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LIFUTILS: reading and writing HP9114 compatible floppy disks
03-04-2018, 02:59 PM (This post was last modified: 03-04-2018 03:03 PM by jsi.)
Post: #1
LIFUTILS: reading and writing HP9114 compatible floppy disks
Tony Duell implemented in the "historic" lifutils the facility to read from and to write to floppy disks that are compatible to the HP9114 disk drive.

This feature has continued in my fork at least for the "lifdump" and "lifimage" utilities but this has not been tested up to now.

Recently I obtained a floppy disk drive for my Thinkpad T41, applied some fixes that were needed to access the floppy disk on more recent LINUX versions and could format, write and read floppies successfully. The floppy driver was tweaked with the parameters of the HP 9122D/S drive format as documented by the FDIO project.

Unfortunately I do not have a HP9114 disk drive to test the floppies that I created. I have only one floppy disk that was written on a HP9114 drive and I could read it.

Thus I have two questions:
  1. Is there still any need to read and write floppy disks for the HP9114 under LINUX? Note: you must have an non USB floppy disk drive and a suitable old controller.
  2. Is there a volunteer who owns a HP9114 and a HP-71 (Germany or EU preferred) and is willing to test two floppies I created this way? If so, please send me a PM. I'll send you the floppy disks.

Windows users may have success to read and write floppy disk images with the fdio driver and utilities (see link above). mac OS has no support to handle floppy disk drives with non standard floppy disk layouts.

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03-04-2018, 05:13 PM
Post: #2
RE: LIFUTILS: reading and writing HP9114 compatible floppy disks
I cannot really help you with your questions, but...

Years ago I hacked the NetBSB kernel on Amiga to make it handle LIF floppies as a single sweep, read or write (using dd command).

During the years I picked up some 3.5 floppy drives that were being thrown away with the intent on putting them on either a Sparc or CATS NetBSD box and make it work with 9114 floppies. My CATS also has an HP-IL card in it that I intend(ed) to write drivers for.

My 9114 floppy drive did not want to work the last time (2 years ago) when I tried it and the Amiga HD gave up 5 years ago. That machine is very tricky to boot into UNIX from scratch without a working AmigaOS, which I probably do not have by now.

Lots of other things to do and there it is. I suppose I still have some interest in being able to read and write real 9114 floppies, but it would be a long journey for me.

Anyway, I am interested in reading anything about how to interface ordinary old floppy drives to UNIX boxes with the intent of handling 9114 floppies.

I do not have so much time at this point and I suppose that it will not change anytime soon. This is simply put not high enough priority on my side.

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