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News
New Firmware, FPGA Configuration and FireTOS
2020-08-31:
Already a long while back we promised to you the new software for your FireBees. As for some time the new computers get already delivered with this software in Flash-Rom, we decided now to make it available for everyone.

All the improvements have been programmed by Medusa over the last years, and work pretty well at several dozen of machines. But, there have to be followed some precautions by you, as you could transfer your FireBee into a status, where you need external hardware, to rewrite something to the ROM and be able to boot again.

In first place there is the fact that this software is requiring each other! The new FPGA configuration needs the new BaS and the new FireTOS need also the new FPGA and vice versa! For the first time you have to flash all components directly consecutively, without rebooting the FireBee inbetween. Shouldn't you flash all 3 components at once, you will not be able to boot your FireBee anymore for now!

Please flash these new system software files from FireTOS only!! Do not use EmuTOS this time, because you could brick your FireBee with some previous firmware versions of BaS_gcc, while flashing from EmuTOS. This behaviour of BaS_gcc in combination with EmuTOS will be changed in future releases again, so the next time you can safely flash from EmuTOS again.

Than you have to respect, that you are not allowed to mix this components with older Systems, BaS or FPGA configurations! If you are flashing an old BaS with a new FPGA or a new FireTOS your FireBees will as well not boot anymore. You can of course switch back at any time to an older „complete package“, or in turn to this new software, as long as you are not mixing them, and always flashing all three components at once.

At last it has to be mentioned that BaS and FPGA are insufficiently tested with BaS_(gcc) and/or EmuTOS. Even though few developers have the combination „latest BaS_(gcc)“ and latest FPGA and latest EmuTOS in use and so far no problems, we cannot make a general statement for it. An elaborate test series will follow in the upcoming weeks and we will notify you subsequently here at this point.

But we belive that we can expect you to go through all of this, and that you are capable of flashing your FireBees with FLASH060.PRG at one go, and in doing so not incapacitating your boards en masse. A further deferral of the release of this new software would be disproportionate to the expectable problems.

Please note as well the order, in which you have to flash the here published components:

1.) BaS
2.) FPGA
3.) FireTOS

Now about the improvements:

BaS:

  • There is now a scan at bootup how fast CF-Cards/IDE are. At booting the presence and speed of the CompactFlash-Cards and IDE devices are requested and SpeedReg is set (in three steps).
  • The bootup of the DVI-Chip got reworked, and now all registers of DVI are correctly initialized.
  • The version date is now shown at the serial port.


FPGA:

  • The Blitter got implemented! 16- or 24-bit bit depth blitting works perfectly screen to screen (recently no memory to screen or screen to memory). Lower bitplane blits (1, 2, 4 and 8 bitplanes) produce pixel errors, and need more work.
  • There is now a much faster access to the CompactFlash-Cards/IDE because of the scanned speed inside BaS, taking into account SpeedReg.
  • Data transfer from CF/IDE is now even possible at the adress 0xFFF0'00xx with longword.
  • The Atari video modes got reworked.
  • Some work in the MIDI configuration has been done
  • The version date is now shown at the serial port.


FireTOS:

The FireTOS, that got patched by MCS, got the following innovations:


  • Some errors inside the write routines of CF/IDE got fixed
  • The bootup of the computer is now faster, as the existence of CF/IDE has not to be requested anymore (is now done inside BaS).
  • There are faster CF/IDE routines taking into account SpeedReg, as data access with longword.
  • A partial control of the Blitter (only memcopy routines) including „cache flush“ because of data coherence got implemented.
  • The version date is now shown at the screen.
  • The centronics connector is now supported. It is possible to print from FireTOS with parallel printers (tested with Papyrus X and qed at a Stylus 740 and a Stylus Color).
  • There has been some work at the MIDI interface. Although MIDI is not yet usable in all systems in general, and a lot of work is lieing ahead of us, there is with reservations a partial support of the MIDI interface.


Known FireTOS limitations are:


  • It is currently not possible to print with NVDI 5. The system is crashing at the try. It seems as if NVDI 5 has to be patched, …


We wish you fun with these updates and your – now a lot faster – FireBees.

Flashing the FireBee system software

Downloads


3 Comments

[Back to News]
JoeIron :: 2021-03-17 11:48:30

What happened to the "Downloads" menu? Where this new firmware can be downloaded from?

Thanks,
Jozsi
Vido :: 2021-03-23 07:45:23

I am sorry, this will take some more time as it has to be restored again from the beginning. But it will be back.
Vido :: 2021-03-23 17:19:10

Downloads page is back online.
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