[Coco] CoCo TALK #18 an introduction to OS9

Gregory Law glaw at live.com
Mon Jul 24 07:35:10 EDT 2017

To be somewhat fair, I think cost was the biggest factor in getting hard 
drives working with OS-9. I remember my 20 megabyte setup cost around 
$2,000 plus interest on that credit card. The Tandy hard drives were 
really expensive as well even though they weren't really all that good. 
Hard drives started taking off (with the likes of Burke & Burke and 
Owlware) a few years later after the prices of hard drives started 

On 7/24/2017 12:10:51 AM, "Bill Pierce via Coco" <coco at maltedmedia.com> 

>  Steve, if I listed the people who I've helped get back into OS9, 
>helped build boot disks for OS9 or actually built their disks for them, 
>helped with driverwire for OS9, helped with building the NitrOs9 repo, 
>help with NitrOS9 on the Coco3FPGA, or just general OS9 help, it would 
>be a very long list and include many people from this list and the FB 
>page. And I'm referring to just since 2011. I did the same on BBSs in 
>the 80s & 90s and on the early internet forums later.
>The OS9 community is no secret, it really just comes down to "asking 
>the right question".
>The problem with OS9 is that there is no "general" way to boot the 
>system (or anything else OS9). Back in the 80s, in the beginning, most 
>had a single disk drive and a modem. The setup for OS9 was fairly easy 
>and would work right out of the box. It didn't take long for us to 
>realize that Tandy never told us the drives were really 40trk double 
>sided and not just 35trk single sided... so came the first mods, which 
>eventually became a standard of sorts, though still not supported by 
>Tandy. We knew from the beginning that OS9 could use hard drives and 
>other media, Tandy even included the drivers on the modules disk, but 
>it took the community until the 90s before HDs became the norm (some 
>got it working earlier), and with still no Tandy support as their 
>"generic" drivers would hardly work with the piss-poor things they sold 
>as HDs.
>OS9 has always been a 3rd party system. It was the 3rd party vendors 
>that found ways to get all the stuff working that Tandy and Microware 
>said would work, but never told us how to do it. On Delphi and 
>Compuserve, the OS9 community came together and shared their knowledge 
>AND SOFTWARE. Learning OS9 was not something you did overnight. It 
>involves a lot of research and effort, of which the average "Coco 
>gamer" is not willing to put forth. The OS9 community has a 30+ year 
>knowledge from "growing" with this system. Most of us have been with 
>OS9 since the Level 1 days on Coco 1s and 2s and we grew with the 
>changes through the years. Most of us are still learning to this day 
>and learn something new regularly. NitrOS9 is still growing and I 
>personally, would love to see it to continue growing. The only way that 
>will happen is to get new people involved and expand our horizons. And 
>therein lies the problem.... how do you share 30+ years of knowledge, 
>trial and error in a PDF? Or in a single "How do I boot OS9" email? 
>Almost every OS9 system is different and such a document would be HUGE, 
>not to mention that all information could become invalid overnight if 
>something changes in the NitrOS9 booting system as it's always under 
>development and changes often. Unlike RSDOS which has been stagnate 
>since the day it was created (with the exception of a few talented 
>people like Art Flexer)
>It simply becomes a "weeding out" process. Is this person really 
>interested in learning what I know? or are they just trying to boot a 
>Sierra game?
>I've found that most fall in the latter catagory, so I point them to 
>the repo copies of Sierra stuff and move on.
>It usually starts as "I can't get OS9 to boot... what am I doing 
>To quote Robert Gault's infamous reply.. "You have not provided enough 
>information for me to answer your question". Most take it as an insult 
>and drop it, but the reply is the most honest reply that could be made 
>and not an insult. There are 2 levels of NitrOS9, about 6 different 
>machines, about 15 different hard drive systems, 3 or 4 different 
>floppy systems, not to mention CocoSDC, DW4, emulator (EmuDsk) systems 
>(which expand into many catagories), Coco3FPGA, CocoNano, CocoPi and so 
>on... Each having it's own very unique booting system, requiring a 
>special boot setup. Without proper information of what you are running 
>on your system and what system you are trying to run, there is no way 
>to help. There are too many answers that require more questions and 
>most are are not willing to just about have to badger the user into 
>giving the info needed, and yes, that happens often. Example: "What 
>kind of drive are you using", "a floppy", "what kind of floppy", "a 
>Tandy", "How many tracks?", "I'm not sure, it's from Radio Shack"... 
>and it goes on and on. It's no wonder some got tired of answering the 
>questions long ago.
>So there's no secret info for learning OS9. It just boils down to how 
>much you are willing to put into it to learn it. Kind of like "Cross 
>this line, ok, now climb this fence, ok, now scale this wall, ok, now 
>go over this mountain... oh, you found the tunnel at the bottom that 
>goes straight through? Welcome." Why not show them the tunnel to start 
>with? If they're not willing to learn about the line, fence, wall, and 
>mountain, the tunnel is dark and scary because they never learned to 
>turn on the light switch back at the fence. An over-simplification to 
>say the least, but I think you'll get my meaning. Most never make it 
>past the line. Few make it past the fence. A very few make past the 
>wall, and a special few find the tunnel at the bottom of the mountain.
>I, for one, am willing to help anyone that really wants to learn OS9, 
>but it will be an ongoing process. I would be happy to answer any 
>questions on OS9/NitrOS9 and help out with sharing the info. Like most 
>others, my problem is time. I have many projects going on the Coco as 
>well as real life. If I'm going to pause from all I have going on and 
>explain the process, then it's going to be for someone who really wants 
>to learn, but I can only teach the parts on what I know and the 
>equipment I have. It's up to others to expand with info on other 
>systems and hardware.
>And I would love to be able to participate in the Coco Talk to explain 
>some of the aspects of OS9, but due to very slow and limited bandwidth 
>with my IP, I could only do so between 2AM & 7AM when my bandwidth is 
>Bill Pierce
>"Charlie stole the handle, and the train it won't stop going, no way to 
>slow down!" - Ian Anderson - Jethro Tull
>My Music from the Tandy/Radio Shack Color Computer 2 & 3
>Co-Contributor, Co-Editor for CocoPedia
>E-Mail: ooogalapasooo at aol.com

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