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It will cost more than the IIGS (at least it did for me, since I got a couple of the IIGS's for free sometime back) ,but these are pretty nice...

http://www.bigmessowires.com/floppy-emu/

 

I bought a couple of these along with the cables, box, etc...  I like that they work with many different vintage Apples.

Edited by Juror22
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I assume you're talking about GS OS 5.x, which essentially requires a mass storage device. (IE, hard disk or whatever.) The aforementioned Floppy Emu is probably the most easily accessible option and can emulate either a 3.5" floppy drive or a SmartPort hard drive, so it's probably a good compromise option. The cons are basically:

 

#1: SmartPort is a fairly slow protocol for a hard disk compared to a slotted option, although this probably isn't a huge deal, and:

 

#2: The Floppy Emu limits your ability to daisy chain drives *and* apparently if you want to boot GS OS from a Floppy Emu in SmartPort mode it has to be the first (which for practical purposes means "only") device in the chain, so it could be awkward to use if you want to use physical floppy drives too.

 

If you just want to fool with GS OS, though, it's probably fine.

 

Your best option is probably something like the CFFA or the Reactive Micro Microdrive IDE controller, but neither is in production right now and the CFFA in particular tends to sell for a mint on eBay. Another option, and probably the most "period correct" one, is to get the Apple SCSI controller and either a real external SCSI drive or something like the SCSI2SD, but the SCSI card likewise tends to get spendy.

Finally, an off the wall and nerdy choice is to get an Ethernet to Localtalk Appletalk bridge and boot your IIgs off the network using A2Server on a Linux box, VM, or Raspberry Pi. That's what I've done, and it's actually by far the cheapest option. Its performance is somewhat inferior even to the SmartPort option, but it does work.

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I have only ever use gs/os 6.x.x. You "can" boot it from a single 800k diskette, but as far as I can tell, not even teach or any data files will fit on that media if you do so. 1.44M would be better, but getting the original superdrive controller is highly expensive. Your money is better spent on a cheaper option, such as literally anything else.

 

I have a Focus IDE card with a CF card (32 gigs, soooooo overkill) in mine, it runs GS/OS 6 (i'm on 6.0.3) pretty well. I kind of want a floppyemu eventually, but at this point it would mostly be for backups and reinstalling the OS.

 

I installed the OS by making 800k floppy diskettes on my PowerBook 1400.

 

One thing to note is that the max size on a prodos partition is something like 20 or 30 megabytes. A CFFA will make better use of the space on your card by allowing you to emulate both a hard disk (or a few) and a some number or floppy drives, as well as letting you swap storage devices while the machine is running by dropping into the text control panel (which as far as I can tell just pauses the computer) and entering the CFFA's control panel to reconfigure it.

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Back before I had a HD for my IIgs, I used to "hybrid" boot my IIgs over Appletalk. It was basically an 800k GS/OS Appletalk boot disk with Finder loading off of an AppleShare drive. That frees up enough space to load the disk up with needed tool sets and other bits. The downside is you can't boot without said server running.

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Something is telling me that it's technically a product that Apple acquired, but I'm utterly not sure about that...

 

Yeah, it was originally published by an outfit called VersionSoft/International Solutions, and was essentially a piece of promotional software published in conjunction with mouse-driven word processor and spreadsheet software they were selling as 8-bit knockoffs of MacWrite and Multiplan. Apple's version of it ended up being the first graphical shell for the Apple IIgs, but it's just 8 bit software, not really GS native.

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