Saturday, 8 March 2014

Kryoflux on X1000 and A4000T

Today I wanted to take a look at the fantastic Kryoflux device, which now works under AmigaOS4 on the X1000.

So what is Kryoflux? Basically it is a USB device that allows you to read/write floppy disk images to a real floppy disk, using a floppy disk drive connected to it. (you can read more about it here).

What makes it special for Amiga users, and more useful than the Catweasel I already use on the X1000, is the ability to write out IPF Classic Amiga disks, which are protected Classic Amiga disk images of original games. These cannot be copied using normal Amiga disk copy methods, but the Kryoflux can read the raw image out directly from the original Amiga floppy disk, which can then be converted to IPF and rewritten to blank floppy disks to provide a backup.

For disks that are now up to 30 years old, this is a blessing as original protected Amiga games disks can be backed up using the Kryoflux.

In addition to IPF, the Kryoflux can write out ADF disks too, and also images of C64 disks (D64), PC disks (IMG) and more to real floppy disks...

I purchased the Kryoflux back in late 2012, and used it on my Mac and PC. But now, I can use it on the X1000 too!

An AmigaOS4 version of the software needed to support the Kryoflux and read/write floppy disks images was recently released on Kryoflux's website. (scroll down a way down the page to see the downloads)

There is no GUI front end available for AmigaOS4 version as yet, so it is used completely from the shell.

I hope a GUI frontend is also written in due course, as it is a lot more user friendly.

But first, let's take a look at the Kryoflux board itself (click to expand):

The back view of the Kryoflux board is below:

The Kryoflux AmigaOS4 downloaded archive includes the programs needed to operate the Kryoflux, the caps image device driver, and a Quickstart guide and full Kryoflux manual (click to expand):

I created a Kryoflux folder under the SYS:Utilities folder, and then extracted the Kryoflux archive into it.

The Quickstart guide has AmigaOS4 specific instructions, the full Kryoflux manual does not, but contains all the command line flags and descriptions to use the program - this means both are needed here:

Make sure that you copy the capsimage.device to the DEVS: directory to start with. I checked first and my existing version in DEVS: was v2.0, while this updated driver is version 4.2 (as below)!

The Quickstart guide also explains how to set the Kryoflux jumpers depending on how many floppy drives you have connected to it. In my case, I just have the one drive:

After connecting a standard PC HD Floppy drive to the Kryoflux and the various connectors, making sure not to connect the power for the floppy drive prior to connecting the Kryoflux to the X1000, it then looked like below:

While doing this I was thinking I would like to source a Classic Amiga  Commodore 1011 floppy drive, strip out the Amiga disk drive and disk drive external cable, and then replace it with the PC floppy drive and Kryoflux inside (with usb and power coming out the old drive cable hole) so it is self contained and easier to move around - not sure if it will fit or whether I need a 1010 drive casing - anyway, perhaps one day I'll get it!

As per the instructions it is important to connect the Kryoflux via USB to the X1000 before powering on the floppy drive. Once this is done, I can then configure the drive in AmigaOS4.

I put in a normal Classic Amiga floppy disk as I need to initialise the Kryoflux device and get it to detect from the floppy disk inserted how large the disk images need to be.

From the Shell I just need to be in the SYS:Utilities/Kryoflux/dtc folder. Then I can run dtc -c2 which will then do the detection. In this case we get the result that there are 81 tracks:

As part of this the Kryoflux device will then be seen by the USB controller. The lights will come to life on the Kryoflux device and the floppy drive too:

So next we need to try out some disk writing. To start with, I tried an ADF image, and then an IDF image. I copied the files I wanted to the sys:utilities/kryoflux/dtc folder and renamed them to remove spaces in the filenames.

I guess you don't have to do this but I couldn't work out how to get it to see files in folders or if the filename had spaces. Let me know if you work it out.

The command I used to write out the images is:

dtc -i2 -d0 -f<filename>.adf -w

-i defines the type of file, -d the floppy drive number, -f the filename, -w to write the image to disk.

I tried a old classic Amiga game from 1988 first....

As the tracks are written out, the progress is shown in the Shell window - all good so far:

And below the image is all done, no problems found, and quite quick too:

So now to try out the disk - which nicely brings me onto the subject of my Classic Amiga I am going to use - my Amiga 4000T. I spent a lot of time over the years getting this Amiga 4000T exactly how I wanted it. I finished the setup back in early 2012, just before getting the X1000! :-)

The A4000T runs AmigaOS3.9, has USB (Deneb) and PCI ports, PCI Network adapter, Dual TFT displays, Dual IDE ports on a Zorro card, Individual Computers scan doubler and PCI video card, PCI sound card for hardware MP3 playback (with Amiga standard audio mixed in), multiple CD/DVD drives and hard disks, Cyberstorm PPC/060, etc.

In short, I like this Classic Amiga very much - I could never imagine selling it. Here is some shots of it before we try out the game we just wrote out using the Kryoflux - this is the first time I have turned  on the A4000T in 2014:

Inside the front cover:

Here is a shot showing the PCI video card display on the left screen and the Individual computers scan doubler used for the native Amiga display on the right:

I do have a Picasso IV Zorro card, so in theory I could just use one screen if I just used that, but the PCI video card provides higher resolutions and greater colour depth, hence the dual display.

I run AFA_AOS on the A4000T, allowing me to use PNG icons, AmigaOS4 theme and Anti-aliased fonts. I used the AmigaSys4 install as a base, then modified it - a lot :-)

Little bit off topic of course but while I was here on the A4000T I checked Aminet using AWeb and found a port of Flappy Bird (famous on iPhone iOS) available for Classic Amiga today. I quickly downloaded it and had a go since I was here:

It was just as frustrating as the iPhone version....I guess that is good, right? I loved the title tune, a great retro Amiga throwback!

Anyway, enough about that - easy to get carried away as an Amiga user of over 25 years!

Let's now test the disk image we created on the X1000 using Kryoflux - on reboot we need to go to the early startup menu to disable CPU caches and use the Enhanced Chipset rather than AGA:

I put in the disk I created in the A4000T and it booted up and played no problem:

So having confirmed ADF's work fine, I then tried writing out a backup of a protected ipf original Amiga disk using Kryoflux on the X1000, which completed successfully too (it uses the same command structure as for the ADF):

And here is the disk booted and running on the A4000T, working perfectly:

And one more image disk writing tested using the Kryoflux, and also working fine:

In summary, Kryoflux is a fantastic way to preserve and restore Classic Amiga disks, and I am very glad to be able to use it now on the X1000!

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Filesysbox NTFS with SATA HD on X1000 - Part 2

Today I continue my look at Filesysbox NTFS with SATA HD on the X1000. In this 2nd Part, I look at the Ubuntu side after swapping my new NTFS hard disk as the new AmigaOS hard disk.

If you haven't read Part 1, I recommend you do so here first.

This Part 2 continues straight on from Part 1, where I was copying my files to the new NTFS volumes on the 1TB hard disk set up in Part 1.

With the new 1TB Hard disk prepared with two AmigaOS4 partitions, one small boot partition, and all files copied across to the new NTFS Music and partitions, I then powered off the X1000, and swapped the Amiga hard disk supplied by AmigaKit with the new Hard disk.

It is important that the new disk is swapped with the original AmigaOS hard disk, as the CFE expects to autoboot the hard disk connected to that SATA port ONLY.

It is of course possible to boot AmigaOS4 off of another SATA port on the X1000, but it will not boot it by default. In that case you would also need to setup a menu item in the CFE and select it every time you boot.

I didn't want to do that - I wanted the new disk to auto boot as the default AmigaOS4. And on power up...the new hard disk worked out of the box. A screenshot of the new booted hard disk is below (Click to expand):

You can see the AmigaOS4 system disk, the OSBackup partition, and also the Work: and Music: NTFS volumes. Success! Here is a closer look at the two NTFS volumes:

Some things I have found with having Work: on an NTFS volume. First, NTFS was implemented here using NTFS-3G file system is case sensitive. This was not expected!

I found that this case sensitive support broke AmiCygnix under AmiagOS4 on the new hard disk.

To fix this, I moved the AmiCygnix folder from Work: (NTFS) to System: (SFS2). I then edited the s:User-startup file to change the Cygnix: assign to the new location in System:AmiCygnix. After that, AmiCygnix worked fine.

I expected this may happen, which is why I allowed extra space (10GB) on the System: partition so that AmiCygnix, SDK, QT and GoldEd could be moved there.

There wasn't enough room on the AmigaKit partitioned 2GB AmigaOS4 on the original hard disk for these large installations, which is why it was installed in Work: originally.

Also note that m3u music playlists created under AmigaOS4 don't work under Ubuntu (and vice versa), due to the different folder structures and conventions. To resolve this I now have two folders under the Music: partition, one for AmigsOS4 playlists and one for Ubuntu playlists...

There may be effects on other programs too - I found some weird issues with the BETA version of Dopus3.9 copying stuff to the NTFS partitions for example. I will keep testing...

So, now time to test out the Ubuntu side on the X1000.

I rebooted the X1000 into Ubuntu 12.04LTS (Ubuntu Remix). If you want to know more about how to install Ubuntu Remix on the X1000 I have previously covered this here (Part 1) and here (Part 2).

Once booted into Ubuntu, both NTFS partitions Work: and Music: were available with read/write access immediately on boot up, with no configuration needed at all! Fantastic!

Here is the Work: NTFS partition mounted under Ubuntu:

Next is the Music: NTFS partition, shown under Ubuntu.

I next tried playing a module located on the NTFS Music: partition which worked well (click to expand):

I was very happy that this worked exactly how I had planned it to!

I then started copying my music, pictures and video files from the Ubuntu system partition (as they were more recent) to the shared Music drive. Once finished I could delete the music from the Ubuntu partition as it is no longer needed there!

While waiting for this copy to finish I listened to some of Radix's wonderful modules from the NTFS Music: partition, and I opened an Amiga 500 PDF manual from the Work: NTFS partition in Ubuntu (click to expand):

Later, I opened the same PDF from AmigaOS4 and played a video I copied to the NTFS partition from Ubuntu, in order to show the NTFS partition and same data is accessible from both operating system on the X1000 (Click to expand):

I then played some MP3's from the NTFS drive on the AmigaOS4 side while web browsing and playing back a video on the NTFS partition which worked perfectly (click to expand):

As you can see, the new Filesysbox NTFS partition support opens up a very convenient way to share data on NTFS partitions between AmigaOS4 and Ubuntu (or indeed any other Linux distributions that support NTFS-3G) on the X1000. As mentioned in Part 1 FileSysbox NTFS support is available for free for registered X1000 owners from AmiUpdate.

There is a bit of work involved in setting it up under AmigaOS4 for fixed hard disk NTFS partition support (as I have detailed here and in Part 1), but I believe the result is worth the effort!

The NTFS support is not limited to fixed SATA hard disks, and indeed works for NTFS formatted USB connected hard disks as well. I have not needed this so far and have not tried it, but it is good to know it is there if I need it!

I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you very much to the developers who made this NTFS support happen under AmigaOS4 - it solved a big issue for me sharing common files between multiple operating systems on the AmigaOne X1000.

I also learnt a lot of things about the AmigaOne X1000 and filesystems in the process of setting it up!