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Did anyone release software, updates of patches commercially on 2.88MB floppy?

bolex

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I know IBM, Next and Sun all released systems with the 2.8MB 3.5" floppy, but did they release software on the format? I'd love to find any commercially released 2.88MB disks for my collection - just to have as a sample.
 

krebizfan

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The Computer History Museum shows that Mathematica for Next was shipped on 2.88 MB disks. https://www.computerhistory.org/collections/catalog/102707236 That is the only one I have a reliable confirmation for. I think there were a couple of other programs for the Next also released on 2.88 MB disks like a version of Smalltalk but no quick confirmation.

For IBM, I think OS/2 Warp had a 2.88 MB start up disk in some boxes and maybe some of the diagnostic disks for PS/2 models were physically delivered on 2.88MB disk. I see PC Server 720 2.88MB Diagnostic Disk V1.10 (Japanese) listed in the PC Server BBS. That does not prove the file was on a factory disk instead of an image for the user to create. I think my PS/2 with 2.88 drive had the initial batch of software all on 2.88 disks but memories can be failing. I do know IBM provided a box of blank 2.88 MB disks which was nice of them.
 
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bolex

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The Computer History Museum shows that Mathematica for Next was shipped on 2.88 MB disks
Thanks Krebizfan! I didn't think any 2.88mb commercial software existed until your post. I now know they do exist and I might be able to find a few examples.
 

david__schmidt

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For IBM, I think OS/2 Warp had a 2.88 MB start up disk in some boxes
OS/2 was only ever delivered on 1.44MB disks (and CDs); the post-4.0 convenience packs were delivered via bootable CD images. There were definitely some X-series IBM machines delivered with 2.88-capable floppy drives, though.
 

NeXT

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Appsoft Image and a version of CubeX for NeXTSTEP came on 2.88mb ED floppies.
One thing I have noticed is that ED software was kinda unreliable. Both packages above I received in their boxes and in excellent condition but both had at least one floppy in the set with read errors.
 

vwestlife

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With PC DOS 7 and OS/2 Warp 3, IBM began using XDF (extended Density Format) to fit 1.86 MB on a standard 1.44 MB diskette. Microsoft likewise began using DMF (Distribution Media Format) to fit 1.68 MB on 1.44 MB diskettes.
 

vwestlife

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A "1.44 MB" disk stores 1440 kilobytes of data. That's actually 1.41 MB, according to the traditional definition of 1 KB = 1024 bytes, but we got stuck with a colloquial mashup of decimal and binary measurements.

A "2.88 MB" disk doubles that mistake; it actually stores either 2.95 MB (decimal) or 2.81 MB (binary), depending on how you count it.

And a "3½ inch" diskette isn't actually 3½ inches wide. It's 90 mm wide, which equals about 3.54 inches.
 

whartung

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A "1.44 MB" disk stores 1440 kilobytes of data. That's actually 1.41 MB, according to the traditional definition of 1 KB = 1024 bytes, but we got stuck with a colloquial mashup of decimal and binary measurements.

A "2.88 MB" disk doubles that mistake; it actually stores either 2.95 MB (decimal) or 2.81 MB (binary), depending on how you count it.

And a "3½ inch" diskette isn't actually 3½ inches wide. It's 90 mm wide, which equals about 3.54 inches.
So, clearly, we've just been lied to all this time.

Long ago, I bought a couple of bits of commercial software for the NeXT, but I can't say if any of them came on 2.95MB (because 2.95 is > 2.81, and who doesn't want more storage!!1!), 3.54" floppies.
 

NeXT

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Most software that was on floppy for NeXT seemed to come on ED media. Steve was confident that 2.88 was going to be the successor (and sure why not? You doubled the capacity of a floppy and still got full backwards compatibility without going full mental like floptical) as IBM was also onboard and shipping drives for the PS/2 but even though easy CD burning and USB drives were still at least a decade away I'm not 100% on what happened but I think the media and the drive technology was simply too expensive and most vendors didn't bother when you could just ship your products with one or two extra floppy disk in the box.
 

whartung

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I'm not 100% on what happened but I think the media and the drive technology was simply too expensive
At the same time, HD densities were going up, and HDs were just flat out ubiquitous, leaving the floppy to sneaker net duty.

In the IBM space, even if new machines were coming out with ED drives, the other 99.99% of them had HD, so if you were to want to distribute software, you'd simply use the HD standard so you can reach all of the machines.

Outside of the early 400K Mac drives, I don't have much memory when the 3.54" floppies were just 720K. So, I think the installed base and its backward compatibility kind of killed it as a common transport mechanic.

If you wanted to back stuff up, you could use any of several solutions besides floppy.
 

vwestlife

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Outside of the early 400K Mac drives, I don't have much memory when the 3.54" floppies were just 720K.
There definitely was a period in the late '80s and early '90s when a lot of PC software was available on either 5¼" 360K or 3½" 720K disks, and often included both in the box, due to laptops, low-end IBM PS/2s, and most Tandy 1000s coming with 720K drives.

In fact I think the PC software distributed on high-density 5¼" 1.2MB disks was more rare, because the 286/386 systems that were equipped with 1.2MB drives were very expensive, and by the time they came down in price, 3½" started taking over. With PC laptops, the Mac, Amiga, Atari ST, and even the newer Apple II's switching to 3½" media, economies of scale soon probably made it more cost-effective to duplicate and ship software on 3½" 720K disks rather than on 5¼" 1.2MB disks, even if it required a greater number of disks in the package.

The last PC I can think of which came with a 3½" 720K drive was the Tandy 1110HD laptop, which was still listed in the 1994 (!) Radio Shack catalog:

 

vwestlife

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3M unformatted disk prices in 1993, per box of 10 unless otherwise noted:

5¼" DS DD (360K): $4.45
5¼" DS QD (720K): $15.69
5¼" DS HD (1.2M): $7.17

3½" DS DD (720K): $7.47
3½" DS HD (1.44M): $11.20
3½" DS ED (2.88M): $40.81
3½" 21 MB Floptical: $99.00 (box of 5)
 

njroadfan

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In terms of disks I've acquired over the years, I've yet to get a 1.2MB HD 5.25" floppy. Even during my years of servicing computers, I've yet to come across anyone using them. Same goes for 2.88MB, but the drives were never widespread outside of IBM and NeXT shipping them OEM on their machines.
 
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