Changelog - What's new?
SYmbiosis Multitasking Based Operating System

[ Release 2.1 | Release 2.0 | Release 1.1 | Release 1.0 | Beta 3 | Beta 1 ]


Release 2.1 [30.08.2014]

     MSX specific
  • Graphics 9000 support: Probably the most powerful graphic card available for 8bit systems is supported in SymbOS 2.1. Resolutions up to 1024x212 pixels with 16 colours can be used as well as virtual (scrollable) desktops. The V9990 graphic chip is much faster than the internal MSX2 VDP. Combined with a TurboR the graphic output of the SymbOS GUI is more or less without any delay.
  • MSX-DOS based installer: It provides a full installation and setup process of SymbOS MSX including device autodetection.
  • New mass storage device drivers: MegaSD support (e.g. included in the OCM and the MegaFlashRomSCC+SD), Toshiba FDC support (e.g. used in Panasonic machines like the MSX TurboR)
  • Improved device type handling: Instead of having either floppy disc drives or any kind of "mass storages" SymbOS now supports different types of device families like FDC devices, IDE devices, SD/MMC card devices and USB/SCSI devices with their specific characteristics.
  • Mouse wheel support: The new PS/2 mouse interface made by NYYRIKKI is supported. The mouse wheel can be used as well as additional buttons.
  • Mouse reconnect: Press Graph+Select, and a reconnected mouse will be recognized again
     Desktop Manager (Graphical user interface)
  • New multiline textinput control: The last control added to the desktop manager is the most complex one as well. It has the functionality of a small text editor and is an exact copy of modern textedit-boxes. It supports features like auto-word-wrapping, support of any proportional fonts and colours, unlimited line length, text marking, copy & paste etc.
  • Improved singleline textinput control: This control has been optimized a lot and is now based on the new code of the multiline control. Editing is faster and doesn\'t flicker anymore.
  • 16 colour support for additional controls: Now all kind of texts, icons and some more controls can be used with 16 colours as well.
  • Title update in task bar: If the title of a window changes, the task bar will be updated, too.
     System and File Manager
  • 64K cluster support: While the official specification of the FAT filesystem doesn't allow clusters with sizes larger 32KB, SymbOS is now also able to handle FAT16 and FAT32 partitions with 64K clusters.
  • Settings autosave: Changes of the system settings will now be autosaved on shut down or when closing the control panel. This is optional.
  • Preselected system path: The file dialogue will preselect the system path, if no drive and path is specified
  • Boot drive: This can now be exactly specified in the Control Panel
  • Direct low level sector access: The file manager now provides direct access to its low level sector read and write functions for the applications.
     Operating system (general)
  • Optimized memory allocation: When an application is loaded the system now tries different ways of memory allocation. This minimizes the wasting of fragmented memory areas and makes it possible still to load programs even if the memory is nearly full.
  • Interbank calls: The same application can now place code in multiple 64K banks and use the new interbank calls of the kernel to switch between the code areas.
     Applications
  • Notepad: With the availability of the new multiline textinput control a Notepad clone is now reality in SymbOS as well. It provides nearly the whole functionality of its Windows counterpart including search and replace, different formatting options and multiple font selection.
  • Conways Game Of Life: This application was mainly developed to demonstrate the multi threading ability in the multitasking environment of SymbOS. It also contains a library with hundrets of objects and supports all combinations of alternative cell rules.
  • 4-In-A-Row: The first official released SymStudio application has been developed by Edoz. It is the well known game "4-in-a-row", which is developed 100% in SymBasic and is now available for SymbOS.
  • Tetris 2014: Tetris is another example that developing SymBasic-based applications and games with SymStudio is truly possible and easy to do. This second more advanced game by Edoz brings the classic to SymbOS.
  • SymROM for MSX: This application from 2007 has been developed by NYYRIKKI and starts MSX ROM files with sizes of 8KB-48KB from SymbOS. It is now also included in the download area.
  • Improved SymShell: The textoutput in fullscreen mode on CPC is again 20% faster. The TYPE command has been debugged.
     Bug fixing
  • Debugged file extension handling: Two bugs have been fixed regarding extension recognition when opening files (5 extensions per application instead of 4, no problems with missing dots anymore)
  • Sub slot handling: The sub slot handling for MSX mass storage devices has been debugged.
  • More bug fixes: Several additional bugs have been fixed as usual.



Release 2.0 [30.08.2007]

     Operating system (general)
  • 1024KB support: The available address space has been doubled to 20bit. SymbOS supports now up to 1 Megabyte RAM memory on all computer platforms. Code and data will be stored dynamically at any free place without the need to modify existing applications.
  • Amstrad PCW/Joyce port: SymbOS has been completely ported to the Amstrad PCW (Joyce), which is now the third supported system. The full screen resolution of 720x256 can be used in SymbOS. All models like the PCW8xxx, the PCW/PcW9xxx and the PcW10 are able to run SymbOS.
  • PCW 180KB disc format: Single side Amstrad PCW/Joyce floppy discs with a total capacity of 180KB can be accessed in SymbOS, too. Of course they are now also read- and writeable on the CPC and the MSX platform.
  • 24 applications at the same time: To be able to use the full 1024KB ram, the number of possible applications running at the same time has been increased from 16 to 24.
  • SymbOS extensions: On computers with enough memory you can load the optional SymbOS extension module. This module extends the operating system with additional functions like the "Security" dialogue and password protection.
  • Miscellaneous: Any application can specify the minimum required SymbOS version, and the operating system will prevent the execution of applications developed for a newer SymbOS version. To provide the smooth processing of system functions like mass storage device access, its task priority has been increased and has the same level like the Desktop Manager. This was necessary since the existance of MP3 playback in SymAmp. The memory reservation proceeding has been optimized, when an application is loaded.
     Desktop Manager (Graphical user interface)
  • Richtext support and 16 colour controls: The desktop manager now includes a multifont- and control code-based richtext output functionality. Beside graphic controls there are now additional ones with 16 colour support.
  • Direct click handling for background windows: If the user clicks on a window, which is not in the focus position, it will not only pop up, but also directly react on the click.
  • No needless scrollbars: Resizeable windows, which doesn't require scroll bars, won't show them anymore. This enhanced the overview in applications like SymCommander etc.
  • And more features: New single-element update command for control collections, windows can be opened at the centered position, resize and scroll event messages, function for detecting the screen resolution.
     System manager
  • Shared services: SymbOS supports the handling of shared services, also known as "daemons". These are processes, which run in the background and provide their functions like the access to external hardware and other things to multiple applications at the same time. SymbOS will start and quit them automatically depending on the fact, if they are actually needed by one or more applications or not.
  • Application finder: Every application can be found via its ID string by any other application. As an example this makes it possible to communicate between two applications or to prevent the execution of two instances of the same application.
  • New confirm and alert windows: The infobox feature has been extended and now handles multiple buttons and response messages on user clicks.
  • Enhanced file selector dialogue: As the old way was confusing the users too much, the file selector dialogue now provides a special directory selection mode. With a second option you can switch between the "Open" and the "Save" mode.
     Platform specific
  • CPC: The speed of the Mode 2 (640x200x2) graphic routines have been increased a lot. Working in Mode 2 is now nearly as fast as working in Mode 1. Mode 0 was never useful and has been removed to free memory space for new functions. By setting the preemptive taskswitch frequency to the usual 50Hz there is 5% additional free CPU time available now.
  • MSX: The FDC drivers for all Philips, Sony and a lot of more computers have been completely debugged and seem to run without problems now (thanx to Alex Wulms for additional hints!). SymbOS now can boot MSX Basic directly (thanx to NYYRIKKI, who wrote the boot routine!).
  • PCW: SymbOS supports the AMX and Kempston mouse of the Amstrad PCW/Joyce.
     Applications
  • SymZilla: A preview of the new richtext viewer and internet browser SymZilla is availabe.
  • SymAmp supports MP3 and PT3: The SymAmp music player does now also support the two new music formats MP3 and PT3. MP3 is the most popular format for digitized music, while PT3 is the most powerful and widespreaded AY format ever for the ZX Spectrum and other platforms.
  • New SymShell control codes: To be able to provide terminal emulation for VT52, ANSI, VT100 and more in Telnet-like applications, SymShell has been extended with several new powerful control codes.
  • Control Panel: The Control Panel provides Amstrad PCW specific settings and prevents double-execution of itself.
     Bug fixing
  • Mouse wheel: If you use the mouse wheel above a list object, which doesn't include a scroll bar, there won't appear a wrong scroll bar anymore. This bug appeared in the songlist of SymAmp in the past.
  • Timer messages: Because of ID conflicts it wasn't possible to send to and receive messages from timers.
  • Icon dragging : Picking and moving icons was not possible, if another application updated its window at the same time.
  • More bug fixes: A lot of additional bugs have been fixed as usual.



Release 1.1 [27.12.2006]

     Operating system
  • "AUTOEXEC" feature: You can now specify a batch (*.BAT), an EXE or any other file (Control Panel -> System), which will be executed automatically during the booting process. The auto-start of any group of applications is possible now.
  • Single Side support for FAT12 discs: Some computers, especially in the MSX world, still requires the handling of single sided FAT12 discs. SymbOS now also supports this type of discs.
  • Increased sector cache size: The sector cache size has been extended from 2KB to 3KB. This speeds up a lot the process of loading small fragments of files.
  • Clipboard API: The data transfer to/from the GUI's internal clipboard ("copy/paste") can now also be handled directly by the applications.
  • Bug fix - no more double redraws inside the GUI: If you freeze the desktop by opening a menu, moving a window for a while or what ever, while an application is doing a lot of redraws, the system will not hang anymore because of too much double-redraws. Any redraw will only be done once, after the user finished his current activity.
  • Bug fix - file renaming: It was limited to 10 chars in the last version, now it's fixed again.
     MSX specific
  • High resolution and 16 colour support: SymbOS supports nearly all high resolution bitmap modes of the MSX2 computers: Screen 5 (256x212, 16 colours), Screen 6 (512x212, 4 colours) and Screen 7 (512x212, 16 colours).
  • Mouse and RTC support: Thanx to the MSX2 standard, this great machine already includes a realtime clock and allows connecting proportional mouses to the Joystick port. SymbOS supports both hardwares.
  • Mass storage driver system: As there are a lot of different floppy disc controller and mass storage devices like IDE and SCSI available for the MSX, SymbOS can load dynamic drivers for all these devices. In this way it's able to support everything in the future.
  • 100% compatibility: Beeing the first "non CPC" port of SymbOS, the MSX version proves, that SymbOS provides a completely platform independant environment for its applications. The goal is, that all binaries (*.EXE) can be executed DIRECTLY on ALL platforms without modifications. This goal has been reached with the MSX version!
     CPC specific
  • Improved track seek algorythm: A bug inside the floppy drive track recalibration routine has been fixed. The track seek algorythm has also been improved to prevent read/write errors.
  • ROM autoboot: You can autoboot the ROM version of SymbOS, if you press the "CONTROL" key while turning on or resetting your computer.
  • Optimized screen routines: Routines for Mode 1 (320x200, 4 colours) have been speed optimized.
  • 16 colour downrendering: 16 colour graphics will be rendered down automatically to 4 colours, so that SymbOS CPC is now also able to handle applications with 16 colour graphics. This keeps the platform independancy for all applications.
     Applications
  • Pac-Man: Pac-Man is a new game for SymbOS. As a clone of the original from 1980 it's an arcade game, but it still runs fine inside the graphical user interface of SymbOS. It supports 16 colours but is completely platform independant as usual.
  • Pocket Calculator: The first available SymbOS application from 2004 has been completely rewritten and has now reached a full working state. It includes a scientific mode and a lot of other features.
  • SymSee: SymSee (picture viewer) now supports the display of 16 colour SGX files and linear bitmaps.
  • SymPlay: SymPlay (video player) supports the playback of 16 colour video files, too.
  • SymAmp: SymAmp (music player) is able to play STarKos and Soundtrakker 128 tunes on the MSX, too.
  • SymSnap: The snapshot loader includes now a keyboard shortcut and a command line option for fast execution of SNA files.
  • SYMBiFACE II Rom Manager: It displays the RSX commands of "expanded" roms, which makes the identification more easy.
  • System applications: Several system applications have been extended for working with both the CPC and the MSX (Control Panel, Task Manager, SymShell and the Starfield Screensaver).



Release 1.0 [30.04.2006]

     Operating system
  • Bug fixing: As usual several bugs in the operating system and in different applications have been fixed.
  • Improved device manager: SymbOS supports the third button and the wheel of PS/2 mice, too. No key repeat any more, if the key buffer isn't empty (just a little detail).
  • New desktop manager features: "Control collections" have been added, which is a new control type to displays a scrollable area inside a window with its own sub controls. The mouse wheel scrolls lists, windows and control collections. You will see the focus control now, when you hit the tab key. Icons can optionally be picked up and moved by the user.
  • Extended file manager: The functionalities deleting of empty directories, moving FAT files and directories into another directory, calculating the free disc space and overwrite protection for directories and read-only files have been added.
  • Removing useless file manager features: To make some memory available for new features SymbOS doesn't support CHS harddiscs any more, as such drives don't exist now for many years. Amsdos timestamp support has been removed, too, as this feature makes files unreadable for the old CPC operating system.
  • More memory free: By separating the security and password dialogues into an external module there is a little bit more memory available in SymbOS. That means, that all available applications can be started even on a 128K system again. The external security module can be optionally loaded during the booting process and will be released a little bit later.
     Applications
  • New applications SymPlay and SymSnap: The new harddisc video player and the snapshot loader for the real CPC have been added to the SymbOS product suite since the last release.
  • SymCommander 1.3: The file and disc management application has been improved and extended with several new features. Moving files and directories, deleting and renaming of directories, overwrite warning while copying/moving files, drive information window and a working "cancel" button during the copying/moving process.
  • SymShell 1.1: The command line interface includes new features, too. New commands "copy", "move" and "rd" file and new options (pause/show free space) for the "dir" and "type" commands are implemented now.
  • Improved applications: SymAmp, MineSweeper and the SYMBiFACE II rom manager have been tweaked.



Beta 3 [29.01.2006]

  • Bug fixing: Several important operating system bugs, especially in the file manager and in the SYMBiFACE II support, have been fixed. Some of the applications have been debugged and improved.
  • Booting from hard disc: The ROM version is now able to boot SymbOS completely without floppy disc. The first partition of the master IDE device can be used to store the SYMBOS.INI file.
  • Free ROM placement: If you use the ROM version, you only need to place ROM A between 1 and 15. ROM B, C and D can be placed everywhere between 1 and 63.
  • 60Hz support: SymbOS won't switch back to 50Hz, when you boot it in 60Hz mode.
  • New SF2 Rom Manager: This tool can be used for loading, saving and deleting of roms inside the SYMBiFACE II expansion card.



Beta 1 [15.12.2005]

     Operating system
  • Bug fixing: As usual many bugs in the operating system and in different applications have been fixed.
  • Improved Micro kernel: A huge bug regarding process adding/removing/sleeping has been fixed. About 8% CPU usage has been saved in idle mode. The micro kernel includes a new timer based counter feature.
  • Improved File manager: FAT12 is fully supported now, the cache handling has been optimized a lot, you can delete files on FAT drives, too, and several bugs have been fixed.
  • Improved Desktop manager: The list control has been extended with full keyboard support, graphics can have a width of up to 1020 pixels, the toolbar feature is now fully working, applications may redraw only a part of their window content and receive messages, if they got or lost the focus position.
  • Full SYMBiFACE II support: Thanx to the CPC TREX, the PS/2 mouse and IDE support have been fully tested and seem to work without any problems. The IDE support is more stable and won't crash any more, if the device is not present, or if the user choosed a wrong partition.
  • Direct screen access support: Applications are now able to access the video ram directly after they switched the system to fullscreen mode. SymShell and the 3D starfield screen saver are already using this new feature.
  • Screen saver support: It's now possible to install a screen saver. The first available screen saver is the 3D starfield simulation.
  • Fast boot loader added: The new boot loader is based on the SymbOS file manager module and starts SymbOS in not much more than 11 seconds from disc. Like the rom version the new disc version has been crunched with the Crown Cruncher.
     System programs
  • The Control Panel has been completed now: Desktop icon, startmenu entry, screen saver, font and file type configuration have been added. Currently there is no configurable part missing anymore.
  • New SymShell command line interface: This is a full featured text shell, which supports all the standard shell commands, input/output redirection and even running multiple application in one shell at the same time.
     Applications
  • New SymSee picture viewer: SymSee a comfortable tool for displaying pictures, which can be in SymbOS SGX, OCP Art Studio SCR (compressed and uncompressed) or in 16K raw screen format. SymSee provides one click picture browsing, full screen display and the automatic slide show feature.
  • New SymAmp music player: Thanx to Targhan/Arkos SymAmp currently supports compiled STarKos modules (SKM), the CPC soundtracker by Arkos. It provides automatic song changing and a playlist with a full featured editor.
  • Improved SymCommander: SymCommander has been optimized and extended with full keyboard support. Working with SymCommander can be very fast now.