IBM-COPY – A Review
by Kevin R. Smith
IBM-COPY is a program by TC Software which allows a Gemini computer to read
and write files to IBM PC-—DOS format disks. It costs £65 + VAT, and comes with
a brief (11 A4 sheets) but adequate photocopied manual. This review is based on
several months use of version 3.0 of the program.
To run the program it is necessary to configure at least one floppy disk drive on your
system as having an IBM format. How to do this is described in your Bios manual
(version 3.2 or greater). It is unimportant which IBM format you decide upon, as
IBM-COPY automatically determines the format of the disk being used, be it 8- or
9-sector, single- or double-sided. Only the high-density 15-sector disks used by
the IBM AT cannot be used with this program.
On running the program, the screen displays a list of the available commands, and
a reminder of the formats associated with each of your logical drives, followed by
the program’s prompt, IBMCOPY>>. The commands available are COPY, DIR
and INIT. In addition, entering a “?” redisplays the initial screen display, and
entering a “RETURN?” by itself quits the program.
The most important command is COPY. This is used to copy files between CP/M
and PC-DOS disks; it cannot copy files between two CP/M disks or between two
PC-DOS disks, and can only access the current CP/M user area and the root
directory of PC-DOS disks. In practice, these are rarely problems. The syntax used
is similar to PIP, except that files cannot be renamed as they are copied. Ambiguous
filenames are allowed for multiple file copying.
The DIR command is identical in function and syntax the the CP/M DIR command
when used with CP/M disks. However, with PC-DOS disks, you are also told the
size of each file, the amount of free disk space and the percentage of the disk which
has been filled. Sub-directories and the volume label (if any) are also shown but
cannot be copied (although no error message is generated by trying !).
The final command, INIT, allows you to clear the directory of PC-DOS disks,
effectively deleting all the files on the disk. It can also change the PC-DOS disk ID
byte, which determines whether the disk is treated as single- or double-sided and
having 8 or 9 sectors per track. Attempting to use INIT on a CP/M disk produces
an error message.