[Coco] Your stock CoCo is DriveWire-ready out-of-the-box (was: DriveWire for dummies?)

Boisy G. Pitre boisy at tee-boy.com
Wed Dec 23 09:22:03 EST 2009


The key is to get support for all CoCos (1, 2 and 3) out of the box, without any additional hardware, to somehow bootstrap into a mode where they can start using DriveWire.  You rightly point out that DLOAD was munged in the CoCo 3.  That's why I never took the DLOAD approach, because it wasn't supported across all three models of the CoCo.

If you can find a way to get DLOAD to work on a CoCo 3, then I think the DriveWire Java guys (Aaron and Jim) might be willing to incorporate a DLOAD server component into the DriveWire server.  It would be the least invasive way to get DriveWire running on any CoCo and not require cassette loaders or ROM paks.

Speaking of DriveWire Java Server, I'm running the Java server on my eMac and it is performing quite nicely.  If Jim is successful in developing a web-based front-end that works on all three major platforms (Win, Mac, Linux) then I think it will be time to abandon the platform specific servers and focus efforts on the Java version.  

Just to recap, if we could find the magic mix of:

1. A simple to install and run multi-platform DriveWire server (and I think Java is the answer here);
2. Hook any CoCo up to a PC with just a serial cable and use built-in ROM software to bootstrap into DriveWire mode;

then this would be the easiest way for folks to start using DriveWire.  Short of that, the ROM Pak is the next best way to bring a CoCo up on DriveWire.


On Dec 23, 2009, at 7:42 AM, Christian Lesage wrote:

> If your CoCo is a 64k CoCo 1 o 2 (not a CoCo 3) with ECB 1.1, DriveWire could (theoretically) be DLOADed from the host PC or Mac to the CoCo.
> The only hardware you would need is a serial cable, which DriveWire requires anyway.
> I do have a DLOAD server, and it works for games, so I don't see why it couldn't be used to load HDB-DOS. Such a DLOAD server could be integrated into the DriveWire server.
> The reason why it wouldn't work with the CoCo 3 is because the DLOAD command was shortsightedly disabled by the programmers who hacked Super Extended Color Basic. (This is the only BASIC command that would be really useful... *sigh*) However, I'm thinking about a workaround, since part of the DLOAD code is still there. For instance, the code that receives a 128-byte block from the bit banger port is still in ROM. Now, 128 bytes would be enough for a loader. A few POKEs would be required to patch things up, then an EXEC would be issued to load the loader, and then another EXEC to run the loader. Not as elegant as a simple DLOAD command, but still... No ROM Pak or disk controller needed.
> I also know of a method that lets the CoCo 3 read characters from the serial port instead of the keyboard. A short BASIC program (or a handful of POKEs) is entered, that puts the CoCo 3 into that state. Once it is accepting input from the serial port, you can control it from the host PC or Mac. For instance, you could send a loader as if you were typing it in on the CoCo, like a BASIC program that would restore the DLOAD command.
> If anybody is interested, I could share the code I came up with so far.
> Christian
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Boisy G. Pitre

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