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Serial BlockDrivers for RISC OS
Most standard RISC OS machines, such as the Risc PC, A7000, etc., have only one serial port. Over the years, several podule expansion cards have been made available to overcome this limitation, added any number of extra serial ports to the machine. As each card was developed by a different company, there was no common standard to allow application software to select, use and configure the required interface.
 
   As an attempt to create a uniform interface for each available serial interface, several years ago Hugo Fiennes created the serial BlockDriver specification. Since then, most existing applications have been using this standard to allow flexible selection and configuration of any available serial card.
 
As Hugo is no longer able to provide support for the BlockDrivers, we've taken the liberty to introduce this webpage as a common resource for the existing BlockDrivers. This is particularly important today, as for the new 32-bit RISC OS 5 (used in the IYONIX pc), 32-bit variants of the existing BlockDrivers need to be created. At present, only a few BlockDrivers have been converted to 32-bit, as indicated by the    icon.
 
Serial interfaces
Over the years a number of different expansion cards (podules) have been designed by various companies. Below is a non-exhaustive list of these interfaces.
 
  • Internal serial port  
    This is the fixed RS232 port that is present on most machines. On most machines only a single port is available, although the new IYONIX pc has two internal ports.
  • SP_Dual - The Serial Port  
    This card, originally designed by Hugo Fiennes and sold later in life by Atomwide, came in two flavours: as a 2-port and a 3-port variant. Multiple cards can be used and the maximum number of extra ports is 8 (numbered 0-7). The device driver module has been converted by Tank and is available from his website.
  • IIDual - Intelligent Interfaces Dual Serial Card  
    This card is still available from Intelligent Interfaces in the UK and consits of two high speed serial RS232 ports. Multiple cards can be used and the maximum number of ports supported by the software is 16 (0-15). A 26/32-bit neutral version of the BlockDrivers and the device driver module have been made available by Intelligent Interfaces and are included in the current release of the BlockDrivers.
  • MultiPort
    This is a dedicated card, developed by X-Ample Technology for some special projects. It consist of two serial RS232 ports and one RS422 synchronous port. The cards are still available and supported. At present it hasn't been converted to 32-bit.
  • ModemCard
    Although not exactly a serial card, it behaves like one. The card reports itself as a standard RS232 interface to which a modem is connected. Initially developed by Acorn and still available from a number of dealers, including X-Ample Technology.

Latest news
10 Jul 2004
Release 2.02 of the BlockDrivers now available for download. New icons added for all components as designed by Richard Hallas.

10 May 2004
A completely new Enhanced BlockDriver Specification has been created, based on the original BlockDriver specification by Hugo Fiennes. The new specification contains support for 26 and 32 bit systems and serial ports that use a DeviceFS interface, rather than the common SWI interface.

The !SerialDev application still holds the BlockDrivers in separate directories as before, but some new features have been added:

  • A BlockDriver support module has been included.
  • Each BlockDriver directory may now contain a !Boot file (and additional files) that are executed when !SerialDev is launched (e.g. at boot-time).
  • Support for bith IYONIX serial ports has been added.
  • 26/32-bit neutral drivers for the IIDual card have been added.
  • A new Shareware application !Serial has been added to allow monitoring of all serial ports.

 
BlockDrivers
  • Dummy
  • IIDual
  • IIDualPC
  • Internal
  • InternalPC
  • Internal32 
  • ModemCard
  • MultiPort
  • PipeA
  • PipeB
  • SP_Dual
  • SP_DualPC
  • Telnet

Download
The latest release of the blockdrivers can be downloaded here. If you happen to have a blockdriver which is newer that the one provided here, please send it to us and we'll make it available to other users.
 

Current release: BlockDrivers 2.02 (10 Jul 2004) (197KB ZIP file)
This is the latest release of the BlockDrivers for RISC OS. It contains a support module, called BlockDriver, and uses the extended BlockDriver specification, which will be made available shortly. This release supports both serial ports on the IYONIX computer and contains 26/32 bit neutral drivers for the Intelligent Interfaces dual serial podule.



 
Older releases

BlockDriver Specification Rev 1.10, 17 Aug 1994, Hugo Fiennes (14KB ZIP file)
This is the last release from the original author Hugo Fiennes. It is proveded here mainly for reference only.

BlockDrivers 1.20 (23KB ZIP file)
This is a slightly later release of some of the drivers.


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