Section 6

CP/M Alteration

Table of Contents

6.1 Introduction
6.2 First-level System Regeneration
6.3 Second-level System Regeneration
6.4 Sample GETSYS and PUTSYS Program
6.5 Disk Organization
6.6 The BIOS Entry Points
6.7 A Sample BIOS
6.8 A Sample Cold Start Loader
6.9 Reserved Locations in Page Zero
6.10 Disk Parameter Tables
6.11 The DISKDEF Macro Library
6.12 Sector Blocking and Deblocking


6-1 Standard Memory Size Values
6-2 Common Values for CP/M Systems
6-3 CP/M Disk Sector Allocation
6-4 IOBYTE Field Values
6-5 BIOS Entry Points
6-6 Reserved Locations in Page Zero
6-7 Disk Parameter Headers
6-8 BSH and BLM Values
6-9 EXM Values
6-10 BLS Tabulation


6-1 IOBYTE Fields
6-2 Disk Parameter Header Format
6-3 Disk Parameter Header Table
6-4 Disk Parameter Block Format
6-5 AL0 and AL1


6-1 GETSYS Program
6-2 BIOS Entry Points

6.1 Introduction

The standard CP/M system assumes operation on an Intel MDS-800 microcomputer development system, but is designed so you can alter a specific set of subroutines that define the hardware operating environment.

Although standard CP/M 2 is configured for single-density floppy disks, field alteration features allow adaptation to a wide variety of disk subsystems from single drive minidisks to high- capacity, hard disk systems. To simplify the following adaptation process, it is assumed that CP/M 2 is first configured for single-density floppy disks where minimal editing and debugging tools are available. If an earlier version of CP/M is available, the customizing process is eased considerably. In this latter case, you might want to review the system generation process and skip to later sections that discuss system alteration for nonstandard disk systems.

To achieve device independence, CP/M is separated into three distinct modules:

Of these modules, only the BIOS is dependent upon the particular hardware. You can patch the distribution version of CP/M to provide a new BIOS that provides a customized interface between the remaining CP/M modules and the hardware system. This document provides a step-by-step procedure for patching a new BIOS into CP/M.

All disk-dependent portions of CP/M 2 are placed into a BIOS, a resident disk parameter block, which is either hand coded or produced automatically using the disk definition macro library provided with CP/M 2. The end user need only specify the maximum number of active disks, the starting and ending sector numbers, the data allocation size, the maximum extent of the logical disk, directory size information, and reserved track values. The macros use this information to generate the appropriate tables and table references for use during CP/M 2 operation. Deblocking information is provided, which aids in assembly or disassembly of sector sizes that are multiples of the fundamental 128-byte data unit, and the system alteration manual includes general purpose subroutines that use the deblocking information to take advantage of larger sector sizes. Use of these subroutines, together with the table-drive data access algorithms, makes CP/M 2 a universal data management system.

File expansion is achieved by providing up to 512 logical file extents, where each logical extent contains 16K bytes of data. CP/M 2 is structured, however, so that as much as 128K bytes of data are addressed by a single physical extent, corresponding to a single directory entry, iuaintaining compatibility with previous versions while taking advantage of directory space. If CP/M is being tailored to a computer system for the first time, the new BIOS requires some simple software development and testing. The standard BIOS is listed in Appendix A and can be used as a model for the customized package. A skeletal version of the BIOS given in Appendix B can serve as the basis for a modified BIOS.

In addition to the BIOS, you must write a simple memory loader, called GETSYS, which brings the operating system into memory. To patch the new BIOS into CP/M, you must write the reverse of GETSYS, called PUTSYS, which places an altered version of CP/M back onto the disk. PUTSYS can be derived from GETSYS by changing the disk read commands into disk write commands. Sample skeletal GETSYS and PUTSYS programs are described in Section 6.4 and listed in Appendix C.

To make the CP/M system load automatically, you must also supply a cold start loader, similar to the one provided with CP/M, listed in Appendices A and D. A skeletal form of a cold start loader is given in Appendix E, which servies as a model for the loader.

6.2 First-Level System Regeneration

The procedure to patch the CP/M system is given below. Address references in each step are shown with H denoting the hexadecimal radix, and are given for a 20K CP/M system. For larger CP/M systems, a bias is added to each address that is shown with a +b following it, where b is equal to the memory size-20K. Values for b in various standard memory sizes are listed in Table 6-1.


Table 6-1. Standard Memory Size Values
Memory Size Value
24K b = 24K - 20K = 4K = 1000H
32K b = 32K - 20K = 12K = 3000H
40K b = 40K - 20K = 20K = 5000H
48K b = 48K - 20K = 28K = 7000H
56K b = 56K - 20K = 36K = 9000H
62K b = 62K - 20K = 42K = A800H
64K b = 64K - 20K = 44K = B000H

Note that the standard distribution version of CP/M is set for operation within a 20K CP/M system. Therefore, you must first bring up the 20K CP/M system, then configure it for actual memory size (see Section 6.3).

Follow these steps to patch your CP/M system:

  1. Read Section 6.4 and write a GETSYS program that reads the first two tracks of a disk into memory. The program from the disk must be loaded starting at location 3380H. GETSYS is coded to start at location 100H (base of the TPA) as shown in Appendix C.
  2. Test the GETSYS program by reading a blank disk into memory, and check to see that the data has been read properly and that the disk has not been altered in any way by the GETSYS program.
  3. Run the GETSYS program using an initialized CP/M disk to see if GETSYS loads CP/M starting at 3380H (the operating system actually starts 128 bytes later at 3400H).
  4. Read Section 6.4 and write the PUTSYS program. This writes memory starting at 3380H back onto the first two tracks of the disk. The PUTSYS program should be located at 200H, as shown in Appendix C.
  5. Test the PUTSYS program using a blank, uninitialized disk by writing a portion of memory to the first two tracks; clear memory and read it back using GETSYS. Test PUTSYS completely, because this program will be used to alter CP/M on disk.
  6. Study Sections 6.5, 6.6, and 6.7 along with the distribution version of the BIOS given in Appendix A and write a simple version that performs a similar function for the customized environment. Use the program given in Appendix B as a model. Call this new BIOS by name CBIOS (customized BIOS). Implement only the primitive disk operations on a single drive and simple console input/output functions in this phase.
  7. Test CBIOS completely to ensure that it properly performs console character I/O and disk reads and writes. Be careful to ensure that no disk write operations occur during read operations and check that the proper track and sectors are addressed on all reads and writes. Failure to make these checks might cause destruction of the initialized CP/M system after it is patched.
  8. Referring to Table 6-3 in Section 6.5, note that the BIOS is placed between locations 4A00H and 4FFFH. Read the CP/M system using GETSYS and replace the BIOS segment by the CBIOS developed in step 6 and tested in step 7. This replacement is done in memory.
  9. Use PUTSYS to place the patched memory image of CP/M onto the first two tracks of a blank disk for testing.
  10. Use GETSYS to bring the copied memory image from the test disk back into memory at 3380H and check to ensure that it has loaded back properly (clear memory, 1 if possible, before the load). Upon successful load, branch to the cold start code at location 4A00H. The cold start routine initializes page zero, then jumps to the CCP at location 3400H, which calls the BDOS, which calls the CBIOS. The CCP asks the CBIOS to read sixteen sectors on track 2, and CP/M types A>, the system prompt.

    If difficulties are encountered, use whatever debug facilities are available to trace and breakpoint the CBIOS.

  11. Upon completion of step 10, CP/M has prompted the console for a command input. To test the disk write operation, type
             SAVE 1 X.COM

    All commands must be followed by a carriage return. CP/M responds with another prompt after several disk accesses:


    If it does not, debug the disk write functions and retry.

  12. Test the directory command by typing

    CP/M responds with

             A:X       COM
  13. Test the erase command by typing
             ERA X.COM

    CP/M responds with the A prompt. This is now an operational system that only requires a bootstrap loader to function completely.

  14. Write a bootstrap loader that is similar to GETSYS and place it on track 0, sector 1, using PUTSYS (again using the test disk, not the distribution disk). See Sections 6.5 and 6.8 for more information on the bootstrap operation.
  15. Retest the new test disk with the bootstrap loader installed by executing steps 11, 12, and 13. Upon completion of these tests, type a CTRL-C. The system executes a warm start, which reboots the system, and types the A prompt.
  16. At this point, there is probably a good version of the customized CP/M system on the test disk. Use GETSYS to load CP/M from the test disk. Remove the test disk, place the distribution disk, or a legal copy, into the drive, and use PUTSYS to replace the distribution version with the customized version. Do not make this replacement if you are unsure of the patch because this step destroys the system that was obtained from Digital Research.
  17. Load the modified CP/M system and test it by typing

    CP/M responds with a list of files that are provided on the initialized disk. The file DDT.COM is the memory image for the debugger. Note that from now on, you must always reboot the CP/M system (CTRL-C is sufficient) when the disk is removed and replaced by another disk, unless the new disk is to be Read-Only.

  18. Load and test the debugger by typing

    See Section 4 for operating procedures.

  19. Before making further CBIOS modifications, practice using the editor (see Section 2), and assembler (see Section 3). Recode and test the GETSYS, PUTSYS, and CBIOS programs using ED, ASM, and DDT. Code and test a COPY program that does a sector-to-sector copy from one disk to another to obtain back-up copies of the original disk. Read the CP/M Licensing Agreement specifying legal responsibilities when copying the CP/M system. Place the following copyright notice:
            Copyright (c), 1983
            Digital Research

    on each copy that is made with the COPY program.

  20. Modify the CBIOS to include the extra functions for punches, readers, and sign-on messages, and add the facilities for additional disk drives, if desired. These changes can be made with the GETSYS and PUTSYS programs or by referring to the regeneration process in Section 6.3.

You should now have a good copy of the customized CP/M system. Although the CBIOS portion of CP/M belongs to the user, the modified version cannot be legally copied.

It should be noted that the system remains file-compatible with all other CP/M systems (assuming media compatibility) which allows transfer of nonproprietary software between CP/M users.

6.3 Second-Level System Generation

Once the system is running, the next step is to configure CP/M for the desired memory size. Usually, a memory image is first produced with the MOVCPM program (system relocator) and then placed into a named disk file. The disk file can then be loaded, examined, patched, and replaced using the debugger and the system generation program (refer to Section 1).

The CBIOS and BOOT are modified using ED and assembled using ASM, producing files called CBIOS.HEX and BOOT.HEX, which contain the code for CBIOS and BOOT in Intel hex format.

To get the memory image of CP/M into the TPA configured for the desired memorv size, type the command:

        MOVCPM xx*

where xx is the memory size in decimal K bytes, for example, 32 for 32K. The response is as follows:

        "SAVE 34 CPMxx.COM"

An image of CP/M in the TPA is configured for the requested memory size. The memory image is at location 0900H through 227FH, that is, the BOOT is at 0900H, the CCP is at 980H, the BDOS starts at 1180H, and the BIOS is at 1F80H. Note that the memory image has the standard MDS-800 BIOS and BOOT on it. It is now necessary to save the memory image in a file so that you can patch the CBIOS and CBOOT into it:

        SAVE 34 CPMxx.COM

The memory image created by the MOVCPM program is offset by a negative bias so that it loads into the free area of the TPA, and does not interfere with the operation of CP/M in higher memory. This memory image can be subsequently loaded under DDT and examined or changed in preparation for a new generation of the system. DDT is loaded with the memory image by typing:

        DDT CPMxx.COM         Loads DDT, then reads the CP/M image.

DDT should respond with the following:

        NEXT PC
        2300 0100
        -                     (The DDT prompt)

You can then give the display and disassembly commands to examine portions of the memory image between 900H and 227FH. Note, however, that to find any particular address within the memory image, you must apply the negative bias to the CP/M address to find the actual address. Track 00, sector 01, is loaded to location 900H (the user should find the cold start loader at 900H to 97FH); track 00, sector 02, is loaded into 980H (this is the base of the CCP); and so on through the entire CP/M system load. In a 20K system, for example, the CCP resides at the CP/M address 3400H, but is placed into memory at 980H by the SYSGEN program. Thus, the negative bias, denoted by n, satisfies

        3400H + n = 980H, or n = 980H - 3400H

Assuming two's complement arithmetic, n = D580H, which can be checked by

        3400H+D580H = 10980H = 0980H (ignoring high-order overflow).

Note that for larger systems, n satisfies

        (3400H + b) + n = 980H, or
        n = 980H - (3400H + b), or
        n = D580H - b

The value of n for common CP/M systems is given below.


Table 6-2. Common Values for CP/M Systems
Memory Size BIAS b Negative Offset n
20K 0000H D580H - 0000H = D580H
24K 1000H D580H - 1000H = C580H
32K 3000H D580H - 3000H = A580H
40K 5000H D580H - 5000H = 8580H
48K 7000H D580H - 7000H = 6580H
56K 9000H D580H - 9000H = 4580H
62K A800H D580H - A800H = 2D80H
64K B000H D580H - B000H = 2580H

If you want to locate the address x within the memory image loaded under DDT in a 20K system, first type

        Hx,n                     Hexadecimal sum and difference

and DDT responds with the value of x + n (sum) and x - n (difference). The first number printed by DDT is the actual memory address in the image where the data or code is located. For example, the following DDT command:


produces 980H as the sum, which is where the CCP is located in the memory image under DDT.

Type the L command to disassemble portions of the BIOS located at (4A00H + b) - n, which, when one uses the H command, produces an actual address of 1F80H. The disassembly command would thus be as follows:


It is now necessary to patch in the CBOOT and CBIOS routines. The BOOT resides at location 0900H in the memory image. If the actual load address is n, then to calculate the bias (m), type the command:

        H900,n         Subtract load address from target address.

The second number typed by DDT in response to the command is the desired bias (in). For example, if the BOOT executes at 0080H, the command



        0980  0880              Sum and difference in hex.

Therefore, the bias in would be 0880H. To read-in the BOOT, give the command:

        ICBOOT.HEX             Input file CBOOT.HEX


        Rm               Read CBOOT with a bias of in (= 900H - n).

Examine the CBOOT with


You are now ready to replace the CBIOS by examining the area at 1F80H, where the original version of the CBIOS resides, and then typing

        ICBIOS.HEX              Ready the hex file for loading.

Assume that the CBIOS is being integrated into a 20K CP/M system and thus originates at location 4A00H. To locate the CBIOS properly in the memory image under DDT, you must apply the negative bias n for a 20K system when loading the hex file. This is accomplished by typing

        RD580                    Read the file with bias D580H.

Upon completion of the read, reexamine the area where the CBIOS has been loaded (use an L1F80 command) to ensure that it is properly loaded. When you are satisfied that the change has been made, return from DDT using a CTRL-C or G0 command.

SYSGEN is used to replace the patched memory image back onto a disk (you use a test disk until sure of the patch) as shown in the following interaction:

Start the SYSGEN program.
Sign-on message from SYSGEN.
Respond with a carriage return to skip the CP/M read operation because the system is already in memory.
Respond with B to write the new system to the disk in drive B.
Place a scratch disk in drive B, then press RETURN.

Place the scratch disk in drive A, then perform a cold start to bring up the newly configured CP/M system.

The new CP/M system is then tested and the Digital Research copyright notice is placed on the disk, as specified in the Licensing Agreement:

        Copyright (c), 1979
        Digital Research

6.4 Sample GETSYS and PUTSYS Programs

The following program provides a framework for the GETSYS and PUTSYS programs referenced in Sections 6.1 and 6.2. To read and write the specific sectors, you must insert the READSEC and WRITESEC subroutines.

; REGISTER               USE
; A                      (SCRATCH REGISTER)
; B                      TRACK COUNT (O, 1)
; C                      SECTOR COUNT (1,2,...,26)
; DE                     (SCRATCH REGISTER PAIR)
; HL                     LOAD ADDRESS
; SP                     SET TO STACK ADDRESS
                         ; AREA
        LXI  H,3380H     ; SET BASE LOAD ADDRESS
        MVI  B,0         ; START WITH TRACK 0
RDTRK:                   ; READ NEXT TRACK (INITIALLY 0)
        MVI  C,1         ; READ STARTING WITH SECTOR 1
DRSEC:                   ; READ NEXT SECTOR
        LXI  D,128       ; MOVE LOAD ADDRESS TO NEXT 1/2
                         ; PAGE
        DAD  D           ; HL = HL + 128
        INR  C           ; SECTOR = SECTOR + 1
        MOV  A,C         ; CHECK FOR END OF TRACK
        CPI  27
        INR  B
        MOV  A,B         ; TEST FOR LAST TRACK
        CPI  2
         PUSH B           ; SAVE B AND C REGISTERS
         PUSH H           ; SAVE HL REGISTERS
         POP  H           ; RECOVER HL
         POP  B           ; RECOVER B AND C REGISTERS
         RET              ; BACK TO MAIN PROGRAM
         END START

Listing 6-1. GETSYS Program

This program is assembled and listed in Appendix B for reference purposes, with an assumed origin of 100H. The hexadecimal operation codes that are listed on the left might be useful if the program has to be entered through the panel switches.

The PUTSYS program can be constructed from GETSYS by changing only a few operations in the GETSYS program given above, as shown in Appendix C. The register pair HL becomes the dump address, next address to write, and operations on these registers do not change within the program. The READSEC subroutine is replaced by a WRITESEC subroutine, which performs the opposite function; data from address HL is written to the track given by register B and sector given by register C. It is often useful to combine GETSYS and PUTSYS into a single program during the test and development phase, as shown in Appendix C.

6.5 Disk Organization

The sector allocation for the standard distribution version of CP/M is given here for reference purposes. The first sector contains an optional software boot section (see the table on the following page). Disk controllers are often set up to bring track 0, sector 1, into memory at a specific location, often location 0000H. The program in this sector, called BOOT, has the responsibility of bringing the remaining sectors into memory starting at location 3400H + b. If the controller does not have a built-in sector load, the program in track 0, sector 1 can be ignored. In this case, load the program from track 0, sector 2, to location 3400H + b.

As an example, the Intel MDS-800 hardware cold start loader brings track 0, sector 1, into absolute address 3000H. Upon loading this sector, control transfers to location 3000H, where the bootstrap operation commences by loading the remainder of track 0 and all of track 1 into memory, starting at 3400H + b. Note that this bootstrap loader is of little use in a non-MDS environment, although it is useful to examine it because some of the boot actions will have to be duplicated in the user's cold start loader.


Table 6-3. CP/M Disk Sector Allocation
Track Sector Page # Memory Address CP/M Module name
00 01   (boot address) Cold Start Loader
00 02 00 3400H + b CCP
03 3480H + b
04 01 3500H + b
05 3580H + b
06 02 3600H + b
07 3680H + b
08 03 3700H + b
09 3780H + b
10 04 3800H + b
11 3880H + b
12 05 3900H + b
13 3980H + b
14 06 3A00H + b
15 3A80H + b
16 07 3B00H + b
17 3B80H + b
00 18 08 3C00H + b BDOS
19 3C80H + b
20 09 3D00H + b
21 3D80H + b
22 10 3E00H + b
23 3E80H + b
24 11 3F00H + b
25 3F80H + b
26 12 4000H + b
01 01 4080H + b
02 13 4100H + b
03 4180H + b
04 14 4200H + b
05 4280H + b
06 15 4300H + b
07 4380H + b
08 16 4400H + b
09 4480H + b
10 17 4500H + b
11 4580H + b
12 18 4600H + b
13 4680H + b
14 19 4700H + b
15 4780H + b
16 20 4800H + b
17 4880H + b
18 21 4900H + b
19 4980H + b
01 20 22 4A00H + b BIOS
21 4A80H + b
22 23 4B00H + b
23 4B80H + b
24 24 4C00H + b
25 4C80H + b
26 25 4D00H + b

6.6 The BIOS Entry Points

The entry points into the BIOS from the cold start loader and BDOS are detailed below. Entry to the BIOS is through a jump vector located at 4A00H + b, as shown below. See Appendices A and B. The jump vector is a sequence of 17 jump instructions that send program control to the individual BIOS subroutines. The BIOS subroutines might be empty for certain functions (they might contain a single RET operation) during reconfiguration of CP/M, but the entries must be present in the jump vector.

The jump vector at 4A00H + b takes the form shown below, where the individual jump addresses are given to the left:

             4A03H+b   JMP WBOOT      ;ARRIVE HERE FOR WARM START
             4A09H+b   JMP CONIN      ;READ CONSOLE CHARACTER IN
             4A15H+b   JMP READER     ;READ READER DEVICE
             4A18H+b   JMP HOME       ;MOVE TO TRACK 00 ON SELECTED DISK
             4A1BH+b   JMP SELDSK     ;SELECT DISK DRIVE
             4A1EH+b   JMP SETTRK     ;SET TRACK NUMBER
             4A21H+b   JMP SETSEC     ;SET SECTOR NUMBER
             4A24H+b   JMP SETDMA     ;SET DMA ADDRESS
             4A27H+b   JMP READ       ;READ SELECTED SECTOR
             4A2AH+b   JMP WRITE      ;WRITE SELECTED SECTOR
             4A2DH+b   JMP LISTST     ;RETURN LIST STATUS

Listing 6-2. BIOS Entry Points

Each jump address corresponds to a particular subroutine that performs the specific function, as outlined below. There are three major divisions in the jump table: the system reinitialization, which results from calls on BOOT and WBOOT; simple character I/O, performed by calls on CONST, CONIN, CONOUT, LIST, PUNCH, READER, and LISTST; and disk I/O, performed by calls on HOME, SELDSK, SETTRK, SETSEC, SETDMA, READ, WRITE, and SECTRAN.

All simple character I/O operations are assumed to be performed in ASCII, upper- and lower-case, with high-order (parity bit) set to zero. An end-of-file condition for an input device is given by an ASCII CTRL-Z (1AH). Peripheral devices are seen by CP/M as logical devices and are assigned to physical devices within the BIOS.

To operate, the BDOS needs only the CONST, CONIN, and CONOUT subroutines. LIST, PUNCH, and READER can be used by PIP, but not the BDOS. Further, the LISTST entry is currently used only by DESPOOL, the print spooling utility. Thus, the initial version of CBIOS can have empty subroutines for the remaining ASCII devices.

The following list describes the characteristics of each device.

A single peripheral can be assigned as the LIST, PUNCH, and READER device simultaneously. If no peripheral device is assigned as the LIST, PUNCH, or READER device, the CBIOS gives an appropriate error message so that the system does not hang if the device is accessed by PIP or some other user program. Alternately, the PUNCH and LIST routines can just simply return, and the READER routine can return with a 1AH (CTRL-Z) in register A to indicate immediate end-of-file.

For added flexibility, you can optionally implement the IOBYTE function, which allows reassignment of physical devices. The IOBYTE function creates a mapping of logical-to-physical devices that can be altered during CP/M processing, see the STAT command in Section 1.6.1.

The definition of the IOBYTE function corresponds to the Intel standard as follows: a single location in memory, currently location 0003H, is maintained, called IOBYTE, which defines the logical-to-physical device mapping that is in effect at a particular time. The mapping is performed by splitting the IOBYTE into four distinct fields of two bits each, called the CONSOLE, READER, PUNCH, and LIST fields, as shown in the following figure.


Figure 6-1. IOBYTE Fields
7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0

The value in each field can be in the range 0-3, defining the assigned source or destination of each logical device. Table 6-4 gives the values that can be assigned to each field.


Table 6-4. IOBYTE Field Meaning
Value Meaning
CONSOLE field (bits 0,1)
0 console is assigned to the console printer device (TTY:)
1 console is assigned to the CRT device (CRT:)
2 batch mode: use the READER as the CONSOLE input, and the LIST device as the CONSOLE output (BAT:)
3 user-defined console device (UC1:)
READER field (bits 2,3)
0 READER is the teletype device (TTY:)
1 READER is the high speed reader device (PTR:)
2 user-defined reader #1 (UR1:)
3 user-defined reader #2 (UR2:)
PUNCH field (bits 4,5)
0 PUNCH is the teletype device (TTY:)
1 PUNCH is the high speed punch device (PTP:)
2 user-defined punch #1 (UP1:)
3 user-defined punch #2 (UP2:)
LIST field (bits 6,7)
0 LIST is the teletype device (TTY:)
1 LIST is the CRT device (CRT:)
2 LIST is the line printer device (LPT:)
3 user-defined list device (UL1:)

The implementation of the IOBYTE is optional and effects only the organization of the CBIOS. No CP/M system programs use the IOBYTE (although they tolerate the existence of the IOBYTE at location 0003H) except for PIP, which allows access to the physical devices, and STAT, which allows logical-physical assignments to be made or displayed. For more information see Section 1. In any case the IOBYTE implementation should be omitted until the basic CBIOS is fully implemented and tested; then you should add the IOBYTE to increase the facilities.

Disk I/O is always performed through a sequence of calls on the various disk access subroutines that set up the disk number to access, the track and sector on a particular disk, and the Direct Memory Access (DMA) address involved in the I/O operation. After all these parameters have been set up, a call is made to the READ or WRITE function to perform the actual I/O operation.

There is often a single call to SELDSK to select a disk drive, followed by a number of read or write operations to the selected disk before selecting another drive for subsequent operations. Similarly, there might be a single call to set the DMA address, followed by several calls that read or write from the selected DMA address before the DMA address is changed. The track and sector subroutines are always called before the READ or WRITE operations are performed.

The READ and WRITE routines should perform several retries (10 is standard) before reporting the error condition to the BDOS. If the error condition is returned to the BDOS, it reports the error to the user. The HOME subroutine might or might not actually perform the track 00 seek, depending upon controller characteristics; the important point is that track 00 has been selected for the next operation and is often treated in exactly the same manner as SETTRK with a parameter of 00.

The following table describes the exact responsibilities of each BIOS entry point subroutine.


Table 6-5. BIOS Entry Points
Entry Point Function
BOOT The BOOT entry point gets control from the cold start loader and is responsible for basic system initialization, including sending a sign-on message, which can be omitted in the first version. If the IOBYTE function is implemented, it must be set at this point. The various system parameters that are set by the WBOOT entry point must be initialized, and control is transferred to the CCP at 3400 + b for further processing. Note that register C must be set to zero to select drive A.
WBOOT The WBOOT entry point gets control when a warm start occurs. A warm start is performed whenever a user program branches to location 0000H, or when the CPU is reset from the front panel. The CP/M system must be loaded from the first two tracks of drive A up to, but not including, the BIOS, or CBIOS, if the user has completed the patch. System parameters must be initialized as follows:
location 0,1,2
Set to JMP WBOOT for warm starts (000H: JMP 4A03H + b)
location 3
Set initial value of IOBYTE, if implemented in the CBIOS
location 4
High nibble = current user number, low nibble = current drive
location 5,6,7
Set to JMP BDOS, which is the primary entry point to CP/M for transient programs. (0005H: JMP 3C06H + b)

Refer to Section 6.9 for complete details of page zero use. Upon completion of the initialization, the WBOOT program must branch to the CCP at 3400H + b to restart the system. Upon entry to the CCP, register C is set to the drive to select after system initialization. The WBOOT routine should read location 4 in memory, verify that is a legal drive, and pass it to the CCP in register C.

CONST You should sample the status of the currently assigned console device and return 0FFH in register A if a character is ready to read and 00H in register A if no console characters are ready.
CONIN The next console character is read into register A, and the parity bit is set, high-order bit, to zero. If no console character is ready, wait until a character is typed before returning.
CONOUT The character is sent from register C to the console output device. The character is in ASCII, with high-order parity bit set to zero. You might want to include a time-out on a line-feed or carriage return, if the console device requires some time interval at the end of the line (such as a TI Silent 700 terminal). You can filter out control characters that cause the console device to react in a strange way (CTRL-Z causes the Lear- Siegler terminal to clear the screen, for example).
LIST The character is sent from register C to the currently assigned listing device. The character is in ASCII with zero parity bit.
PUNCH The character is sent from register C to the currently assigned punch device. The character is in ASCII with zero parity.
READER The next character is read from the currently assigned reader device into register A with zero parity (high-order bit must be zero); an end-of- file condition is reported by returning an ASCII CTRL-Z(1AH).
HOME The disk head of the currently selected disk (initially disk A) is moved to the track 00 position. If the controller allows access to the track 0 flag from the drive, the head is stepped until the track 0 flag is detected. If the controller does not support this feature, the HOME call is translated into a call to SETTRK with a parameter of 0.
SELDSK The disk drive given by register C is selected for further operations, where register C contains 0 for drive A, 1 for drive B, and so on up to 15 for drive P (the standard CP/M distribution version supports four drives). On each disk select, SELDSK must return in HL the base address of a 16-byte area, called the Disk Parameter Header, described in Section 6.10. For standard floppy disk drives, the contents of the header and associated tables do not change; thus, the program segment included in the sample CBIOS performs this operation automatically.

If there is an attempt to select a nonexistent drive, SELDSK returns HL = 0000H as an error indicator. Although SELDSK must return the header address on each call, it is advisable to postpone the physical disk select operation until an I/O function (seek, read, or write) is actually performed, because disk selects often occur without ultimately performing any disk I/O, , and many controllers unload the head of the current disk before selecting the new drive. This causes an excessive amount of noise and disk wear. The least significant bit of register E is zero if this is the first occurrence of the drive select since the last cold or warm start.

SETTRK Register BC contains the track number for subsequent disk accesses on the currently selected drive. The sector number in BC is the same as the number returned from the SECTRAN entry point. You can choose to seek the selected track at this time or delay the seek until the next read or write actually occurs. Register BC can take on values in the range 0-76 corresponding to valid track numbers for standard floppy disk drives and 0- 65535 for nonstandard disk subsystems.
SETSEC Register BC contains the sector number, 1 through 26, for subsequent disk accesses on the currently selected drive. The sector number in BC is the same as the number returned from the SECTRAN entry point. You can choose to send this information to the controller at this point or delay sector selection until a read or write operation occurs.
SETDMA Register BC contains the DMA (Disk Memory Access) address for subsequent read or write operations. For example, if B = 00H and C = 80H when SETDMA is called, all subsequent read operations read their data into 80H through 0FFH and all subsequent write operations get their data from 80H through 0FFH, until the next call to SETDMA occurs. The initial DMA address is assumed to be 80H. The controller need not actually support Direct Memory Access. If, for example, all data transfers are through I/O ports, the CBIOS that is constructed uses the 128 byte area starting at the selected DMA address for the memory buffer during the subsequent read or write operations.
READ Assuming the drive has been selected, the track has been set, and the DMA address has been specified, the READ subroutine attempts to read eone sector based upon these parameters and returns the following error codes in register A:

0 - no errors occurred

1 - nonrecoverable error condition occurred

Currently, CP/M responds only to a zero or nonzero value as the return code. That is, if the value in register A is 0, CP/M assumes that the disk operation was completed properly. If an error occurs the CBIOS should attempt at least 10 retries to see if the error is recoverable. When an error is reported the BDOS prints the message BDOS ERR ON x: BAD SECTOR. The operator then has the option of pressing a carriage return to ignore the error, or CTRL-C to abort.

WRITE Data is written from the currently selected DMA address to the currently selected drive, track, and sector. For floppy disks, the data should be marked as nondeleted data to maintain compatibility with other CP/M systems. The error codes given in the READ command are returned in register A, with error recovery attempts as described above.
LISTST You return the ready status of the list device used by the DESPOOL program to improve console response during its operation. The value 00 is returned in A if the list device is not ready to accept a character and 0FFH if a character can be sent to the printer. A 00 value should be returned if LIST status is not implemented.
SECTRAN Logical-to-physical sector translation is performed to improve the overall response of CP/M. Standard CP/M systems are shipped with a skew factor of 6, where six physical sectors are skipped between each logical read operation. This skew factor allows enough time between sectors for most programs to load their buffers without missing the next sector. In particular computer systems that use fast processors, memory, and disk subsystems, the skew factor might be changed to improve overall response. However, the user should maintain a single-density IBM-compatible version of CP/M for information transfer into and out of the computer system, using a skew factor of 6.

In general, SECTRAN receives a logical sector number relative to zero in BC and a translate table address in DE. The sector number is used as an index into the translate table, with the resulting physical sector number in HL. For standard systems, the table and indexing code is provided in the CBIOS and need not be changed.

6.7 A Sample BIOS

The program shown in Appendix B can serve as a basis for your first BIOS. The simplest functions are assumed in this BIOS, so that you can enter it through a front panel, if absolutely necessary. You must alter and insert code into the subroutines for CONST, CONIN, CONOUT, READ, WRITE, and WAITIO subroutines. Storage is reserved for user-supplied code in these regions. The scratch area reserved in page zero (see Section 6.9) for the BIOS is used in this program, so that it could be implemented in ROM, if desired.

Once operational, this skeletal version can be enhanced to print the initial sign-on message and perform better error recovery. The subroutines for LIST, PUNCH, and READER can be filled out and the IOBYTE function can be implemented.

6.8 A Sample Cold Start Loader

The program shown in Appendix E can serve as a basis for a cold start loader. The disk read function must be supplied by the user, and the program must be loaded somehow starting at location 0000. Space is reserved for the patch code so that the total amount of storage required for the cold start loader is 128 bytes.

Eventually, you might want to get this loader onto the first disk sector (track 0, sector 1) and cause the controller to load it into memory automatically upon system start up. Alternatively, the cold start loader can be placed into ROM, and above the CP/M system. In this case, it is necessary to originate the program at a higher address and key in a jump instruction at system start up that branches to the loader. Subsequent warm starts do not require this key-in operation, because the entry point WBOOT gets control, thus bringing the system in from disk automatically. The skeletal cold start loader has minimal error recovery, which might be enhanced in later versions.

6.9 Reserved Locations in Page Zero

Main memory page zero, between locations 0H and 0FFH, contains several segments of code and data that are used during CP/M processing. The code and data areas are given in the following table.


Table 6-6. Reserved locations in Page Zero
Locations Contents
0000H-0002H Contains a jump instruction to the warm start entry location 4A03H+b. This allows a simple programmed restart (JMP 0000H) or manual restart from the front panel.
0003H-0003H Contains the Intel standard IOBYTE which is optionally included in the user's CBIOS. (refer to Section 6.6).
0004H-0004H Current default drive number (0=A,...,15=P) in the low nybble and current user number in the high nybble.
0005H-0007H Contains a jump instruction to the BDOS and serves two purposes: JMP 0005H provides the primary entry point to the BDOS, as described in Section 5, and LHLD 0006H brings the address field of the instruction to the HL register pair. This value is the lowest address in memory used by CP/M, assuming the CCP is being overlaid. The DDT program changes the address field to reflect the reduced memory size in debug mode.
0008H-0027H Interrupt locations 1 through 5 not used.
0030H-0037H Interrupt location 6 (not currently used) is reserved.
0038H-003AH Restart 7; contains a jump instruction into the DDT or SID program when running in debug mode for programmed breakpoints, but is not otherwise used by CP/M.
003BH-003FH Not currently used; reserved.
0040H-004FH A 16-byte area reserved for scratch by CBIOS, but is not used for any purpose in the distribution version of CP/M.
0050H-005BH Not currently used; reserved.
005CH-007CH Default File Control Block produced for a transient program by the CCP.
007DH-007FH Optional default random record position.
0080H-00FFH Default 128-byte disk buffer, also filled with the command line when a transient is loaded under the CCP.

This information is set up for normal operation under the CP/M system, but can be overwritten by a transient program if the BDOS facilities are not required by the transient.

If, for example, a particular program performs only simple I/O and must begin execution at location 0, it can first be loaded into the TPA, using normal CP/M facilities, with a small memory move program that gets control when loaded. The memory move program must get control from location 0100H, which is the assumed beginning of all transient programs. The move program can then proceed to the entire memory image down to location 0 and pass control to the starting address of the memory load.

If the BIOS is overwritten or if location 0, containing the warm start entry point, is overwritten, the operator must bring the CP/M system back into memory with a cold start sequence.

6.10 Disk Parameter Tables

Tables are included in the BIOS that describe the particular characteristics of the disk subsystem used with CP/M. These tables can be either hand-coded, as shown in the sample CBIOS in Appendix B, or automatically generated using the DISKDEF macro library, as shown in Appendix F. The purpose here is to describe the elements of these tables.

In general, each disk drive has an associated (16-byte) disk parameter header that contains information about the disk drive and provides a scratch pad area for certain BDOS operations. The format of the disk parameter header for each drive is shown in Figure 6-2, where each element is a word (16-bit) value.


Figure 6-2. Disk Parameter Header Format
XLT 0000 0000 0000 DIRBUF DPB CSV ALV
16B 16B 16B 16B 16B 16B 16B 16B

The meaning of each Disk Parameter Header (DPH) element is detailed in Table 6-7.


Table 6-7. Disk Parameter Headers
XLT Address of the logical-to-physical translation vector, if used for this particular drive, or the value 0000H if no sector translation takes place (that is, the physical and logical sector numbers are the same). Disk drives with identical sector skew factors share the same translate tables.
0000 Scratch pad values for use within the BDOS, initial value is unimportant.
DIRBUF Address of a 128-byte scratch pad area for directory operations within BDOS. All DPHs address the same scratch pad area.
DPB Address of a disk parameter block for this drive. Drives withidentical disk characteristics address the same disk parameter block.
CSV Address of a scratch pad area used for software check for changed disks. This address is different for each DPH.
ALV Address of a scratch pad area used by the BDOS to keep disk storage allocation information. This address is different for each DPH.

Given n disk drives, the DPHs are arranged in a table whose first row of 16 bytes corresponds to drive 0, with the last row corresponding to drive n-1. In the following figure the label DPBASE defines the base address of the DPH table.

        00     XLT00 0000  0000  0000  DIRBUF  DBP00 CSV00  ALV00
        01     XLT01 0000  0000  0000  DIRBUF  DBP01 CSV01  ALV01
                            (AND SO ON THROUGH)
        n-1    XLTn-1 0000  0000  0000 DIRBUF  DBPn-1 CSVn-1 ALVn-1

Figure 6-3. Disk Parameter Header Table

A responsibility of the SELDSK subroutine is to return the base address of the DPH for the selected drive. The following sequence of operations returns the table address, with a 0000H returned if the selected drive does not exist.

        LSI  H,0000H   ;ERROR CODE
        MOV  A,C       ;DRIVE OK?
        CPI  NDISKS    ;CY IF SO
        RNC            ;RET IF ERROR
                       ;NO  ERROR, CONTINUE
        MOV  L,C       ;LOW(DISK)
        MOV  H,B       ;HIGH(DISK)
        DAD  H
        DAD  H         ;*4
        DAD  H         ;*B
        DAD  H         ;*IC
        DAD  D         ;DPH(DISK)

The translation vectors, XLT00 through XLTn-1, are located elsewhere in the BIOS, and simply correspond one-for-one with the logical sector numbers zero through the sector count 1. The Disk Parameter Block (DPB) for each drive is more complex. As shown in Figure 6-4, each particular DPB, that is addressed by one or more DPHS, takes the general form:


Figure 6-4. Disk Parameter Block Format
16B 8B 8B 8B 16B 16B 8B 8B 16B 16B

where each is a byte or word value, as shown by the 8b or 16b indicator below the field.

The following field abbreviations are used in Figure 6-4:

The values of BSH and BLM determine the data allocation size BLS, which is not an entry in the DPB. Given that the designer has selected a value for BLS, the values of BSH and BLM are shown in Table 6-8.


Table 6-8. BSH and BLM Values
1,024 3 7
2,048 4 15
4,096 5 31
8,192 6 63
16,384 7 127

where all values are in decimal. The value of EXM depends upon both the BLS and whether the DSM value is less than 256 or greater than 255, as shown in Table 6-9.


Table 6-9. EXM Values
BLS EXM values
DSM<256 DSM>255
1,024 0 N/A
2,048 1 0
4,096 3 1
8,192 7 3
16,384 15 7

The value of DSM is the maximum data block number supported by this particular drive, measured in BLS units. The product (DSM + 1) is the total number of bytes held by the drive and must be within the capacity of the physical disk, not counting the reserved operating system tracks.

The DRM entry is the one less than the total number of directory entries that can take on a 16-bit value. The values of AL0 and AL1, however, are determined by DRM. The values AL0 and AL1 can together be considered a string of 16-bits, as shown in Figure 6-5.


Figure 6-5. AL0 and AL1
00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15

Position 00 corresponds to the high-order bit of the byte labeled AL0 and 15 corresponds to the low-order bit of the byte labeled AL1. Each bit position reserves a data block for number of directory entries, thus allowing a total of 16 data blocks to be assigned for directory entries (bits are assigned starting at 00 and filled to the right until position 15). Each directory entry occupies 32 bytes, resulting in the following tabulation:


Table 6-10. BLS Tabulation
BLS Directory Entries
1,024 32 times # bits
2,048 64 times # bits
4,096 128 times # bits
8,192 256 times # bits
16,384 512 times # bits

Thus, if DRM = 127 (128 directory entries) and BLS = 1024, there are 32 directory entries per block, requiring 4 reserved blocks. In this case, the 4 high-order bits of AL0 are set, resulting in the values AL0 = 0F0H and AL1 = 00H.

The CKS value is determined as follows: if the disk drive media is removable, then CKS = (DRM + 1)/4, where DRM is the last directory entry number. If the media are fixed, then set CKS = 0 (no directory records are checked in this case).

Finally, the OFF field determines the number of tracks that are skipped at the beginning of the physical disk. This value is automatically added whenever SETTRK is called and can be used as a mechanism for skipping reserved operating system tracks or for partitioning a large disk into smaller segmented sections.

To complete the discussion of the DPB, several DPHs can address the same DPB if their drive characteristics are identical. Further, the DPB can be dynamically changed when a new drive is addressed by simply changing the pointer in the DPH; because the BDOS copies the DPB values to a local area whenever the SELDSK function is invoked.

Returning back to DPH for a particular drive, the two address values CSV and ALV remain. Both addresses reference an area of uninitialized memory following the BIOS. The areas must be unique for each drive, and the size of each area is determined by the values in the DPB.

The size of the area addressed by CSV is CKS bytes, which is sufficient to hold the directory check information for this particular drive. If CKS = (DRM + 1)/4, you must reserve (DRM + 1)/4 bytes for directory check use. If CKS = 0, no storage is reserved.

The size of the area addressed by ALV is determined by the maximum number of data blocks allowed for this particular disk and is computed as (DSM/8) + 1.

The CBIOS shown in Appendix B demonstrates an instance of these tables for standard 8-inch, single-density drives. It might be useful to examine this program and compare the tabular values with the definitions given above.

6.11 The DISKDEF Macro Library

A macro library called DISKDEF (shown in Appendix F), greatly simplifies the table construction process. You must have access to the MAC macro assembler, of course, to use the DISKDEF facility, while the macro library is included with all CP/M 2 distribution disks.

A BIOS disk definition consists of the following sequence of macro statements:

        MACLIB      DISKDEF

        DISKS       n
        DISKDEF     0,. . .
        DISKDEF     1,. . .
        DISKDEF     n - 1


where the MACLIB statement loads the DISKDEF.LIB file, on the same disk as the BIOS, into MAC's internal tables. The DISKS macro call follows, which specifies the number of drives to be configured with the user's system, where n is an integer in the range 1 to 16. A series of DISKDEF macro calls then follow that define the characteristics of each logical disk, 0 through n - 1, corresponding to logical drives A through P. The DISKS and DISKDEF macros generate the in-line fixed data tables described in the previous section and thus must be placed in a nonexecutable portion of the BIOS, typically directly following the BIOS jump vector.

The remaining portion of the BIOS is defined following the DISKDEF macros, with the ENDEF macro call immediately preceding the END statement. The ENDEF (End of Diskdef) macro generates the necessary uninitialized RAM areas that are located in memory above the BIOS.

The DISKDEF macro call takes the form:

        DISKDEF dn,fsc,lsc,[skf],bls dks,dir,cks,ofs,[0]


The value dn is the drive number being defined with this DISKDEF macro invocation. The fsc parameter accounts for differing sector numbering systems and is usually 0 to 1. The lsc is the last numbered sector on a track. When present, the skf parameter defines the sector skew factor, which is used to create a sector translation table according to the skew.

If the number of sectors is less than 256, a single-byte table is created, otherwise each translation table element occupies two bytes. No translation table is created if the skf parameter is omitted, or equal to 0.

The bls parameter specifies the number of bytes allocated to each data block, and takes on the values 1024, 2048, 4096, 8192, or 16384. Generally, performance increases with larger data block sizes because there are fewer directory references, and logically connected data records are physically close on the disk. Further, each directory entry addresses more data and the BIOS-resident RAM space is reduced.

The dks parameter specifies the total disk size in bls units. That is, if the bls = 2048 and dks = 1000, the total disk capacity is 2,048,000 bytes. If dks is greater than 255, the block size parameter bls must be greater than 1024. The value of dir is the total number of directory entries that might exceed 255, if desired.

The cks parameter determines the number of directory items to check on each directory scan and is used internally to detect changed disks during system operation, where an intervening cold or warm start has not occurred. When this situation is detected, CP/M automatically marks the disk Read-Only so that data is not subsequently destroyed.

As stated in the previous section, the value of cks = dir when the medium is easily changed, as is the case with a floppy disk subsystem. If the disk is permanently mounted, the value of cks is typically 0, because the probability of changing disks without a restart is low.

The ofs value determines the number of tracks to skip when this particular drive is addressed, which can be used to reserve additional operating system space or to simulate several logical drives on a single large capacity physical drive. Finally, the [0] parameter is included when file compatibility is required with versions of 1.4 that have been modified for higher density disks. This parameter ensures that only 16K is allocated for each directory record, as was the case for previous versions. Normally, this parameter is not included.

For convenience and economy of table space, the special form:

        DISKDEF   i,j

gives disk i the same characteristics as a previously defined drive j. A standard fourdrive, single-density system, which is compatible with version 1.4, is defined using the following macro invocations:

        DISKS      4
        DISKDEF    0,1,26,6,1024,243,64,2
        DISKDEF    1,0
        DISKDEF    2,0
        DISKDEF    3,0

with all disks having the same parameter values of 26 sectors per track, numbered 1 through 26, with 6 sectors skipped between each access, 1024 bytes per data block, 243 data blocks for a total of 243K-byte disk capacity, 64 checked directory entries, and two operating system tracks.

The DISKS macro generates n DPHS, starting at the DPH table address DPBASE generated by the macro. Each disk header block contains sixteen bytes, as described above, and correspond one- for-one to each of the defined drives. In the four-drive standard system, for example, the DISKS macro generates a table of the form:

        DPBASE EQU $
        DPE0:  DW XLT0,0000H,0000H,0000H,DIRBUF,DPB0,CSV0,ALV0
        DPE1:  DW XLT0,0000H,0000H,0000H,DIRBUF,DPB0,CSV1,ALV1
        DPE2:  DW XLT0,0000H,0000H,0000H,DIRBUF,DPB0,CSV2,ALV2
        DPE3:  DW XLT0,0000H,0000H,0000H,DIRBUF,DPB0,CSV3,ALV3

where the DPH labels are included for reference purposes to show the beginning table addresses for each drive 0 through 3. The values contained within the DPH are described in detail in the previous section. The check and allocation vector addresses are generated by the ENDEF macro in the RAM area following the BIOS code and tables.

Note that if the skf (skew factor) parameter is omitted, or equal to 0, the translation table is omitted and a 0000H value is inserted in the XLT position of the DPH for the disk. In a subsequent call to perform the logical-to-physical translation, SECTRAN receives a translation table address of DE = 0000H and simply returns the original logical sector from BC in the HL register pair.

A translate table is constructed when the skf parameter is present, and the (nonzero) table address is placed into the corresponding DPHS. The following, for example, is constructed when the standard skew factor skf = 6 is specified in the DISKDEF macro call:

        XLT0: DB 1,7,13,19,25,5,11,17,23,3,9,15,21
              DB 2,8,14,20,26,6,12,18,24,4,10,16,22

Following the ENDEF macro call, a number of uninitialized data areas are defined. These data areas need not be a part of the BIOS that is loaded upon cold start, but must be available between the BIOS and the end of memory. The size of the uninitialized RAM area is determined by EQU statements generated by the ENDEF macro. For a standard four-drive system, the ENDEF macro might produce the following EQU statement:

        4C72 =    BEGDAT EQU $ (data areas)
        4DB0 =    ENDDAT EQU $
        013C =    DATSIZ EQU $-BEGDAT

which indicates that uninitialized RAM begins at location 4C72H, ends at 4DB0H-1, and occupies 013CH bytes. You must ensure that these addresses are free for use after the system is loaded.

After modification, you can use the STAT program to check drive characteristics, because STAT uses the disk parameter block to decode the drive information. A STAT command of the form:

        STAT D:DSK:

decodes the disk parameter block for drive d (d = A,...,P) and displays the following values:

        r: 128-byte record capacity
        k: kilobyte drive capacity
        d: 32-byte directory entries
        c: checked directory entries
        e: records/extent
        b: records/block
        s: sectors/track
        t: reserved tracks

Three examples of DISKDEF macro invocations are shown below with corresponding STAT parameter values. The last example produces a full 8-megabyte system.

        DISKDEF 0,1,58,,2048,256,128,128,2
        r=4096, k=512, d=128, c=128, e=256, b=16, s=58, t=2

        DISKDEF 0,1,58,,2048,1024,300,0,2
        r=16348, k=2048, d=300, c=0, e=128, b=16, s=58, t=2

        DISKDEF 0,1,58,,16348,512,128,128,2
        r=65536, k=8192, d=128, c=128, e=1024, b=128, s=58, t=2

6.12 Sector Blocking and Deblocking

Upon each call to BIOS WRITE entry point, the CP/M BDOS includes information that allows effective sector blocking and deblocking where the host disk subsystem has a sector size that is a multiple of the basic 128-byte unit. The purpose here is to present a general-purpose algorithm that can be included within the BIOS and that uses the BDOS information to perform the operations automatically.

On each call to WRITE, the BDOS provides the following information in register C:

0 (normal sector write)
1 (write to directory sector)
2 (write to the first sector of a new data block)

Condition 0 occurs whenever the next write operation is into a previously written area, such as a random mode record update; when the write is to other than the first sector of an unallocated block; or when the write is not into the directory area. Condition 1 occurs when a write into the directory area is performed. Condition 2 occurs when the first record (only) of a newly allocated data block is written. In most cases, application programs read or write multiple 128-byte sectors in sequence; thus, there is little overhead involved in either operation when blocking and deblocking records, because preread operations can be avoided when writing records.

Appendix G lists the blocking and deblocking algorithms in skeletal form; this file is included on your CP/M disk. Generally, the algorithms map all CP/M sector read operations onto the host disk through an intermediate buffer that is the size of the host disk sector. Throughout the program, values and variables that relate to the CP/M sector involved in a seek are prefixed by sek, while those related to the host disk system are prefixed by hst. The equate statements beginning on line 29 of Appendix G define the mapping between CP/M and the host system, and must be changed if other than the sample host system is involved.

The entry points BOOT and WBOOT must contain the initialization code starting on line 57, while the SELDSK entry point must be augmented by the code starting on line 65. Note that although the SELDSK entry point computes and returns the Disk Parameter Header address, it does not physically select the host disk at this point (it is selected later at READHST or WRITEHST). Further, SETTRK and SETMA simply store the values, but do not take any other action at this point. SECTRAN performs a trivial function of returning the physical sector number.

The principal entry points are READ and WRITE, starting on lines 110 and 125, respectively. These subroutines take the place of your previous READ and WRITE operations.

The actual physical read or write takes place at either WRITEHST or READHST, where all values have been prepared: hstdsk is the host disk number, hsttrk is the host track number, and hstsec is the host sector number, which may require translation to physical sector number. You must insert code at this point that performs the full sector read or write into or out of the buffer at hstbuf of length hstsiz. All other mapping functions are performed by the algorithms.

This particular algorithm was tested using an 80-megabyte hard disk unit that was originally configured for 128-byte sectors, producing approximately 35 megabytes of formatted storage. When configured for 512-byte host sectors, usable storage increased to 57 megabytes, with a corresponding 400% improvement in overall response. In this situation, there is no apparent overhead involved in deblocking sectors, with the advantage that user programs still maintain 128-byte sectors. This is primarily because of the information provided by the BDOS, which eliminates the necessity for preread operations.

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