File handling in Timeshare BASIC

General discussions related to the Altair 8800 Clone

Re: File handling in Timeshare BASIC

Postby toml_12953 » February 4th, 2017, 5:03 pm

AltairClone wrote:I'm bumping this thread for an important update :) With many thanks to Bill Sgambati for providing his disks to me to archive, the Altair community now has access to Timesharing BASIC 2.0! Version 2 is an important upgrade from version 1.x in that it adds programmed disk I/O as present in single user Disk BASIC. Timesharing BASIC 1.x could load and save programs from disk, but programs could not do disk I/O.

Bill also provided a real-time-clock disk for BASIC. I'll be adding more information in a readme file for that disk soon.

The new disk images are available in the BASIC folder on the support page. The Timesharing BASIC 2.0 user's manual has also been added to the Altair Manuals link on the support page.

Mike

In your notes for 2.0 you mention two Files disks. There's only one in the downloads. Is that just a blank disk for us to copy to new ones? Can we make our own Files disks from TS BASIC? Is the RTC software on that one disk that is in the D/L section? Do I ask enough questions?

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Re: File handling in Timeshare BASIC

Postby AltairClone » February 4th, 2017, 7:58 pm

jibanes wrote:How many users can use it (on the clone); 1 local and 2 remote? Could they use the disk IO to communicate between instances?


With the cassette interface option, the Clone supports up to three 2SIO serial ports, and therefore up to three users under TS BASIC. While one serial port is used to configure the system during boot, once up and running, all three users are the "same" (not local vs remote).

I believe files can be opened "shared" and locks used to ensure proper writes, so I imagine file I/O could be used to communicate between instances.

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Re: File handling in Timeshare BASIC

Postby AltairClone » February 4th, 2017, 8:05 pm

toml_12953 wrote: In your notes for 2.0 you mention two Files disks. There's only one in the downloads. Is that just a blank disk for us to copy to new ones? Can we make our own Files disks from TS BASIC? Is the RTC software on that one disk that is in the D/L section? Do I ask enough questions?

Tom L


Only one data disk is present on the website for download. The 2nd data disk shown in the example could be anything you want. To create it, upload the same data disk from the website to the Clone, then use the "DSKINI" command to format it as a new blank data disk. Note: DSKINI takes almost ten minutes - be patient, it really is working. Sadly, the procedure could have easily been written to execute in less than one minute.

In what seems to be a chicken and egg problem that MITS/Pertec probably would have fixed had the product existed longer, you cannot initialize a disk (DSKINI) unless that disk was previously initialized as a TS 2.0 disk. In other words, you can't take a blank disk, a single user BASIC disk, a CP/M disk, etc., and initialize it as a TS 2.0 disk. TS 2.0 treats any non-TS 2.0 disk as "READ ONLY" even if your plan is to completely wipe and initialize the disk!

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Re: File handling in Timeshare BASIC

Postby AltairClone » February 5th, 2017, 9:27 am

toml_12953 wrote:Is the RTC software on that one disk that is in the D/L section?


Two files for the real time clock are present: The boot disk that installs the driver (RTC_Driver32K.dsk) and the help file from the disk (RTC_Driver32K.txt).

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