Nextor 2.0.3 released

Nextor 2.0.3 released

by konamiman on 09-05-2014, 17:47
Topic: Software
Tags: Nextor
Languages:

Time for a new maintenance release of your favourite MSX-DOS-like amateur operating system. Here's the list of the improvements in this release:

  • The code that calculates the free space on a FAT16 volume has been rewritten from scratch, and is much faster than in previous versions. In the worst case (64K clusters, corresponding to a 1G, 2G or 4G volume) it takes about 4 seconds to calculate the free space for a Z80, and about just one second for a R800 (assuming a fast device such as a multimedia card).
  • The code that decides the FAT type of a volume based on the cluster count has been modified. In previous versions, a volume with a cluster count of 4095 or less was always considered to be holding a FAT12 filesystem. Now, a volume with a cluster count between 4085 and 4095 is considered to hold a FAT12 filesystem unless the boot sector contains the string “FAT16” at position 36. This covers both legitimate FAT16 partitions with a very low cluster count, as well as FAT12 partitions with more clusters than allowed by the standard (see next point).
  • The maximum cluster count for partitions generated by FDISK has been corrected from 4085 to 4084 in the case of FAT12 partitions, and from 65526 to 65524 in the case of FAT16 partitions. And for those of you that had already created "faulty" partitions...
  • ...a new tool named Volume Size Fix Tool has been published. It is a small .COM that fixes FAT12 and FAT16 partitions having more clusters than allowed by the standard, by slightly reducing its size.
  • If an environment item named ZALLOC is created with value ON (SET ZALLOC=ON), the reduced allocation information mode becomes the zero allocation information mode: Nextor will report the drives in this mode as having no free space at all, thus the free space calculation finishes immediately for these drives.
  • The system variable KANJTABLE (&HF30F), used to decide whether to show error messages in Japanese or in English, now is filled from the contents of the BIOS only if the computer has a Japanese character set. This solves a problem with some brazilian computers, that were displaying garbage instead of proper error messages.

All of these imrpovements will of course be included as well in the next release of the 2.1 branch.

Relevant link: Konamiman's MSX page

Comments (27)

By edoz

Paragon (2015)

edoz's picture

09-05-2014, 18:16

How cool... Big smile do you mean the 2.1 alpha ?

By DrWh0

Hero (630)

DrWh0's picture

09-05-2014, 20:09

Only with this feature its worth it Smile

The code that calculates the free space on a FAT16 volume has been rewritten from scratch, and is much faster than in previous versions. In the worst case (64K clusters, corresponding to a 1G, 2G or 4G volume) it takes about 4 seconds to calculate the free space for a Z80, and about just one second for a R800 (assuming a fast device such as a multimedia card).

Aleluya! Smile

P.D.: Thanks konamiman!

By raymond

Champion (318)

raymond's picture

09-05-2014, 20:01

Looks like it is realy time to download and install this.

Keep up the good work!

By Grauw

Enlighted (7245)

Grauw's picture

09-05-2014, 20:52

Great great great! Very happy with the improved free space calculation speed, as well as the FDISK compatibility improvements. I was waiting for those two fixes before moving my files from a regular to a MicroSD-card that I can plug into both my OCM and MegaFlashROM SD Smile.

By edoz

Paragon (2015)

edoz's picture

09-05-2014, 21:17

At the moment I have : •Nextor 2.1 Alpha 1 installed on my devices. Are those new features also included in this Alpha version ? Or do I have to downgrade to the Nextor 2.0.3 released (stable release ?)

By Grauw

Enlighted (7245)

Grauw's picture

09-05-2014, 21:46

Quote:

All of these improvements will of course be included as well in the next release of the 2.1 branch.

@edoz So I imagine these will find their way into the Nextor 2.1 Alpha 2 release.

By Latok

msx guru (3558)

Latok's picture

09-05-2014, 22:02

edoz wrote:

At the moment I have : •Nextor 2.1 Alpha 1 installed on my devices. Are those new features also included in this Alpha version ? Or do I have to downgrade to the Nextor 2.0.3 released (stable release ?)

Same question here...

By NYYRIKKI

Enlighted (4947)

NYYRIKKI's picture

09-05-2014, 22:57

I installed Alpha 1 two hours ago and it still looks quite a slow... I think we have to wait a moment...

By edoz

Paragon (2015)

edoz's picture

09-05-2014, 23:16

I'm running the alpha for some weeks. I see slowness at writing only on my sunrise IDE.

By edoz

Paragon (2015)

edoz's picture

09-05-2014, 23:18

I think the new features are not in the alpha but only in the stable release ?

By Grauw

Enlighted (7245)

Grauw's picture

10-05-2014, 00:32

Quote:

All of these improvements will of course be included as well in the next release of the 2.1 branch.

It says right there in that quote guys… Smile The next Nextor 2.1 release.

By edoz

Paragon (2015)

edoz's picture

10-05-2014, 08:40

I downloaded and installed the new version 2.0.3 version (I downgraded from the 2.1 alpha release) Now the calculation is faster < 4 sec. So it seems those new features are not in the 2.1 alpha release but will probably will come in the 2.1 final release Big smile

- Just performance problem on the sunrise (this is in the Alpha release but also n the 2.0.3 stable release) It seems when I write to the disk this takes a lot of time! .. a small file take already more then 10 seconds to write to disk. Reading is fine.. but it seems there is something strange with the sunrise with the writing process ? Does someone have the same problem ?

By Grauw

Enlighted (7245)

Grauw's picture

10-05-2014, 20:43

I installed 2.0.3 on my MegaFlashROM SD, and free space calculation on my 512MB went down from about 7 seconds partition to less than a second. Just as fast as the OCM’s built-in SD interface. Perfect! Smile

By Guillian

Prophet (3128)

Guillian's picture

10-05-2014, 22:33

It should run even faster than OCM and other SD interfaces Running Naked in a Field of Flowers
Probably more noticiable in bigger partitions.

By Grauw

Enlighted (7245)

Grauw's picture

11-05-2014, 00:19

I think the speed is influenced by the cluster count, not the cluster size. Calculating free space on a 2050 MB partition is quite a bit faster than a 512MB one… But of course has less efficient use of space.

Btw, the OCM runs at 10MHz by default so it’s pretty fast no matter what… worst case it takes I think slightly more than a second.

Anyway I didn’t measure precisely, if it was 10% faster I probably wouldn’t notice. But every bit extra helps, right Smile.

By edoz

Paragon (2015)

edoz's picture

11-05-2014, 13:55

I updated all my devices now to the 2.0.3 release (2x Megaflash and 1x sunrise)
The freedisk space calculations is impressive! takes about 3 counts on my 4 GB sunrise!

I only have 1 problem with the sunrise IDE controller (writing files is very slow .. )

By Retrofan

Paragon (1211)

Retrofan's picture

11-05-2014, 18:33

Very nice, well done!

By Retrofan

Paragon (1211)

Retrofan's picture

11-05-2014, 18:34

BTW: how do I install the recovery version of the Nextor kernel? With OPFXSD.COM with option /I43?

By Guillian

Prophet (3128)

Guillian's picture

12-05-2014, 09:33

The recovery version is installed from recovery menu.
Just copy the file to an empty card, enter recovery menu pressing cursor UP while booting your MSX and select F4 option.

By Grauw

Enlighted (7245)

Grauw's picture

12-05-2014, 10:46

By Retrofan

Paragon (1211)

Retrofan's picture

13-05-2014, 07:59

Guillian wrote:

The recovery version is installed from recovery menu.
Just copy the file to an empty card, enter recovery menu pressing cursor UP while booting your MSX and select F4 option.

The file must be in root and named KERNEL.DAT? And it MUST be an empty card?

By Retrofan

Paragon (1211)

Retrofan's picture

13-05-2014, 07:59

Thanks, I already read it, but didn't answer my previous post.

By Guillian

Prophet (3128)

Guillian's picture

13-05-2014, 08:39

The file name does not matter. KERNEL.DAT is the name I use in the recovery files uploaded to MSX Cartridge Shop.
The card must be empty/formated, as explained in the manual.

By Retrofan

Paragon (1211)

Retrofan's picture

13-05-2014, 09:38

Okay, I will try. For now I hope I don't need it in the near future as it works right now Wink

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (2734)

sd_snatcher's picture

24-05-2014, 06:30

Nestor,

I'm sad to tell you this, but unfortunately the workaround for the bogus values in the ExpertTurbo/3 ROMs broke the support for the Kanji driver. It now freezes whenever I try to activate it.

Albeit poorly documented, the 4 bytes at 0034h in the main ROM are used as defaults for the Kanji driver. It allows a specific kind of MSX machine that has the Kanji mode enabled by default. This option was never used in any of the real MSX machines, but the standard had provisions for doing so.

This is why those 4 bytes at 0034h are copied to F30Fh when DOS2 boots. They're the machine defaults. After the copy, only the RAM values are checked as they can be changed on-the-fly.

Try the following test on an MSX with built-in Kanji driver:

CALL KANJI0

Now look at the contents of F30Fh, it will be 128, flagging that the Kanji driver was activated. If you do a _SYSTEM and load MSX-DOS2, it will check F30Fh and show Japanese error messages accordingly. Then, type:

CALL ANK

Now, F30Fh will be set to zero, flagging that the Kanji driver was deactivated. If you load MSX-DOS2, it will check F30Fh and show english messages accordingly.

This means that F30Fh is used by DOS2 to automatically change the language according to the state of the Kanji driver. This can be done on-the-fly, without need to reboot, as many times an user need it.

The current workaround kills a nice possibility of the standard, which is to create an MSX that boots i.e. into KMODE2 with beautiful fonts in high resolution. By the MSX standard, this could be done even for western machines.

BTW, I already coded a simple workaround specific for the CIEL machines. It's a simple .COM program (named FIXCIEL.COM) that sets F30Fh to zero, and can be placed in the AUTOEXEC.BAT of any CIEL machine that has this bug. This way the problem can be fixed without placing the burden of extra code in the Nextor kernel, or breaking compatibility with the Kanji driver (be it built-in or the cartridge version). If you want, I can gladly sent the utility (with sources) to you, to be included alongside the other Nextor utilities.

If you still would like to have a built-in workaround, then maybe Nextor could look into an environment variable called LANG to decide if it will display English or Japanese messages

LANG=AUTO ; Default. Will use F30Fh to decide when to show English of Japanese messages
LANG=EN ; Forces messages to be shown in English. This would be both a workaround for CIEL machines and also allow Western users to make use of the much more beautiful fonts that the Kanji driver provides, while keeping the texts in English
If LANG is unset, then the default AUTO behavior will also be taken.

By Piter Punk

Master (184)

Piter Punk's picture

24-05-2014, 07:31

This FIXCIEL is the same of your FIXEXPT?

Tested here with my Expert with CIEL2+FM kit and it works fine. The messages are all in english. This utility works on Nextor 2.0.x and MSXDOS2.

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (2734)

sd_snatcher's picture

24-05-2014, 16:08

Piter Punk wrote:

This FIXCIEL is the same of your FIXEXPT?

Yes. I just renamed it to be easier to remember. Smile

My MSX profile