Welcome to comp.sys.atari.st! Please read this FAQ before posting a question
to comp.sys.atari.st, since a lot of common questions are answered here.
Thanks to David Paschall-Zimbel (firstname.lastname@example.org) for
compiling most of this FAQ.
Entries are dated by the last change. ??.??.?? means they were last changed
before the dates were added.
The following is an index of the questions answered in this part of the FAQ.
For easy access to a particular question, search for the tag surrounded by
colons (i. e. :GNU:). Questions marked with '*' are new or changed.
WEL Welcome to comp.sys.atari.st
ARCS How do I deal with Archived files (.ZOO, .ARC, .LZH)?
MSA Some info on Magic Shadow Archiver
CLI What Command Line Interpreters are available?
ERR What does TOS ERROR nn mean?
GDOS What is GDOS, and where can I get it?
GNU What GNU software is available for the ST?
HAM Where can I find Ham Radio software for the ST?
LANG Public Domain/Shareware languages...
MINIX Is MINIX available on the Atari ST?
MINT What is MiNT?
XWIN Is there a version of XWindows for the ST?
DEMOS Why won't demo x run on my machine?
PAINT What is the format for [x] paint program data?
PD Where can I get Public Domain/Shareware software?
MAIL E-Mail file servers
FTP Anonymous FTP servers
TEX Is TeX/LaTeX available on the Atari ST?
Welcome to comp.sys.atari.st
This newsgroup is devoted to discussion about 16 and 32 bit Atari micros. At
present that includes the Atari 520ST, 1040ST, Mega ST, STe, STacy, Mega STe,
TT, and Falcon. There are also emulators for the Apple Macintosh and IBM
Most of the people who read this newsgroup are technically oriented.
The newsgroup serves as a resource for Atari users ... feel free to
contribute to the discussions.
Associated newsgroups include:
comp.binaries.atari.st ! uuencoded binary programs
comp.sys.atari.st.tech ! technical programming/hardware topics
comp.sources.atari.st ! uuencoded/shar sources
How do I deal with Archived files (.ZOO, .ARC, .LZH)?
Files ending with suffixes .ZOO, .ARC, .ZIP and .LZH are archive files. They
are binary files which may contain one or more other files in a compressed
format. Archive files usually take up less disk space, and for this reason have
become quite popular for transferring large files via modem.
In order to extract the files from an archive file, one must use an archive
program. Here are the correspondences:
ZIP Use UNZIP.TTP or STZIP.PRG
ARC Use ARC.TTP
LZH Use LHARC.TTP
ZOO Use ZOO.TTP
A few hints for first-time users:
* Most archivers will give a short summary of commands if invoked with no
* If in doubt, to extract a file, copy the archiver to the directory that the
file is in, and run the archiver with the arguments 'x [filename]'.
* If you have TOS 1.4 or higher, and/or a CLI, you can avoid copying the
archiver by just changing the current directory to where the file is. See
TIPS for a tip on how to do this from the desktop on TOS 1.4 or higher.
* Read the documentation for the archivers you use, they will almost certainly
answer all your questions. Documentation is usually included in both the
source and binary distributions (such as zoo21bin.zoo).
These programs are all available via FTP from the atari.archive server, in the
/atari/archivers directory. Recommended files are:
arc602.ttp - version 6.02 of ARC, includes features to archive
subdirectories and also include comments with files.
arc602.arc - contains documentation. UnArc using arc602.ttp.
arc521e.arc - older version of ARC. Used mostly by those who want
speed, better compression, and don't care about
archiving subdirectories. UnArc using arc602.ttp.
lharc.ttp - version 2.0 of LHARC.
lzh201i.lzh - Thomas Questors lzh utility. German documentation.
UnArc using lharc.ttp
stzip22.lzh - STZip, with GUI interface
unzip41.lzh - Old version of unzip
zoo21.ttp - version 2.1 of ZOO
zoo21bin.zoo - ZOO archive includes documentation. UnArc using
Some info on Magic Shadow Archiver
(This was provided by Chris Herborth)
The Magic Shadow Archiver (MSA) is a disk archiving program that allows
an entire disk to be compressed into one file for transmission. The
Magic Shadow Archiver (in shadow.[arc?|lzh?|zoo?] on
atari.archive.umich.edu in ~/Archivers) creates .MSA files, which are
often compressed using a normal archiver, such as zoo or lharc.
Magic Shadow is notoriously bad when used on a 1/2 meg ST and only one
floppy drive. Its disk access and memory use are very badly thought
out, and could result in over 160 disk swaps when unpacking an 80 track,
Due to the fact that it was the _only_ disk image archiver around for
quite a long time, Magic Shadow is the de-facto standard for creating
disk images of computer demos and other pieces of software that cannot
be easily compressed as files.
Because MSA files are disk images, they can only be used to recreate a
floppy disk. There is (currently, see below) no way to extract the
files from an MSA archive without writing it to a floppy disk.
Magic Shadow works perfectly with any legal TOS floppy format, even high
density disks found in modified STs and most MegaSTes and TTs.
Chris Herborth (email@example.com at work,
firstname.lastname@example.org at home,
C.HERBORTH on GEnie) is writing a much more efficient MSA extractor,
called UnMSA. UnMSA will minimize the number of disk swaps, and speed
Daryl Richards (no email address, yet) is working on an MSA-Mounter,
which will allow someone to unpack an MSA archive to RAM or a file on
a hard disk. This uncompressed disk image will then be added to the
system as a logical drive (much the same way a RAMdisk adds a drive to
the system). MountImage on the Mac is an example of the way MSA-Mounter
will eventually work (MountImage is so good, you can install new
versions of the Mac OS using floppy disk images stored on your hard
There is yet another MSA archiver now, called MSA II, by Phillip Lang.
What Command Line Interpreters are available?
There are a large number of Command Line Interpreters for the Atari ST.
Some of the more popular ones include:
gulam the 'classic' cli, somewhat UNIX in flavor
BASH GNU Bourne Again Shell
ksh Korn Shell - available under MINT
gemini MUPFEL is the shell used by the gemini environment
master MS-DOS/Unix mixture, shareware.
okami a German shell with many useful utilities built in
pcommand an MS-DOS-like shell
csh C-shell, standard on Unix
tcsh Enchanced C-shell - available under MiNT
Check atari.archive under /atari/cli or /atari/mint, or check one of the
other FTP sites for files.
What does TOS ERROR nn mean?
What do the bombs on my screen mean?
The information below was written, in part, by Darryl May, and posted on
GEnie in January (of ????) by John Townsend. The original also appeared in
the June 1988 issue of _Current Notes_ (122 N. Johnson Rd., Sterling, VA
22170). It has since found its way to me, and is being posted to
comp.sys.atari.st as a service to readers.
Alan Pratt wrote to tell me that the basic information may be correct, but
that it cannot be dubbed "official" unless it originates, on paper, from
Atari. This makes sense, as electronic communications are easily
modified, even accidentally.
Roland Waldi provided information regarding the difference between TOS and
GEM return codes which appears to be correct. The tables have been modified
to reflect his information.
The following is an unofficial list of the errors that can appear
while you are operating your ST computer.
Error description return code alert box #
OK (no error)....................0
Drive not ready.................-2
Sector not found................-8
Bad sectors on format..........-16
Insert other disk..............-17
Invalid function number........-32............1
File not found.................-33............2
Path not found.................-34............3
No handles left................-35............4
Invalid memory block address...-40............9
Invalid drive specified........-46...........15
No more files..................-49...........18
Invalid program load format....-66...........35
The last code is the infamous "TOS error 35"!
Also, some unofficial information via Alan Pratt:
Notably, you should add -48: ENSAME (not the same drive, occurs when
you call Frename and the two names you give aren't on the same drive),
and -67: EGSBF: you can't use Mshrink to GROW a block of memory.
Those bombs that appear on your screen are error messages from
the 68000 micro-processor.
Description of bombs
Reset: Initial PC2...............1
Line 1010 Emulator..............10
Line 1111 Emulator..............11
Uninitialized Interrupt Vector..15
Level 1 Interrupt Autovector....25
Level 2 Interrupt Autovector....26
Level 3 Interrupt Autovector....27
Level 4 Interrupt Autovector....28
Level 5 Interrupt Autovector....29
Level 6 Interrupt Autovector....30
Level 7 Interrupt Autovector....31
Trap Instruction Vectors.....32-47
User Interrupt Vectors......64-255
What is GDOS, and where can I get it?
GDOS stands for Graphic Device Output System (at least that's what my copy of
STart, volume 1 number 1 said...)
There is a newer version, called SpeedoGDOS, which should be available
commercially from Atari. It is currently included with AtariWorks, and some
Falcon packages. SpeedoGDOS uses scaleable fonts - you do not need to create
a font file for every point size. There are desk accessories which allow you
to manipulate available fonts, and also CPX programs for the newer Atari
Control Panel. For those who only have limited memory, a newer version of
GDOS is also included with the distribution. For those with investments in
older bit-mapped GDOS fonts, they may be used with the new version of GDOS or
used as bit-mapped (ie. non-scaleable) fonts within SpeedoGDOS.
You can get a copy of "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About GDOS (and
more)" by Douglas N. Wheeler from the atari.archive server. The file is
There is a German version of GDOS available from the atari.archive server.
The file is /atari/utilities/amcgdos.arc.
Currently, there are no truly public domain sources for the GDOS system files
or font files (at least those supplied by Atari). You can get these files
with many commercial programs, such as Degas Elite, WordFlair, etc. You might
also want to check your local user group to see if they received a copy of the
WordFlair demo program (also available on GEnie). The demo program appears to
have the GDOS system and font files.
In the UK The ST Club (2 Broadway, Nottingham, UK NG1 1PS. Tel 0602
410241, Fax 0602 241515) is a licensed GDOS distrubutor:
GDOS-A Driver + Fonts 9-pin
GDOS-B Driver + Fonts 24-pin
GDOS-C Installed system for Opus (9 pin)
GDOS-D Opus 24-pin
GDOS-E FontGDOS + drivers
GDOS-F 300dpi printer fonts
Disks 2.95 pounds each.
What GNU software is available for the ST?
The Free Software Foundation C compiler, commonly known as GNU C (or gcc) is
avaiable for the Atari ST. The minimal memory required to do any useful
(i.e. beyond 'hello world') programming is 2 megabytes. A 4 megabyte system
There is an extensive archive of the latest GNU C programs via anonymous FTP
on atari.archive. GNU C is also available at most European FTP sites. The
latest version of GCC available for the ST is 2.4.2, this version includes
built-in support for C++.
Note that most GNU documentation comes in TeXinfo format. Documentation in
this format can be fed into TeX for printing. It can also be processed by
Emacs' texinfo to make an info file, which can be viewed on-screen with
Emacs' info mode. These two functions can also be performed by the
standalone programs 'texinfo' and 'info' (on atari.archive as /atari/tex/
The following can be found in the /atari/gnustuff/tos directory of
atari.archive: (Note: all of these have Unixmode and MiNT support)
BASH Bourne-again shell
BISON Yet another YACC (Yet Another Compiler Compiler)
COMPRESS Compatible with Unix compress
DIFF Compares files; PATCH does the inverse
EMACS Extreme editor :-)
Fileutils Unix file utilities
FLEX Lexical analyzer, like Unix lex
GAWK AWK report generation language
GCC 2.4.2 C, C++ compiler
GDB GNU debugger, with source level C support
Ghostscript Postscript clone
GROFF Text formatting system
GREP Regular expression search, like Unix grep
MAKE Like Unix make
MAKEINFO Stand-alone system to process .info files
PATCH Changes files from diffs; DIFF does the inverse
PROF Profiles executable code
RCS Revision Control System
SED Stream editor
Smalltalk Smalltalk; object oriented language
TAR Tape archiver like Unix tar
Where can I find Ham Radio software for the ST?
Plenty of Ham Radio software is available for the Atari ST:
Radio Teletype (RTTY)
Packet Radio (W0RLI BBS and K9AQ TCP/IP)
Color Slow Scan TV (SSTV)
For more information contact the Atari Microcomputer Network:
Newsletter Editor - Gil Frederick, VE4AG
130 Maureen Street
R3K 1M2 Canada
Program Librarian - John Adams, KC5FW
17106 Happy Hollow
San Antonio, TX 78232
Tune into the weekly net Sundays 16:00 UTC on 14.325 MHz.
John Langner, WB2OSZ
Public Domain/Shareware languages...
(This section is getting an overhaul, but I don't have the time to finish
the overhaul right now... Sorry, check back next month.)
There are a large number of programming languages available for use with the
Atari ST. Programmers seem to flock to the Atari ST, and if you know of a
language, you can probably find it, or an equivalent, for the ST.
68000 assembler/disassemblers: a68, turboass,
cross assemblers (z80, 6502, 68xx,8031/80xx)
Check the atari.archive server under /atari/languages. Most other archive
sites will have a language directory which you can also check.
Is MINIX available on the Atari ST?
MINIX is a UNIX-like operating system for the IBM PC, XT, AT, 386,
and PS/2, as well as the Apple Macintosh, Commodore Amiga, Atari ST, and
later in 1991, Sun SPARC. It is available with all the source code for
the entire operating system, the libraries, and nearly 200 UNIX-like
Demonstration disks for the IBM PC line and Atari ST are available for free
via anonymous FTP for people on the Internet. A Macintosh version will be
online soon. (If you can't wait, see below.)
To get a free demo disk and the manual, use ftp to connect to
ftp.cs.vu.nl (220.127.116.11) and look in pub/minix/demo. The READ_ME
file describes the contents of the directory and how to use it. Be sure to
fetch and read this first. It contains important information.
If you don't have FTP access, you can buy the demo disk package from Prentice-
Hall for $10 by calling (201) 767-5969 or FAX (201) 767-5625. Please DON'T
ask me to send it by email. I have quite enough work already thank you.
The ordering numbers for Prentice-Hall are:
- MINIX 1.5 IBM demo disk (0-13-582768-x) (in stock now)
- MINIX 1.5 Atari demo disk (0-13-582792-2) (in stock now)
- MINIX 1.5 Macintosh demo disk (0-13-582784-1) (in stock now)
Please note that although the demo disks are available for free on line,
MINIX itself is copyrighted software and is not available on line. The
demo disks are also copyrighted, but permission is hereby granted to
upload and use them for evaluation purposes. The READ_ME file tells how
MINIX can be ordered.
AS A COURTESY TO US, PLEASE DO NOT FTP DURING BUSINESS HOURS (EUROPEAN
TIME). PLEASE FTP AFTER 11 A.M. EASTERN STANDARD TIME.
If you want to follow the MINIX discussion, read the comp.os.minix
newsgroup, which is quite active and has almost 50,000 subscribers.
Andy Tanenbaum (email@example.com)
What is MiNT?
MiNT is a free multitasking operating system extension for TOS. It is somewhat
like BSD Unix from the programmer's perspective. MiNT can run up to 1 GEM
program along with a lot of character-based programs simultaneously. MGR
and MW2 can both put multiple terminal windows on screen, and bgacc can
put a number of terminal windows on a GEM screen. MiNT and lots of stuff to go
with it can be found at atari.archive.umich.edu:/atari/mint.
TOSWIN is the new replacement for bgacc: it provides lots of nice features like
variable fonts, menus, selectable window gadgets, etc. GEMTERM is a similar
package (it's not part of the standard MiNT distribution) modelled after TOSWIN
A somewhat interesting note: MiNT is now the kernel of Atari's multitasking
OS, MultiTOS. Originially MiNT stood for 'MiNT is Not TOS', but it's now
'MiNT is Now TOS'. :-)
Is there a version of XWindows for the ST?
There actually is a port of XWindows to the ST now, although it is pricey.
Here's the (slightly hacked up) announcement for it:
X/TOS/window/server and X/TOS/window/server/color
X/software Michael Gehret
TEL: +49 8334 1411
FAX: +49 8334 6245
Atari Mega ST, STE, TT
68000 to 68040
2 Mbytes (4 Mbytes recommended)
TOS 1.4 or higher
monochrome 1280x960x1 (TT, SM194)
monochrome 1280x960x1 (TT, SM194)
Atari Card (Mega or VME bus)
Riebl/Wacker (Mega or VME bus)
Biodata BioNet 100 II (DMA port or VME bus)
Atari/Riebl/Wacker ANS TCP/IP
none (two floppy disks, may load fonts from second disk or font server)
full X11 Release 5 implementation
Shape, Multi-Buffering, MIT-SUNDRY-NONSTANDARD extensions
PEX extension optional
support of font server protocol
support of X Display Manager Protocol
access control support
compatible to OSF/Motif and OpenLook
high performance (more than 32,000 Xstones on TT)
fast cursor tracking
backing store and save unders support
size of virtual screen limited by memory only, automatic panning
X/TOS/window/server/color supports all video modes at the same time,
including dynamic visuals
loadable key maps (xmodmap format), full support for European keyboard
3-button mouse emulation with Atari 2-button mouse
may run parallel to GEM (switching with hot key), configurable multi
about 50 fonts supplied
Why won't demo x run on my machine?
90% of the time, if a demo does not run on your American ST, you probably
need to be in 50Hz mode to use it. Get a program like 50hzboot.prg from
atari.archive to allow this.
What is the format for [x] paint program data?
There is a periodic posting of ST Picture Formats, edited by David Baggett.
The file is on the atari.archive server under /atari/graphics/picfmts.doc.
Where can I get Public Domain/Shareware software?
There are FTP sources and a comp.sources.atari.st/comp.binaries.atari.st
mail server. You can also try the commercial on-line services such as
GEnie, CompuServe, Delphi and Bix.
Using FTP, most files should be retrieved in BINARY format (at least those
ending with the suffix of .ZIP, .ARC, .LZH, .ZOO, .PRG, .TTP, .TOS)
Mail servers encode files. You will need a program called 'uudecode' in
order to change files ending with the suffix .UUE (or .UAB, .UAC, etc.)
into their original form.
E-Mail file servers
Spud holds all of the comp.sources.atari.st / comp.binaries.atari.st
postings. If you aren't reading these two newsgroups, you should consider
doing so. You may obtain uuencoded files as e-mail. You can obtain a
help file by mailing a message to firstname.lastname@example.org, with
the main body of the message being the word 'help'.
The atari.archive server is mentioned many times in this article. It contains
a multitude of Atari ST PD and shareware programs. If you don't have access
via FTP you can obtain many of the files via e-mail. You should first obtain a
help file by mailing a message to email@example.com, with the main
body of the message being the word 'help.'. If you are from a uucp site,
please enclose this statement also 'path host1!host2!....', where
host1!host2!... is your path. Please read the help file completely before you
ask questions, and then send any you may have to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any questions about the archive or specific files go to
email@example.com (or firstname.lastname@example.org,
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or
This is a UK public domain archive, available to sites within the UK via
This is a german public domain archive. This only has comp.binaries.atari.st
Same place as above, but this one carries other software than just
comp.binaries.atari.st and comp.sources.atari.st.
email@example.com (or uunet!mcsun!hp4nl!ruuinf!mail-server):
send the following message
path firstname.lastname@example.org (PLEASE SUBSTITUTE *YOUR* ADDRESS)
NOTE: *** PLEASE USE VALID INTERNET ADDRESSES IF POSSIBLE. DO NOT USE
ADDRESSES WITH ! and @ MIXED !!!! BITNETTERS USE USER@HOST.BITNET ***
The path command can be deleted if we receive a valid from address in your
message. If this is the first time you use our mail server, we suggest you
first issue the request:
Mail messages with the contents HELP will bring you some usage information
and GET PROG-A16 FILELIST will provide you with a list of files. Subscriptions
to INFO-A16 are also available on this server. INFO-A16 is a digest of
messages from comp.sys.atari.st.
Anonymous FTP servers
Note: The generally accepted practice for FTP use is as follows:
1. Limit access times to non-working hours. This is usually 6-8 pm
to 8-9 am LOCAL time. LOCAL time means local to the computer
you are accessing! For example, 4 P.M. in Minneapolis, Minnesota
is 10 P.M. in England, and 10 A.M. in Germany is 4 A.M. in New
2. Once you connect, issue the following commands at your FTP
<YOUR e-mail address should be entered at the Password: prompt)
cd <to the appropriate directory>
3. Limit downloads, especially across the ocean. Remember, there are
other people who are using the same lines as you.
Atari FTP sites (the list is -not- exhaustive)
uk.ac.lancs.pdsoft (available to UK users via JANET)
Note: Access is a bit different for this archive site, use the following:
pdsoft (at the Password prompt)
This site has a mirror of atari.archive.umich.edu in /computing/systems/
Is TeX/LaTeX available on the Atari ST?
The TeX/LaTeX typesetting programs are available on the Atari ST. Check the
atari.archive server under /atari/tex. Fonts and device drivers
(including one for the Epson 9-pin printers) are available on the
The latest version of TeX (3.14) has recently been made available on the
atari.archive server. The files are in a subdirectory of their own.
Graham Higgins recently wrote a message in comp.sys.atari.st indicating the
minimum files needed to get a working TeX/LaTeX system up and running on the
Atari ST. He said:
You'll need, at minimum:
The binaries for LaTeX/TeX :StTeXBin
The style files :StTeXSty
The font macros :StTeXTfm
If you want to screen-preview, you'll need screen font files (showdvi)
If you want to print locally, you'll need printer font files (dvifont)
For a step-by-step article on setting up Tex and LaTeX, send an e-mail request
to email@example.com. Be sure to mention 'tex.setup'.
There is also a complete, ready-to-install distribution called CS-TeX. The
latest version, 4.0, is available at atari.archive: /atari/tex/cs-tex-4.0.
This consists of 8 disks full of TeX stuff, plus an installation program
that takes care of the details for you.
Hope you liked the comp.sys.atari.st FAQ. If you have comments,
suggestions, more material, etc., mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to David Paschall-Zimbel (email@example.com) for
compiling most of this FAQ.
Steven Ourada --- firstname.lastname@example.org
"have no faith in constitution, there is no bloody revolution"
-- The Police