Acorn System/Atom Econet

emulators, hardware and classic software for atom + system machines
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trev-ham
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Acorn System/Atom Econet

Post by trev-ham » Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:26 pm

Hello all, been a fan of Acorn products for nearly forty years now and having successfully replicated a System 1, 2, 3 and 5 hardware I find myself wanting more, which leads me to the Econet. Now I know very little about how Acorn implemented their way of networking things. but what I understand so far is that in the beginning there were network primitives and a file server known as Level 1 - a basic file server where a library of files were accessible to anyone on the network, and there's level 2 which introduced a hierarchical file structure with user access control. If this is not totally correct please say.

Anyway my situation is this, I have replicated the Econet Node board issue 2, and have an 8K EPROM adaptor on the CPU card of my System 3 which holds System 3 DOS and NOS. The Econet card and adaptor seem to work fine and recognises the station ID, though I have not connected a network as yet. The NOS is 3.4 (System 5). I believe this to be at level 2? If this is the case then I would need the File server software to set up the file server. where might I find this?

What I hope to achieve, is a network of System 3, 5 and Atom and maybe BBC B, according to the Econet User guide (1982) this is possible.
Any help or guidance would be much appreciated.

Trevor

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Re: Acorn System/Atom Econet

Post by SteveBagley » Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:35 pm

The System Econet server software has been posted on stardot in the past, although I suspect you've already found that.

Steve

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Re: Acorn System/Atom Econet

Post by trev-ham » Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:41 pm

Hi steve,
Yes, I have looked at JGHarstons site, but its not that clear, there are a few versions that relate to version 2.

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Re: Acorn System/Atom Econet

Post by jgharston » Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:31 pm

trev-ham wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:26 pm
Anyway my situation is this, I have replicated the Econet Node board issue 2, and have an 8K EPROM adaptor on the CPU card of my System 3 which holds System 3 DOS and NOS. The Econet card and adaptor seem to work fine and recognises the station ID, though I have not connected a network as yet. The NOS is 3.4 (System 5). I believe this to be at level 2? If this is the case then I would need the File server software to set up the file server. where might I find this?
No, Level 2 is the file server, Econet 3 is the networking primitives.

Fundamentally, everything uses Econet 3. See link.You need NFS 3.something. ANFS 4.xx on the Master and ANFS 5.xx on RISC OS are still Econet 3, it's just the NFS has advanced.

Any NFS that uses Econet 3 can use any file server that uses Econet 3 - which is all of them - baring certain idosyncracies of Atom and System *CAT handling.

Absolutely ***EVERYTHING***** you see through NFS is completely, utterly and entirely down to what the FILE SERVER choses to implement. Absolutely ****NOTHING***** is down to the NFS. The client is solely the client, it is the server that decides everything. You get a hierarchial file structure because the FILE SERVER so choses, not the NFS. You get password protection because the FILE SERVER chose, not the NFS. You get user accounting because the FILE SERVER so choses, not the NFS.

System Econet 3.40 or 3.50 are what you need for the System: link.

Code: Select all

$ bbcbasic
PDP11 BBC BASIC IV Version 0.32
(C) Copyright J.G.Harston 1989,2005-2020
>_

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Re: Acorn System/Atom Econet

Post by Boydie » Tue Jan 07, 2020 8:03 am

Many decades ago, I discovered several System 3s. These had been used for lab purposes, and to run an Econet of Atoms.
Amongst them was a disc labelled as being System 3 Fileserver, an image of which is posted here.

viewtopic.php?f=32&t=13380

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Re: Acorn System/Atom Econet

Post by IanB » Fri Jan 10, 2020 2:24 am

trev-ham wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:26 pm
in the beginning there were network primitives and a file server known as Level 1 - a basic file server where a library of files were accessible to anyone on the network, and there's level 2 which introduced a hierarchical file structure with user access control. If this is not totally correct please say.
Technically, the level 2 file server came first although it wasn't called that. It was written in assembler, had a hierarchical file structure with it's own disc format and ran on the systems initially to serve Atom networks.
When the beeb came along, that was the only file server but they decided to implement two new file servers:
Level 1 - A cut down file server written in BBC Basic designed to run on a beeb and serve straight from DFS discs. This had limited file sizes, no file random access and could only load and save files.
Level 2 - A port of the system file server to the 6502 second processor (I think the system file server was also known as Level 2 after that)
Later Level 3 (Hard disc) and Level 4 (Archimedes) were added as well as dedicated products.
trev-ham wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:26 pm
I would need the File server software to set up the file server. where might I find this?
If you haven't already found it, here is where I posted the level 2 system file server software for Econet V3:
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=11606&p=145594#p145594
Unfortunately I didn't have the support software to create blank formatted discs but as the format is compatible with the 6502 second processor version you can use the BBC level 2 file server utilities to create those.
trev-ham wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:26 pm
What I hope to achieve, is a network of System 3, 5 and Atom and maybe BBC B, according to the Econet User guide (1982) this is possible.
I'm currently running an econet with three file servers: a Level 2 system 5, a level 3 BBC and a level 4 Risc PC.
They are serving to an Atom, an Electron, 2 Master 128s, a BBC, two Archimedes, an A4000, an A5000, a Risc PC, an A7000+ and a PC (with Ecolink!). So a system serving to other systems, an Atom and a beeb is definitely possible.
Boydie wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 8:03 am
Many decades ago, I discovered several System 3s. These had been used for lab purposes, and to run an Econet of Atoms.
Amongst them was a disc labelled as being System 3 Fileserver, an image of which is posted here.
viewtopic.php?f=32&t=13380
The disc image posted by Boydie above appears to be a complete set of files and Atom/System rom images for Econet V2 including the Econet V2 Level 2 file server software. You could create a network using these versions but it would be incompatible with BBCs and later as they only support Econet V3. It would certainly be an interesting experiment to try making a system/atom network with these and I may give it a try someday.

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Re: Acorn System/Atom Econet

Post by trev-ham » Fri Jan 10, 2020 6:40 pm

Hello Ian,

That information is very interesting, its starting to make sense to me now, although I have encountered a few problems.
I'm taking one step at a time. At present I'm experimenting with my a System 3 with twin 3.5" drives, ECONET Node (issue 2) and 48K RAM. DOS and NOS (v3.4) is on an 8K ROM) I have created and initialised two FS disks (40 track DS). When I try to start the FS - Acorn File Server III.22 (does that mean a level 3?) and after entering the number of users I get, CACHE SIZE - 2DE3 - 2D then an error "FS INTERNAL ERROR 32" STOP (error 32 sin=0 ref Acorn System User guide 1982).
20200110_190110.jpg
The software came from JGHarston's website.

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Re: Acorn System/Atom Econet

Post by IanB » Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:05 pm

trev-ham wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 6:40 pm
Acorn File Server III.22 (does that mean a level 3?)
No, it means Econet protocols V3. It's a level 2 file server but as mentioned above it doesn't really identify itself as such, just "Acorn File Server" as it was the only file server originally. The version posted by Bodie is Acorn File Server II.14 which means it's version 2 Econet protocols (great find BTW, a bit of really early econet history).
trev-ham wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 6:40 pm
The software came from JGHarston's website.
Yes, that's the version I posted originally.
trev-ham wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 6:40 pm
I have created and initialised two FS disks (40 track DS) ... after entering the number of users I get, CACHE SIZE - 2DE3 - 2D then an error "FS INTERNAL ERROR 32" STOP
I've not seen that error but I've been using 80 track DS discs so maybe it doesn't like 40 track discs.

Try creating some 80 track DS discs. Also try the disc image I posted above in case the one from JGH's site is corrupted in some way.
If that doesn't work I'll create and post some 80 track DS blanks that work on my System 5.

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Re: Acorn System/Atom Econet

Post by trev-ham » Sat Jan 11, 2020 5:58 pm

I've had a bit of a play with it for much of the day and now have the server running. I used File server III.22. The FS discs (40 DS) were mapped using MPINIT from FSII.14 (this is actually what I did originally but caused that error).
I'm still puzzled by the content of the different versions, FSIII does not have MPINIT but does have INIT80 (don't know what that does) neither does it have the utilities. I believe some were included in the Beeb ROM.

The next step is to connect to a simple network of two stations, one of which will be the file server to test the communications.

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Re: Acorn System/Atom Econet

Post by IanB » Mon Jan 13, 2020 11:54 pm

trev-ham wrote:
Sat Jan 11, 2020 5:58 pm
I used File server III.22. The FS discs (40 DS) were mapped using MPINIT from FSII.14 (this is actually what I did originally but caused that error).
That wouldn't work as FSIII is incompatible with FSII in both protocol and disk format (they were both changed to switch from 16 bit to 32 bit addresses).
trev-ham wrote:
Sat Jan 11, 2020 5:58 pm
I'm still puzzled by the content of the different versions, FSIII does not have MPINIT but does have INIT80 (don't know what that does) neither does it have the utilities. I believe some were included in the Beeb ROM.
I had a closer look at what's on JGH's site and there was a third version I hadn't previously noticed which explains some of the confusion.

"Level2v2.zip" which is FSII.14 supplied by Bodie. Unfortunately the version of that is also listed as 0.22 on the site which adds to the confusion.
As mentioned, everything on this disc is incompatible with V3 Econet so should not be used unless you are experimenting with V2 Econet.

"Lv2SYS23.zip" which is FSIII.23G (V3 Econet) supplied my me. This version doesn't have any support utilities included on the disc.

"Lv2SYS22.zip" which is FSIII.22 (also V3 Econet). This earlier version does have the support utilities and they should also work with FSIII.23G above.
Looking at this disc, amongst other utilities, it has the following:
FORM80 for formatting floppies
INIT13 for initialising formatted floppies with the level 2 file format. (There is also an INIT13+)
INIT80 which is a text file intended to be used as an exec file and it contains the following:

DRIVE 1
FORM80
YESDRIVE 3
GO 2800
YESDRIVE 0
RUN SBASIC
CHAIN "INIT13"

So it selects drive1, formats it, selects drive 3 (other side of drive 1) formats it then runs INIT13 which is a BBC BASIC program that runs under SBASIC to create the blank system file server structures on the freshly formatted disc.

Here is a list of all the files and what they should do:
ATBASIC - Atom BASIC
BACKUP - Atom/System DOS backup command
COMPACT - Atom/System DOS compact command
COPY - Atom/System DOS copy command
COPYF - Atom/System DOS copyf command
CRC - Generates CRCs
DUTY - Atom/System DOS duty command
EDITCE - not sure
FORM80 - Atom/System DOS form80 command
FS - file server
INFALL - Atom/System DOS infall command
INIT13 - BBC Basic program to write file server blank data discs
INIT13+ - Variant of above
INIT80 - Exec file to format and initialise a file server blank data disc on drive 1/3
MAKEFS - Exec file to format and create a bootable fileserver disc on drive 1/3
MANAGER - Format/verify/backup utility
SBASIC - BBC BASIC for the systems
SYSTEST - System test utility - written in BBC Basic

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Re: Acorn System/Atom Econet

Post by trev-ham » Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:04 pm

That's very helpful, thanks.

Been delving a little deeper, there appears to be a problem with the FS3 2.2 image, I can't produce a working floppy from it, the others are fine.
I have been using the Datacenter to import an image onto floppy, but gets corrupted (only FS3 2.2). so I thought to copy one file say FORM80 from it to your FS3 2.3 image, Running FORM80 steps through but does not complete and terminates with disk error 10 (drive not ready).?

Obviously, I require some means of creating a FS3 blank disk.

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Re: Acorn System/Atom Econet

Post by IanB » Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:50 pm

trev-ham wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:04 pm
Obviously, I require some means of creating a FS3 blank disk.
Try formatting a blank disk on a BBC (both sides) under DFS then putting that disk into the System drive 1/3, running SBASIC (BBC BASIC on the System) and then loading/running the BBC BASIC "INIT13" program.

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Re: Acorn System/Atom Econet

Post by trev-ham » Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:01 pm

Tried that still no joy. It appears that the disk is a different format not DOS/DFS, if i try to EXEC any text file I get gobbledy-gook.
However, I have managed to successfully get FS2v14 running on the System 3 and the one station on System 5.
20200116_172927.jpg

20200116_173153.jpg
One odd thing though, when I save a BASIC file the first time and *CAT the file name was truncated "EST" and not "TEST" (second picture) so I saved it again with a different file name "TESTER" and that displayed ok.
The other oddity is that according to the Econet System User Guide the user SYST is created automatically, but when trying sign on as SYST I get ERROR 32, I thinks this is because it can't find that user in the Password file.

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Re: Acorn System/Atom Econet

Post by IanB » Sat Jan 18, 2020 4:17 am

trev-ham wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:01 pm
Tried that still no joy. It appears that the disk is a different format not DOS/DFS, if i try to EXEC any text file I get gobbledy-gook.
I tried this myself today and managed to get it working with the 0.22 image after writing it with Omniflop so there is something wrong with the way you are writing the image. The garbage you noted typically happens when an interleaved double sided image is written as sequential or vice-versa. The 0.14 and 0.23G images are single sided which is why there is no problem with them.

One other possibility is that writing the image on a BBC results in some incompatible data structures so if nothing else works you could try running the BBC BASIC DCONV program (on the BBC) to convert the disc back to system format. (I included DCONV on the disc image and it removes any BBC extensions to the mostly compatible system DOS format like 24/32 bit addresses). This should NOT be used on the data discs as they are not DOS/DFS format.

As I managed to extract all the files from the 0.22 image I created an new version of that floppy with the file server replaced with the later 0.23G version and then used the utilities to create two file server discs that run OK under that version.

Here is a zip with 0.23G + 0.22 utils and images of two formatted and working data discs:

System_FSIII_023G.zip
(117.89 KiB) Downloaded 15 times

I have included the file server both as one double sided image and separate drive 0 and drive 2 images in case writing the single sided images separately works for you: (you only really need to write the drive0 side)

System_FSIII_023G.dsd = double sided file server image
System_FSIII_023G Drive0 only.ssd = drive 0 side of above image
System_FSIII_023G Drive2 only.ssd = drive 2 side of above image
FS0_FSIII_data (passwd+library).dsd = formatted and initialised data disc for 0.23G with password file plus Atom and BBC library utils
FS1_FSIII_data (blank).dsd = blank formatted and initialised data disc for 0.23G

The data disc with the passwords file has users SYST, ATOM and BBC (no passwords have been set).

If your problem is with writing double sided interleaved images then the above data discs won't work so here is how to create your own:

Insert file server disc into drive 0 and a blank disc into drive 1 and type:
*EXEC INIT80
This will format the disc in drive 1 and ask for a disc name. Enter that name press return twice and wait for the initialisation to complete.
Restart and repeat this for as many discs as you need

Then restart again and run FS
Press return on the date, enter 1 drive and then remove the file server disc and insert one of the above initialised data discs
Then press I at the command prompt
The final initialisation will be performed on the disc and you will be prompted for a password file.
You don't need a password file on all discs but it may be a good idea to do so.
Selecting Y at this prompt will then prompt for USERIDs so enter the usernames you require, pressing return on a blank line to finish (SYST is setup automatically)
You will then be returned to the command prompt and can repeat the I option on more of the previously initialised floppies

Finally, restart the file server, selecting 2 drives this time if you have them, insert two of the above floppies and select the S option at the command prompt to start.
You should then be able to log on from other machines

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Re: Acorn System/Atom Econet

Post by trev-ham » Sun Jan 19, 2020 2:42 pm

I have finally sorted out this issue, the FS2.14 disk and the FS3.23 were the first ones I copied using my Datacentre on the BBC, after that all else failed. The reason was the USB stick was becoming a bit flaky causing the transfer of data from the USB stick to the floppy drive to stutter (for want of a better word). Many thanks to Mark Haysman for the pointers who suggested I try another USB stick.

So many thanks to all especially IanB

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Re: Acorn System/Atom Econet

Post by IanB » Tue Feb 04, 2020 1:28 pm

trev-ham wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:26 pm
What I hope to achieve, is a network of System 3, 5 and Atom and maybe BBC B,
I vaguely remembered that you had to mod Atom and System Econet interfaces to network with BBC micros and after some searching through old paperwork I found this:

AtomSystem-change1.jpg
AtomSystem-change2.jpg

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