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Software for writing to MO WORM discs?

Mr Fahrenheit

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That's not all that helpful, is it? None of the drives listed under "Optical Drives" is a WORM unit--they're all rewritable as far as I can tell. I still have a disk for the Pinnacle Apex.

Don’t know how much you’ve researched this, but WORM recorded in a magneto optical drive come in two forms: ablative (which uses the laser to burn off a coating to record “ones”), and a bit encoded in a regular MO disc surface that identifies the disc as WRITE ONCE, resulting in the drive refusing to overwrite a sector or erase it.

You seem to be hung up on WORM-only drives for some reason. WORM media in a regular MO drive was a normal spec, which drives claimed to support.
 

Chuck(G)

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Not the drives, but you did title this thread with the term WORM. I was just pointing out that while some of the drives in the list may be WORM-capable, that was probably not the reason that they were purchased in 1997. Rewritable optical media probably was. My recollection of the time was that storing large amounts of information (in my case, hard disk imaging) was a bit of a problem in the early 1990s. The usual solution was tape--and the tape had to be reliable, so initially DDS, 8mm, DLT and some SLT. The MO drives, like the Apex had relatively large capacity sufficient to feasibly image large (for the time) drives (even if a multi-volume backup was done).
 

Mr Fahrenheit

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Not the drives, but you did title this thread with the term WORM. I was just pointing out that while some of the drives in the list may be WORM-capable, that was probably not the reason that they were purchased in 1997. Rewritable optical media probably was. My recollection of the time was that storing large amounts of information (in my case, hard disk imaging) was a bit of a problem in the early 1990s. The usual solution was tape--and the tape had to be reliable, so initially DDS, 8mm, DLT and some SLT. The MO drives, like the Apex had relatively large capacity sufficient to feasibly image large (for the time) drives (even if a multi-volume backup was done).

Actually, I didn't start this thread. @olePigeon did. He was trying to help me out, as I have an extensive thread both of us have contributed to, over at 68kmla.

The subject was basically, how can we get 5.25" MO drives to work with WORM media on vintage Macintosh computers, as was supposed to be supported back 'in the day'? What software is needed, as none of the tools we've both found seem to work.

I think the title does address that: "Software for writing to MO WORM discs", posted in the Macintosh 68000 sub-forum.
 

Chuck(G)

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Forget the drive other than it takes WORM media. My point was that the chart doesn't explicitly appear to show any software specifically written to handle WORM discs.
 

olePigeon

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@krebizfan @Chuck(G) @Mr Fahrenheit So I think it may still work without any special software (other than to initially prepare the disk). I think that Mr. Fahrenheit is using the wrong media because Sony uses "CCW" terminology in two different ways: CCW as a general term for any MO WORM media for a Continuous Composite Write-Once; and then "CCW" as some unknown terminology to indicate perhaps a recording method. Some of the product codes for the WORM media end in -B, some end in -C and are specifically suffixed with "CCW" or "CWW." The WORM media with product codes that end in -B don't have any suffixes.

The manual says it is not compatible with "CCW" disks, but then gives a list of "Continuous Composite Write-Once" compatible disks. None of the product codes for the media that Sony lists as compatible end in -C, only -B. I think that's where the confusion may lie.

I suspect that CCW and CWW media are to be used like tape libraries and not like normal disks. They're not physically structured in a way to work with a traditional file system and driver. While the -B disks work like in the DOS demo, it just shows up as a regular HDD. Once the data is written, it can't be erased.

This is my theory, anyway.
 

Mr Fahrenheit

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@krebizfan @Chuck(G) @Mr Fahrenheit So I think it may still work without any special software (other than to initially prepare the disk). I think that Mr. Fahrenheit is using the wrong media because Sony uses "CCW" terminology in two different ways: CCW as a general term for any MO WORM media for a Continuous Composite Write-Once; and then "CCW" as some unknown terminology to indicate perhaps a recording method. Some of the product codes for the WORM media end in -B, some end in -C and are specifically suffixed with "CCW" or "CWW." The WORM media with product codes that end in -B don't have any suffixes.

The manual says it is not compatible with "CCW" disks, but then gives a list of "Continuous Composite Write-Once" compatible disks. None of the product codes for the media that Sony lists as compatible end in -C, only -B. I think that's where the confusion may lie.

I suspect that CCW and CWW media are to be used like tape libraries and not like normal disks. They're not physically structured in a way to work with a traditional file system and driver. While the -B disks work like in the DOS demo, it just shows up as a regular HDD. Once the data is written, it can't be erased.

This is my theory, anyway.

I also have an HP SureStore Optical 9100mx which exhibits the exact same behavior: a SCSI driver and Apple Partition Map successfully (and permanently) is written to a disc but initialization of a Mac HFS partition fails.

I do have some 5.2GB Maxell WORM media coming. We’ll see if they show up differently to the two drives.

I wonder: each of the two drives has dual settings which I’m unfamiliar with: “optical” mode and “direct access” mode. Could this be some form of toggle for WORM ?
 

Chuck(G)

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You're trying to use tools made for R/W media (i.e. rewriting is possible) on a write-once device. This is all I've been trying to get at over this long discussion. Either prepare an image of the partition offline and write it to the WORM disc or use a special package for that.
If you want a cheap practical test, just substitute a SCSI CD-RW drive for the unit you have and try putting your stuff on that. At least CD-Rs are cheap.

Apparently one of us doesn't understand the other. I'll bow out of this and let you make your own discoveries.
 

Mr Fahrenheit

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I don’t think you understand, @Chuck(G). We are trying to figure out HOW, in the 90s and early 2000s, users wrote to a WORM cartridge using MO drives on Macintosh systems. What software was used for this? In what way was it accomplished?

That’s the reason for posting it on this forum.

So far, the only answers received have been questioning WHY we want to do it, and offering alternative solutions which do not address the problem.

Why climb Everest when Mt St Helens is right there? Why watch two teams play football? Why swim the English Channel?

I admit, trying to use vintage hardware to write files to vintage disks seams really silly and pointless. To me, it’s the fun of the hobby: figuring out and experiencing things as they were.

These drives were made to write WORM disks. They were sold in packages for Mac and for other platforms, which included software. So the question is still unanswered: what software for the Macintosh was used to write a WORM disk, (or allowed it to be used as a disk for writing files), and what was the process/procedure? If someone has a users guide for a Pinnacle Micro MO drive that may provide the answers. Who knows.
 

olePigeon

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Interesting note: FWB Hard Disk Toolkit has icons for WORM media. Which seems to indicate it can install a driver onto a WORM disk.
 

olePigeon

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@Chuck(G) Yeah, I think there's just a miscommunication going on. But don't bow out, useful information and critical analysis is good. We're simply trying to figure out how to write to WORM media on a Macintosh. It was done at some point as a regular thing. This is a learning exercise as much as anything, and given the number of grizzled veterans on both here and 68k MLA, it would appear that information has been lost. Would be great to figure it out again. WORM disks are really cheap. They also have read cycles measured in centuries. So they're a very good archival format. It explains why they were used well into the 2000s even though tape is by most means a better format (MO is just way faster.)
 

olePigeon

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Also a quick note from a private discussion: my theory about product codes only applies to Sony media. I don't know how HP, IBM, Plasmon, etc. identify their disks.
 

Chuck(G)

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That's what I've been trying to say way back on page 1 and re-iterating it several times. WORM media is write-once like paper tape or punched cards. This leaves you with two choices:

a) Write the whole disc once with everything you want on the disk. This means creating an image of the disk with directories, allocation maps, etc. all pre-formed, ready to go onto the disc at the same time. Think of it as CD authoring software--you create what amounts to an image and burn it. That is the only way that I know of to use standard file systems, be it FAT, HFS+, or Ext2. No partitioning or pre-formatting allowed!

b) Forget about standard file systems and use filesystem software unique to WORM drives that allows you to add or modify the contents of the disc. This means a proprietary file system driver--and AFAIK, there were zero standards for that. I have a Storage Dimensions-badged WORM drive that may have come with Mac OS software; I don't have it, unfortunately, since I work mostly with MS operating systems--and I do have software for that. There appears to be no standardization in this area, which meant that if you don't have the software to read the disc, you're up a creek until you find it.

Consider the CD-R writing software as an example. First of all, the CD (or DVD) uses a proprietary file system. There is a limited amount of update possible, with packet or track-at-once methods, but both don't rewrite anything; they append data in unwritten areas, duplicating data in written ones.

That's the way I've read it and I've tried to offer some search criteria.
 

olePigeon

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@Chuck(G) That was my initial thought as well. Like with Adaptec Toast, where you author a disc first, then write it. But we've been unable to find any WORM software. Not even Dantz works, and it's designed to work with archival formats. And with software like FWB Hard Disk Toolkit that appears to have support for WORM media, my thought is that there are different formats for different purposes. Because of that demo on Computer Chronicles, I'm inclined to believe there may be a WORM format that behaves like a normal disk, except you can't delete anything once it's written.

Hopefully we can find out. There must be a combination of hardware & software that can make readable WORMs that behave like any other removeable media.
 

Mr Fahrenheit

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Any other removable media, like, say, a DVD? That might not be too difficult.

I looked up SCSI DVD Recorders and DVD-RAM drives a few days ago. They are somewhat “rare” and expensive, and the DVD UDF disc format requires Mac OS 8.1 or higher. I don’t know if there is any packet writing support but Toast CD Pro does support DVD drives and writing to DVDs on Mac OS. I used Toast and an IDE DVD RAM drive back in 2004 quite extensively.
 

Mr Fahrenheit

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It would appear that Sony uses the term "CCW" in different ways. CCW in that they're all Continuous Composite Write-Once disks. But "CCW" must also mean something else to Sony. They even have "CWW," whatever that is. I guess for Sony, they mean their -B suffix disks. Some examples:

CWO-1300B
CWO-1300C CCW
CWO-5200C CWW

I don't know what the heck the difference is. But I think that with WORM media not being compatible between different vendors would be a pain in the butt. Which is a shame because the media is comparatively cheap.

Hopefully there's some commonality between the Sony -B disks and the media produced by IBM, HP, and Plasmon (which all seem to be the most common.) IBM's technical website makes zero distinctions between its different WORM media. It just states to assume they're all "CCW" for SD, DD, 2x, 4x, 8x, etc., but I don't know in what context they're using "CCW."

Edit: I'm wondering if "CCW" and "CWW" are media that are written to more like a tape drive. The raw data is auto-compressed and accessed via an intermediary that recovers it. That's in contrast to using it more like a write-once HDD.

I'm wondering if there are two types of abbreviations relating to 5.25" optical media, that are the same letters, but mean different things.

CCW is referred to as Continuous Composite Write-Once. I've also seen it referred to as "Counter Clock-Wise" in documentation. I've also seen "CWO" referred to as "Clockwise Orientation". Again, if anyone can fully determine what these acronyms are, they should receive a medal.
 

Chuck(G)

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CCW is the generic term for counter-clockwise or (if you're in the UK) anti-clockwise. It's also an abbreviation for a host of other things, such as Channel Command Word (IBM S/360). Since it makes no sense that a drive maker would go to the trouble of spinning the disc in the opposite direction from the rest of the industry, I'd take the "Continuous Composite Write-Once" definition to be the preferred one in this case as it's sometimes referred to as "CC format WORM"--an acronym within an acronym. The "opposite" term would be SSW for "Sampled Servo WORM".

Read this summary and the standards it cites and get back to us here if your head stops spinning.
 
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krebizfan

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If there weren't drives spinning the wrong way, Sony would not have needed to include a line specifying the direction of rotation for discs on their marketing brochures.
 

Mr Fahrenheit

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CCW is the generic term for counter-clockwise or (if you're in the UK) anti-clockwise. It's also an abbreviation for a host of other things, such as Channel Command Word (IBM S/360). Since it makes no sense that a drive maker would go to the trouble of spinning the disc in the opposite direction from the rest of the industry, I'd take the "Continuous Composite Write-Once" definition to be the preferred one in this case as it's sometimes referred to as "CC format WORM"--an acronym within an acronym. The "opposite" term would be SSW for "Sampled Servo WORM".

Read this summary and the standards it cites and get back to us here if your head stops spinning.
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