SYSGEN is the
process by which Lt. Kernal DOS software
is installed onto the hard drive. Fiscal
Information designed a simple, but very powerful
Disk Operating System software package for the
Lt. Kernal. The processor-based set of Basic and
ML programs and overlays were individually
tailored to perform specific tasks. Each
Command program handles a different
function from mapping and activating a
hard drive Logical Unit to copying files from
one place to another. Their design also includes
fastload routines for an external floppy drive
(1541, 1571 or 1581), which is used to Backup
and Restore user software.
NOTE: If you are new to Lt. Kernal and only have PC
or Mac experience when it comes to Hard Drives, you are going to get
an education of how hard drive access was done before ASIC-based controllers!
That is, installing DOS software is only Step 1 in a three-step
process. After installing DOS, you must manually partition (sorta)
the drive and then write the partition data to the drive. These
two later step are called "Configuration" and "Activation". The
other section under SYSGEN explain these steps.
software also includes a means of checking
itself and, if necessary, updating images
(copies) of DOS on any previously installed
Logical Unit (LU). Lt. Kernal DOS can
perform read/write tests on any LU and
even perform 65 hardware diagnostic tests
on the Host Adapter. As Xetec made hardware
changes and other Commodore software was
used on the Lt. Kernal, Fiscal continually modified
the LK DOS to its last 7.2 version.
There are nearly
60 individual DOS Commands; some of which
are exclusively for the Commodore 128 and
CP/M mode. You can refer to the Manual for
a complete listing of all Commands, their syntax
and examples. These DOS Command definitions
are also available for download in the
DOS on a single
The Disk Operation
System software is contained on both sides
of a standard 360K DSDD diskette.
Providing the DOS on floppy made it easier for
Xetec to modify, update and distribute to the
User. The modular design meant you could also
download updates, patches and utilities from their
BBS. Unfortunately, both Fiscal and Xetec BBS
systems closed a long time ago. However,
all patches and updates are included in the latest version of SYSGEN software
(7.2) and SYSGEN plus other utilities can be found in the FILES section.
The first file on
the 'A' side of the disk is loaded ("b"
for boot) and starts a prompt-driven process
that installs all DOS software on the
hard drive. Once this software is installed,
the Floppy disk is not needed and should
be stored in a safe place. Doing a 'SYSGEN'
(System Generation) is easy to perform, takes
about 10 to 15 minutes and includes a 'Read Me'
help file. During a SYSGEN, all DOS files are
installed but not the utility programs on
the 'B' side of the disk (version 7.1
If you were one of
the first to buy a Fiscal-designed Lt.
Kernal, the early versions of LK DOS (e.g.,
v 5.1) also provided a fully functional
hard drive system for the Commodore, although
the visual feedback was a little vague. The
last DOS version of 7.2 clearly added some
great new features. One oddity, however, is that
if you received the December-1990 version of
LK DOS (called Custom 0), you couldn't
install this DOS disk unless you had a
working copy of version 7.1 software
The reason you
couldn't install the 'Custom 0' disk was
because this disk was a Patch to version
7.1, which upgraded it to version 7.2. To install
the 'Custom 0' Patch, you loaded and ran
the file named 'customize' on the 'B' side
of the 'Custom 0' disk. This program instructed
you to remove the disk and insert your working
DOS version 7.1 diskette into the floppy
drive. Next, this customizing program read
you Serial Number and Hard Drive Parameters
from your existing (working) disk. Once this data
was read, you reinsert the 'Custom 0'
disk, which then wrote your Serial Number
and drive parameters onto the Custom 0
disk making it a fully functional version
7.2 of DOS. You can study the code of this
'customize' program as you will see a
renamed version again in the FILES section
'Custom 0' whole-disk upgrade was discontinued
by Xetec. From 1990 to the end of product
sales, the only way you could receive a
copy of version 7.2 DOS was to buy it with
a complete new system. Apparently, this
was Xetecs' unfortunate response to several
attempts to pirate the Lt. Kernal design.
As described in
the Hard Drive section, the LTK SYSGEN DOS disk
needs to contain the correct hard drive
parameters prior to installing the software.
If you purchased both the SYSGEN DOS disk
and hard drive from Xetec, they modified
the SYSGEN disk for you to ensure these two
components matched. However, if you want
to change the hard drive with anything other
than the exact same drive type, you need to
edit the SYSGEN disk (again, covered in the
Hard Drive section).