Hi Davide,

... The DD Unix utility might
be of course an interesting option but maybe it could be more useful for SD
cards written with the QL-SD interface rather than a Qubide hard disk
(especially if it has more than one partition)


Whilst it's true that this was written with these cards in mind, I'm not sure about this statement. If you have a PC that still has the connections for your hard disk (I presume it's IDE ?), using DD (or equivalent) might be the fastest way to get your data off that disk.

I think I can confidently state that if I had an image file with several partitions, I could probably figure them out pretty quickly and amend QxlwinReader so that it can handle them.

Tracks/cylinders/heads would be more difficult.

Talking more in general I think it is a pity that some possibile
implementations or bug fixes are becoming very difficult if not impossible
just because lack of the native hardware to test to the few people which
have the knowledge to solve these issues. I wonder how this could be
improved.

Yes, not being able to reproduce and trace a bug is a problem. For example, some time back, a problem with SMSQ/E for the Atari was reported to me. I used to have some Ataris (and still had/have them but not in working condition). So there wasn't much I could do, until I stumbled upon an Atari emulator for the PC, which at least allowed me to see and even test the problem, and eventually figure out what went wrong. That was pure dumb luck!

As you rightly point out, without the actual hardware this is going to become practically impossible - not only to fix, but even just to check whether the problem exists (a case in point : some recent QXL screen problem, one user (Andrea) reported a problem, I had a look at the code to try to find out why but couldn't, and then another user (Bob) said that it worked OK...).

I'm not sure what can be done about this situation. Perhaps your solution, to supply actual hardware to people still fixing things might work. Without false modesty, I think I can safely say that most recent development for SMSQ/E has been done by Marcel, and to a much lesser degree, by me. I won't presume to speak for Marcel, so this only goes for myself : I'm just not sure that I'd want more hardware here!

Also, don't forget that working on SMSQ/E is purely a voluntary work.
For me, there is a big difference between writing something new like the recent Thing, and then fixing the problems I inevitably introduce on the one hand, and fixing other bugs, on the other hand.

Since I've become the "regsistrar", which was supposed to be a purely administrative job, I'm often being asked to fix problems in some old code which I didn't write nor know about. It then takes me a lot of time to look at the code to try to understand it. In most cases I then just chicken out and refer this to Marcel :-), on some rare occasions, I manage to find the problem myself and fix it. For me, this is less fun than writing something for myself. I still do it just because I like SMSQ/E... But the point is that I do it because I want to, not because there is any obligation to.


Finally just a not-so-related question: There is a bug reported here that precludes formatting disks on a SuperGoldgard - does anybody know whether that is also true for a simple Goldcard? I ask because I know that I can get my hands on one of those.

Regards

Wolfgang
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