CentOS, Red Hat and OpenCBM

This post explains how you can connect an old Commodore disk drive to your linux PC, for example if you want to transfer games you have downloaded to a 5.25 floppy which can be run on your Commodore 64/128. I guess the instructions will work both on CentOS 4.4 (my distro) and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.4 and possibly in other distros.

You’ll need a XM1541 cable, which in Europe can be bought from www.protovision-online.de, or you can make one yourself.

1. Turn off all equipment. Connect the 1541 drive to the paralell port on your Linux PC using the XM1541 cable. Turn on the 1541 and then the PC.

2. Download the opencbm-0.4.0.tar.gz OpenCBM (from here) and unpack it.

3. Download this patch, place it in the now unpacked opencbm-0.4.0-directory. Open a bash terminal and cd into the opencbm directory. Patch with this command (or else compilation fails):

patch -p0 < opencbm-0.4.0-optcompile.patch4

Make a symbolic link from /sbin/ldconfig to /bin/ldconfig (or else installation errors out):

ln -s /sbin/ldconfig /bin/ldconfig

5. While being in the opencbm-0.4.0 directory, run:

make -f LINUX/Makefile
make -f LINUX/Makefile dev
make -f LINUX/Makefile install

6. Now, you have to set up an irq for the Commodore disk drive. (If you don’t, /var/log/messages will show the error: cbm_init: parallel port irq not configured: 0.)

Add these lines to /etc/modprobe.conf:

alias parport_lowlevel parport_pc
options parport_pc io=0x378 irq=7

7. Then reboot the machine, and add this line to /etc/ld.so.conf:


Then execute:


8. Now, you have to remove the lp module (which claims lp0) and assure that /dev/cbm is writeable

/sbin/rmmod lp
chmod 777 /dev/cbm

You are ready to use your 1541 station:

/sbin/modprobe cbm lp=0

9. Now you can use the commands like cbmctrl, d64copy (learn more). Wow!

(Of course you can put the things in point 8 in a script, or else you will have to do it each time you use OpenCBM.)

Links: OpenCBM User Manual, OpenCBM at Sourceforge, The Joe Foerster/STA homepage.

It’s… alive!

Now I got a power supply, and after some cleaning of the C64 motherboard, it starts. And the 15 year old disks are still mostly working! Hooray! The next step is to connect the 1541 or 1570 disk to my Linux PC by soldering an XM1541 cable… The problem is that I have only one original serial cable and cannot kill that to make the XM1541…