[Coco] Re: Why USB would be nice.

John R. Hogerhuis jhoger at pobox.com
Fri Sep 2 02:27:35 EDT 2005

On Thu, 2005-09-01 at 21:19 -0500, George Ramsower wrote:
> I am iggernunt about USB and how it works..
> I have several questions about USB for the coco...
> The only OS I use on my cocos is OS-9(Level deux on the coco threes).
>  If I were to purchase the hypothetical USB card and the driver for OS-9, 
> would this do as I want or expect, such as.....
> If  I plug my digital camera into the port,
> Would I be able to see it as another drive and see and manipulate the files 
> in that camera? All I have in my OS is the driver that came with the USB 
> card.

Digital cameras are usually USB Storage devices, like usb keys and flash
memory readers.

The default file system on the things is FAT32 (basically what Windows
95 and 98 defaulted to). 

So that format wouldn't be immediately conducive to use with OS-9 since
it's not formatted to OS-9 file structure. 

Question for the group: is there a driver around to get OS-9 to read a
FAT32 file system?

Creating a USB driver and a FAT32 file system driver would be the work
to do to make that happen.

>  I take out the camera, plug in a USB mouse, will I be able to read it's 
> ouput from Basic09? All I have in my OS is the driver that came with the USB 
> card.

Yes. Actually, since it's a bus you could conceivably plug them both
into a USB hub at the same time. No reason to remove one.

>  If I connect a USB hub, connect both the camera and the USB mouse, how 
> would I write a Basic09 program to see the output of the mouse and at the 
> same time in another process, manipulate data in that camera? All I have is 
> the driver that came with the USB card.

If the software is good and fast enough, and has the right drivers, yes.

>  If I then add (to that HUB) a USB box to plug flash cards or CF cards into, 
> would I be able to see that as a drive also? All I have is the driver that 
> came with the USB card.


>  How would I do a DIR command on the camera attached to the coco?
>  I have no clue how USB works or how this XP box can assign a drive to my 
> camera and show my printer as a printer or how it knows I've plugged in my 
> scanner.
>  How would I manage these things, with the driver that came with the USB 
> card for the coco?

USB devices form a device tree with unique device and manufacturer IDs
per device, and unique assigned addresses that they get when plugged in.

It's not clear to me how a RBF device driver would look that actually
reads/write to a FAT32 system. Or how one would implement a network
driver for OS-9. But if you are interested in the drivers that already
exist, check out his site:


It says they now have drivers for usb floppy, zip drives, and
force-feedback usb controllers (where the joystick controls you ;-)  )!
Too cool...

-- John.

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