My Favorite OS-9/NitrOS-9 Utilities
Compiled by Bill Pierce
I start using a Color Computer in about 1984 and starting using OS-9 Level 1 sometime around 1985. Since I started using OS-9, I have gathered together quite a few utilities that make OS-9 much easier to live with. I never had my own Delphi or Compuserve accounts but I did have a friend who was on Delphi, so we spent quite a few "all nighters" doing downloads and copying them to disk so I would have some software and utilities. We also had 2 or 3 local BBSs that had active Coco download sections. I also ended up with several boxes of Coco disks from friends who were leaving the Coco for bigger machines.
So needless to say, I amassed a large Coco library.
Then came the internet... With the release of most Coco software to Public Domain, the availability of Coco software is endless. So my archive has grown even more. With all that said, here is a list of the utilities that I find very useful for OS-9/NitrOS-9. I will try (when I know) to list if they are Level 1-2 specific. whether there's a 6309 version, and their usage. Also, when I can, I will include the sources. At the bottom of the page will be a download for the disks.
Bill Pierce
The Utilities
DriveWire 4
by Aaron Wolfe
NitrOS-9 Level 1 & 2
First and foremost on the list is a program that's not even a Coco program. DriveWire 4. DriveWrie (DW) has to be one of the BEST enhancements to the Coco enviroment in 25 years. DW is a file server that you run on your Windows/Mac/Linux machine so that your Coco has access to any Coco software you have stored there. DW also offers a Midi Synthesizer for using your favorite Coco Midi sequencer without any external hardware other than your PC & your Coco. With just a minimal amount of software on your Coco and a Coco serial to DB-9 serial cable, DW opens up a whole new world of computing to the Color Computer 1, 2, & 3.
With NitrOS-9, the Coco has access to as many as 4 virtual hard drives, serial communications via telenet, remote terminals, and DW Midi. In RSDOS, using HDBDOS, the Coco has access to the 4 original (real) floppy drives as well as 256 virtual drives. Drivewire turns the Coco into a Coconut's dream machine.
To list all of DW's capabilities here would take several pages. I suggest visiting the DriveWire website to get all the details as well as the downloads.


(Click here)
by Karl Kreider
OS-9 6809 Level 1(?) & 2
 Arc is one of those programs you didn't know you needed until you had to live without it. Arc is a file copy utility that "out-copies" any other such utility that I've seen. When I talk to other Coconuts about moving files from drive to drive, they always say "just use dsave and...". I always ask, "You don't have arc?"
 Arc not only copies files, it copies directories and multiple sub-directories, all with just a simple command line. Here is the "usage" message straight form arc itself:
Usage: arc [-acdeflmuv] from_dir to_dir
    a = all files
    c = confirm file if not there
    d = confirm non-existant directory
    e = confirm existing directory
    f = prevent copy of files
    ln = only n levels of the tree (0-9)
    m = do multiple (all) directories
    v = verify the copy
    u = force uppercase for comparisons
I have used arc since the OS-9 Level 1 days but I'm not sure if the current version I have is Level 1 compatible. I have the old Level 1 C sources so it can definately be compiled for both Computers.
by Tim Kenzle (?)
OS-9 6809 Level 2
mEd is almost Identicle to dEd but works on "in memory" modules instead of disks. I would assume if dEd means "disk editor" then mEd is "memory editor". With this program you can patch/edit a running module in memory as well as save it to disk with all changes. I have edited boot modules in memory then ran cobbler and made new OS9Boots with the changed modules. You can also specify any block in memory and edit it directly. The display is just like dEd. This program is indispensible. It's one that I rarely use, but when I need it, no other program will do what it does.
    med <mod name>
    med -<block #>
I may have the sources. I will have to look and see if I can find them.
MyRam (ram disk)
by Gene Heskett
OS-9 6809/6309 Level 2
MyRam is by far the best ramdisk I've ever used. Period. I have this ramdisk in every NirtOS-9 Level 2 bootfile I run. The unique thing about this ramdisk is it's simplicty as well as it's usefulness. This ramdisk doesn't have to be inized, initted or formatted... EVER. Installed in your boot, it uses no more memory than the space it takes to hold the modules. When you want to use it... just use it. If it hasn't been called since the bootup, it will automatically format itself before the file operations occur. Need the memory back after awhile? Just deiniz /r0 and it's gone ! All memory is properly returned to OS-9 and available for other programs. Need a bigger ramdisk? Deiniz /r0 then dmode /r0 sct=xxxx and make it as many sectors as you need, then just use it. It will use up to 1.75 meg of ram on a 2 meg system!! (bootsize and software dependant).
The sources for this unique piece of software will be on the disk
(originally DLS, renamed internally as well)
by ??
OS-9 6809 Level 1 & 2
D is the best "dir" command I've found. I haven't typed dir in so long, I forget that it's not on everyone else's system. This directory program provides the best "wildcard" dirs I've seen. There isn't much to say here because it dsoes just what you expect... Display a directory listing.
d [-opts] [path/patt] [-opts]
opts: x - use current exec directory
         s - one enrty/line
         e - extended directory listing
         d - only directories files
         f - only -non-dir files
         ? - help message
pattern: may include wild cards
         * - multiple character
         ? - single character
This is another uitl I started using back in the Level 1 days. It's been moved to every disk I've owned since 1985!
NMLoad & NMLink
By Michael J. Knudsen
OS-9 6809 Level 2
I put both of these in the same section since they both do the same thing (almost) NMLoad and NmLink will attempt to load/link modules into memory without assigning them into memory without allocating the data space. This way, MNLoad and NMLink exit from memory after the modules are loaded and the modules only take up as much memrory and the module size itself. This is handy for loading multiple modules and not using a lot of memory. This way you can let then set there till you need them. Mike Knudsen wrote these utilities for his custom C compiler he used for compiling Ultimuse3. I use them myself for the same purpose. I use "NMLink rcm2 c.prep c.comp cnoy c.opt rma rlink touch". This script loads all my C compiling modules without a big memory loss. They will stay in memory till you unlink them.
Usage: NMLink module1 module2 ......
            NMLoad module1 module2 .....
The sources to these great utils will be on the disk
by ???
OS-9 6809 Level 1 & Level 2
Uld is a very hand utility. It will unload a module in memory no matter how many times it's been linked. It runs it's self recursively until the module is unlinked. No.. It will not unlink modules that were in the bootfile. I have seen other programs that load a module several times while you're using it then only make one attempt at unloading the module when you exit (if at all). Then you use "unlink" on the module and it's still there. Uld will unload it on first try
Usage: uld <module>
Ed 3.1
by Mike Sweet
OS-9 6809 Level 2
Ed is one of the easiest of the OS-9 text editors. I have no clue as to why, when I mention it as a text editor, everyone starts talking about Sled. The only thing I can figure is that there was a bad version along the way that give it a bad name. Ed is a graphics  oriented screen editor which allows for pulle-down menus and mouse selection. Most commands are <alt><key> oriented and easy to remember. Standard arrow key movement as well as mouse cursor positioning is supported. The buffer size is a littler better than TSEdit & no where near the learning curve. I use Ed for all my text editing and source programming. The features are pretty minimal but easy to use:
80 column graphics screen
Simple <alt><key> commands
Pull-down menus
Mouse support
Supports tabs
Selectable screen colors
Select, Cut, Copy Erase, Mark, and Paste all supported
Uses the standard "clip" file on disk or ramdisk for copying
Find, Find Next, Replace, & Goto search and replace functions
Insert/Overstrike modes
Auto indent
8x8 & 6x8 Font size selection
Merge files
Loading and Saving a PC text file from Ed removes linefeeds
As you can see, the features are of the most useful kind that you would want in a text editor for programming without all the fuss of a full blown wordprocessor. I only pull out DynaStar when I have very large files that are too big for Ed's buffer
Useage: ed <filepath>  or  ed <cr>
by Burke & Burke
OS-9 6809 Level 2 & 1(?)
EzGen has to be the best utility for OS-9 bootfiles since "cobbler". In a matter of minutes I can create new OS-9 boots with just the modules I want and eliminate the "fluff". EzGen is simple to use and works on a lot of file types, especially merged files. You can link directly to any module in the file to delete it or insert a new module. The capabilities of EGen go far beyond what I describe here and the EzGen User's manual is the best place to look. With EzGen and Cobbler, you can create any type of OS-9 bootfile as long as you have the modules for it.
Usage: EzGen <filename>
by ??
OS-9 6809 Level 1 & 2
Cleard is probably about my 3rd most used program in my CMDS dir. Cleard will clear all files from a given directory in one fell sweep. No directories will be erased, only files. I've found no other "delete" program like it. It's plain, quick and simple.
Usage: Cleard <dirpath>
by Keith Alphonzo & CocoPro
OS-9 6809 Level 1 & 2
I've tried several "disk search" utilities throughout the years but Find beats them all. I found that most search utilities run out of memory before getting to the end of my 125 meg hard drives, but Find hangs in there. Find's only downfall is that the results of the search are shown as they are found and they scroll off screen as Find displays the directory being worked on. The only way I've found to avoid this is to divert the output to a file or printer to review the results. Also, no matter what directory you are in on the disk, Find always starts at the root of that drive. This becomes a bother when I only want to search certain archives and not the whole drive. But all-n-all, Find is the best I've found yet. All wildcards are supported with "?" and "*".
Usage: Find <?*>text<*?>
by Bob Santy
OS-9 6809 Level 2
RSDos will copy DECB files to and from RSDOS formatted disks from OS-9. In standard OS-9 you must have SDisk or RBF30 installed in your boot. RSDos will run fine in stock NitrOS-9. The only problem I've had with this software is that it will not copy to or from an RSDOS disk that's mounted in a DriveWire drive. It will copy to and from the same disk image when mounted in VCC's or MESS's virtual disk drives but not their virtual hard drives (see hrsdos below). The capabilities of RSDos cover all aspects of RSDOS and OS-9 file copying.
Usage: rsdos [ -help -dir -get -put -del ] device_name [RSDOS_file] [OS-9 path]
   Required: Device name where diskette is loaded
   Required with -get/-put: RSDOS_file OS-9_path
   Required with -del: RSDOS_file
   RSDOS_file format: filename [{. /} ext]
Commands [one required]
   -dir for a directory listing of an RSDOS disk
   -get to import a file from an RSDOS disk
   -del to delete a file from an RSDOS disk
   -put to export a file to an RSDOS disk
Modifiers [ optional file type with -put ]
   -b   for type 0: for BASIC binary program
   -d   for type 1: Basic data file
   -m  for type 2: Executable machine language program
   -t    for type 3: Text editor source file
   -a   for ASCII format (default format is binary)
   -f=n  Sets the file type to n (n = 0 to 255)
by Manuel L Santos
OS-9 6809 Level 2
SetMouse will set the resolution and port of the Coco joystick/mouse port. This is a very simple program and I find it useful when some program thinks it knows my hardware and sets my mouse wrong. It will set up the mouse for standard or the Tandy hi-res interface and for the left or right port
Usage: setmouse <res> <port>
   res = h (high0 or l (low)
   port = l (left) or r (right)
Last parameter is optional. The default is r (right port)
by Steve Bjork(?) & SRB Software
OS-9 6809 Level 2
Setype is similar to setmouse with the addition of setting your monitor type as well. Really handy when some rouge program screw up your settings
Usage: setype <option><option>
   M - Select monochrome monitor
   R - Select analog RGB monitor
   C - Select Composite Monitor or TV
   L - Use lo-res mouse left
   H - Use hi-res mouse right
   I  - Use menu for selection
by ??
OS-9 6809 Level 1 & 2
Tree creates a visual representation of your drive structure in a cascading branch form similar to expanding folder view on modern computers. The output can be directed to the screen, file or printer. It's a handy utility when you want to see just how much you've cluttered your hard drive :-)
Usage: Tree [-flu ] from_dir
   f = don't report files
   ln = only n levels oif the tree (1-9)
   u = report space utilization
by Gene Heskett
OS-9 6809 Level 1 & 2
Vfy is a unique alternative for the "verify" command. Not only does it display more info, but also has some "swiss army knife" characteristics that's I've found typical of Gene Heskett's programs. Allways something different. Vfy can change the attributes, revision, type and language of a file. It can calculate a new crc value to correct a bad crc. It can work on single or merged multifiles.
Usage: vfy <options> <options> /path/filename
   -f = fix whole file (if crc is bad)
   -v = work silently
   -n=name fix only "name" module
   -x = file is in EXEC dir
   -s = seperate merged file
   -sk = seperate kernel file
   -ua=$hexchar -ur=$hexchar -ut=$hexchar -ul=$hexchar
         a=att nibble r=rev nibble t=typ nibble l=language nibble ($ required)
   -ud = $hexint to add (modulo 10000) data size
If -u, -f is enabled for first file encountered
If -n, -f is enabled for named file encountered

by Steven Goldberg
OS-9 6809 Level 1 & 2

Cmdgen is a quick and dirty way to execute a program module with complex parameters just by typing a simple cmd name. To run cmdgen, you specify a filename on the cmd line:


then cmdgen will greet you with an input prompt. Type the name of the program you want to run and any parameters it needs, then press enter. Cmdgen then creates a program by the name you specified and all you have to do is type that name to run the program from now on. You cannot use the name of the program you want to run as the filename (unless it's in a different dir), as it will error with "ERROR #218" (File already exists). Example:

cmdgen dirx<enter>
dir -xe<enter>


It's that easy! I have used this for many programs requiring graphics screens, complex parameter etc. The only limit is that cmdgen will only accept one line of commands. You can separate individual commands by using ";" (semi-colon) between commands, but all must reside on one command line. I'm not sure of the limit on the cmd line length, but I'm sure cmdgen will not let you type any further than allowed.


by Fred Sawtell
OS-9 6809 Level 2

WMode is used by OS-9 Level 2 windows, to display or change the window parameters embedded in the device descriptors, very much like TMode and XMode. The actual window itself, will not change until it is activated. If the window is alreaded activated, it must be killed and reactivated.

Syntax: wmode /device <opt=x ...>

    col = number of columns    row = number of rows
    wnd = window number       vld = validity of desc. data
    sty = type of window           cpx = starting column
    cpy = starting row                fgc = forground color
    bgc = background color       bdc = border color

I find wmode especially useful when I'm creating a new bootdisk using cobbler. I use wmode to set all my windows to setting I want, then use cobbler and create a new bootdisk. When the new disk boots, all my windows are set to my liking.


by Homer Myer
OS-9 6809 Level 2

GPMap displays all allocated Get/Put buffers on an OS-9 L2 system. This includes the font, pointer, and pattern buffers. Any buffers allocated by software (graphics or otherwise) will be displayed

Syntax: gpmap


 These files are available on the OS-9 80 trk disk image below.
Sources for some of the utilities will be coming as soon as I can locate them.
SelectionFile type iconFile nameDescriptionSizeRevisionTimeUser

My Favorite OS-9 Utilities and Docs  Mar 14, 2017, 12:47 PM Bill Pierce