BBC Domesday Project - Source code available

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simoni
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BBC Domesday Project - Source code available

Postby simoni » Sat Oct 14, 2017 7:09 pm

Thanks to a number of stardot members (you know who you are you bunch of superstars :) ) it would appear that a large amount of Domesday BCPL source code has been discovered (along with many other items which may be of interest to RISC OS fans as well as 8-bitters).

The source code was found on an Acorn A500 prototype machine that seems to have belonged to Logica (the company that developed the original Domesday code).

Images of the hard drive and Arthur ROMs are available from my web-site (along with some guidelines to get them up and running in ArcEm). You are positively encouraged to download them and report back any interesting findings here on the forum.

http://www.domesday86.com/?page_id=936

/Simon


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simoni
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Re: BBC Domesday Project - Source code available

Postby simoni » Sat Oct 14, 2017 7:26 pm

The image looks like it contains header descriptions for the various Domesday files... which will make data extraction a lot easier - kinda removes all the reverse engineering and guesswork.

Please make sure to download a copy of the files - the more local copies there are - the better!

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IanS
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Re: BBC Domesday Project - Source code available

Postby IanS » Sat Oct 14, 2017 9:39 pm

I'll claim a small part in this recovery. This is the machine that Xavier bought on Ebay -
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Working-Acorn ... 2622471946
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=13540&p=177673

I think Dave (Arcadian) collected the machine, and then offered it to me to make a copy of the Hard Disc. The files on the http://www.domesday86.com page are the files I recovered from the Hard disc.

After checking the hard disc was still working, I transplanted it into an A440 to make the spark archive, and then used a modified version of the "SCSIReader" program from SCSITools.zip from https://www.4corn.co.uk/articles/riscix121c/ configured to work with ADFS to make the hd image file.

The hard disc has since been put back into the A500, and it still works. Just today I've built an adapter cable so that a standard Arc mouse can be plugged in. The A500 keyboard has a 9-pin D-type mouse connector rather than the usual 9-pin Mini-Din found on A series machines.

(I haven't downloaded the files, I already have a copy :D )

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BeebMaster
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Re: BBC Domesday Project - Source code available

Postby BeebMaster » Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:21 am

This is a very exciting and important find! I understand now why a direct sector dump of the whole drive was sought.

I've downloaded my own copy of the files, so far I've only looked at the EXALL listing and I'm drooling already!

So are we learning that the BBC Domesday System, that pinnacle of 8-bit computing, was actually all written on an as-near-as-makes-no-difference Archimedes???
Image

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simoni
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Re: BBC Domesday Project - Source code available

Postby simoni » Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:29 am

So are we learning that the BBC Domesday System, that pinnacle of 8-bit computing, was actually all written on an as-near-as-makes-no-difference Archimedes???


There are two possibilities really (and only more close examination of the code will tell)... 1) it was all developed on Masters and the code on the A500 is more related to Domesday Display and the other projects that came after or 2) Early A500s were used in the later stages of the project to speed up the development.

There's always (3) though - which is a bit of both :)

SteveBagley
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Re: BBC Domesday Project - Source code available

Postby SteveBagley » Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:42 am

simoni wrote:There are two possibilities really (and only more close examination of the code will tell)... 1) it was all developed on Masters and the code on the A500 is more related to Domesday Display and the other projects that came after or 2) Early A500s were used in the later stages of the project to speed up the development.

There's always (3) though - which is a bit of both :)


Don’t forget (4) it was developed on something else and cross-compiled…. (Also I suspect the availability of usable A500s in early 1986 was tending to zero).

Steve

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jgharston
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Re: BBC Domesday Project - Source code available

Postby jgharston » Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:48 am

The SparkFS archive .... This compression format is not compatible with modern PCs (and is a nasty proprietary closed-source format) and is therefore only suitable for use on a RISC OS machine.

So, zip it with SparkFS instead.

Edit: plus, from the documentation, I'm sure a SparkFS archive use standard LZW compression anyway.

Code: Select all

$ bbcbasic
PDP11 BBC BASIC IV Version 0.25
(C) Copyright J.G.Harston 1989,2005-2015
>_

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simoni
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Re: BBC Domesday Project - Source code available

Postby simoni » Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:01 pm

So, zip it with SparkFS instead.


Nope; I refuse to pay for a closed-source application that can only read and write a useless format for a defunct OS. But, if you have a licensed copy, you are welcome to make one and send it; I'll include it on the site :)

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davidb
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Re: BBC Domesday Project - Source code available

Postby davidb » Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:10 pm

jgharston wrote:
The SparkFS archive .... This compression format is not compatible with modern PCs (and is a nasty proprietary closed-source format) and is therefore only suitable for use on a RISC OS machine.

So, zip it with SparkFS instead.

Or use nspark on other platforms. James Woodcock seems to be keeping nspark up to date these days.

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simoni
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Re: BBC Domesday Project - Source code available

Postby simoni » Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:12 pm

I'll include a normal zip of it sometime soon (with hostfs compatible file names)... Just a bit busy this weekend.

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simoni
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Re: BBC Domesday Project - Source code available

Postby simoni » Sun Oct 15, 2017 1:57 pm

Thanks to JGH for the zip of RISC OS files and to David for the zip of host FS compatible files :) Both zips are now available on the website.

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jgharston
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Re: BBC Domesday Project - Source code available

Postby jgharston » Sun Oct 15, 2017 4:32 pm

simoni wrote:
So, zip it with SparkFS instead.
Nope; I refuse to pay for a closed-source
So use BBCZip or InfoZip, both free.

simoni wrote:application that can only read and write a useless format
It's can't only read and write SparkFS archives, it can read and write ARJ, Cab, CPIO, Lzh, McStuffit, PackdDir, Spark, Tar, Zip, Zoo.

And do you do manage to do *anything* without at least *some* paid-for closed-source applications? Who wrote, and how did you get hold of the boot ROM in your computer?

Code: Select all

$ bbcbasic
PDP11 BBC BASIC IV Version 0.25
(C) Copyright J.G.Harston 1989,2005-2015
>_

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simoni
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Re: BBC Domesday Project - Source code available

Postby simoni » Sun Oct 15, 2017 4:39 pm

It's a particular issue I have with RISC OS "Open" in general (i.e. it's not open and the licensing sucks as does the 'pay for everything' ecosystem around it) - but it's not really a topic for this thread. I'll meet you at ABUG and explain ;)


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