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Thread: Linux/BSD for 4 floppy drives

  1. #11
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    Unfortunately, it seems that mtools, as well as the regular floppy support in x64 Ubuntu is seriously broken. I've never gotten it to work on my system (currently 17.10). Usually the tools die with an error or simply hang, leaving the drive inaccessible.

    I've read the various error reports and the attitude is "Who the heck is so backward to use floppy disks?"

    I've had somewhat better results with BSD, but it's far from perfect.

    Heaven help you if you are trying to get a floppytape drive (e.g. Colorado Jumbo) going on modern Linux. Not that floppytape support was that great even 10 years ago.

    Just my experience.

  2. #12
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    Cheers guys.

    fdutils looks good, and I experimented in a virtual machine last night and did a bit more digging on the predefined formats - which may cover almost everything I need by themselves (although I will compile in fdutils). One thing I'm curious about is the 360/720 format - which could be either 40 track double step, or 40 tracks in a row. I don't know what "stre" is, but it's 1 for both 360/1200 and 360/720. Not that it really matters, as long as 360/720 or 360/1200 causes the drive to double-step - that's good with me.

    Code:
    #		size sec/t hds trk stre gap  rate spec1 fmt_gap
    360/360		 720     9   2  40    0 0x2A 0x02 0xDF     0x50
    1200/1200	2400    15   2  80    0 0x1B 0x00 0xDF     0x54
    360/720		 720     9   2  40    1 0x2A 0x02 0xDF     0x50
    720/720		1440     9   2  80    0 0x2A 0x02 0xDF     0x50
    720/1440	1440     9   2  80    0 0x2A 0x02 0xDF     0x50
    360/1200	 720     9   2  40    1 0x23 0x01 0xDF     0x50
    720/1200	1440     9   2  80    0 0x23 0x01 0xDF     0x50
    1440/1440	2880    18   2  80    0 0x1B 0x00 0xCF     0x6C
    Also noticed there is heaps of support for weird formats, from the CoCo to the Commodore 1581. Pretty neat.

    Unless someone has a better suggestion, my current plan is an early-ish Pentium with ISA + RedHat 7.1 (Kernel 2.4.2). Just need to see what I can dig up.

    Chuck - yeah no plans to use a modern distro for this. Seems a bit rubbish that they leave broken code in there - should be maintained or removed.
    Last edited by SpidersWeb; October 31st, 2017 at 11:54 AM.
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  3. #13
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    Just had a read of floppy.c

    360/720 is for reading a DSDD disk in a DSQD drive - so it's 40 track, 300rpm and double stepped - perfect.

    Honestly I'm quite surprised, I figured I was going to end up needing to use a much older release.
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  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    Unfortunately, it seems that mtools, as well as the regular floppy support in x64 Ubuntu is seriously broken. I've never gotten it to work on my system (currently 17.10). Usually the tools die with an error or simply hang, leaving the drive inaccessible.
    I've never even got it working on DeLicate Linux either. Trying to format a 360k drive gives me errors off the wazoo, if I dare even specify the correct format.
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    My main PC runs Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, and I have had mtools working successfully with a 1.4M 3.5" floppy drive - though the last time I tried it didn't work and I had to use a tweener system (I expect rebooting would have fixed it). Programs that directly access the FDC, like libdsk, sometimes work when mtools isn't so happy.

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