TT Desktop


In the past two years since Atari first showed its 68030-based TT workstation, there has been By 1989, almost all of its features had become common knowledge, and many in the ST Community anxiously waited for its release. In its 1988 and 1989 Annual Financial Reports to stockholders, Atari had promised to ship the TT "in Late Autumn". This announcement brought renewed "vaporware status" to the Atari TT.

However, the ST community has recently gotten several items of good news concerning the TT. In July 1990, the ST Community was pleasantly surprised when Atari's European branches announced that the TT would use a 32 MHZ 68030 chip. In Early September, the US ST Community was glad to discover that Atari has begun shipping the TT in earnest. Now, Atari has announced that TT TOS features a new version of the GEM Desktop, with many new features. This alone is good news. However, the fact that TT TOS's new capabilities were unknown before Atari's release of the TT is a stunning sign of Atari's successful efforts to reduce its "vaporware".

The TT's new Desktop is 22K larger than the Atari ST's GEM Desktop, and Atari has confirmed that it won't appear in future versions of the 192K TOS ROMs used in the Atari ST. But the Atari STE uses 256K TOS ROMs (30K of which isn't used up), and programmers at Atari's Systems Software Division have indicated that Atari will bundle the TT Desktop in future versions of the STE's ROMs. Here is some current information on the TT Desktop's new features:

Basic TT Desktop Features

For example, if you select four items inside a disk's window and then drag them to a printer icon, then the printer would print the contents of the selected files, in sequence.

Window Functions

Previously, disk windows had a "file mask" of ., so file windows would display all files available on a disk.

For example, if you are moving files from a hard disk to a floppy disk, and you run out of room on the floppy disk, then the files that have NOT been moved will remain selected. This means that you don't have to select files all over again, when you move the rest of the files to another floppy disk.


Atari has said that it will be releasing some Public Domain utilities which will allow TT Users to create their own icons for particular files. These utilities may also allow TT Users to edit the existing Desktop Icons for system disk drives and printers.

File Management

TOS loads "AUTO folder programs" and desk accessories in the order that they are physically stored on this. As such, this option is excellent for arranging the placement of these utilities on a disk.

For example, if you want to see what is in Disk B, then you can press ALTERNATE and the letter 'B' at the same time. This will open a new window containing the contents of Disk B.

For example, let's say that the active window on your desktop is showing the files on Disk A. Now, if you want the SAME active window to show Disk B's files INSTEAD, then you simply press the CONTROL key and letter 'B' at the same time.

Desktop, Application Parameters

A new DESKTOP CONFIGURATION menu option has been added, which replaces the SET PREFERENCES menu option. Among other things, it also shows the amount of system memory currently available for use. Other configuration features of the TT Desktop are:

'vh a:\STR638.ARC',

and respond to them by displaying the contents of STR638.ARC in a resizable GEM window.

One can also pass file parameters to a program by either using the file's full drive path, or by only giving the file's name.

For example, let's say that a TT User assigned the pathname, 'A:\TERMINAL\FLASH.PRG to the F1 key, so he/she could run FLASH.PRG by pressing the F1 key. Now, imagine that when the TT User pressed the F1 key, the Top Window was showing the 'C:\STALKER\' directory.

With this feature, that TT User could determine whether Flash's default directory was 'A:\TERMINAL\' (since that was the directory of the FLASH.PRG application), or 'C:\STALKER', which was the directory of the Top window on the GEM Desktop.

Thanks to Allan Pratt of Atari Corp., for providing much information needed for this article.


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