8-Bit Software Online Conversion

A new initiative for the BBC Micro! ___________________________________ [ Intro paragraphs deleted to save disk space - D.G.S. ] BBC PD is a public domain software library for Acorn's 8-bit micros, including Electron, BBC micro series and BBC Master series. It already contains lots of software which is freely available to all. As it becomes more widely known, so it is quickly increasing in size. If you are interested in the BBC or Electron, then please support BBC PD. If you have written a useful, entertaining or novel program, or anything else which might be useful or interesting to others, then here is your chance to become famous for your work! Just send your software, with a completed submission sheet (* see note below) if possible, to BBC PD at our address (18 Carlton Close, Blackrod, BOLTON BL6 5DL). The submission sheet is to help in compiling the catalogue, and to make sure we don't pass on anything we shouldn't. Catalogue & Sampler Disc ------------------------ The Catalogue & Sampler disc costs £1.50, regardless of disc size or format (until everyone suddenly starts using 3.5" discs!) I am still prepared to copy the catalogue & sampler disc onto your own discs, at no cost and whenever you feel the need to update your catalogue, SO LONG AS you send a FORMATTED disc, together with return postage AND packaging - otherwise the system would not be operable. (or £1.00 if you want these supplied) OR - Send a large (A5) S.A.E. for a copy of the catalogue summary (note that this is unlikely to be as up-to-date as the full catalogue, though, because there is a time lag with printed lists). [ A fairly recent BBC PD Catalogue & Notes will be available on the TBI "Catalogues" disk - I hope to obtain the July update from BBC PD whenever it is released. - D.G.S. ] Charging for PD software. _________________________ [ Paragraph discussing charging removed to save disk space - D.G.S ] I simply wanted to encourage a lively PD market for the BBC micro (&co.), which simply hasn't existed as far as most people are concerned until recently: I won't be taking any profit from the library for myself, but using income to generate wider interest & growth. The charges above are enough to cover costs and to pay for a small scale of advertising, but I would agree that anyone charging very much more might be taking advantage. I say this having just seen a PC compatible PD supplier's advertised price of £5.95 per disc; I simply would not support this library. It must be emphasised that the charges are NOT for the software; they are for the service of copying, the discs themselves, and for postage and packaging. Most of the remainder goes on advertising costs, attempts to persuade commercial software houses to re-release their products as PD or shareware, and on maintaining master discs in various disc formats and sizes... [section explaining necessity of having 1000+ disks deleted - D.G.S.] How to get BBC PD software __________________________ Complete an order form (* see note below) and send it to our address (18 Carlton Close, Blackrod, BOLTON BL6 5DL) complete with payment (cheque or postal order, payable to 'A. Blundell'). PLEASE take care to note the disc requirements shown in the catalogue - if you use 40T discs particularly, you will need to pay for more discs than the number of catalogue items that you have chosen. My targets for dealing with orders are: 90% of all orders & enquiries dealt with within 48 hours; 100% of all orders & enquiries dealt with within 1 week. (In fact, over 90% of orders are in the post on their way back to you before 9AM the day after they are received.) How to submit software ______________________ To submit your software to the library, send your disc(s), together with a completed submission form (* see note below). TO ENCOURAGE YOU TO SUBMIT SOFTWARE AND TO HELP THE LIBRARY TO GROW, ANYONE WHO SUBMITS SOFTWARE WHICH IS ACCEPTED INTO THE LIBRARY IS ENTITLED TO SOFTWARE FROM THE LIBRARY WITHOUT CHARGE, on a disc-for-disc basis (IE: I'll send your disc back to you filled with software from the library). PLEASE DO NOT send software which is from typed-in magazine listings, which was distributed by the BBC Telesoftware service (unless you know it is freely distributable as PD), ripped-off commercial software, or anything else which is or may be subject to someone else's copyright! How to get the latest catalogue disc ____________________________________ [ Section partly removed & partly added to similar section above ] Disc Formats & Extra Services _____________________________ Discs can be supplied/copied in ANY Acorn standard format, ie 40/80 tracks, DFS or ADFS, 5.25" or 3.5", single- or double-sided. Please be sure to specify exactly your needs. (NB: this does not include Watford 62-file catalogue formats or other non-Acorn formats). FORMAT CHANGES: Not everyone can convert between formats, and I have been asked by several people to help with conversions, such as from 5.25" to 3.5" discs. As a help to users of the BBC PD library, I am happy to provide a conversion service. Send me your source disc and say what you want it back on, and I'll do it for you (providing that it is legal to do so!). I can convert between any of the Acorn formats mentioned above, plus MS-DOS standard 360k or 1.2Mb 5.25", 720k or 1.44Mb 3.5" disc formats. The charge for this is £1.00 per disc from 1 Acorn format to another, or from 1 DOS format to another (plus media at 50p/disc, P&P at 50p.). The charge for conversion between Acorn & DOS formats is for individual agreement in each case, dependent on the number of files involved. (All format conversion work is, of course, completely confidential) EPROM Programming _________________ Some of the software in the library is in the form of sideways ROM images on disc. If you don't have sideways RAM in your machine, or if you just prefer ROMs, I am able to program them into EPROMs on your behalf. Similarly, if you have an image which you want in ROM format, I am willing to program it for you (so long as it is legal to do so!). Costs of the EPROM programming service: £6.50 per 16K image, including supply of EPROM chip and postage/packing (this is based on chip cost + £1.40 to include programming charge, p&p). What is PD Software Anyway? ___________________________ Public Domain software is usually copyright free. Authors who place their software in the PD library allow it to be freely used and copied by the general public. It is usual for authors to put no restriction on what you do with the software as long as you don't try to sell it as your own. If the copyright is retained it is simply to prevent others from claiming it as their work - such software is sometimes described as 'freeware'. [ Paragraph explaining shareware removed - see elsewhere - D.G.S. ] Shareware authors don't spend enormous amounts of money promoting and marketing their work and this means that you can get good quality programs at prices you can afford. [section deleted] If you find the Shareware program useful and use it regularly then you should register with the author. Clearly if no-one pays, the author is unlikely to carry on releasing the software as Shareware. Master 512 Section __________________ There should now be a section of the library for the Master 512 coprocessor, which includes software specifically for the 512 as well as DOS PD software which has been tested for compatibility with the 512. (In fact, this is a bit optimistic, as I am having great difficulty in finding time away from the main library & the rest of my life to actually catalogue the software ... ) Apologies to all those who are still waiting. I actually have quite a lot of software for this section; the delay is entirely due to my need to sleep occasionally! If you are interested, please let me know, if you write, and I will add you to the waiting list .... [ Paragraph discussing advantages of 512 section deleted - D.G.S. ] If you own a 512 coprocessor and are interested, say so. If you own an Arc with PC Emulator, perhaps this will be of interest to you in that way. More, if you already have some PD software or shareware which you know works on the 512, why not send in a copy? I'll happily fill your disc with other software, either from the 8-bit library or from my own 512 collection in return. I would be especially interested in anything written to take advantage of the 512's features (such as the version of BBC BASIC written specially for the co-pro, which I already have & which is in the library). Quality of Software, etc. _________________________ BBC PD supplies software which has been freely given for circulation by many people. Whilst this software is examined before it is added to the library, it is impossible to check for everything. Some software has been excluded from the library, because of obvious faults or for other reasons (such as excessive & needless abusive language). But, if you find fault with any software in the library, PLEASE let me know. I'll try to inform the authors, or if possible & reasonable, to rectify the faults myself, but if the fault is serious or cannot be rectified, it may be necessary to remove it from the library. If you are in any doubt as to the operation of any software, use it with caution, take plenty of backups and be careful with your original work! I'm not trying to suggest that PD software is of dubious quality (much of it is very much the opposite, and I won't circulate anything I think is dubious), but I can't accept responsibility for everyone whose work is in the library, or for the suitability of software for any particular use to which you may put it. Some faults are due to human error in the running of the library. So far, I have fortunately heard of only a few (amongst the many enquiries & orders to date). None was serious and all were quickly rectified (one of them was a blank side 'b' of a disc which I'd somehow missed copying onto: one was a disc labelled with one catalogue number, but actually containing the software from another). But if YOU have a problem with anything supplied by the library, please remember that it was not caused deliberately or by lack of care, and that if you don't tell me, I can't put it right! The faults are not a lot amongst the many, but I would prefer it to be none. Submission & Order Forms. _________________________ These are included on this disc [ i.e. side zero of 8BS issue 20 - D.G.S. ] in the files 'ORDER' and 'SUBMIT'. If you have a printer, then print these files as needed, fill them in, and send them to BBC PD. Alternatively, if you don't have access to a printer, then *PRINT or *TYPE the files to your screen, note the information which is asked for on the forms and send me those details in a letter or on a plain sheet of paper. Finally, if you don't have a printer and really want to use the forms, send me an s.a.e. & I'll send some to you. Thank You! __________ Thanks for your interest in the library! If you are interested (and I hope that you are!), I hope that you will join me and other enthusiasts in making use of BBC PD. B B C P D N E W S ___________________ PRINTING THE BBC PD DETAILS AND NEWS ------------------------------------ [ Two paragraphs concerning printing of EDIT unformatted ASCII using *SPECIAL deleted. Use P111 <RETURN> from disk mag. menu - D.G.S. ] SOME PD LIBRARIES CLOSE DOWN ---------------------------- [ Paragraph deleted - this is an old story! - D.G.S. ] BBC PD is not going to disappear, so long as there is an interest. It seems that there are still lots of people who are just finding out about PD software, judging from my post. NEW DEVELOPMENTS ---------------- The rate of growth of the library is still increasing, and it looks like continuing to do so. I am currently in the process of trying to persuade some commercial software houses that this is a good time to reposition some of their products as public domain or as shareware ('reposition' is a handy word to use in such persuasive efforts, I have found - it sounds better than 'give away'). Time will show the results of these efforts (assuming that there are some!). I have been inundated with software submissions, not all of which will make it into the library, but most of which are of a high standard. An update of the catalogue is always in the pipeline (or, it seems like that to me! To give a reasonable estimate, the next major update will be out sometime in July 1992). New software in the library this time includes eighteen discs of educational shareware from JOHN LYONS EDUCATIONAL SOFTWARE. If the response to these is good, there may be more on the way, so I've given them unique numbers in the catalogue (JL1 to JL18). [Section deleted] Each package was previously sold commercially for £15.00; registration of your use of them as shareware packages costs £7.50. [ Three further paragraphs outlining important new developments & software deleted. Load up the BBC PD catalogue to see all the s/w that is available - send an A5 SSAE to BBC PD for the printed catalogue if you want details of FAST ACCESS - D.G.S. ] NEW CATALOGUE DATABASE & MENU ----------------------------- [ Details of new programs by Steven Flintham, Andrew Pepperell and Chris Pinnock deleted. BBC PD invites comments on the programs. ] DISK USER --------- [ Section deleted - send A5 SSAE to BBC PD for printed catalogue, which includes full details - D.G.S. ] [ Sections on user reviews and problems with the Post Office also removed ] WHY DOES SOME SOFTWARE NOT GET INTO THE LIBRARY? ------------------------------------------------ I have recently been asked this question a couple of times, and it isn't easy to give a simple answer. A LOT of submissions, when I've checked them out, actually turn out not to be public domain at all. This is the biggest headache in running the library, as some people seem to go to some trouble to disguise commercial software! Some other submissions are actually magazine listings without the copyright messages at the beginning - these can be hard to spot, but I think it's unfair to ask people to pay for a disc containing a program they may well already have from a magazine, apart from the fact that it would be illegal! Anyone who deliberately disguises commercial software in this way not only breaks the law themselves but also involves me as the library operator and anyone who obtains a copy of a disc containing the software. Anyone stupid enough to be undeterred by this should note two things: I will not hesitate to pass on details to software companies, and, as well as any legal sanctions which will apply, I will publicise their actions as widely as I can. Some software is excluded because it is exploitative (of women, usually) - if you want 'pin-ups', look elsewhere! The last category I'll mention is the hardest to describe. One argument is that any software which is dedicated to the public domain should find a place in the library. The counter-argument is that, although you don't pay for the software itself, it does cost a (small!) amount to obtain the software, at least if you get it from a library, and people would soon begin to feel disinterested if they received software of no interest/value to them. I can't really say where the line should be drawn, but (unless I receive lots of letters demanding otherwise), I think there should be a line.