NoWind - update regarding support & documentation

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By snout

Ascended (15184)

snout's picture

10-08-2011, 00:50

Sky_Hawk sent this one in as a news post, but I think it works better in the forum:

I'd like to announce that I can be reached by email to answer any questions about the nowind interface.
My email address can be found on the nowind.nl main home page.

Also I would like to apologize for the state in which I left the sources before going on vacation, they where not usable (unless you
were a MSX ML-programmer and knew how to disable the BDOS-patches Wink

I will try to maintain a good working version and welcome any comments and/or additions to the documentation and other things on the nowind.nl website.

I have read on the forums here that the documentation leaves much to be desired, especially when it comes to compiling the sources on linux and/or MacOS.
The time I choose to spend on nowind is limited, especially now, since I will soon become a father, but I can assure you, I still love working on the project and
will be doing so in the foreseeable future. Receiving email with comments, questions and suggestion motivate me, so nowind users, let me hear your voices.

One last note: we are currently working to support direct access to the host harddisk, eliminating the need to use disk-images.

Yours truly,

Jan Wilmans

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By yzi

Champion (444)

yzi's picture

10-08-2011, 10:30

I think the challenges a user faces are something like this
- The stuff that comes on the CD with the cartridge is old, and for Windows only
- There is still an old Sourceforge page that does not in any way say it's obsolete! could it be possible to delete the bogus project
- The new versions that can be pulled from the Google Code SVN repository are incompatible with whatever is on the CD
- The documentation that's included in the SVN repository is not complete. There are some important things on the paper "hardcopy" document that comes with the cartridge, and you can't even use the SVN stuff without managing to mix together the old and new information. The paper document's information is not available anywhere on the internet. Or at least anywhere that Google finds.
- The SVN version indeed seems to be work in progress, and some new features are partially implemented, like the direct host directory access. Getting it to work is a bit of hit and miss. It IS possible to use it at least to some extent, though.
- Functionality with MSX1 is a mystery. I eventually got it to work with Spectravideo SVI 728, but not with Canon V-20. What's the deal with MSX1 and DOS1 support. EDIT: Thinking about it, I'm not sure about the 728. I have to check it again.

By yzi

Champion (444)

yzi's picture

10-08-2011, 14:59

I checked it again with the SVI-728. It shows "Disk BASIC version 1.0", and the "files" command shows the contents of the Mac directory. I cannot get it to load DSK files, not to mention boot from them.

However, MSX2 (Philips NMS 8250) works with DSK files.

By Sky_hawk

Champion (267)

Sky_hawk's picture

10-08-2011, 20:17

Thanks for responding yzi, I'm afraid that the CD that comes with the cartridge was created a long time ago, and without much though of the future.
I would suggest to anyone owning a Nowind interface, to always use the zip package on the nowind.nl site. It contains pre-compiled binaries for windows and a .rom image that should be flashed into
the cartridge before using diskimages. As for linux and MacOS, for the moment you are only able to do anything with the nowind interface by compiling the sources in the Google Code SVN.

Each new version of the software should be considered incompatible with previous versions, that is because the protocol is changing (and hopefully improving) all the time.
This means a nwhostapp.exe needs a matching nowind.rom flashed into the nowind interface.

What are the important things in the "hardcopy" document ? We should put those on the website Smile I'm afraid I dont know how is the author of the document (someone from sunrise I expect).
I really dont have the time to be writing documents any time soon, would you be interested in helping out with that?

Greetings,

Jan

By Edwin

Paragon (1182)

Edwin's picture

10-08-2011, 22:48

One last note: we are currently working to support direct access to the host harddisk, eliminating the need to use disk-images.

Gogogo! And yay! Tongue

By yzi

Champion (444)

yzi's picture

11-08-2011, 12:12

What are the important things in the "hardcopy" document ?

At least the exact flashing procedure: you need to hold down the F key on the MSX while booting it, in order to start flashing.

This information was not found anywhere on the Sunrise website, or in the Google Code SVN repository's stuff. Or at least I couldn't find it.

So what's the state of MSX1 support? Is the SVN repository currently in some halfway implemented state?

By Sky_hawk

Champion (267)

Sky_hawk's picture

12-08-2011, 14:23

About flashing, maybe the user manual is good place to start:

nowind.nl -> Documentation -> User Manual

About MSX1 support, last time I tested on my Toshiba HX-10 it worked. However, I tested with the released version
on the site. http://www.myquest.nl/nowindusb/files/nwhostapp_v4.2.zip

The current state of the SVN is 'bleeding edge development' so you cant really rely on it working at all. (although we strive to always have a working head version).
We are currently looking into having the 'head' version the latest release, and developing on branches ourselves, currently this is not our way of working yet.
We dont even have release labels of previous version at this point, so I admit, its really messy to work with the repository for non-developers right now.

Greetings,

Jan

By Sky_hawk

Champion (267)

Sky_hawk's picture

15-08-2011, 22:53

I've tested the current HEAD version of the google code repository, here are the results:
MSX1, Toshiba HX1.
Status: OK.
remark: the date/time must be entered, we had a feature that did that automatically, but it appears to be broken.
however entering date/time is normal behaviour on clockchip-less MSX's so it's actually more 'real' like this Smile

MSX2, VG8235/00 with 1MB ram and DOS2:
Status: OK.

MSX Turbo R:
Status: OK
remark: you must add the -a option on the commandline option for Turbo-R

OS wise I've tested on WindowsXP, Windows 7 64 Bit version, linux and MacOS.

Nowind-wise, they all seem to be working, although I must admit getting the right libraries is not as straitforward as it should be.
We hoped using CMake would simplify this, but what it does is just say: "he, you're missing library X', and what you need to do about it
depends on your platform (which kindof makes sense, but is not very helpful).

Also on Windows7-64bit I have had multiple bluescreen's of death !! I suspect these are related to the 64bit driver version of FTDI-chip, i'm not sure
whether I used the latest version from the FTDI website, so I'll test that later.

To anyone having problems using the nowind interface in a specific combination of hardware... let me know, because all 'regular' stuff seems to work OK.

Greetings,

Jan

By yzi

Champion (444)

yzi's picture

16-08-2011, 08:20

Unfortunately, I and Marq couldn't find the F key trick. I eventually spotted it in the paper manual, but apparently it was online as well.

The precompiled release version is for Windows only, so I had to build from sources. Maybe I should have retrieved something else than the HEAD revision. I think I would have needed some clue as to what the release version source is.

Here's a description of what it looks on my MSX1 machines (Canon V-20 and Spectravideo SVI-728), with screenshot and nwhostapp text output,
http://www.msx.org/forumtopic12872p15.html

However, the same nwhostapp binary does indeed work with Philips NMS 8250.

By Marq

Champion (387)

Marq's picture

16-08-2011, 09:14

The only firmware that seems to work with the self-compiled source code version is included with the sources. The one on the CD did nothing, and it was the same for the official nowind site package. I do get now that there's been some major overhaul which has rendered the different branches incompatible. The problem with the working firmware is that it's only for MSX2/DOS2 and, as Yzi showed above, it's no go with MSX1. Tried on both 728 and V-20, and both of them just show the host PC directory.

If there have been some very recent revisions, then I'll probably give it another go.

By Manuel

Ascended (18162)

Manuel's picture

16-08-2011, 20:00

As he said, always use the firmware that comes with the host-code.

Weird enough, it did work for them on MSX1, as you could see. So it's definitely not MSX2/DOS2 only.

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