Acorn Econet - Broadcast Loader and Application Accelerator

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philpem
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Acorn Econet - Broadcast Loader and Application Accelerator

Post by philpem » Sun Aug 23, 2020 3:17 am

Several versions of the Level 4 Fileserver have been archived here -- but I'm the curious sort. According to Acorn Customer Service News 21 ( http://chrisacorns.computinghistory.org ... News21.pdf ) L4FS Release 3 came with the Application Accelerator (!AAServer and !AAClient) and possibly some support software for the Broadcast Loader.

(there's also Release 3 of !Gateway which I haven't seen around anywhere -- unless it's the same as Release 2 on https://acorn.huininga.nl/pub/disks/originals/Acorn/ )

Are there any known copies of the Broadcast Loader and Application Accelerator?

After the failures with AppFS, I'm curious to try the Acorn offering...

Cheers
Phil.

Rod C
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Re: Acorn Econet - Broadcast Loader and Application Accelerator

Post by Rod C » Sun Aug 23, 2020 6:23 am

Hi Phil
I have the AUN boxed set with Level 4 Fileserver Release 3.

If you want me to upload anything I will have to work out how to get the software off the discs and onto my laptop. In the meantime here are some photos.

Contents of the Application Accellerator disc:
!AADisc.JPG
!AAInfo.JPG
The AUN Manager's Guide refers to the Broadcast Loader module and says that the Broadcast Loader software is supplied as a standard part of versions of RiscOS required to run AUN - ie RiscOS 3.1 or later.
ManagerGuideP9.JPG
I can't find the module anywhere on the discs but in the RiscOS 3 user guide it shows that the Broadcast Loader can be enabled in the Net configuration window which is only available if you are connected to an AUN or Econet network.

Gateway software is on the AUN disc.
!GatewayDisc.JPG
!GatewayInfo.JPG
Cheers
Rod

philpem
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Re: Acorn Econet - Broadcast Loader and Application Accelerator

Post by philpem » Sun Aug 23, 2020 12:36 pm

Rod C wrote:
Sun Aug 23, 2020 6:23 am
Hi Phil
I have the AUN boxed set with Level 4 Fileserver Release 3.

If you want me to upload anything I will have to work out how to get the software off the discs and onto my laptop. In the meantime here are some photos.
I'd be very, very interested in seeing all the disks archived!

An ADF image should be more than enough, you can create these with !ADFFS or !DImager.

ADFFS is here -- https://forums.jaspp.org.uk/forum/viewforum.php?f=14
DImager is here -- http://radiac.net/projects/old/

Looks like you're running on a RISC PC or A7000 there, both of which can read high-density PC floppy disks. That's probably the easiest way to get files on and off without setting up a network.

Rod C wrote:
Sun Aug 23, 2020 6:23 am
The AUN Manager's Guide refers to the Broadcast Loader module and says that the Broadcast Loader software is supplied as a standard part of versions of RiscOS required to run AUN - ie RiscOS 3.1 or later.

ManagerGuideP9.JPG
Ah ha! I did notice that in my A3000's Configuration - and I also noticed this in CfCH's collection: http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/det/ ... %20loader/
Perhaps the disk CfCH has is for RISC OS 2.0.

Rod C wrote:
Sun Aug 23, 2020 6:23 am
I can't find the module anywhere on the discs but in the RiscOS 3 user guide it shows that the Broadcast Loader can be enabled in the Net configuration window which is only available if you are connected to an AUN or Econet network.

Gateway software is on the AUN disc.
!GatewayDisc.JPG!GatewayInfo.JPG
I think the Issue 2 version of that is the latest which has been archived and made available -- so I'd be very interested in a copy of that.

If you can, it's probably best to read the contents of all the Level 3 Release 3 disks you have -- if you're okay with doing that?

Many thanks!

Cheers
Phil.


edit: Your Gateway disc is certainly later than the version I linked in OP - that's got !Gateway dated 27 July 1992 14:00:24, and BootNet and Extra from 08 Feb 1993. The ReadMe is dated 27 Aug 1992.
Last edited by philpem on Mon Aug 24, 2020 11:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

Rod C
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Re: Acorn Econet - Broadcast Loader and Application Accelerator

Post by Rod C » Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:22 am

philpem wrote:
Sun Aug 23, 2020 12:36 pm
I'd be very, very interested in seeing all the disks archived -- I think
OK, as long as you're sure! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Just kidding, I'm keen to explore this software myself when I get my RiscPC's playing nicely. I will archive all four discs but it will probably take me a while to iron out some problems. At the moment I am unable to transfer files from my RiscPC's to my notebook so I can upload them.

Here's my current setup:

StrongARM RPC hard drive failed, waiting for replacement, CMOS chip replaced but CD drive is MIA. Have backup on ZIP100 discs but nothing to restore it to yet.

ARM610 RPC has CMOS problems to be resolved. IDE HD working. SCSI hard drive has 4 partitions but I have to manually configure the settings until CMOS is fixed. This was a school file server originally and I found the server setup on one of the SCSI partitions. I can copy files to this computer via CD after burning on my notebook.

Floppy drives are working on both computers but I have no floppy drive on my Windows 7 notebook. I have an old Win7 desktop with a floppy drive but the drive is not working since I installed Omniflop driver a couple of years ago.

Things I have tried so far:

Tried to run !ADFFS which I already have on the ARM610 but it just locks up the computer. Same with a new copy freshly extracted with !SparkFS. I'll look more at this tonight.

I have the two RPCs connected via Ethernet NICs to a HP AdvanceStack 8-port hub. I can run !AAServer on the StrongARM and export the floppy drive and ZIP drive to the other RPC successfully. Going the other way I can export the IDE hard drive to the StrongARM.

Naively, I thought I might just connect my notebook to the hub and pick up files that way, but it doesn't see anything beyond the fact that there is a local network.

On another tack, I thought if I copy the disc archives (when I make them) onto a ZIP disc I could get them onto my old desktop via the printer port (don't have this on my notebook) and transfer them to the notebook over the home network or CD. I tried connecting the ZIP100 thinking Windows might already have the driver but it didn't even find the new hardware. Back on the notebook, I thought I had found the driver online until I noticed the URL was suspicious and sure enough it's a known trojan disperser. Close one!

Perhaps I should continue trying to talk to the RPCs over Ethernet cable but I have no clue how to do this. Not sure if it's even possible.

philpem
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Re: Acorn Econet - Broadcast Loader and Application Accelerator

Post by philpem » Mon Aug 24, 2020 3:42 pm

Rod C wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:22 am
philpem wrote:
Sun Aug 23, 2020 12:36 pm
I'd be very, very interested in seeing all the disks archived -- I think
OK, as long as you're sure! :lol: :lol: :lol:
That'll teach me to proofread my messages before hitting send...

Rod C wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:22 am
Just kidding, I'm keen to explore this software myself when I get my RiscPC's playing nicely. I will archive all four discs but it will probably take me a while to iron out some problems. At the moment I am unable to transfer files from my RiscPC's to my notebook so I can upload them.

Here's my current setup:

StrongARM RPC hard drive failed, waiting for replacement, CMOS chip replaced but CD drive is MIA. Have backup on ZIP100 discs but nothing to restore it to yet.
I've heard good things about the combination of a Cloudisk or Transcend CompactFlash card in a CF-IDE adapter, provided you can live without the CD drive. You may need to mod the adapter to add a diode in the READY line - depending on network card and CF card combination.

Rod C wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:22 am
ARM610 RPC has CMOS problems to be resolved. IDE HD working. SCSI hard drive has 4 partitions but I have to manually configure the settings until CMOS is fixed. This was a school file server originally and I found the server setup on one of the SCSI partitions. I can copy files to this computer via CD after burning on my notebook.
Hopefully it's an easy fix!
Rod C wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:22 am
Floppy drives are working on both computers but I have no floppy drive on my Windows 7 notebook. I have an old Win7 desktop with a floppy drive but the drive is not working since I installed Omniflop driver a couple of years ago.
If you can live with DOS format (only!) then a USB floppy drive should be fine. The last time I bought one, it was less than £20 new.

Rod C wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:22 am
Things I have tried so far:

Tried to run !ADFFS which I already have on the ARM610 but it just locks up the computer. Same with a new copy freshly extracted with !SparkFS. I'll look more at this tonight.
I'll defer to Jon Abbott on that one. It may require the 32-bit System modules.

DImager might be easier to get working.

Rod C wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:22 am
I have the two RPCs connected via Ethernet NICs to a HP AdvanceStack 8-port hub. I can run !AAServer on the StrongARM and export the floppy drive and ZIP drive to the other RPC successfully. Going the other way I can export the IDE hard drive to the StrongARM.

Naively, I thought I might just connect my notebook to the hub and pick up files that way, but it doesn't see anything beyond the fact that there is a local network.
Sadly the Acorn networking is Acorn-specific. You can use OmniClient to connect to SAMBA -- that's in the RISC OS 5 hard drive image on www.riscosopen.org. If you have an NFS server running, you can use Sunfish, but the GUI is a bit flaky.

Other options include using AUND (an open-source implementation of the AUN protocol) or AccessPlusPython (same but for Acorn Access+) to give your notebook the ability to act as a server for the RISC PCs.

To be honest the easiest method and the one I'd use if I didn't need things to look like network shares to RO - set up an FTP server on the laptop and use FTPc to copy files to/from it.

Rod C wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:22 am
On another tack, I thought if I copy the disc archives (when I make them) onto a ZIP disc I could get them onto my old desktop via the printer port (don't have this on my notebook) and transfer them to the notebook over the home network or CD. I tried connecting the ZIP100 thinking Windows might already have the driver but it didn't even find the new hardware. Back on the notebook, I thought I had found the driver online until I noticed the URL was suspicious and sure enough it's a known trojan disperser. Close one!

Perhaps I should continue trying to talk to the RPCs over Ethernet cable but I have no clue how to do this. Not sure if it's even possible.
I don't think the parallel Zip drive drivers are available for anything newer than 32-bit Windows. The USB ones occasionally pop up on ebay for relatively little money and will work on damned near any PC I've tried mine on (they pretend to be a USB storage device). Mine's the one which doesn't need an external power brick.

Cheers
Phil.

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Re: Acorn Econet - Broadcast Loader and Application Accelerator

Post by BeebMaster » Mon Aug 24, 2020 5:39 pm

I use my RISC PC 700 (RISC OS 3.70) as a gateway between my Beebs and the outside world. It has Econet and Ethernet. I use it to access my NFS server (running on RPi4) via Sunfish, which I have found much more reliable with a longish timeout (30 seconds). It is a bit hit and miss with a short timeout. Also the RISC PC is now connected to a network switch in the next port to the RPi, so that probably helps. Previously I had powerline adapters all over the place which are a bit hopeless.

I can download directly to the RISC PC if necessary using an old version of NetSurf, although I tend not to do that, I do any downloading on a PC straight to the NFS share which the RISC PC can then see.

It also runs the non-advanced L4 file server, and one of the exports is a Sunfish mount of a separate NFS share, so I can use that as Econet storage for any Beeb logged on, meaning I can save a file from a Beeb and it's straight on my NFS server (although file attributes are lost doing this, as has been discussed before). But something like that is very handy for storing spooled BASIC listings, which I can then just copy and paste into a forum post, or upload ROM images etc.

When I was setting up the RISC PC I did have a bit of a problem getting all the software onto it. I did put things like NetSurf, Sunfish, Unicode etc. onto a CD and try to read that in the RISC PC but it was horrendously slow - I think it took about 40 mins just to read a few MB. I've got an HD floppy disc with these on, so I must have used that in the end, although I don't remember how I wrote the floppy disc.

I don't recall that I have the Application Accelerator, but I'll have a search.
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Re: Acorn Econet - Broadcast Loader and Application Accelerator

Post by BeebMaster » Mon Aug 24, 2020 7:34 pm

Nothing turned up, so I don't think I have it.
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Re: Acorn Econet - Broadcast Loader and Application Accelerator

Post by Rod C » Thu Aug 27, 2020 3:54 am

Making slow progress on this but will hopefully be able to upload the discs eventually.

To be on the safe side I copied the contents of all four discs to the RiscPC hard drive as I have found a lot of old discs from my hoard have format errors. These AUN discs seem to be fine though.
philpem wrote:
Sun Aug 23, 2020 12:36 pm
An ADF image should be more than enough, you can create these with !ADFFS or !DImager.
I now have !DImager and after some experimenting have successfully created disc image files for each of the four discs. I formatted a blank disc and used DImager to recreate the Application Accelerator disc from the image. This worked fine.

Now, to get the files off the RiscPC...
philpem wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 3:42 pm
To be honest the easiest method and the one I'd use if I didn't need things to look like network shares to RO - set up an FTP server on the laptop and use FTPc to copy files to/from it.
I've been studying how to set up FTP on my notebook and will try this when I have some more time. On the RPC side have downloaded FTPc but haven't tried to install it yet.

Cheers
Rod

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Re: Acorn Econet - Broadcast Loader and Application Accelerator

Post by Rod C » Sun Sep 06, 2020 5:21 am

Finally I have FTP working and I've copied the AUN disc images to my notebook ready... well, not quite ready, to upload.

I imaged the discs with !DImager and on the notebook they are type "file" and unable to be attached to a post. Should I rename them to a specific type?

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Re: Acorn Econet - Broadcast Loader and Application Accelerator

Post by philpem » Sun Sep 06, 2020 10:50 am

Rod C wrote:
Sun Sep 06, 2020 5:21 am
Finally I have FTP working and I've copied the AUN disc images to my notebook ready... well, not quite ready, to upload.

I imaged the discs with !DImager and on the notebook they are type "file" and unable to be attached to a post. Should I rename them to a specific type?
The correct file extension for what DImager spits out is ".adf" (Acorn Disk File).

But the Stardot forum software is a bit picky -- so you'll also need to zip them up before it'll let you upload them.

Thanks for all your hard work on this, Ian, it's really appreciated. If you find yourself trying to repair the CMOS issues on your RPC and need a hand, please feel free to open a repair thread and link me to it. I'd ba happy to help :)

Cheers
Phil

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Re: Acorn Econet - Broadcast Loader and Application Accelerator

Post by BeebMaster » Sun Sep 06, 2020 10:55 am

Great progress, looking forward to seeing this!
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Re: Acorn Econet - Broadcast Loader and Application Accelerator

Post by Rod C » Sun Sep 06, 2020 4:59 pm

philpem wrote:
Sun Sep 06, 2020 10:50 am
The correct file extension for what DImager spits out is ".adf" (Acorn Disk File).

But the Stardot forum software is a bit picky -- so you'll also need to zip them up before it'll let you upload them.
I didn't change the file type of the files made by !DImager as I tested that they can be used to restore the software to actual floppies, just left them as data and put them in a !SparkFS zip archive.

Hope it works for you!
philpem wrote:
Sun Sep 06, 2020 10:50 am
Thanks for all your hard work on this, Ian, it's really appreciated.
That's OK but for me IAN is an acronym for I Am Not (Ian). :lol: :lol: :lol:
BeebMaster wrote:
Sun Sep 06, 2020 10:55 am
Great progress, looking forward to seeing this!
I'm looking forward to seeing what you guys report back about the software as it's still very new to me and hoping to learn.

Cheers
Rod

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Re: Acorn Econet - Broadcast Loader and Application Accelerator

Post by philpem » Sun Sep 06, 2020 11:17 pm

Rod C wrote:
Sun Sep 06, 2020 4:59 pm
I didn't change the file type of the files made by !DImager as I tested that they can be used to restore the software to actual floppies, just left them as data and put them in a !SparkFS zip archive.

Hope it works for you!
I hope so too... but I don't see it on the post. Did you forget to attach it?

EDIT: Oh, there it is - in Archive Submissions! viewtopic.php?f=32&t=20438

Rod C wrote:
Sun Sep 06, 2020 4:59 pm
That's OK but for me IAN is an acronym for I Am Not (Ian). :lol: :lol: :lol:
That'll teach me to read the footer not the username...!


Cheers
Phil.

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