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Blog posts and video from Steven as he “COMBS” through the minutia to discover tech, retro-computing, physical computing, gadgets and sci-fi.

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Commodore Plus/4 Series

22 October 2020

retroCombs: FAST LOAD - Install DirMaster on Linux

by Steven B. Combs, Ph.D.
tags: commodore - floppy disk - 1541 - retro-computing - disk drive - plus4/4 - c16 - c116 - c64 - vic-20 - windows - wine

There are many modern retro-computing applications available that run (see what I did there?) on modern computers to support our hobby. Longtime retroCombs readers and watcherknow I like to take a modern spin on retro-computing and integrate new technology and apps with the old.

If you are a Commodore computer fan, one piece of software I recommend is DirMaster. DirMaster lets you view, create, and edit Commodore disk images (.d64, .d81, etc.) on a Windows PC.

I’m not going to cover the capabilities of DirMaster, but I will demonstrate how Linux users can install this software using the Wine windows compatibility layer; because that’s the only way I would ever allow windows applications in my home or office!

NOTE: Interested a DirMaster tutorial? Leave a comment below this post or on the YouTube video channel. While on the YouTube page, remember to hit LIKE and SUBSCRIBE!

My instructions are for Arch based distributions (Manjaro for me) but the basics work for any Linux distro where Wine is available, including Macs running 10.14 or earlier (Wine does not work with 10.15 at the time of this writing). I present this process in two ways; a YouTube retroCombs Fast Load video and in the companion blog post below. First the video:

YouTube Video: retroCombs: FAST LOAD - Install DirMaster on Linux

In the video below, demonstrate how to install the DirMaster Windows application on Manjaro Linux:

Now that you’ve seen the video, if you want to try this yourself, step-by-step, read the companion blog instructions below.

Install Wine

The first step is to install the Wine software. “Wine is Not an Emulator” (Wine) is a windows compatibility layer that runs in Linux. Most modern and sophisticated applications/games have trouble running in Wine, however, DirMaster is not one of those complicated applications and is easy to install and runs perfectly under Wine.

  1. Load Terminal.
  2. Update the system:

    sudo pacman -Syu and enter your admin password at the prompt.

  3. Install the latest version of Wine and helpful extra packages:

    sudo pacman -S wine wine-mono wine_gecko playonlinux

    Choose option 1 if the message below appears:

     resolving dependencies...
     :: There are 2 providers available for netcat:
     :: Repository extra
        1) gnu-netcat
     :: Repository community
        2) openbsd-netcat
    
     Enter a number (default=1): 1
    

    Choose option y when the message below appears:

     :: Proceed with installation? [Y/n]
    

Wine is installed. See how easy that was?

Download DirMaster

Before the Wine install, download the DirMaster Windows Installer file.

  1. Visit the site below:

    https://style64.org/dirmaster

  2. Download the latest “zipped” version of DirMaster which was v3.1.5 at the time of this blog post.
  3. Extract the file using your preferred method.

Install DirMaster in Wine

  1. Launch the PlayOnLinux application.
  2. Choose the Install option in the toolbar and the PlayOnLinux install menu dialog will appear. With this dialog, you can search for Windows applications to install; however, DirMaster is not one of them. This is why we downloaded the file previously.
  3. Click the Install a non-listed program option in the lower left-hand corner. The PlayOnLinux Wizard dialog box appears. Scary text appears. Ignore it all.
  4. Click the Next button. The Manual Installation dialog will appears.
  5. Click the Next button. Another PlayOnLinux Wizard dialog box will appear.
  6. Select the Install a program in a new virtual drive option.
  7. Click the Next button. A dialog box appears asking for the name of the virtual drive.
  8. Type Commodore in the text edit box. This can be anything, but Commodore just feels right.

    TIP: You can use this virtual drive to install other reto-related Windows applications.

  9. Click the Next button. A dialog box appears asking for additional options. We don’t need any of them.
  10. Click the Next button. A dialog box appears asking for either a 32 or 64 bit Windows installation.
  11. Select the 64 bits windows installation option.
  12. Click the Next button. Wine will configure the virtual drive. This can take some time so be patient. Once complete, a Select the install file to run dialog box will appear.
  13. Click the Browse button.
  14. Navigate to the folder that contains the DirMasterSetup.exe file.
  15. Select the DirMasterSetup.exe file.
  16. Click the Open button. A verification dialog box appears.
  17. Click the Next button.
  18. The Wine Select Destination Location dialog box appears. Keep the default.
  19. Click the Next button. The Select Start Menu Folder dialog box will appear. Keep the default.
  20. Click the Next button. The Additional Shortcuts dialog box appears.
  21. Select both the Create a desktop shortcut and the Install Windows Explorer Preview options.
  22. Click the Next button. The Ready to Install dialog box will appear. Keep the default.

    Did I mention all these dialog boxes and next buttons are why I left Windows behind years ago? I’m having some serious blue screen of death flashbacks!

  23. Click the Install button. DirMaster will install.
  24. Deselect the Launch DirMaster checkbox.
  25. Select the Finish button.

Create a Shortcut

The application is installed, but it is a pain to load PlayOnLinux each time we want to run DirMaster. Let’s create a desktop shortcut to make it behave more like a native Linux application.

  1. If it is not open, launch the PlayOnLinux application to see the window below:

    Installed PlayOnLinux Programs Listing

  2. Click DirMaster in the installed programs window to reveal additional options for the installed DirMaster application as shown in the window below:

    DirMaster in Programs Listing

  3. Click the Create a shortcut option in the lower-left hand corner to display a confirmation window that a DirMaster application shortcut has been placed on the desktop and in the user’s home Desktop folder as shown in the image below:

    Desktop Shortcut

  4. Click Next to close the confirmation dialog box. Depending on your Linux windows manager, you may also find a bright shiny new icon in your application launcher.

    HINT: With the desktop launcher, you are only a right-click and properties dialog box away from all the info you need to add this item to your application menu if it was not done automatically.

Launch DirMaster

With DirMaster installed in a virtual drive and a shortcut on your desktop, launching the application couldn’t be any easier.

  1. Double click the DirMaster icon on the desktop to launch the application as shown in the image below:

    DirMaster Application Window

  2. Create or open a disk image to get started as shown in the image below:

    DirMaster with Loaded Disk Image

TIP: If you’d like a disk image to play with, download my Plus/4 Users Manual disk image. It’s about half way down the page. Look for the retroCombs floppy disk.

What’s next?

Using DirMaster is not difficult; however, it does take time to learn all things you can do to manage your Commodore disk images. Style64’s provides official DirMaster documentation. This a great place to start. If there’s interest, you can let me know by dropping comments below. If enough of you ask, there may be a DirMaster retroCombs FAST LOAD or two in our future.

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