Friday, October 24, 2014

Drive Janus-UAE from the internals

Some days ago I wanted to mount some ADF files to try installing a old classic application on the AROS M68K environment of Icaros Desktop. Nothing can be easier - I thought - I just needed to switch screen, enter Janus-UAE GUI and change floppies as I needed. I soon realized this operation is fast and reliable only if you have a few disk changes to do, but very borig for complex software that required 5, 7 or more disks. Having the ability to mount ADF files from the guest side of emulation would have been faster. So I thought to use the 68K version of DiskImageGUI, just to discover that it would kill AROS and nothing else (Icaros crashed as soon as I tried that). Whoever met me at least once, already knows how stubborn I can be, when I try to accomplish futile goals. I then figured that Amiga Forever used a great little tool called UAE-Control, which allows exactly to do what I wanted. I took it from my AF installation and ran it on AROS: it worked quite well, but had a limitation I felt really hard to accept. It required me to insert path and file name for every ADF file I needed to enter, a real pain. So I asked Michele Battilana from Cloanto for its sources and, once he very kindly sent them to me, I forwarded them to our beta testers, asking if someone would have been so kind to add a simple "Select" button near the field for path and filenames. Oliver Brunner informed me that the lack of browseability was there for a reason: selected path should have been converted from the guest side to the host's point of view to correctly work. For instance, a path like Work:Download/ADF should have been converted to something else, like SYS:UAE/MyFiles/Dowload/ADF to let Janus-UAE use it as required. Luckily enough, Icaros Desktop has a "MyWorkspace:" assign which is globally set on both x86 and m68k sides, pointing exactly at the same drawer, so the problem would have been easily fixed. Just place your ADF files in a subdirectory of MyWorkspace, for instance MyWorkspace/Downloads, and mounting would have run fine. In the end, Oliver has been very kind and once again he made the modifications I needed. Now Icaros Settings allows to change AmiBridge's welcome message with UAE-Control (see the top corner screenshot): just keep it somewhere on the screen and, every time you need to mount an ADF, reset or close the emulator, you won't have to switch screens anymore.

UAE-Control, customized for Icaros Desktop, running inside Janus-UAE on AROS M68K