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Golang tools for manipulating a MicroDrive/Turbo disk or image
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Golang tools for manipulating a MicroDrive/Turbo disk or image by Jon Lasser

There's not much here yet. See my To-Do List for more details on what I have planned.

This project is under an MIT license. See the license for specifics.

Building and Installing

  • Download and install Go, if you have not already done so.
  • Install dependencies: go get -d ./...
  • Run tests: go test -v ./...
  • Build and install: go install

This will install binaries in the directory defined by the rules in the Go documentation, which is likely to be either $GOPATH/bin or $HOME/go/bin.

Using the microdrive tool

Right now, the microdrive tool can read and write partition tables, and import either HDV and 2MG disks into existing partitions.

Reading and Writing Partition Tables.

While an interactive editor is in the works, the best way to edit a partition table today is to:

When inserting the CF card in a Mac, you will be prompted to Initialize, Eject, or Ignore the card. Always pick Ignore to avoid erasing the card.

  1. Make a partition image using dd or similar tool. On my Mac's CF reader, I see the CF drive as /dev/disk2 or /dev/disk7 depending. (Use Disk Utility to determine the current disk name. Presuming it's /dev/disk2, the command line is something like dd if=/dev/disk2 of=mydrive.mdt. You may need to use sudo to execute this command as root, adjusting the ownership of the file as necessary.
  2. Back up your partition image. This is very important, as you may want or need to restore your original disk image at some point.
  3. microdrive read --output json --file partitions.json mydrive.mdt to read the partition table from mydrive.mdt into a file named partitions.json.
  4. Edit the JSON to reflect your desired partition table
  5. microdrive write --file partitions.json mydrive.mdt to update the mydrive.mdt image.
  6. Copy your updated partition to the compact flash: dd if=mydrive.mdt of=/dev/disk2 or equivalent. Again, you may need to use sudo to work around permissions issues.

Importing Images

As with reading and writing partition tables, I recommend working on a copy of an image, with an existing backup.

The import command syntax is microdrive import --partition *X* *source* *target*, where source is an HDV or 2MG-format image you wish to copy, target is the Microdrive/Turbo CF image, and X is the partition number (starting at 0) into which you wish to copy the image.

At present, microdrive does not enable altering the contents of an image. You can use a third-party tool such as DiskM8 to create an image suitable for importation via microdrive.

REMEMBER: Image imports are destructive. Please use caution!

Getting Help

The microdrive project is a labor of love--but I'd love to help you too! If you need something, file an issue in Github or send me e-mail at my address above. I'll do my best to help you!

Helping me

For Everyone

  • If you like microdrive, please let me know! I'd love to know if somebody is using it!
  • If you encounter a bug or a confusing aspect of the tool that could be improved, please file an issue as requested in "Getting Help," above. Similarly, if there's a feature you'd like to see, I'd like to know!
  • If you've ever edited your Microdrive/Turbo partition table using the on-Apple tool, I'd love to get a copy of your boot sector, and a text description or screenshot of your configuration. This will help me ensure that I'm properly addressing real-world configurations. You can send me just the partition table (512 bytes), and I'll add it to my catalog. I am especially interested in Apple //e users, as my code is untested in that environment.

For Developers

  • I welcome feedback on code quality.
  • I welcome the addition of unit tests!
  • If there's a feature you'd like to add, I'm interested in accepting pull requests.
  • I'm interested in developing a Fuse filesystem for MicroDrive/Turbo-formatted disk images, for direct use on Mac and Linux. If I was to do so, I might rely upon the Bazil FUSE FUSE library.

For Active Retrocomputing Community Members

  • If you're in contact with the team at Paleotronic responsible for DiskM8, I sent an e-mail but never heard back. I'd love to talk with them about native inclusion for MicroDrive-formatted images, which would be easier than the current image-import methodology.
  • If you know a current e-mail address for Joachim Lange, I've got questions on the partition table format he could potentially answer.


Thanks to Henry Courbis of ReActive Micro for supporting this project with his donation of an External CF drive.

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