[Intel-devsys] irmx-80 diskettes

mark.pm.ogden at btinternet.com mark.pm.ogden at btinternet.com
Sun Aug 18 05:53:59 MDT 2019


My notes on the discussion together with some information on the disk tools I have created.



The iRMX 80 disks images I processed did not have associated pictures of the disk labels, however I would note the following

The original disks imaged came from RichardM’s site, copied on Bill’s GoogleDrive under

RichardM\ISIS-II SW images from MDS-225 using EXPORT and UPHOLD

The relevant images are

970032.02 RMX_80 Real-time Multitasking Executive for iSBC 80_30                         (recorded disk label is EXC830.003

RMX.80                                                                                                                                                (recorded disk label is RMX80)

RMX80.24                                                                                                                                            (recorded disk label is RMX)

My contribution was to extract the files and curate them


On Bill’s googleDrive in RichardM/ISIS-II Disk Label Photos of Originals there is

143040-001 V14 iRMX80 RT MultiTasking Exec for iSBC 80-10A and 80-10B.jpg


Note although there appear to be some basic disk APIs for iRMX80, it did not need a disk drive and it is unclear what, if any, disk drives Intel wrote.

For iRMX86 there is much more documentation on its APIs for disk file support and ISIS IV has similar disk structure, suggesting ISIS IV may have been built around iRMX




As Jon has pointed out I have developed a number of disk tools as follows, typing the name of the command should give a brief usage message

Group 1

Idd2idm – converts kryoflux data streams taken from MFM & M2FM encoded disks and generated an imd file. Currently is supports

                IBM FM, IBM MFM (also used by Intel), Intel M2FM and HP M2FM.

                The tool can optionally display a histogram of the clock pulses so that you can seek how good/bad the flux scan is.

Zdsdsk – converts kryoflux data streams taken from Zilog Hard Sector disks into a text dump of the sectors. Because the disk uses

                Forward and backward links, the format isn’t directly supported by imd

I also have, an as yet unreleased tool, that processes LSI Hard Sector disks into a text dump.

NOTE I will shortly release a new tool that replaces all of the above in one tool and is more robust in decoding the files.


Group 2

Unidsk  - this tool takes an ISIS imd / img file and extracts the files into a directory and generated a descriptor file that describes its contents

                It currently supports ISIS II,  ISIS III, ISIS IV and some iRMX

                If you set environment variable IFILEREPO to point to a copy of my directory tree on either Bill’s GoogleDrive or my oneDrive site then

                In processing the image the tool will check to see whether the file already exists with the same file hash and the descriptor

                will point to the existing file rather then extract it locally. This will help identify versions of many files as the descriptor path,

                will usually contain the version number


Mkidsk – Assuming you have set the environment variable IFILEPRO as noted above this will take a descriptor file and create an imd or img image

                of the disk with the specified contents.

                You could manually create a descriptor to make custom disks, in which case the hash fields can be left as blank


Zds.pl    - takes the file extracted by zdsdsk for a ZDS disk and creates a directory with the files on the disk

Rio.pl  - as zds.pl but for RIO disks


Group 3

Ports of some of Dave Dunfield’s tools to run under windows 32/64, with some fixes







Note as I don’t have any physical floppy  disk drives I am unable to port any of Dave Dunfield’s tools that read/write actual disks as I cannot test them


With the exception of the unreleased versions of the tools the source for the utilities are on my github site with the exception of the perl scripts which

are with the current executables on Bill’s GoogleDrive / my oneDrive site under disktools_32 and disktools_64








From: intel-devsys-bounces at lists.brouhaha.com <intel-devsys-bounces at lists.brouhaha.com> On Behalf Of Jon Hales
Sent: 17 August 2019 12:59
To: Discussion list for Intel development systems <intel-devsys at lists.brouhaha.com>
Subject: Re: [Intel-devsys] irmx-80 diskettes




Here is a photo of the label on Intel disk P/N 9700018-03 "Intellec PROM Programming Software" (C) 1978.


Here my listing of one of your disks:


BB037,9700018-03,ISIS-II,V3.4,PROM Programming Software,V2.0,img,DD,500.50 KB


and two disks in Mark Ogden's collection:


# 970018.03 promad.pgm-34  prom programming software v2.0 - isis ii
version: 34
format: ISIS II DD 1H5
os: NONE


# 970018.05-41 universal prom mapper v3.2 - isis ii
label: 970018.05
version: 41
format: ISIS II DD
os: NONE


The conclusion, as we have discussed previously, is that the 'system' of Intel's Order Numbers was not quite as 'systematic' as me might have assumed. Specifically, this instance challenges my assumption that 95xxxx and 97xxxx numbers represent single and double density versions of the same software.


Best regards





On Fri, 16 Aug 2019 at 19:51, Bill Beech (NJ7P) <nj7p at nj7p.info <mailto:nj7p at nj7p.info> > wrote:


Good discussion.  I was kind of out of it during some of this.  I vaguely remember the filling of a matrix of programs in the 95 and 97 series.

Attached is a picture of the disk label for 9500018-03.  

I think we are going to need to document the hardware, software, and method used to pull the images off the floppies.  I would be glad to place these "howtos" on the web and in the google drive. 

I seem to be way behind on the imaging stuff with Dave's tools.  I am glad to see Mark has transitioned from Dave's C to a VS implementation on some of the tools.  This is good.  I need to get a box running with an FDC that will read SD and DD disk sectors.  I have NEVER had any PC that would do SD and work with Dave's tools! I believe I have an Adaptec board that will do it.  We will see over the weekend.


On 8/16/2019 1:52 AM, Jon Hales wrote:

Herb, Bill, cc Mark and others 


It's good to see your discussions.


This is a note on two topics:

- getting at the files on Intel M2FM-encoded DD disks,

- the exercise I reported around a year ago, where I imagined a comprehensive list of Intel MDS software releases.


Part 1.

As Herb reported, Mark Ogden has a great deal of experience at working with images of Intel disks. He also has a substantial collection of files extracted from particular disks. The 'Intel80' directory contains files for iRMX80 2.4 and iRMX80 4.0. I'm sure Mark will be very interested to see what Bill has on his disks with version 1.3.


Building on his knowledge of Intel's disk organisation, Mark wrote a program to help me with several collections of Intel double-density disks to which I I have access. The process starts with me making a track-by-track recording of the disk using a device that identifies flux transitions. There are now several such devices, but two of these have only embryonic software support. It's likely that the programming would need some adjustment for each variety. The device I was using saves each track as a separate file, with 77 files for the tracks of a single-sided disk (all MDS disks are single-sided). [A further detail: by default, the system I'm using reads each track six times and saves six copies of the flux transitions - one can pick the copy of a sector that has fewest bad values].


Mark's program idd2imd.exe can operate on a single track or on a zipfile containing all the tracks from a disk. It outputs a file in Imagedisk (Dave Dunfield) standard (with optional diagnostic data, such as a histogram of the time interval values on the track). Given an IMD image, Mark's program unidsk.exe, works out the filesystem and assembles the sectors into the files on the disk. These files are written to a directory named after the disk name. An additional text file provides the 'directory' of the disk, together with information about each file on the disk.


[In parentheses: 

1. Mark's idd2imd program works with flux transitions from single density (FM) and double density (MFM) as well as M2FM disks.

2. Mark has recently adapted his algorithm to provide a means of building the files from the sectors recovered from Zilog (ZDOS and RIO) 32 hard sector disks. In addition to the files, the program gives a summary of the types of data in sectors and shows a map of sectors across the entire disk].


Now, I should point out that this is not exactly comparable to producing, for example, an Imagedisk image of a CP/M disk (encoded in FM or MFM). In the CP/M case, an Imagedisk file allows the user to write a fresh disk that is a copy of the original disk. This doesn't apply to M2FM due to limitations of the disk controller IC in PCs of the DOS era. [To be clear: Imagedisk can make a valid image of an Intel single-density disk, as Herb indicated].


If we want a copy of an M2FM disk, then the simple way to create it is using the Intel 'copy' utility. [The 'Richard Main' Hobbytronics Serial-to-USB device is another way to 'export' tracks and have the ability to write a copy of the original double-density disk].


Part 2

Starting with a list of known '95xxxx-xx' and '97xxxx-xxx' (single and double-density) disks, I tried to imagine what the universe of Intel's software releases might look like. For example, if the suffix of a known disk was '-03', I reasoned that probably there had previously been versions '-01' and '-02', even if these had never been released to customers. By analogy, I also reasoned that if no known disk had a specific code number, then that might well mean that this was a rarely used program, but one that was likely to have existed.


As I explained in a note accompanying a draft list, we could use the list in at least these ways:

1. to check the identification of disk numbers and titles across repositories. (e.g. for consistency, to over-ride abbreviations, etc.)

2. to speculate about the existence of disks we haven't seen,

3. to establish a framework into which new discoveries can be fitted,

4. to estimate what fraction of the 'universe' the existing repositories represent (at the time the list was compiled, this was 54 of a possible 183 titles).


Bill's iRMX-80 disks fit neatly into the scheme, with one exception: the number '9500018-xx'/'9700018-xx' is already occupied by PROM programming software, as located in three of the repositories.


Best regards




On Fri, 16 Aug 2019 at 00:21, Herb Johnson <hjohnson at retrotechnology.com <mailto:hjohnson at retrotechnology.com> > wrote:

Thanks Bill, this is very comprehensive. A few comments.

You might do the easy thing first: read off the single-density disks. 
YOu could do that in CP/M on a CP/M box, or with Dunfield's imagedsk on 
an MS-DOS box. In any event you can verify the disk scheme.

DD M2FM is harder. But you might ask Mark Ogden about it. (now this 
conversation is in the Intel-dev list, Mark can speak for himself.)

He's created a lot of files from Intel disk sources. He's rewritten 
Dunfield tools to run under Windows. He may have a tool to run under 
ISIS, or be willing to write one.


Unpacks an isis .imd or .img file into the individual files.

There is an old CP/M program to read ISIS diskettes, look in the CPMUG. 
I retrieved it decades ago to read DEC RT-11 diskettes. (And I did 
tonight, it's in CPMUG #1. I'll zip it up and send it to Bill.)

No hurry on this, Bill of course, you have a full plate.


On 8/15/2019 5:38 PM, Bill Beech (NJ7P) wrote:
> Herb,
> Indeed I have 5 each 8-inch disks here for RMX/80.
> They are:
> 9500013-03 Ver 1.3, RMX/80 Real-time Multitasking executive for iSBC 
> 80/20 and 80/20-4, SD.
> 9500018-03 Ver 1.3, RMX/80 Real-time Multitasking executive for iSBC 
> 80/10, SD.
> 9700016-03, Ver 1.3, RMX/80 Real-time Multitasking executive for iSBC 
> 80/20 and 80/20-4, DD.
> 9700020-03, Ver 1.3, RMX/80 Extensions for iSBC 80/10, iSBC 80/20, 
> 80/20-4, and 80/30, DD.
> 9700021-03, Ver 1.3, RMX/80 Real-time Multitasking executive for iSBC 
> 80/10, DD.
> The SD disks should not be hard to copy.  The DD may be trickier.  I 
> suspect they are in 3740 format SD but M2FM format DD.  I suspect I will 
> need to write a program for the MDS II to create an image file on the 
> PC.  I need to think about it some more, once I get the other board for 
> Jon H. done and both tested. And I need to get some simulators to 
> compile again and run, at least as far as the monitors are concerned.  I 
> also need to get versions of CP/M-80 to run on the OEM simulators.  I 
> also have several books I have collected to scan. So my queue is pretty 
> full!
> Bill
> On 8/15/2019 9:34 AM, Herb Johnson wrote:
>> Biil, someone asked me about 8-inch diskettes with iRMX-80 on them. Of 
>> course I don't have them. So I started looking around for this. This 
>> doesn't seem to be available "on the Web" or among the intel-dev 
>> archives.
>> I searched your Intel Google Drive and then the archive of our 
>> Intel-dev discussion, for mention of iRMX-80. The only significant 
>> mention is your Sept 2018 purchase of five iRMX-80 diskettes from 
>> eBay. I didn't find subsequent email traffic on your results with 
>> those diskettes. And I don't see any iRMX80 disk images in any of the 
>> by-person folders in your Google drive. I checked Mark Ogden's gethub; 
>> no iRMX80 stuff there. One other reference but it seems a dead end. 
>> I'll detail it as a PS.
>> Bill, it is still a good "find" to have disks with iRMX-80. Thanks for 
>> spending the $$$ to get them. I know doing work is tough for you; 
>> there's no priority for this just because somebody asked me about it. 
>> But what's the status of those physical diskettes, and were you able 
>> to image them in some fashion?
>> Regards, Herb
>> PS: Jon Hales did something with a bunch of Intel diskette 
>> label-descriptions posted around Aug 2018. Mark Ogden commented about 
>> the list, and mentioned this:
>> 950017.06 looks like irmx80 v2.4
>> I have no idea what Jon was doing. But I could not find a disk-image 
>> with that 950017.06 designation.

Herbert R. Johnson, New Jersey in the USA
http://www.retrotechnology.com OR .net
preserve, recover, restore 1970's computing
email: hjohnson AT retrotechnology DOT com
or try later herbjohnson AT retrotechnology DOT info
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