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Article #2 (74 is last): Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.product.8bit.reviews From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG) Subject: SpartaDOS X / Operating System / commercial Reply-To: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG) Date: Tue Oct 29 20:42:48 1991 The SpartaDOS X cartridge a review by Doug Wokoun The SpartaDOS X cartridge is the latest incantation of SpartaDOS for the 8-bit Atari and very possibly the most powerful Disk Operating System available for any 8-bit computer. The SpartaDOS X cartridge consists of 64K of ROM, with 48K (or 6 cartridge banks) formatted into a ROM-disk, and the remaining 16K used as the main DOS core. The ROM-disk contains files and drivers used by the system and SpartaDOS X versions of several utilities found in the SpartaDOS ToolKit. It also contains a very versatile ARC utility package. Some of the new features of SpartaDOS X (referred to as SDX): o built in, memory resident FORMAT utility. Old versions of SpartaDOS could only initialize Atari format disks using 'AINIT'. To initialize a SpartaDOS disk required the loading of a program called 'XINIT'. Now, any time an XIO #254 call is made, the SDX format menu is brought up. With this, you can select a variety of disk densities and types. It will also allow "1-second" formatting by simply rewriting the root directory on a formatted disk. o High speed disk I/O with U.S. Doubler, Atari XF551, and Indus GT disk drives. o New file loader supporting relocatable files (certain disk based commands can be held in memory and later removed) and symbol linking. o Probably the lowest MEMLO of any DOS. The DOS can load drivers under OS-RAM, into extended memory on an XE or at MEMLO on an 800. o Environment variables: user definable PROMPTs, search PATHs, parameter passing on batch files, and a CARtridge or BASIC memory save capability will retain programs even if the machine is shut off. o The ability to go from a cartridge to internal BASIC without rebooting. The CAR command enters the external cartridge, "BASIC" enters internal BASIC. You can go from Turbo BASIC XL to Atari BASIC to BASIC XE without rebooting! (with some provisions) o Support of up to 1 Meg internal memory as a RAMDisk. o "Persistent" batch files. Continued batch file processing even after loading binary programs. o Fast, powerful, versatile ARC utilities. Supports ALF files. With these, you can Add files to an ARChive, Move (delete after Adding), Freshen (update files by date), Update (Freshen with Add capability), Delete files from an ARChive, View files in ARC, eXtract files, and Print ARC'd files to screen. The ARC utilities also support password encryption and can function with the screen off to increase speed. Also, all files are sorted in alphabetical order when added to the ARChive. o A new MENU program very similar to the MS-DOS XTREE.EXE program. This program allows multi-file operations and displays the entire directory tree, so files anywhere on a disk can be accessed easily. o Command compatible with MS-DOS. Directory commands have several aliases. CWD from disk based SpartaDOS can also be accessed as CHDIR, or CD from SDX. o Drives can be referred to by letter or number. o Drives can be remapped. D1: can be SWAPped with D2:, etc. and from that point on, any referrences to D1: will be sent to D2: and vice versa. SDX can be configured to take advantage of different hardware. A file placed on D1: called CONFIG.SYS is used for this, or the default configuration can be used. SDX can be configured to use OSRAM, or an extended bank of memory for its drivers. With the right setup, MEMLO can be pushed to below memory location $1000! SDX uses a series of drivers to control most disk functions. SPARTA.SYS is the main driver and must be installed. 'DEVICE SPARTA' is used in the CONFIG.SYS file to do this. The number of sector buffers and file buffers can be control by passing parameters to this driver. Another driver is ATARIDOS.SYS used to read Atari DOS 2.x disks. Not installing this driver saves memory, but then Atari DOS disks cannot be read. The SDX cart also contains a RAMDisk driver which can be used to install up to 3 RAMDisks of any size. An INDUS.SYS driver is used to program the INDUS GT to operate at high speed. There are also two clock drivers, used depending on whether or not you have an R-Time 8 cartridge. A major change with the X cart is the way devices are addressed. Since ICD wanted drives to be addressed by letter or number, conflicts would have occured with existing devices. Also, ICD wanted SDX to be more similar to MS-DOS, so those conventions were adopted. E: has become CON:, P: has become PRN:, and D1: D2: and D3: are A: B: and C:. Switching between an IBM machine and SpartaDOS X is much easier with these changes. Another feature of SDX is its I/O redirection. With this, you can send the output of a program to another device. Ex: DIR >>PRN: would do a directory, but the results would be sent to the printer. Also, you can use a file to "feed" a program with input redirection. Ex: BASIC <
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