Nextor: the whole story

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Par konamiman

Paragon (1046)

Portrait de konamiman

01-08-2011, 15:24

Now that Nextor reached the second alpha and is somewhat usable I wanted to tell all of you the whole story behind its (yet unfinished) development. I have kept it as a secret until now but I think it does not make sense anymore.

Let's go back to April 2008. I was in Japan and one I received a mail from a japanese man named Shiozawa (yes, that Shiozawa) that was the MSX Association representative for Europe at that time. He was planning a trip to somewhere in Europe (I don't remember) and he wanted to see me. For some cosmological coincidence I was in Japan at that time, and very close to where he was (about half an hour by train), so we met the next day in the restaurant of my father-in-law in Osaka instead.

Aside from telling me a terrific story about the soap opera-style relations between MSX-A and the european users, he wanted me to be something like the representative of MSX users in Spain. I declined because that implied to travel to the Netherlands for a meeting once a year and I was not able to afford it, for my familiar and economical circumstances.

We kept contact via Skype for some time anyway. And one day, while chatting with him, I don't remember what we were speaking about but he mentioned "the MSX-DOS 2.50 project".

So I was like... wait. What? WHAT???

He told me that indeed, a project for a new MSX-DOS version was work in progress. And what was the development based on? Quite reasonably, it was based on the MSX-DOS 2.31 source code.

Of course I asked him who I had to kill in order to join the project. He redirected me to GuyveR800, the project leader in Europe (I think), who in turn asked someone else in Japan, and I was approved in the project.

So yes, I have the full source of MSX-DOS 2.31, including MSXDOS2.SYS. And that's what the Nextor development is based on.

And why I started my own project, you may ask? Because in three years I haven't received a project plan, a roadmap, a work schedule... NOTHING. I don't even know what were the planned features for MSX-DOS 2.50. I think that the project is pretty much dead. Anyway, the only modifications the sources I received had relative to version 2.31 were the FAT16 support (and apparently incomplete, I had to modify a couple of things to make it work) and some small optimizations scattered through all the source files.

Those of you who know me good enough will understand that by no means could I stay with this material in my computer and with my arms folded. So I decided to start my own MSX-DOS expansion project. It is not that I have been working on it for three years. Rather, it has been an intermittent work (for example, I stopped when I received my Denyonet prototype, in order to develop some software for it together with the TCP/IP specification).

I know that I should credit the MSX-DOS copyright owners in the Nextor documentation, but I really don't know who they are nowadays. The same goes for the FAT16 code (altough it seems to be the code made by Okei). I have asked Yokoi Hidekatsu via email but haven't got any reply.

And that's the full story, and also the reason why I will not publish the full source code of Nextor unless the original MSX-DOS source code is officially published some day.

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Par mais1976

Master (169)

Portrait de mais1976

01-08-2011, 15:29

What a story Smile I can imagine that it would be a strange idea not doing anything with it, knowing what you have on your harddrive

Par ARTRAG

Enlighted (6285)

Portrait de ARTRAG

01-08-2011, 16:18

Interesting story ! I eager to see Nextor beeing embedded in any new msx HW device!

Par sd_snatcher

Prophet (3093)

Portrait de sd_snatcher

01-08-2011, 17:41

First, thanks for having the balls to take on this project!

I indeed had found to many address coincidences between Nextor and the MSX-DOS2, but I believed that you were working on the disassembled sources from msxsyssrc like I do on the MSX-Audio BIOS. Man, I wish I had the same luck to get my hands on the real source of the MSX-Audio BIOS. Smile

Keep up the good work!

Par Sd-Snatcher

Hero (582)

Portrait de Sd-Snatcher

01-08-2011, 18:38

Whooa, amazing facts, expecting more news.

Konamiman, you tried to flash it with denyonet bios? like the msx-dos kernel.

Par Manuel

Ascended (15839)

Portrait de Manuel

01-08-2011, 19:32

Wow, really cool! I already wondered what MSX-DOS 2.50 was (was mentioned buy GuyeR800 on MSXblue)... I still have no clue, but it's really cool that there still exists a source code of MSX-DOS 2.31!

Doesn't the code mention any names? Does it have English or Japanese comments? And under which conditions did you receive it, I wonder?

Par Sd-Snatcher

Hero (582)

Portrait de Sd-Snatcher

01-08-2011, 19:32

... "has not been tested on real hardware" Wink

Par xmicron

Supporter (4)

Portrait de xmicron

01-08-2011, 19:34

You can always find "a way" to distribute the source code to the MSX community.

Keeping the MSX community alive should always be a top priority.

Par konamiman

Paragon (1046)

Portrait de konamiman

02-08-2011, 08:25

I already wondered what MSX-DOS 2.50 was (was mentioned buy GuyeR800 on MSXblue)... I still have no clue
Neither I have... and I was supposed to be part of the development team!

but it's really cool that there still exists a source code of MSX-DOS 2.31!
The funny part is that the embedded MSX-DOS 1 kernel is not original source code but a disassembled source generated with a tool...

Doesn't the code mention any names? Does it have English or Japanese comments?
At the beginning of all files you can read something like this:

.z80
TITLE	MSX-DOS 2 KERNEL   Copyright (1986)  IS Systems Ltd.
SUBTTL	File Attribute Table (FAT) Handling

All the comments are in english and are generally very complete and accurate, except a few files that are quite chaotic (the ones related to system startup).

And under which conditions did you receive it, I wonder?
I don't know... I just received it Smile I suppose that under the "don't redistribute it" condition.

Keeping the MSX community alive should always be a top priority.
Sure, but trying to not do anything too illegal and not gaining too much enemies is a top priority for me as well... Tongue

Par MicroTech

Champion (386)

Portrait de MicroTech

02-08-2011, 11:07

Very intrigant!
I also would dream to be contacted by some MSX representative, let's say Nishi Cool, to develop some new official MSX stuff!

So what's in your MSX-DOS dream list?
What would you like to add?

If I could put my hands in kernel sources I'd try to port some VxWorks kernel features (that I use actually at work) inside MSX-DOS kernel...

Par msd

Paragon (1372)

Portrait de msd

02-08-2011, 12:07

Are the known bugs/limitations in msx-dos2? I know of one. You can't load/save data directly into/from a secondary mapper. It always uses the primary mapper.

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