8-Bit Software Online Conversion

Defending the ADFS by Steven Flintham (15A) Prompted by the "Please recycle" article last issue, I would like to attempt to defend the ADFS. Firstly, the storage capacity issue. Yes, I admit, disks are quite cheap now, but it is important to remember that this isn't the whole story. If you are writing a program which needs large data files, you can't switch disks over in the middle of a file - it has to be on one disk. Also, if you only have low capacity drives (like me), the 160k on ADFS compared with 100k on DFS is like a miracle. And, being a bit lazy, I much prefer having as much on each disk as possible, rather than having to rummage through a disk box. (Call me ahead of my time, but having to do that sort of thing seems a bit antiquated in today's technological society!) Secondly, the "files-lost-in-directories" issue. Personally, I don't find this to be much of a problem at all, but that could be because I organise my disks differently to everyone else - but it's not likely. As far as I'm concerned, there are two main "types" of disks on a home computer system. There are those which contain completed software and associated files - disks full of games, disks holding wordprocessors and their files etc - and those on which programs are being developed. On the first type, there is often no need to divide into directories - just because the facility is there, you don't have to use it. Even if you do use it, (on a wordprocessor disk, for instance, to keep the printer drivers/segment programs away from the documents) there will usually only be one directory accessed on a regular basis (the documents directory, in this case), so as long as the !Boot file leaves you in this directory, it's quite hard to lose a file. On the second type of disk, I tend to create directories in the root for each program on the disk (I tend to start developing something in a fit of excitement, hit a problem and leave it for a while, so it's not really practical to use a disk for each) and then just stay in that directory. Once again, as long as you remember to set the directory initially, it's hard to lose files - and if you do forget, there IS the CATALL program. However, I can't remember the last time I lost any files so badly I had to use it. However, I will admit that ADFS does have some disadvantages - the COMPACT command is rather annoying, as is the lack of a format and verify built into the ROM. However, the latter are not required all that frequently, and if you have sideways RAM to spare, my ADFS Utilities ROM solves the first problem (plug, plug!). Altogether, though, I do prefer the ADFS to DFS - certainly the Acorn DFS at any rate. With a third-party DFS such as the Watford DFS, the gap is much narrower, and if I was not using a Master the DFS would win easily, simply because it takes significantly less user RAM. 0E7 (Fred Nevin) adds the following comments: I have always used ADFS. I only use disks in DFS if received as such therefore I am a comparative stranger to this storage system. I have always used ADFS ever since I first managed to purchase a Disk Drive and put my Data Recorder into retirement. Only recently have I come to grips with DFS, having to do some shuffling of programs, and have learnt one or two things, a lot of which reflected my lack of knowledge on how the system operates. It is very similar to ADFS but with subtle differences in the commands and one tends to automatically use ADFS commands and then sit in front of the VDU for five minutes or so wondering why nothing has happened. Working on the old axiom "if you can't beat them join them" makes me think I have a sneaking agreement for quite a lot of the things Chris says, but on reflection I can categorically bring to mind what to me is the greatest advantage of ADFS over DFS, that is the number of files that can be stored under ADFS as opposed to DFS. This became very clear when shuffling files from ADFS to DFS. Of course the answer is to have a good Utility to keep track of all your Directories and Files on disk. Editor: In my own opinion the ADFS is very much superior; on an 80T DS drive you get 240K extra on a disk and that is a lot. Certainly as far as using word-processors go, all my letters etc. go on a single disk, and that includes entire 8BS disk magazines, questionnaire results, letters to PD libraries, address database programs and label printers, personal correspondance, Play-by-Mail game letters (LOTS of them), etc. After all, 640K is 100,000 words of text and that is a fair number (Though I do use it all and it runs out very quickly if used unwisely. I doubt I could cope with all that lot under DFS). I don't do any rummaging through disk boxes to find something; if every directory in the $ is labelled with what's in it, (or in the case of programming, one project in each directory, as Steven says), you CAN see the total contents of a disk in one go; and no "*.2" needed either. A logically organised ADFS disk (no more than a dozen entries per directory except for a good reason, like it was copied straight from DFS) is an awful lot easier to understand than a list of 31 horrible little seven-letter filenames. So I have one disk for letters etc., one for my own programming (I doubt I'll fill 640K very quickly since I delete abandoned projects), two for utilities (about fifty programs on each, maybe more), and 2-3 more for games (you can get about thirty full-size commercial games on an ADFS L disk, just about). Of course all my PD for distribution is on DFS 80T DS, since everyone else uses this, but I wish it wasn't; I'd be using about one-third the number of disks, and it'd take a lot less time to copy. Of course if you can get disks for free (some people have all the luck) then it is less important, and I suppose an organised directory structure is not vital if you're recording large sound samples, but it still seems a waste. Apart from aything else, you can't use wildcards to load things, which would slow me down a fair bit. To add one final point, the ADFS versions of 8BS have been very popular among Master users (I admit the Beeb lacks the necessary RAM for efficient operation), and I don't think anyone has requested a return to DFS.