NitrOS9

Since some people have been having problems with Alan's larger .DSK images on his site, I have decided to put up a bare bones, 40 track boot DSK image (in ZIP format) here. If you have a real Coco running OS-9 Level II (or an earlier version of NitrOS9), you can use my OS9 DSK Converter program as a base to make a real disk. The program is written in BASIC09, but defaults to a 35 track DSK image... you will have to change it slightly before running to make it 40 track ready. You will also need DMODE (rename it to 'dmode', and set the execution attributes) in your CMDS directory. To create your disk, you will need to do the following (after installing the above DMODE command):

1) Use DMODE to change your floppy drive to 40 tracks, and single sided. Do this by typing: 'DMODE /D0 cyl=28 sid=1'
(Please substitute whichever drive name you are using for /D0 above).

2) Format the disk by typing: 'FORMAT /D0' (or whatever drive name you are using).

3) Type 'BASIC09' (it may be on a different disk, if you are using the stock OS-9 disks. If this is the case, switch disks, and then type '/dd/cmds/basic09' instead).

4) After BASIC09 boots, type 'LOAD convdsk.b09'.

5) Type 'e' (To enter EDIT mode).

6) Type 's!dmode' (Will find the dmode command line).

7) Type 'c!cyl=23!cyl=28' (Will change for 40 track disks).

8) Type 's!TO 34' (Searches for track loop).

9) Type 'c!34!39' (Changes 35 track to 40 track... with base 0).

10) Type 'q' (exit EDIT mode).

At this point, you should see a 'B:' prompt. At this point, type 'RUN'. It will prompt you for the name of the .DSK image file (type in the full path, if necessary). This can be on another floppy drive, a hard drive, or a RAM drive. If you typed in a good path, it will then prompt you for the drive to write it on. BE CAREFUL - DON'T SELECT ANY DRIVE UNLESS IT HAS YOUR BLANK, 40 TRACK FORMATTED DISK THAT WE CREATED IN STEP 2 ABOVE! The program should then create a real, 40 track bootable disk for you.

Download the NITROS9.ZIP zipped .DSK file. If you need the UNZIP utility for the Coco, you will need to download both UNZIP and FUNZIP. Because of problems with web browswer downloads, you will have to rename them to UNZIP and FUNZIP yourself (they will currently have a .bin extension). You will also have to set the execution attributes (ATTR [filename] e pe). Then, just run UNZIP for instructions.

This boot disk for NitrOS9 contains the most up to date graphics drivers (from my NitrOS9 beta page), and Shellplus Version 2.2a (the one with command history, accessed by the up and down arrow keys). It has a few useful programs on it, but not a lot. It does NOT currently contain the Y2K compliant clock drivers or SETIME command. It also uses a fairly stock CC3Go module, which is why it will boot up with a regular OS-9 screen (after the NitrOS9 boot information goes flying by).

The boot track contains the 32 column version of REL, which is why you are in 32 column mode right after you type 'DOS' to boot. It also has the BOOT module for the stock Tandy floppy controller. After it loads the OS9Boot file, you will kick into an 80x25 hardware text window (/term), and you have the following drivers/descriptors loaded:

VRN/VI/FTDD - This is Bruce Isted's Virtual IRQ driver. This combines the functionality of several special drivers used by some games (the Sierra VI driver, used by Leisure Suit Larry and Kings Quest III, and the FTDD driver from Flight Sim II), as well as the /NIL device. Basically, it means you can use NIL, and any of the three above games, without rebooting with a special boot disk. It should be noted that KQIII and LSL will only run properly with machines with either 256K or 512K of RAM; 1MB and above will not work properly due to some hard-coding in the Sierra programs. Flight Sim II has no such problem.

Clock - the non-Y2K compliant, but otherwise fully updated, software clock for 60Hz systems.

RBF - This is the editon #34 version, which has the capability of undeleting files.

CC3Disk - This is the edition #11 version, which has the capability (with the right utilities) of reading 512 byte sector disks, including MS-DOS disks.

DD and D1 - These are currently set up as 40 track, double-sided drive descriptors (drive 0 and 1). Since OS-9 reads the first sector of a disk to determine it's format, it can properly read single sided disks as well. However, if you only have a single side drive, you should use the DMODE utility to change the # of sides to 1.

RAMMER/R0/MD - RAM disk driver. R0 is the standard RAM disk, that is DMODE compatible and can be set up to exactly match physical drives, making it useful in making one pass backups. MD is a special descriptor for editing the Coco's memory raw WHILE THE SYSTEM IS RUNNING - only use if you REALLY know what you are doing. This version of RAMMER knows how to handle memory above 512k, if I remember correctly.

Windint/CC3IO/TERM/W/W1 thru W7 - The full windowing version of the graphics drivers, including the 3D look menus. Includes some additions and bug fixes that may not be in Alan's version (see my NitrOS9 page for details.

VDGINT/VERM - The older, Coco 2 compatible graphics drivers, which allows older games to run, 32 column Coco 1/2 screens, and also some of the Coco 3 direct screen write games (Rescue of Fractalus, for example) to run. NOTE: This is the FULL version, not the Tiny or Small versions mentioned on Alan's page.

PIPE/PIPER/PIPEMAN - The really fast pipes that Alan did.

SERMIDI - I think I left this in by accident, but it is to drive a MIDI synthesizer from the bit banger port (used by Ultimuse).

When the SHELL is loaded, it brings along some other utilities that will always be loaded in memory for you to use, without having to read from disk. They are:

SHELL - Command history Shellplus V2.2a - includes advance scripting, shell variables, redirection, etc.

D0OFF - A little utility to shut your drive motors off, in case the boot doesn't do it on it's own.

MERGE - utility to merge files to other files, or to devices (used to load fonts by merging with a window, for example).

ECHO - Echos text to the standard output device... which can be redirected.

LIST - Used to list text files to the standard output device - useful for listing documentation files.

MAKDIR - Makes directories.

DEL - Deletes files (but not directories).

UNLINK - Unlinks a module in memory (or decrements link count if linked more than once).

LINK - Increments the link count of a module in memory.

LOAD - Loads a module in memory. If you don't want to constantly have to load a command off of disk, use this first.

The CMDS directory contains a lot more commands that you can run. Most of these have built in help, so I won't list their function here. GRFDRV is actually part of the graphics driver sub-system... don't try to run it. DED is a disk editor, VU is a much more versatile text file lister than LIST is, KUTIL is a utility for creating or changing the OS-9 Kernal track (what runs when you type DOS), KWIKGEN is a complete Boot disk editor, which is MUCH faster than EZGEN or OS9GEN, DIRM is a fast MDIR -E style utility, DDIR is a utility that lists your current active device table, FRMEM lists your free memory (including >512K), and there are others (do a DIR CMDS to see them). Special mention should be made about the two FORMAT commands (FORMAT and FORMAT.ORIG): FORMAT.ORIG is the normal FORMAT command from Tandy/Microware, but the FORMAT command itself is a special version: it shrinks the number of 'extra' bytes between sectors on a disk. Using this, you can set your number of sectors per track to up to 20 (instead of the normal 18), thus gaining .5K per track on your disk. With an 80 track, double sided drive, you increase your storage from 720K to 800K.

If you get any errors, and are wondering what the error #'s mean, just type 'ERROR ###', where ### is the error number itself. This will give you an english version of the error.

The STARTUP file (in the root directory) is the equivalent of AUTOEXEC.BAT on DOS/Windows systems. This particular one loads in all the standard 2/4/16 color pattern buffers, mouse pointers, and the standard hi-res font, so you can see what you are doing on graphics windows.

There may be some glitches on this disk image (I think the 224 character fonts got fried), but you can replace some of the stuff, or add to it, from my NitrOS9 web link above (such as GSHELL), or from Alan's site. Hopefully, this will give some of you a start with NitrOS9...and a definate speed up from what you are used to if you are running on a real Coco 3 with the 6309 upgrade chip.

For those of you wondering what the fuss is about, here is a screenshot of the last GShell I did, which one can get at The NitrOS9 Project. This version included a new 3D look, live folder updates, base palette settings, and the drag and drop printer option.

Gshell 1.26 screenshot

More to come later!

-L. Curtis Boyle, Jan. 26/2001-