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Merlin 2 is the next-generation analysis software. Work on it is slated to start soon.

The initial version will be focused on acquiring and decoding unprotected/standard-format disks, since this is what most people need. It should be easy to use — the user should not need to be an expert.

The intended goal of the software (not the initial release) is for analyzing more difficult disks — whether slightly damaged, copy protected, of an unknown format, or whatnot.

Current planned features:

  • There should be an easy way of loading one or more DFI (or other) flux images. Direct acquisition from the device should also be supported
  • It should be possible to select multiple tracks to work on at a time, and to mask/filter unwanted tracks.
  • Charts should be available, much like in the current Merlin1 prototype. It should be possible to "layer" multiple reads or multiple tracks, to correlate them (this would be useful for weak-bit protection as well as spiral-track protection, as well as for failing disks).
  • A hex viewer should be available, showing the on-disk data using the selected decoder.
    • Since the decode pipeline has multiple steps, it should be possible to view the "data" at any of these. So for example, GCR nybbles should be viewable, as well as decoded headers+data.
  • Multiple data separator algorithms should be available (I believe philpem did some work on this).
    • As a starting point: Naive (windowing), Adaptive Windowing, PJL-DPLL
  • It should be relatively easy to add a new format decoder (use a scripting language maybe, python?).
  • Tool must be cross platform and easy enough to use — run on Windows, Mac, and Linux, as well as other POSIX-compliant operating systems.
    • Current plan is to use a cross platform toolkit like wxWidgets, perhaps using wxPython — need feedback here.