1. Not old. Vintage. :)

Baker's Quick Guide to Atari 8-Bit GUIs

Baker's Quick Guide to Atari 8-Bit GUIs

{Recovered Atari Sector}
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Post by Baker on Jan 10, 2016 at 11:04am
I initially posted this bit in my "introduce myself" thread, in answer to a question of if my XL mouse worked with my XL or was just a PC item. I have since deleted it there and posted here as I think it really needs it's own thread instead of being in the new "introduce yourself" thread.

ST and Amiga mice work (as well as joysticks, trackballs, touch tablets, etc.) with several A8 GUI's, including Diamond GOS, BOSS XL/XE, the beta GUI of Flashjazzcat's, and before I started using that GUI beta (in workable shape), I used a very cool desktop named ATOS, that had all kinds of bells and whistles like desktop wallpaper, use any looping demo for a screen saver, load most anything and return to the desktop without reboot, a computer voice text reader was built in, etc. I suggested that Flashjazzcat do similar things with his GUI, especially desktop wallpaper and the demos-as-a-screensaver, so hopefully the final version will have it. Otherwise I may continue to use ATOS.

I've been using a ST or Amiga mouse with my A8 since Diamond GOS back in the late 80's.

Also have the link to the other GUI beta. I wanted to attach ATOS zip, but it's bigger than the 1meg limit. So, I linked a thread on AtariAge where ATOS can be downloaded. ATOS is a 16MB setup, so it requires an HDD or SD or MyIDE/SiDE or SIO2PC with A.P.E from Atarimax to use, that's the downside IF you don't have any of those. Once I get my 1200XL running again, I'll have Flashjazzcat's GUI on one 16MB partition and ATOS on another.

I've attached a zip of Diamond GOS, but it is old and never really achieved what it set out too, so I gave it up when i started using ATOS.

So far, only ATOS and the upcoming GUI from flashjazzcat are the only GUI's I think are really worth a damn, because they maintain full compatibility with most or all of the A8's legacy software and aren't just front end loaders otherwise needing their own proprietary apps like Diamond GOS. Diamond GOS will let you load legacy software, and return to the desktop if you have it on cartridge as it was originally released (U.S. only) in version 2 and the rare version 3 (not included in the zip).

ATOS and Diamond GOS can be downloaded from here: atariage.com/forums/topic/116877-diamond-and-atos/

GUI beta here: atari8.co.uk/gui/


how easy is ATOS to setup on an 8-bit?
and exactly how flexible/operation is it?​


Post by Baker on Jan 10, 2016 at 2:11pm
It's just a matter of loading it up as an ATR. Flexibility is good as far as legacy software operation. If you load any game or program, in file format at least the tons I tried, you can press some key (forget what ATM, since it's been two years since I used it and my 1200XL) that will end the program and take you back to ATOS. Or you can just do the usual reboot, but that takes longer. All file programs work under it, like .com, .exe, .xex, etc., I don't recall if you can load other ATR images through it though, I would guess no.

will it work via IDE 2.0 plus?
if so, i'm in​


Post by Baker on Jan 10, 2016 at 4:50pm
It will work with any setup as long as you can have a 16MB ATR disk image. One note, it works only with Sparta DOS, I think starting with V3 that I believe comes on the disk image, I don't yet have SpartaDOS X, but I'm hoping it works with it as i intend to start using it, I'm going to either get the cartridge or have it on a SiDE cartridge I intend to get, or one of the other various upgrades/add-ons that include it these days. Even if it doesn't, no worries as, like I said, it has SpartaDOS 3.2 on the disk image.

I'm not sure how good any documentation is included in the ATOS zip, when the original website was up still, it could be found there and I do have the original printout in storage, so as soon as i can locate it, I'll scan it all again and create some PDF's or something and post them here. But that might be a while. Still, if you have half a brain, you can figure it out.​


so...bearing in mind i'd like to have it working on this setup:-
atari 800XL 256k (rambo) with ape 32-in-1

i'd like to load it thru IDE plus 2.0 (candle's version)

1] how easy is it to setup?
2] will 256k run the ATOS?​


Post by Baker on Jan 11, 2016 at 3:18pm
so...bearing in mind i'd like to have it working on this setup:-
atari 800XL 256k (rambo) with ape 32-in-1

i'd like to load it thru IDE plus 2.0 (candle's version)

1] how easy is it to setup?
2] will 256k run the ATOS?
Yes, ATOS can be run with 64K, maybe even 48K, but you need a way to have that large ATR image, that's all. You use your IDE plus to mount/load the ATR, just like you would with a 90K disk ATR, the desktop loads up and you start using it and loading other stuff through it! You can try it out on an Atari emulator like Atari800Win, or whatever.

The ATR image is just so large due to all of ATOS's assets like wallpapers, screen savers, etc., the GUI itself fits in 64k (maybe less) and it's dumped out of memory when you load something, then loaded back in when you quit, which is the other reason an HD or SD or something is required, for fast speeds loading it, if your set up is fast, ATOS is pretty fast too. Having it in flash memory, like and SD card drive, is the fastest, of course.​

Post by Baker on Jan 27, 2016 at 10:43am
I have some more info for those wanting to get ATOS up and running under MyIDE With SpataDOS.
You can use SpartaDOS 3.3a with ATOS, and that is the one you have to use with MyIDE. This is what I did to get it working:

1. Boot the original ATOS atr somewhere. Get to the DOS prompt (hold down option).

2. Make sure X33A.DOS is on the disk (should be). Type BOOT X33A.DOS at the D1: prompt.

3. Edit the startup.bat file to load SHELL33A instead of the 3.2gx one.

4. Boot Marius Dipiendurst's utility disk, and run his program to create a 16MB SpartaDOS partition. You must have a 16MB MyIDE partition created as D2.

5. Boot the original ATOS ATR as D1: (with your MyIDE hardware plugged in and HD turned on.) Type CD UTT to go to the utility directory.

6. Use the RCOPY command to do a recursive copy of all files from D1 to D2. RCOPY D1:>*.* D2: Wait.

7. Make sure that X33A.DOS is set to boot on D2. Type D2: [return] BOOT X33A.DOS

8. Now swap your MyIDE D2: partition to D1: (using either my MYIDECFG program or Marius' MYSWAP program.)

9. Reboot.

And also this:

Using the SpartaDOS files posted here I got ATOS working with my MyIDE setup using a rom OS. I imagine it would work fine with the soft OS as well.

I created a 65535 sector partition on the hard drive using fdisk.bas, then booted with the MyIDE Sparta ATR. I followed the instructions in the readme.txt file to format D2: as 16MB.

Then I mounted the ATOS.atr in APE as one of the drives and used the rcopy command from the UTT directory to copy all the ATOS files from the image to my new 16MB SpartaDOS partition. Finally, I copied the "patched" 3.3a over to the new 16MB partition and typed BOOT X33A.DOS for that drive.

Then using MYSWAP11.COM (nice program!) I swapped the new ATOS 16MB partition on my hard drive to be D1:. I then booted ATOS off my hard drive and everything works great. You can even launch my MyIDE Image Manager program from ATOS. upload_2020-7-10_11-40-59.png

ATOS is pretty nice, but there are few things that I wish were more polished. For one, it would be nice to have a little more color. BOSS-X uses a few of the players to create color in icons and dialogs-a similiar feature would be nice. Also it would be nice to be able to edit properties of objects within the GUI and not have to run an external program to do so. Another problem that is annoying is that the object configuration program doesn't seem to use the multi-mouse driver properly.. I have it set to joystick, which works fine in the GUI, but doesn't in the object config program.

ATOS is fast, unlike BOSS-X which seemed pretty slow in comparision, which may be due to it being programmed in TurboBASIC (IIRC.) I will have to install BOSSX on the hard drive now and give it a fair shake. I've always been partial to SpartaDOS though and that might be difficult to have with BOSS-X.

It would be nice to have some more documentation on the API for ATOS, especially the CC65 library that is mentioned in the existing docs.

Both of the above are basically saying the same thing for using MyIDE and ATOS. I just thought I'd post both in case there is confusion with one or the other.

Here is a patched version of SpartaDos to run with the softOS of MyIDE:
(If for some reason SpartaDOS 3.3a doesn't work with your MyIDE setup and ATOS):
myide_spartados.zip (27.51 KB) {DEAD LINK}

Post by Baker on Jan 27, 2016 at 10:45am
I am still trying to track down all the original documentation/manual for ATOS, but haven't found it yet. I know I have printed copy in storage somewhere, and if I have to, I'll eventually scan it all and post it here, but it may be a while before that happens.

I had forgotten about which spartaDOS version is needed and the whole D2: thing since it has been a couple of years since I used it. Of course this is for using it with MyIDE, with SIO2PC, just mounting ATOS ATR in D1: should be enough, it's just MyIDE's use of memory is different so needs SpartaDOS 3.3a and setup as said above. I have no idea if ATOS will work with SpartaDOS X cartridges or versions on flash like with Ultimate 1meg upgrade. Hopefully this all helps. I will be re-doing my ATOS setup all over too, once I get my 1200XL fixed, and using it with SD card drive, and not just SIO2PC as I had in the past (though I do think I had it up and running with MyIDE 1.0 at one time, but that was about a decade ago...

But the original link in my first post, that you get the ATOS zip from says in that post that there are files in it that include 4 different ways of setting up ATOS.

Also, from what I've read on AtariAge about ATOS, it uses the multi-joy program for mouse/joystick/trackball/touchtablet, etc.

Post by Baker on Jan 27, 2016 at 12:50pm
Just so this thread isn't all about ATOS, though I think it's the best so far, here are other Atari graphic operating systems. Choose your flavor.

- Diamond GOS version 1 (Link to download disk version in the first post of the thread at top of page. a cart and a PD demo-disk-version do exist),
version 2 (cart only), version 3 (cart only); plus some applications
(painter program, text program, etc.); Diamond GOS has been made
freeware by the author Alan Reeve;

- G.O.S., the Graphic operating system by Total Control systems; two different
versions are avaiable (I call them GOS 1 and GOS 2) and they are PD;

- G.O.E., the Graphic Operating Environment also by Total Control Systems
(this one merely works under Sparta DOS, not with Bewe-DOS and not at all with
DOS 2.x); so far I have found 3 different versions (GOE 1,2,3) with some
applications (graphic/painting program, etc.); PD;

- S.A.M., the Screen Aided Management (unfortunately it has the same name as
SAM, the software aided mouth) from PPP/Germany. It is avaiable in two
different versions: a) the type-in listing from Atari magazin and/or the Lazy
finger disks (which are PD!) or b) the commercial version 2.0 which has many
add-ons and can still be bought from Dean Garaghty/UK or
PD-World-Versand/Germany; This GUI merely works correct under DOS 2.5 and
Medium/dual density, however...

- BOSS-XL, the XL-Desktop from Mirko Sobe; written in Turbo-BASIC; freeware;

- BOSS-XE, the XE-Desktop from Mirko Sobe; written in Turbo-BASIC;freeware;

- BOSS-X the newest desktop version from Mirko Sobe, needs an 128k+ Computer
(128k or more memory), supports MyDOS up to 16MB and MyDOS subdirs...; still
written in Turbo-BASIC; many applications and drivers; freeware;

- XL-TOS a small and "cheap" GUI version from Atari magazin (i.e. a type-in
listing; the BASIC file, which consists of many data lines creates a short
object code file); unfortunately this GUI only looks good, it loads almost
nothing... PD;

- ST-TOS a small BASIC program, that looks like a GUI; it can merely load
BASIC files and do a few DOS commands, like lock, unlock, delete and such...

- BASIC desktop, a GUI written in BASIC just as a sample, what can be done
with an 8-bit computer; this one loads BASIC and text files (maybe also ML
files); PD;

- DCS, the desktop construction set from Tom Hunt; there are 3 different
versions avaiable, a) for DOS 2.5, b) for MyDOS andc) for Sparta-DOS; I have
tested the Sparta DOS version, which worked with batchfiles and could easily
load some ML files, text files and BASIC files (which were already on the DCS
disk); it also works with high densities and/or hard disk partitions up to
16MB and supports subdirs of course; hmm, freeware or shareware ?!?

- ATOS - GUI by Tom Hunt/Closer To Home.
1) Lets you use any demo or intro as a screen saver!!
2) Works with all Atari hardware, BB, MIO and Hard drives, SpartaDOS support
3) Lets you run files like full games and demos and then
return back to the desktop. It uses Overlays.

- Atari Desktop by ABC software (Poland), includes editors, converters,
file copiers, sector copy, tape+turbo tape copy, small games, CMC finder
and player and much much more; works with 64k RAM and keyboard input;
disk manuals only in polish language...

- Windows XL a Turbo-BASIC GUI with some nice add-ons, like calculator, editor
and other things. written in 1986-1988 by Joerg Forg.

- TRS-Desktop by Tristesse.
TRS-Desktop 0.9c alpha:

Last, but not least, the GUI beta that is the most current GUI of all, and will be, most likely, the best, in the end is here (link also in first post):

Post by Baker on Jan 30, 2016 at 1:15pm
Good news chaps! Over the last couple of days I have been transferring my possessions from a public storage unit to two sheds I built. During the process I started collecting all my Atari 8-bit stuff to bring home. The good news is I found my original documentation to the ATOS GUI. Since I have not been able to finds this documentation online anywhere, since the original site shut down several years ago, I knew I had to find my print-outs. I will get them all scanned as soon as I can, but I might need some help making them available, due to the 1Meg upload limit here. I don't know if the scans will be more than that or not off-hand. And I also don't have PDF creator, only the free viewer, so I will probably have to do them as Jpegs or something like that. But I'll have to revisit my scanning software as I haven't used it for a long time. Maybe it can save them in PDF format, I don't recall.

Post by Baker on Jan 30, 2016 at 8:31pm
OK Thanks!

I also have the original manuals for Diamond GOS 2.0 and 3.0. V3.0 was very limited and was by purchasing the new 3.0 chip and replacing 2.0 in the pass-thru cartridge, or send the whole cartridge back to Alan Reeve for installation. I lost this cartridge along with all my 8-bit software while moving to California in the 90's. But I have the original manuals still (3.0 is just a laser-print standard page, stapled.)

As I recall, V3.0 fixed some 2.0 bugs, inproved speed and came with a 3rd App (GOS Paint and GOS Write were available for 2.0, I think they were included. I can't remember what the third app. was...but it also had desk accessories like ST GEM; calculator, note pad, ramdisk handler, etc.). I think V2.0 has acc. too. I'll scan them in here too. Oh, and 3.0 used extra memory if found (130XE/Rambo).

There was an interview done of Alan Reeve and Diamond GOS on AtariAge a couple of years ago, and he uploaded all the latest versions to AA, but not 3.0. I think he said it lost, at least temporarily, and IIRC, he said he sold less than 10 copies of 3.0, and I was one of those owners, until I lost it. hopefully a Copy of it will surface from Alan or an owner at some point.

this is great stuff.
thinking that when i get some spare time, this'll be setup on one of my expanded XLs?
what would you suggest for an install via IDE 2,0 plus? or MyIDE internal? or MyIDE cart?
800XL (256k rambo / 32-in-1 ape os)
1200XL (256k)
1200XL Ultimate 1mb
800XE 576k​


Post by Baker on Jan 31, 2016 at 8:24am
I think you can install it, any of the above ways, depending on you options to do so. I think as long as ATOS is setup with the right version of SpartaDOS for the way you are booting, all of the above will work well. I think SD and CF drives would be the fastest, followed by HDD. and SIO2PC slow-to-fast depending on your speed there. So it comes down to what you want, really. Do you want and internal or external IDE? MyIDE cart or 2.0+ are for those who don't want to install and upgrade internally. I have used ATOS with the original MyIDE cart and a real 3.5 IDE HDD, and with SIO2PC. MyIDE was faster. I have not yet used it with my SD drive mounted in a 1030 case yet, that was a brand new mod just before I moved, and I haven't located the 1030 yet in storage. I expect it to be faster than HDD with the SD drive, but since it is SIO2SD, maybe it will be slower. But there are different SD and CF card drives and some work through and IDE connection or through the SIO port, and maybe through PBI.

The way I had it set-up with MyIDE 1.0 cart and HDD was fast enough for me. I use ATOS this way first. Later after selling the MyIDE cart, I used it through SIO2PC 1.0 (technically SIO to PC 15-pin Com port), later COM2USB cable and PC driver software to turn a USB port on the PC into a virtual legacy COM port.

The way I plan on using ATOS now, once I get my 1200XL running, is to do it SIO2PC via COM2USB cable, using A.P.E or similar Atari virtual drive software on the PC. Later I will get booting from SIO2SD with my modded 1030.

If you are using an IDE device of any sort, I think you want to set ATOS up with Sparta 3.3a and if you are using the SIO port in any way it will work with the default 3.2x version or the patched version for download in a post above. The manual has all the information on installing ATOS for IDE, SIO and, I think PBI options. Much of it is a repeat of the installation instructions above, but much more.

My guess as to ATOS working with SpartaDOS X? maybe if ATOS is directed to use the proper handler to retrieve rom-resident SpartaDOS instead of disk based or ram-resident. It may require another spartaDOS patch, this time for SDX. But ATOS uses a certain part of memory, and different versions of SpartaDOS use different memory locations, ram or rom, and some versions of SpartaDOS just conflict with the memory location of ATOS.
Another thing I just remembered is when I was using ATOS with a HDD, The MyIDE OS was on the MyIDE cart+flash version I had from Atarimax. I got my 32-in-1 OS with MyIDE+ OS on it after i sold off my MyIDE cartridge+flash, so I have not yet used ATOS with the MyIDE OS on the 32-in-1 OS from Atarimax.​

Post by Baker on Apr 6, 2016 at 12:28pm
Well, I finally got the ATOS details, FAQ and Manual scanned and have .jpg and .pdf versions. Now the question is how to I get them to you guys, since upload limit is 1MB? I guess, for now, anyone who wants the full documentation for ATOS will have to contact me personally and I can e-mail them or something.​

Post by Baker on Apr 6, 2016 at 3:18pm
The original post in this thread has a link to download ATOS and Diamond GOS. That ATOS download is exactly that, A 16MB bootable ATR image specifically setup to work on HDD systems like MyIDE. a the only thing required is a system that can boot a 16MB ATARI image, like an HDD or SIO2PC virtual drive for ATOS (for Diamond just a floppy drive). If you have MyIDE 2.0, then the MyIDE intructions tell you how to boot ATR's is how you boot ATOS. If you are using SIO2PC and NOT an HDD, then steps have to be taken to change the SpartaDOS version. I have no idea if ATOS will work with SpartaDOS X, it may, it's works with other SpartaDOS versions, but I have never tried because I don't have SDX. You'll have to experiment once you read the documents.

The scans are everything from the most basic stuff, that you really don't need, because it is basic: mount ATR image to the drive that boots and go. Right up to how to program for it. Everything.

Now, can your e-mail handle about 50MB worth of PDF's? Or do I have to break it up and what's the largest you can accept?

Included are ATOS Details PDR's (detailed description of ATOS), ATOS FAQ (frequently asked questions)PDR's, ATOS MANUAL PDR's (operations and programming) and an Addendum on screen savers with ATOS (any looping (starts over)demo works).

PDF's compressed to 37.3MB zip.​

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