AsimCDFS V3.6b Independant Review:

By Guy Nathan

Today we have quite a selection of Amiga CD File Systems, and currently only one Commercial CD file system that I know of. That being AsimCDFS. Now before I go on and review this I will tell you I have NO commercial connection (or other motive what-so-ever) with Asimware, so any remarks are made from someone whose been using it for themselves for quite a while now.

Once you've installed the CD-ROM into your Amiga (or if like me been forced to leave it external due to it not fitting in the WELL designed A4000 5.25" drive bay and have alot of cables hanging around due to not being able to afford a case for it), it comes time to install the CD File System, of which is the one from Asimware, AsimCDFS.

Lets now have a look at it section by section.


Well this section is almost faultless, if not faultless for even people with the most limited knowledge about this sort of thing (which included me). Using a standard Commodore Installer script I had it installed in next to no time, and using the supplied CD-ROM finder which worked with the install script, i could pick my CD-ROM drive which was NOT on a standard SCSI Device (notably an Oktagon2008 Controller at that).

Once the installation was done I had a drawer full of utilities I could use with my CD-ROM, they are:

- AsimTunes - Audio CD Player
- DiscChanger - Explained later
- CD32_Prefs - GUI Prefs Proggy for CD32 Emulation
- CDTV_Prefs - GUI Prefs Proggy for CDTV Emulation
- AsimCDFS_Prefs - GUI Prefs proggy for AsimCDFS
- SimBoot - CD(TV/32) Booting Emulator
As well as some text files on compatability with emulator
and some Arexx scripts


Well if installed correctly everytime you boot your Amiga it will launch the driver to make your system recognise the CD-ROM drive and a pretty picture will appear on workbench with the CD-ROM drive :) (of which, the icon and all other tooltype icons the CD-ROM uses can be configured with AsimCDFS_Prefs).

The CD-ROM in your CD-ROM drive can be accessed like any other disk or hard disk partition on your system, and the device is mounted to the system using the name of the DOS driver (WB2.1+), of which you can alter if you know how to be anything you like, but defaults to CD0:.

I have tested AsimCDFS with PD PC CD-ROMs and Macintosh CD-ROMs (which have their own custom CD File System) and have not found any problems i will comment here (faults commented on below). It supports the standard CD file system ISO 9660, the old PC CD File System Rock Ridge, CD Digital Audio (CDDA), Mac CD File System, and maybe something Ive forgotten??

Those with CD-ROM Drives which support CD Digital Audio will be happy to know, so does AsimCDFS. For the unaquainted this means every track on a Audio CD will exist as a filename, able to be copied and replayed at a later date on whatever medium it was copied to. Those considering, "great! this means i can get all my audio cd-roms and have them sitting on my hard drive!!", Bzzt! I got news for you, its cheaper to keep them on your Audio CD, as the average 6 minute track will cost you a dear 50-60mb of space. I should note this is NOT a fault of AsimCDFS, but due to the actual amount of space the CD audio takes on the drive. The CD DA tracks can be accessed on the drive like a normal drive and are sorted into:

CDDA_LeastSignificant (Very little Audio Data for track)
CDDA_MostSignificant (Most of the Audio Data for track)
AIFF_Stereo (Stereo AIFF Sample)
AIFF_Left (Left Balance AIFF Sample)
AIFF_Right (Right Balance AIFF Sample)
I will complain though, wondering why they didnt include the Amiga's native format, IFF 8SVX. Those thinking they can play these tracks like this should be reminded that you need a very fast controller to be able to play any audio track at a decent speed if its played direct from CD-ROM and unless you have enough RAM to load your 50mb Audio track it will really be crap to listen to, which is why AsimTunes exists (amoung other better reasons).

An important note I must make though is the fact that the tracks are CD name are titleless when inserted the first time and using AmigaDOS's Rename you can rename the tracks to anything which falls within the limits of AmigaDOS filenames. Before being renamed they are called 'Track1', 'Track2', etc. AsimCDFS keeps a database of all Audio CD's you insert and using AsimTunes you can edit the filenames on the CD's even when the CDs are not even in the drive. Renaming the Audio CD via AmigaDOS or AsimTunes is also possible.

If you insert an Audio-CD though, you can have AsimTunes configured to Automatically launch when the CD File system detects an Audio CD-ROM. A review of AsimTunes below.

Inserting a Kodak PhotoCD will auto-decode it to an ILBM format for you to load into Multiview or your favourite picture viewer. The file system nicely puts minatures (thumb nails) of all the pics on the CD-ROM as their icons.

I've had no Corel CD-ROMs to test the CD File System with but ive heard from many it does work well.

Using AsimTunes:

Well it has quite alot of features, and definately the one I use the most even though I have virtually every other CD Audio player on my hard drive. If you wish you can configure AsimCDFS_Prefs to launch a different Audio player when a CD is inserted, or you can even choose for it to do nothing when an Audio CD is inserted. AsimTunes though features:
- Play/Stop/Pause
- Fastfoward/Rewind
- Track Foward/Previous Track
- Random/Repeat
- A-B/Ordered (Using a built in editor configure the order
you wish it to play the tracks in
- Eject/Insert CD
- Exclude
- Editing of CD Tracks names and name of CD
- Is a commodity
- Options for Frame Accurate/Absolute Time
- Global Play (Automatically play ALL Audio CD's inserted)
- Alarm Clock
- Configurable coloured interface/screenmode
- Amiga Audio (CDDA)
- Shrink to only a title bar control panel
As you can see it has a wealth of options, so for most of you, if you like this program you will probably stick with it and may use other programs occasionally like I do.

Using AsimCDFS_Prefs:

Here you can configure:
- DiskChanger options
- File protection flags
- Names for untitled cd's
- Buffer options
- ISO 9660 options
- Raw Sector options
- Macintosh HFS options
- Rock Ridge options
- The icons the CD-ROMs will use for the appropriate files
- Get it to autoboot on all or selected cd-roms
- PhotoCD options and the default picture viewer for PhotoCD images
- Audio options (here you can choose whether to auto-start AsimTunes
or some other CD Audio player)
Theres enough options here to satisfy virtually anyone. If it isn't an option here, chances are it cant be configured.

Using CDTV_Prefs:

This is just a small configuration program for when using AsimCDFS's CDTV Emulator. Here you can configure only a few things. Which are: Language, Clock (12 or 24 hour), Idle time before starts Screen Blanker, Audible keyclick and Interlace display. You can also configure Bookmark size, and cardmark name and size (of which I have no idea what they both are).

Using CD32_Prefs:

Here you cant configure much, but unlike the real CD32 (which I also own) you can choose a place for the NonVolatile RAM and not stuck with Commodores absolutely stupid 1k limit when your CD32 Games wish to save data (eg. saving games). You can also configure the language (just like the real thing! :)), and a key feature for those who are currently using Public Domain CD File Systems which lack emulation, is its JoyPay Emulation which is definately a plus. Besides these things it does nothing more ;).

Using DiscChanger:

Sometimes a CD-ROM will have several CD File Systems on it, and if you do like me, you'll get this program to pop up if the CD has 2 or more CD File Systems which AREN'T identical. A usual scenario, like found on Aminet CD-ROMs is a choice between Rock Ridge or ISO 9660 file system, I have it configured where it automatically choose's ISO 9660 over the two but if you wish, using Disc Changer you can swap. This program can also open and close the CD-ROM drive and is also a commodity. A more usual scenario for people, when it will pop-up is when a CD (such as a CD32 game) has a CD Audio track onto the same CD, here you can, if you wish just choose the CD Audio side of the CD-ROM instead of both. If your using a game though which does have an Audio CD track, dont worry, as the game will still play it if it can.

Using SimBoot:

Some would see this program as a drawcard as to whether to buy this program or not. Here you can (somewhat) boot a CD-ROM and it will apply its CD32/CDTV Emulation where required. It opens a black screen with a nice Asim Logo on it and executes the CD-ROMs Startup-sequence. If launching it from workbench it may be as useful as executing the CD-ROM's startup-sequence manually, if launched from a Disk you may prepare just for when you want to run Bootable CDs (which is what I have done), you can get it not open anything but the needed things to get SimBoot going and get the maximum possibilities of the Emulation working. It comes with a text file with known CD's its compatible with, and I had some of these tested, and they did work as said.


At times when AsimTunes or a Mac CD inserted asimcdfs.device sometimes crashes. This also sometimes happens with normal CD-ROMs. It should support the IFF 8SVX format in the CD Digital Audio section. AsimTunes should allow long names for tunes but truncate the filenames to legal AmigaDOS size. The default Icons for CDDA leave alot to be desired (default 2.x+ drawers with huge borders around them of blankness, easily fixed but annoying). It is also annoying how the default colours for AsimTunes are un-readable on a standard MagicWB Amiga Workbench screen palette. Besides this I cannot think of anything else to fault.

For those upgrading from V3.x to this version will find it deletes old AsimTunes preference files and makes no attempt to offer anything to convert your preference files, it deletes your whole Music Data library (that being where it stores the filenames of tracks, labels of CDs, etc), and does several other annoying things. (This happens all via the supplied Installer script without warning). Loosing a huge collection of CD Audio Music Data is VERY annoying.


In conclusion, and despite it's faults its a CD file system which definately is a top-notch product and superior to ANYTHING else on any platform I've seen. It compares to Public Domain CD File Systems and wipes them out. On the same note though you may decide that CDTV and CD32 Emulation isn't going to be something you need and get one of the excellent Public CD File systems out there which are free or shareware and get yourself one of the countless number of CD audio players for Cd Audio. On the same note though the public domain ones dont support alot Asim does, and AsimCDFS has had many years of development. Either way its your choice, but I certainly havent regretted using this, even after using PD CD File Systems.

PS. AsimCDFS also comes with FishMarket Cd which includes the huge Fish Disk library, of Fish Disks 1-1000.

Overall, a product worth buying and I give it 92%.

For more info go to Asimware's page here. (AsimCDFS 3.6b was released at the end of June 1996)