Which MSX2 should i try?

By BernardBernoulli

Resident (34)

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24-02-2016, 00:26

Hello,
i never had a MSX2 machine (only a MSX1) but i am curious about it. Which one should i try with OpenMSX (which hardware)? Do you have any suggestion?

Beside the ROMs what do i need? I guess i need a copy of MSX-DOS, is it all? Also which softwares should i try?

BTW, is MSX-DOS CP/M compatible? I mean, can i run CP/M software in MSX-DOS?

Thank you.

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By mars2000you

Enlighted (5680)

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24-02-2016, 00:38

MSX-DOS contains almost all CP/M 2.2 system calls, so Turbo-PASCAL 3.0 for CP/M will work even under MSX-DOS.

There's also a special version of CP/M for MSX2 computers :

http://www.z80.eu/msx2.html

As MSX2 machine, try the Philips NMS 8255 because this computer has 2 disk drives.

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (3332)

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24-02-2016, 02:16

If you plan to play Japanese games, I would certainly recommend a Japanese machine because they would run the games at the correct speed, in 60Hz. European MSX machines will run those games 20% slower than the original intended speed.

Also, I would recommend getting an original MSX2+ because the majority of the models have built-in FM sound and a lot of MSX2 games use that. If you can afford, get an MSX Turbo-R as the turbo also help with many games and the built-in extra RAM is very useful for running MSX-DOS2/Nextor/SymbOS;

By Manuel

Ascended (16861)

Manuel's picture

24-02-2016, 13:44

Just go ahead and try stuff Smile Many models have built-in software though. It's probably not very practical to try those.

Regarding the necessary system ROM files, take a look here: http://www.msxarchive.nl/pub/msx/emulator/openMSX/

For most software you don't need MSX-DOS. (Note that MSX-DOS is also for MSX1, it's not something MSX2 at all.)

By BernardBernoulli

Resident (34)

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24-02-2016, 17:13

Ok, thank you all for your suggestions.
So i tried the Philips NMS 8255, it apparently needs 3 ROMs:
- nms8250_basic-bios2.rom
- nms8250_disk.rom
- nms8250_msx2sub.rom

It worked. Without disks in the (emulated) readers it will just boot to MSX-Basic 2.1

Then i tried to boot it with the MSX-DOS 1.8 disk in the (emulated) reader

The first thing that confuses me is that i found a website with several different versions of MSX-DOS, many of them don't even seem made my Microsoft, some others seem modified versions, with different versions of command.com too, some others even print weird/broken characters sometimes.
Here is were i found them http://www.msxpro.com/msx-dos.html

Can anyone explain me why is this? Why so many "rebranded" versions? Are they "unofficial"? Vendor specific? I guess the original ones are only the ones branded "Microsoft", am i right? I see some made by ASCII Corporation, especially MSX-DOS 2... why? Didn't Microsoft make version 2 of its DOS for MSX?

Now i tried some commands, such as CHDIR and MKDIR, which seem to not exist in MSX-DOS 1. I expected this because i read somewhere that the concept of "directory" was missing from MS-DOS 1 too. Can someone confirm?

Btw, it is amazing that the whole MSXDOS.SYS is only 2k in size and COMMAND.COM only 7k.

Now, i tried version 2 too. For some reason it requires an extension named MSXDOS2.ROM or it will just boot to MSX-BASIC. Can someone tell me why this extension is required, what it does and how you added it to a "real" MSX? (Was it a cartridge?)

Anyways...
Version 2.20 of MSXDOS by ASCII Corporation seem to work fine, and it also supports folders. Here is a screenshot:

For some unknown reasons other versions seem to have the fonts messed up, perhaps they need a japanese machine or some other extension enabled?
Here for instance is MSX-DOS 2.20 with COMMAND.COM 2.44

As you can see the font is huge and unpleasant. Some other versions even have broken characters

I also gave a try to CP/M found at the url suggested by mars2000you, I had to disable the MSXDOS2.ROM extension to make it work or it would freeze during boot. One thing i noticed is that it seems way more advanced than MSXDOS. It has lots of tools and although it doesn't support directories either it does have the concept of "user" which seems a way to access to up to 15 different folders (please correct me if i am wrong, i have no experience with CP/M).

One last question... from what i saw MSX-DOS 1 didn't have any utility, only MSXDOS.SYS and COMMAND.COM. Is this the way it was originally shipped?

To sd_snatcher: for now i only want to experiment and get in touch if a part of computer history that unfortunately i missed, i don't really need a physical MSX2 machine... they are kind of expensive from what i can see, which is a shame because they are beautiful machines and i would love to own one.

To Manuel: Yes, try stuff is exactly what i wanted to do. Just needed some initial directions to get started. Thanx for the system-ROMS link. As for the games, i will surely try them out.

Thank you again.

BTW... it would be cool to have a way in OpenMSX to save a screenshot directly into the clipboard without generating files. imgur.com supports posting pics directly from the clipboard. Another cool thing would be to automatically upload it to imgur (or a different pic-sharing alternative) and just give back the direct link since most of the times, when you take a screenshot, you want to share it with someone online. It would make the whole operation much faster, especially if you have to take many different screenshots.

By Manuel

Ascended (16861)

Manuel's picture

24-02-2016, 22:11

BernardBernoulli wrote:

I see some made by ASCII Corporation, especially MSX-DOS 2... why? Didn't Microsoft make version 2 of its DOS for MSX?

Correct, MSX-DOS2 was created after Microsoft withdrew from MSX.

Quote:

Now i tried some commands, such as CHDIR and MKDIR, which seem to not exist in MSX-DOS 1. I expected this because i read somewhere that the concept of "directory" was missing from MS-DOS 1 too. Can someone confirm?

Confirmed.

Quote:

Can someone tell me why this extension is required, what it does and how you added it to a "real" MSX? (Was it a cartridge?)

MSX-DOS2 is partly implemented in ROM, it's as simple as that. So on a real MSX it's a cartridge. Nowadays, modern devices have it built into a mass-storage cartridge (starting with Sunrise IDE, but also MegaFlashROM SCC+ SD has it).

Quote:

One last question... from what i saw MSX-DOS 1 didn't have any utility, only MSXDOS.SYS and COMMAND.COM. Is this the way it was originally shipped?

I believe it was.

Quote:

BTW... it would be cool to have a way in OpenMSX to save a screenshot directly into the clipboard without generating files. imgur.com supports posting pics directly from the clipboard. Another cool thing would be to automatically upload it to imgur (or a different pic-sharing alternative) and just give back the direct link since most of the times, when you take a screenshot, you want to share it with someone online. It would make the whole operation much faster, especially if you have to take many different screenshots.

As usual: patches welcome Smile
I usually just make all kinds of screenshots with the hotkey (prtscr) and then just upload them to imgur in one go. The method you describe isn't that much faster, I think, so I doubt whether someone would find it worth the trouble to implement what you ask.

By BernardBernoulli

Resident (34)

BernardBernoulli's picture

25-02-2016, 14:55

Thank you for your answers... so MSX-DOS is partly in ROM... that explains why MSXDOS.SYS is so small. I guess they didn't put the whole thing in ROM to be able to easily update it.

You said that "Microsoft withdrew from MSX", do you know when this happened and why?

As for the patches... i am afraid i can't help directly. I'll ask to some of my friends if they are willing to work on it though.

Thank you again.

By Grauw

Ascended (9276)

Grauw's picture

25-02-2016, 15:08

The big font is Kanji mode on a non-Japanese MSX. It’s trying to display Japanese characters on a European MSX (and fails, so you see gibberish). I think you can change it with "KMODE OFF". Normally it does not boot in Kanji mode, but I think a disk can be configured to boot in Kanji mode or not, maybe this is what happened in your case. See the KMODE.HLP documentation in the COMMAND2.COM 2.44 download.

By hit9918

Prophet (2896)

hit9918's picture

25-02-2016, 19:48

Quote:

so MSX-DOS is partly in ROM... that explains why MSXDOS.SYS is so small. I guess they didn't put the whole thing in ROM to be able to easily update it.

It is because diskROM runs without 64k RAM.
And then with ROM and slotflipping the ROM to be visible, a RAM region disappeared,
and then msxdos.sys is kind of patching this to 64k emulation,
for example a funny thing is that the fcb gets copied to page 3 every function call.