7.1.9) How can I run older programs using the Atari Translator?

While each later revision of the Atari Operating System (OS) was designed to
be backward compatible with earlier versions, software incompatibilities were
sometimes introduced.  In particular, a number of programs written for the
400/800 OS versions do not run correctly or at all under the XL OS
versions.  In order to allow many "400/800-only" programs to be run on an
XL (or later, XE) computer, Atari sold the Atari Translator on disk.

The auto-booting Translator diskette installs the 400/800 OS in RAM "under"
the ROM-based XL OS in an XL/XE Atari computer.  Once this disk has been
loaded, the user is prompted to remove it and insert the application diskette
(or cassette) and press the [SELECT] key.  When this occurs the system
undertakes a COLD START in the new, RAM-based 400/800 OS environment.

The Translator disk is a two-sided disk, providing two slightly different
versions of the Translator.  The Side A Translator provides a version of the
400/800 OS that is slightly modified to allow the [RESET] key to be pressed
without reverting to the XL OS on ROM.  The Side B Translator provides an
even higher degree of compatibility, including support for programs that boot
the 850 interface, but the 400/800 OS in RAM would be disabled if the [RESET]
key is pressed.

Atari shipped two versions of the Translator disk:
- Atari Translator DX5063 NTSC version:  400/800 OS Rev.B/NTSC
- Atari Translator FK100807 PAL version: 400/800 OS Rev.A/PAL

Translator programmers at Atari:
- Greg Riker:  Original version 83-03-20
- Joe Miller:  Added graphics and code for [RESET] 83-09-15

Atari Translator partial source code:
http://www.atariage.com/forums/topic/78381-xl-translator-source/

Similar "translator" programs from 3rd parties include:
- XL Fix by Computer Software Services (CSS), 1983 (ad Antic Apr84p102)
    - Commercial program released (originally) in disk and cassette versions
    - Also released in ROM version
- OldOper ver. 1.0 by MasterSoft, April 1984
- The FIXXL by Belathiel (widely distributed by Antic magazine), 6/11/84
- The Emulator by ATCO int. systems (ATCO-IS) Stuttgart, version 4.0, 1984
- "Home-Made Translator" by Angelo Giambra, ANALOG July 1985 p.28-34
    - Follow-up by D.D. Davids II to above article, ANALOG Sept. 1985 p. 6
- XOS/Translator, by Computer Support, 1985
    - Also released in ROM version as: XOS/Fix
- Ultra Translator: Ultrafix/XL (400/800 OS Rev.B or Rev.A), by Tim Patrick
    - Revision 1.3, 1984/86
    - Revision 2.0, 1984/86
       - This version also produced on cartridge by Video 61
    - Revision 2.2, 1984/86

See a separate section of this FAQ list for 400/800 OS "translator" products
sold on ROM chips (replacement operating systems)
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