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System CDEV
Volume Number:5
Issue Number:5
Column Tag:Forth Forum

Related Info: Control Panel

System CDEV

By Jörg Langowski, MacTutor Editorial Staff

Note: Source code files accompanying article are located on MacTech CD-ROM or source code disks.

“System configuration cdev”

There is a nice public domain CDEV utility, called Systat, that shows the system configuration you’re running on: machine type, CPU, floating point hardware, etc. Ever since my last system update, this CDEV doesn’t run anymore on my Mac II. Don’t know what I did wrong or what INIT I installed that conflicts with it. So to have that utility back, I decided to write my own - in Mach2 - to give you an example how to write CDEVs and how to use the SysEnvirons trap [which is unfortunately left unimplemented in Mach 2.14].


The Macintosh world has evolved a long way from the one-configuration era of the 128K Mac. There are now - at least - 8 different types of machines on which an application could run, the 512K old ROM Mac (yes, some still have one), the Lisa, the 512KE, Mac Plus, Mac SE, SE/030, Mac II and Mac IIx. I’m not counting the ‘small’ MacII with fewer slots since I haven’t seen that machine as of this writing.

Add to this variety of machines all the different accessories that could be present, such as large screens or accelerator cards, and you end up with an impressing array of different configurations. The confusion is far from being as bad as in the MS-DOS world, but it’s there; no wonder that some applications start having problems running on all possible configurations.

It is for this reason that the SysEnvirons trap - described in IM V-6 - has been added to the system. This routine returns information about the system configuration the program is running on, so that you can exit gracefully from your application if - for instance - color Quickdraw is needed but not available.

SysEnvirons accepts two arguments: a pointer to a data structure called a sysEnvRec in A0 and a version number in D0. The version number is used to maintain upward compatibility. Right now, two versions of the trap call exist, version 1 and 2, which both return the same information. If, at a later time, new versions are defined that return more or other information, the old calls can still be used, returning the data in the same old format. SysEnvirons returns the sysEnvRec pointer in A0 and a result code in D0.

The sysEnvRec, at the moment, has the following fields (in Forth notation):

0 CONSTANT environsVersion

2 CONSTANT machineType

4 CONSTANT systemVersion

6 CONSTANT processor



10 CONSTANT keyBoardType

12 CONSTANT atDrvrVersNum

14 CONSTANT sysVRefNum

The fields are described in IM V, but some newer configurations are not mentioned in the book. As pointed out earlier, environsVersion can be 1 or 2 (according to my experimentation), but the information returned is the same in both cases. machineType can be 0 to 7, because in addition to the MacII, we have the Mac IIx, the MacII ‘small version’, and the SE/030 now. processor can be 0 to 4, the last value corresponding to the 68030.

[Incidentally, I know about two otherwise very good programs which check the processor type, but don’t think about Motorola’s upward compatibility. TMON at first wouldn’t run on my IIx, because it doesn’t know the processor type returned by SysEnvirons. There are processor-specific resources MonC and MonI in TMON, and the 68030 requires MonC ID=3 and MonI ID=3 to be present. If one simply duplicates the MonC ID=2 and MonI ID=2 resources and changes their IDs to 3, TMON runs. Languages Systems Fortran, too, has its problems. If you compile a program with the 68020 code option on, it won’t run on a IIx, because that machine has no 68020! Obviously, LS Fortran should check for 68020 or greater, and not for 68030 only. They know about that bug and will revise it.]

The SysEnvirons trap glue code, and some words returning individual values from the sysEnv record, are printed in the example. The last part contains some code that you may execute from the Mach2 environment and which will print the system configuration information directly to the console window. So now you know what machine you’re using (isn’t that great).


To put the SysEnvirons information to some practical use, we’ll write a control panel utility (CDEV) that displays this information in the control panel window. CDEVs are described in IM V-323, and Steven Sheets has also written an article about them (MT V3#10, p.59). I’ll briefly summarize the relevant points.

A control panel utility is a file of type ‘cdev’ and arbitrary creator (we use JLMT, for obvious reasons. Not even registered with Apple yet!). The file contains BNDL, ICN# and FREF ID=-4064 resources, and a JLMT ID=0 resource, to make its icon correctly appear on the desktop. The resources actually relevant to the control panel are:

mach ID=-4064, nrct ID=-4064, DITL ID=-4064, and cdev ID=-4064. ‘mach’ determines which machine the CDEV can run on; the control panel will display the CDEVs icon on the left side of the panel only on machines corresponding to the number contained in ‘mach’ (see IM for details). The ‘nrct’ resource contains a number of rectangles that are drawn in the right part of the control panel when the CDEV is opened. These rectangles are filled with white and framed with a 2-pixel thick black border. The rest of the control panel is filled with light gray. After the rectangles, the dialog items in the DITL resource are drawn. The contents of the DITL are appended to the control panel’s own DITL. Later when a dialog item on the left hand side of the panel is referenced, its item number will have to be incremented by the number of items in the control panel’s own DITL.

‘cdev’ contains the actual code for the control panel handler. It is a code resource with its entry point at the very beginning (like XCMDs, MDEFs, etc.), and it is called like a Pascal function with the following parameters:


FUNCTION cdev( message,item,numItems,CPanelID: INTEGER; 
 VAR theEvent:EventRecord; cDevValue: LONGINT;
 CPDialog: DialogPtr):LONGINT;

Our Forth code has to go through the usual gymnastics to be called correctly. We jump from the start of the resource to a piece of glue code which saves the old registers, sets up local Forth and loop return stacks, and moves the parameters from the A7 stack to the Forth stack. The main cdev routine is then called with the parameters on the Forth stack (see the listing). message will tell the routine what to do on this call. item is the item number of the dialog item that was hit; this parameter is only relevant for the hitDev message. numItems is the number of items that precede the CDEVs DITL in the item list. To address a dialog item from its own DITL, the CDEV has to add this number to the item number. CPanelID is the resource ID of the control panel DA. theEvent is a pointer to en event record, valid for hitDev, nulDev, activDev, deActivDev and keyEvtDev messages. cdevValue contains the return value of the last call of the cdev routine. A CDEV might, for instance, allocate its private storage and pass a handle to it as a function result; the next time it is called, it will find this handle back in the cdevValue parameter. CPDialog is the dialog pointer to the control panel dialog.

CDEV messages

A CDEV can receive several different messages in the message parameter. For our purpose, the initDev message is the only relevant one. This message is sent once when the CDEV is opened. All we need to do is to find the system information at this time and fill in the dialog items so they can be displayed. Once this is done, updating of the dialog will be handled by the control panel. Other CDEVs might need to handle more messages. The allowed values are:

initDev=0, hitDev=1, closeDev=2, nulDev=3, updateDev=4, activDev=5, deActivDev=6, keyEvtDev=7, macDev=8, undoDev=9, cutDev=10, copyDev=11, pasteDev=12, clearDev=13.

hitDev corresponds to a mouse down event in control panel dialog item. closeDev is sent when the control panel is closed, updateDev to keyEvtDev are sent to handle events, and undoDev to clearDev are sent when the corresponding Edit menu item is selected.

nulDev works like the accRun message in a desk accessory; it is sent periodically and allows the CDEV to perform actions like cursor blinking, time updating, etc.

macDev is sent optionally on initialization, depending on the value of the ‘mach’ resource; when this message is sent, the control panel should check whether it can really run on this particular machine configuration.

Our CDEV routine only handles the initDev message. It will beep once, and then put string constants corresponding to machine type, system version etc. in the various dialog items. It has been checked on a Mac 512KE, Mac Plus, Mac SE, SE/030, Mac II and IIx. It’s up to you to add the checking code for the 64K ROM Mac and Lisa.

Language Systems Fortran and Prototyper

Even though this is ‘officially’ a Forth column, I’d like to tell you some more of my experiences with Language Systems Fortran. That system, together with Prototyper, gives you an amazingly powerful environment to outfit Fortran programs with a nice Mac-ish interface. And you can even have lengthy calculations run in the background, if you modify your Fortran code slightly.

I won’t describe the program that I’ve been working on in detail. Suffice it to say that it’s quite long, used for some kind of curve fitting, and uses some 2-5 seconds per iteration on a Microvax II. It compiles nicely under MPW/LS Fortran, and the resulting application runs from a dumb terminal window and even gives the same results as the Vax. However. Once started, Fortran takes control and releases it only at the very end of the program. 50 iterations, 2 seconds per iteration = 100 seconds of twiddling thumbs.

There is an easy way to give some Multifinder compatibility to LS Fortran applications. Listing 2 shows a small routine that calls WaitNextEvent with an event mask corresponding to update events and app4 events (context switching). Putting calls to this routine in strategic places of your Fortran program, so that it is called several times per second, will make the program ‘background-able’. A mouse click on another application’s window will switch the Fortran program to the background, where it will continue to execute. However, your word processing, or spreadsheet activity, is slowed down only slightly. My pause routine will also set the cursor to a watch when the button is pressed inside the Fortran window. That way, the program can indicate that it is still calculating, and reset the cursor to an arrow when one iteration is done; other routines could at that point grab the mouse down event and handle it, to change parameters of the calculation etc.

The second step of making a Fortran program ‘Mac-ish’ is to add a real menu/dialog interface for entering and changing the parameters to the program. Typically, one would enter file names, initial values, matrix sizes, etc. In my particular case, I used Prototyper to generate the interface, which gave me Pascal code. The Fortran program was split up in convenient subroutines, which were called as Externals from the Pascal main program.

The strategy was the following: Input parameters, file names, etc. were set via menus and dialogs. When all parameters had been set, a menu item could be selected to start the calculation. This menu selection would simply set a flag in the Pascal program, doCalc. The main event loop’s null event handler would check this flag and if it was set, run one iteration of the Fortran code per event loop. Of course, since each iteration took several seconds, this would slow down the user interaction way too much.

Therefore, whenever a non-null event was detected in the main event loop, another flag was set which disabled null event background processing. This flag was kept on for 5 seconds after each non-null event.

In summary, this strategy will transform your Fortran program into an application that can be juggled into the background at any time with 0.1 sec delay and calculate in the background. When you click on the application in the foreground, the cursor will change to a watch, the current iteration will finish, and then you can change parameters, stop the calculation, print intermediate results, etc. through the interface provided by Prototyper. When no user action is detected for 5 seconds, the program will start calculating again.

French Hacker Story - the End (???)

You might have followed the story of Faraglace: The French hacker who was supposed to pay very heavily for the mistake of having removed the copy protection from some programs - notably 4th Dimension. He did this out of his own private curiosity, the products of this activity got into the hands of some pirates, and the whole issue was taken to court. It seems, after the result of a recent lawsuit last month, that the story is finally coming to a more reasonable conclusion: The total amount of fines and damages has gone down from a sum of the order of $100,000 to an amount of more like $2,000 (!). This does not settle the issue for the pirates who sold the de-protected stuff; that’s separate. But the fact that a court has recognized that cracking and stealing software are not quite the same thing relieves me. ACI is still going to appeal this verdict. More to come, hopefully good news.

Till next month, happy threading

Listing 1: SysConfig cdev

\ System configuration cdev 
\ Example for MacTutor written in Mach2 Forth
\ J.Langowski March 1989

only forth also mac also assembler

\ Define SysEnvirons trap; not present in Mach2.14 
\ alternatively, use the trap compiler accessible on the
\ GEnie Mach2 libraries and on the V5#1 source code disk

.TRAP _SysEnvirons $A090

0CONSTANT environsVersion
2CONSTANT machineType
4CONSTANT systemVersion
6CONSTANT processor
10 CONSTANT keyBoardType
12 CONSTANT atDrvrVersNum
14 CONSTANT sysVRefNum

\ compiler support words for kernel-independent
\ definitions, defproc resources, etc.
\ :xdef compiles a JMP at the beginning of the
\ block, which is resolved at the end of the definition
\ by ;xdef.

: :xdef ( -- branch marker )
 create -4 allot
 $4EFA w, ( JMP )
 0 w,  ( entry point to be filled later )
 0 ,   ( length of routine to be filled later )
 here 6 - 76543 ( marker for stack checking )

: ;xdef { branch marker entry | -- }
 marker 76543 <> abort” xdef mismatch”
 entry branch - branch w!
 here branch - 2+ branch 2+ !
: xlen 4 + @ ; ( get length word of external definition )

\ **** cdev proc glue macros for kernel-independent code

CODE cdev.prelude
 LINK A6,#-512   ( 512 bytes of local Forth stack )
 MOVEM.LA0-A5/D0-D7,-(A7) ( save registers )
 MOVE.L A6,A3    ( setup local loop return stack )
 SUBA.L #256,A3  ( in the low 256 local stack bytes )
 MOVE.L 8(A6),D0 ( CPDialog )
 MOVE.L 12(A6),D1  ( cdevValue )
 MOVE.L 16(A6),D2  ( theEvent )
 CLR.L  D3
 MOVE.W 20(A6),D3  ( CPanelID )
 EXT.L  D3( in case this is negative )
 CLR.L  D4
 MOVE.W 22(A6),D4  ( numItems )
 CLR.L  D5
 MOVE.W 24(A6),D5  ( Item )
 CLR.L  D6
 MOVE.W 26(A6),D6  ( message )
 MOVE.L D6,-(A6)
 MOVE.L D5,-(A6)
 MOVE.L D4,-(A6)
 MOVE.L D3,-(A6)
 MOVE.L D2,-(A6)
 MOVE.L D1,-(A6)
 MOVE.L D0,-(A6)
 RTS    \ just to indicate the MACHro stops here 

CODE cdev.epilogue ( resCode -- )
 MOVE.L (A6)+,D0
 MOVE.L D0,28(A6)( store function result )
 MOVEM.L (A7)+,A0-A5/D0-D7( restore registers )
 MOVE.L (A7)+,A0 ( return address )
 ADD.W  #20,A7 ( pop off 20 bytes of parameters )
 JMP  (A0)

\ the actual cdev code starts here.
\ REMEMBER: don’t use CALL for the toolbox routines;
\ use (CALL) instead, which is not dependent on D4 
\ pointing to a correct stack.

:xdef myCdev

\ just to put some text into the resource
\ for easier identification

: start “ Mach2 Forth cdev example, JL/MacTutor 1989” ;

CODE SysEnvirons 
 ( theWorld versrequested -- theWorld resCode )
 MOVE.L (A6)+,D0
 ADDQ.L #4,A6
 MOVE.L A0,-(A6)
 EXT.L  D0
 MOVE.L D0,-(A6)

\ words which extract single items from the SysEnvRec

: ?mach { | [ 12 lallot ] sysEnvRec -- machine# }
 ^ sysEnvRec 1 SysEnvirons drop 2+ w@ ;

: ?sys { | [ 12 lallot ] sysEnvRec -- system# revision# }
 ^ sysEnvRec 1 SysEnvirons drop 
 dup 5 + c@  swap 4+ c@ ;

: ?proc { | [ 12 lallot ] sysEnvRec -- machine# }
 ^ sysEnvRec 1 SysEnvirons drop 6 + w@ ;

: ?fpu { | [ 12 lallot ] sysEnvRec -- machine# }
 ^ sysEnvRec 1 SysEnvirons drop 8 + c@ ;

: ?colorQD { | [ 12 lallot ] sysEnvRec -- machine# }
 ^ sysEnvRec 1 SysEnvirons drop 9 + c@ ;

: ?keyType { | [ 12 lallot ] sysEnvRec -- machine# }
 ^ sysEnvRec 1 SysEnvirons drop 10 + w@ ;

: ?atkVers { | [ 12 lallot ] sysEnvRec -- machine# }
 ^ sysEnvRec 1 SysEnvirons drop 12 + w@ ;

: ?sysVRef { | [ 12 lallot ] sysEnvRec -- machine# }
 ^ sysEnvRec 1 SysEnvirons drop 14 + w@ l_ext ;

\ factored out the GetDItem/SetIText stuff

: set.item ( string dlgPtr #item ) { | type hItem box -- }
 ^ type ^ hItem ^ box (call) GetDItem
 hItem swap (call) SetIText ;

\ display system characteristics 
\ in the cdev dialog box (DITL -4064 resource dependent)
\ the strings are hard-coded, but could as well be contained 
\ in a STR# resource
: {  numItems dlgPtr | [ 16 lallot ] str1 -- }
 ?mach CASE 
 0 OF “ unknown” ENDOF
 1 OF “ Mac 512KE” ENDOF
 2 OF “ Mac Plus” ENDOF
 3 OF “ Mac SE” ENDOF
 4 OF “ Mac II” ENDOF
 5 OF “ Mac IIx” ENDOF
 \ wasn’t sure whether machine=6 is the new baby MacII,
 \ so left out that case
 7 OF “ Mac SE/030” ENDOF
 ENDCASE dlgPtr 3 numItems + set.item

 \ get system version # 
 \ and convert to string, format X.XX 
 \ if you don’t know Forth, this might be hard to read :-)
 ^ str1 swap (call) numtostring 
 dup c@ 1+ + swap (call) numtostring 
 dup c@ 1 = IF dup 1+ c@ over 2+ c! 
 dup 1+ ascii 0 swap c! THEN
 ascii . swap c!  
 ^ str1 dup c@ 3 + swap c!
 ^ str1 dlgPtr 5 numItems + set.item 

 ?proc CASE
 0 OF “ unknown” ENDOF
 1 OF “ 68000” ENDOF
 2 OF “ 68010” ENDOF
 3 OF “ 68020” ENDOF
 4 OF “ 68030” ENDOF
 “ NEW”
 ENDCASE dlgPtr 7 numItems + set.item

 ?fpu IF “ yes” ELSE “ none” THEN
 dlgPtr 9 numItems + set.item 

 ?colorQD IF “ yes” ELSE “ no” THEN
 dlgPtr 11 numItems + set.item 

 ?keyType CASE 
 0 OF “ unknown type” ENDOF
 1 OF “ ‘old’ Macintosh keyboard” ENDOF
 2 OF “ ‘old’ Macintosh keyboard with keypad” 
 3 OF “ Macintosh Plus keyboard” ENDOF
 4 OF “ Apple Desktop Bus extended keyboard” 
 5 OF “ Apple Desktop Bus standard keyboard” 
 “ something NEW” 
 ENDCASE dlgPtr 13 numItems + set.item 

 ^ str1 ?atkVers (call) numtostring
 dlgPtr 15 numItems + set.item 
: testCdev { message item numItems CPanelID
  theEvent cdevValue CPDialog -- result }
 \ we only need to respond to the initDev message
 \ by putting the system configuration info
 \ into the cdev’s dialog items
 message CASE
 0 OF ( initDev ) 1 (call) sysbeep 
 numItems CPDialog ENDOF
 ( insert handlers for other messages here)
 cdevValue \ everything OK: return old cdevValue

: cdev.glue 

‘ cdev.glue ;xdef

\ end of cdev code

\ making the cdev resource, the usual way

: $create-res call CreateResFile call ResError L_ext ;

: $open-res { addr | refNum -- result }
 addr call openresfile -> refNum
 call ResError L_ext
 dup not IF drop refNum THEN 

: $close-res call CloseResFile call ResError L_ext ;

: make-cdev { | refNum -- }
 “ cdev.res” dup $create-res
 abort” You have to delete the old ‘cdev.res’ file first.”
 $open-res dup -> refNum call UseResFile 
 [‘] myCdev dup xlen
 call PtrToHand drop ( result code )
 ASCII cdev -4064 “ cdev JL” call AddResource
 refNum $close-res drop ( result code )

\ End of cdev creation code.
\ Following are some words that can be executed 
\ from within the Mach2 system, and output 
\ system configuration information directly to the console.
: myMachine cr .” This is a”
 ?mach CASE
 0 OF .” n unknown machine,” ENDOF
 1 OF .”  Mac 512KE,” ENDOF
 2 OF .”  Mac Plus,” ENDOF
 3 OF .”  Mac SE,” ENDOF
 4 OF .”  Mac II,” ENDOF
 5 OF .”  Mac IIx,” ENDOF
 7 OF .”  Mac SE/030,” ENDOF

: mySystem ?sys
 .”  running system v. “ 
 <# # #> type ascii . emit 
 <# # # #> type ascii . emit

: myProcessor cr .” It uses a”
 ?proc CASE
 0 OF .” n unknown” ENDOF
 1 OF .”  68000" ENDOF
 2 OF .”  68010" ENDOF
 3 OF .”  68020" ENDOF
 4 OF .”  68030" ENDOF
 .”  NEW”
 .”  processor”

: myFPU ?fpu IF
   ascii , emit cr 
   .” and has an arithmetic coprocessor installed.” 
   ascii . emit

: myCQD cr .” Color QuickDraw is “
 ?colorQD 0= IF .” not “ THEN
 .” available.”

: myKeyBoard cr .” The Keyboard is “
 ?keyType CASE 
 0 OF .” of an unknown type.” ENDOF
 1 OF .” the ‘old’ Macintosh type.” ENDOF
 2 OF .” the ‘old’ Macintosh type with keypad.” ENDOF
 3 OF .” the Mac Plus type.” ENDOF
 4 OF .” the ADB extended type.” ENDOF
 5 OF .” the standard ADB type.” ENDOF
 .” a NEW type.” 

: myAtkDrvr cr .” Appletalk v. “ ?atkVers . 
 .” is installed.”

: machTest 
 myMachine mySystem 
 myProcessor myFPU
Listing 2: Language Systems Fortran background enabler

 subroutine pause(sleep)
!!m Inlines.f
 integer*4 sleep
ccall Waitnextevent to generate a pause.
csleep parameter in ticks.
cwill discard all Multifinder events (update, Suspend/Resume)
cand set cursor to watch if button is pressed 
 include ‘::fincludes:Memtypes.f’
 include ‘::fincludes:Quickdraw.f’
 include ‘::fincludes:OSIntf.f’
 include ‘::fincludes:Toolintf.f’
 record /eventrecord/ myEvtRec
 record /CursHandle/ myCurs
 logical*1 p
 p = waitnextevent (%val(updateEvt+app4Evt),
  %ref(myEvtRec), %val(sleep), %val(0))

 if (button) then 
 myCurs.CrsrH = getCursor(%val(watchcursor))
 call setCursor(%val(myCurs.CrsrH^.CrsrP))
 end if


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13-inch 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for... has the 1.6GHz/128GB 13″ MacBook Air on sale for $130 off MSRP including free shipping: - 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air (MMGF2LL/A): $869.99 $130 off MSRP Their price is the lowest... Read more
12-inch 32GB Space Gray iPad Pro on sale for...
B&H Photo has 12″ Space Gray 32GB WiFi Apple iPad Pros on sale for $55 off MSRP including free shipping. B&H charges sales tax in NY only: - 12″ Space Gray 32GB WiFi iPad Pro: $744.44 $55 off... Read more
9-inch 32GB Space Gray iPad Pro on sale for $...
B&H Photo has the 9.7″ 32GB Space Gray Apple iPad Pro on sale for $549 for a limited time. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. Read more
Apple iMacs on sale for up to $120 off MSRP,...
B&H Photo has 21″ and 27″ Apple iMacs on sale for up to $120 off MSRP, each including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 27″ 3.3GHz iMac 5K: $2199 $100 off MSRP - 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB Fusion iMac... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (Multi-L...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* & PC Desktop Support Technician...
Apple & PC Desktop Support Technician job in Stamford, CT We have immediate job openings for several Desktop Support Technicians with one of our most well-known Read more
*Apple* macOS Systems Integration Administra...
…most exceptional support available in the industry. SCI is seeking an Junior Apple macOS systems integration administrator that will be responsible for providing Read more
*Apple* Premier Retailer - Service Technicia...
DescriptionSimply Mac is the largest premier retailer for Apple products and solutions. At Simply Mac we are all Apple , all the time. Same products. Same prices. Read more
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