 
> finding time to write the HP specific end :)

Great, so that's one tiny corner of the HP world covered, then ;-)
Seriously, I really think it's waaay too much work (and in fact probably 
impossible; there must be plenty of systems out there for which sufficient 
technical documentation to build an interface and write the software no longer 

However, emulating the common devices used as primary storage on vintage 
machines I think is a little more achievable; there are way less possible 
types than there are possible systems. It'd still be a daunting task to try 
and do everything - hence my feeling we should pick something common like the 
floppy drive (with the most common interface) for starters.



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