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Author Topic: History of CP/M  (Read 5230 times)

Tinman57

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History of CP/M
« on: November 02, 2012, 08:39:37 PM »
  I've had this CP/M History file since the 80's.  For you old pharts like myself that remember the CP/M days, you may or may not find this interesting.  But it does show just how underhanded MS was in it's stolen code and the eventual death of CP/M, which was by far superior to MS's OS at the time.  Unfortunately this file got trashed long ago, and when I recovered it the first headers that gave credit to the author were munged, and it's been so long ago that I can't remember where I got it.  But I do know it was from a credible source, originating from a magazine.  Happy reading...

Quote
If many people today know of CP/M at all, they think of it as "the predecessor to DOS". Here's the real story of the birth, life and death of this once dominant operating system.

Birth

"Necessity is the mother of invention" the old saying goes. And its true; but as we all know it takes two to make a baby and in the case of CP/M the father was a man named Gary Kildall, who in 1975 was working as a consultant to Intel (inventors of the 8080 chip which at that time powered the majority of non-Apple microcomputers).

Kildall's task at Intel that year was to design and develop a language called PL/M for the 8080 chip, to be used as a systems development language. At the time, the chips themselves barely existed and Intel was just then starting to design a computer system that used the 8080. The plan was for Gary to use the 8080 emulator Intel had running on their big PDP-10 minicomputer, but he preferred to work directly on the 8080 itself, in part because by working on his own machine at home he could avoid the 50 mile drive to Intel to work every day. The only 8080-based computer Intel had available was called "Intellec-8", but it didn't have any software or disk storage attached to it. So Kildall obtained a used test floppy drive free from Shugart Associates, attached it to the Intellec-8 with a controller designed by his friend John Torode, and wrote a primitive operating system for it which he called CP/M.

CP/M was developed on Intel's 8080 emulator under DEC's TOPS-10 operating system, so naturally many parts of CP/M were inspired by it, including the eight character filenames with a three-character extension that every MS-DOS/Windows 3.X user still lives with today.

Developing and debugging an operating system is a tough job, and it always takes longer than you thought it would (probably because if you were realistic about estimating the true time and effort it will take, you wouldn't have the heart to begin). By the end of 1975, Kildall at last had CP/M version 1.0 ready and had started on PL/M, but Intel was no longer interested in the systems development language by that time. Gary offered CP/M to them, but the company saw no potential in it and declined to market it.

By 1976, the world was moving onward and upward. Intel was so busy selling bucketloads of 8080 chips to the many small and growing computer manufacturers that it didn't miss a dubious opportunity to get into the software business one bit. Many of these new companies had neither the time nor expertise to write their own proprietary operating systems (as the first pioneers in the field, or tried to do, with little success). A company called IMSAI, which built a very successful 8080-based system, had just started marketing their own floppy disk system, and needed some software to use it -- fast. They heard about Kildall and his CP/M, and contacted him.

They wanted it, and he wanted to sell it, but the trouble was CP/M was written to only use "standard" IBM-compatable soft-sectored floppy disks. IMSAI had a different, incompatible flavor of floppy. At this point, most ordinary programmers would simply have changed the operating system to use the different format and sold it, but Gary Kildall had a better idea. What he did was separate out the parts of CP/M version 1 that addressed the specific format of the diskettes, and placed them in a separate module he called the BIOS, for Basic Input/Output System. That way, the system could easily be adapted to new hardware without having to rewrite or even revise the complex heart of the software.

His decision to "do it right", even though it took extra time and effort, led to the establishment of CP/M as the first cross-platform operating system. Other new hardware startups need not write their own software, they could buy CP/M and adapt it themselves to their unique hardware. Further, because CP/M operated the same way on every 8080-based computer, other software developers were also relieved of the necessity of adapting their software products to each new machine -- they could write to be compatable with CP/M, and let it take care of the details of doing the I/O.

Kildall was an engineer, not a businessman, but he could recognize a gold mine when he saw one. He rapidly formed his own company, called Intergalactic Digital Research, to market and further develop CP/M and other products such as his abandoned PL/M.

Life

The company's seminal product was CP/M 2.0, which fully separated the three components of the operating system into logical pieces: the CCP (console command processor); the BDOS (Basic Disk Operating System); and the BIOS. Only the BIOS need be provided by anyone to get CP/M running on a new machine, the CCP and BDOS would be unchanged. CP/M 2.0 was quite buggy, and was quickly followed by 2.1 as a fix-up release. However, 2.1 was limited in its internal capacity to small floppy drives, and by 1977, hard drives were coming on the scene. CP/M version 2.2 added expanded disk formatting tables which could allow access to up to 8 (eight) megabytes per drive in up to 8 (eight) total drives. It was version 2.2 that became the megahit that dominated microcomputing almost from its outset.

It was CP/M's adaptability that gave it appeal and launched it on the road to success, but any operating system that had that characteristic might have succeeded in a similar way, given the right timing and some luck. But CP/M was more than just lucky -- it was good. It packed a surprizing amount of power in a tiny package, and did so in a simple, clean logical way. Many of its critics bemoaned its sometimes cryptic commands (rightly) and also its lack of powerful features. But it must be remembered that CP/M was designed in an age when it was a rare, high-end computer owner that could afford the thousands of dollars it took to fill up the whole 64K of the 8080's address space. The entire operating system took only 8K of the computer's memory, and would run in a mere 16K of total memory with room left over for any of its system development utilities to run. More features would have swelled the system to the point where decently featured applications would have had no room to execute.

And it was the applications that moved this operating system out of the realm of the computer enthusiasts and into the hands of "real users" (people who don't care if their computers are powered by hamsters, so long as they run their necessary applications reliably). The first real "killer app" for CP/M was probably WordStar, a word processing program that became very widely used. Also famous was the first microcomputer database application, dBASE II. These and many, many other applications and utilities eventually made CP/M a useful tool for a wide range of ordinary people.

By 1978, CP/M 2.2 had been ported to nearly every 8080 and Z80 based microcomputer built. In the end, more that 500,000 computers would be sold with CP/M as their operating system. It so dominated the microcomputer world by 1980 that it seemed hardly conceivable that any other operating system would ever be used on Intel-based computers.

Death

By 1981, the apogee of the CP/M orbit, a new generation of Intel microprocessors was on the horizon -- the 8086 and 8088 16-bit chips, which could address an incredible 1 megabyte of memory. This seemed at the time more than anyone could ever figure out a use for, so Digital Research focused much of their attention on producing CP/M 3.0 for the dominant 8080/Z80 platform. There were plans of course to port CP/M to the new 16-bit chips with a version called CP/M-86, but it was not a priority at the time.

But IBM planned on entering the microcomputer market in a serious way in 1981, and the computer giant had its own priorities and a great deal of money and marketing power to back them up. IBM chose the new 8088 chip as the heart of their new PC, and of course they needed an operating system to run on it. Instead of writing their own, as they generally did with a new machine, time and the demands of the market led them to Digital Research's door to license the ubiquitous CP/M for the new IBM-PC.

As the now-famous story goes, Gary Kildall was not there to open that door when IBM came calling -- an avid amateur pilot, he was flying his private plane on a business trip to the Bay area. His wife and business partner, confronted with IBM's imposing code of secrecy and nondisclouse agreements, refused to sign even enough for talks to begin. Rebuffed by what they considered arrogance, the IBMer's went elsewhere -- to Seattle and another small young software firm called Microsoft. A deal was struck there, and as they say, the rest is history.

While DR did finally announce CP/M 3.0, a more full featured successor to the successful 2.2, the upgrade was only for 8080/Z80 based systems which were no longer seen as the coming thing by the public. And CP/M-86 was ported to the IBM-PC, but by that time IBM was practically giving away the new PC-DOS operating system. Except for a diehard core of those that loved it for what it was, CP/M began rapidly to vanish from the land of living operating systems.

But like a ghost from the past, CP/M refuses completely to die. It's familar A> prompt is echoed in the MS-DOS prompt, which is still a part of the Windows and OS/2 DOS boxes today. At a deeper level, the first 36 DOS system calls mirror their CP/M counterparts with a strange concurrance. There were and still are rumors that the original code of MS-DOS 1.0 was copied from CP/M by its designer (who worked for a company called Seattle Computer Products from which it was purchased by Microsoft). Long after the dust had settled, Gary Kildall himself told several interviewers "Ask Bill [Gates] why the string in function 9 is terminated by a dollar sign. Ask him, because he can't answer, only I know that.".

edbro

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Re: History of CP/M
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2012, 09:22:25 PM »
This brings back memories. My first computer was a Kaypro II, CPM based transportable. Like my first car, I wish I had kept it.

40hz

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Re: History of CP/M
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2012, 11:30:42 PM »
It wasn't much of an operating system. In fact, it wasn't really an operating system at all. It was mostly just a console command processor with a rudimentary file system, some very basic disk operations and a primitive BIOS added on.

It was neither beautiful to look at nor fun to use. Its capabilities were limited. And it performed them with neither style nor panache. But it worked as advertised once you took the time to learn it. With no bad surprises. Or good surprises either come to think of it.

Besides, it was pretty much all we had to work with anyway.

Strange how, so often, it was enough.


IainB

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Re: History of CP/M
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2012, 01:23:14 AM »
Interesting.
Very similar and, mostly but not always identical, to this: http://bulote.iteye.com/blog/1387331

It's essentially the same text, but with some different bits added in:
Here is the relevant bit (cleaned up using cleaner.exe):
Spoiler
The history of CP/M  (version 2)
--------------------
Captured 2012-11-04 0716hrs from Firefox [firefox.exe]:
http://bulote.iteye.com/blog/1387331
--------------------

Chapter 9 The Development of Computer Operating System
642
9.1 The Operating System
An operating system is a program that runs on a computer to simplify the use of the computer for the user.  The operating system manages the use of peripheral devices such as printers, monitors and keyboards.  In addition the operating system will run other programs and display the results.  In order to carry out these functions the operating system has to require a systematic structure for the inputs and outputs; there is a definite structure to files and there is a systematic way in which the files are stored on the data storage devices.  Without an operating system a computer is largely an unresponsive hunk of metal and wires.

643
Although now the concept of an operating system appears to be a natural and obvious one, operating systems evolved over a considerable period of time.
The first electronic computers were "hardwired" to carryout systematic computations.  Initially the computations were for ballistics table.  The user would wire direct connections between the various components of the computer through a plug board.
When the computations were finished the next user would have to pull out the wires and rewire for the next set of computations.  This was monumentally cumbersome by today's standard but a marvelous advance in speed and accuracy over hand computations with pencil and paper.

644
In the late 1960's M.I.T.  had a time sharing operating system called MULTICS, the name indicating it was a multiple user systems.  Ken Thompson was working at Bell Labs in New Jersey and was given the use of a PDP-7 minicomputer.  He decided to create an operating system for the minicomputer for the convenience it provided even though there would be only one user.
Initially he called this operating system UNICS in analogy with MULTICS but later changed the spelling to UNIX.  At the same time Dennis Ritchie was involved in the creation of the programming language "C," so named because it was modeled on the programming language developed in Britain called "B." The collaboration between Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie has been quite fruitful over the years.  UNIX and C have also been closely linked.

645
9.2 Multics
In 1964, following implementation of the Compatible Time-Sharing System (CTSS) serious planning began on the development of a new computer system specifically organized as a prototype of a computer utility.  The plans and aspirations for this system, called Multics (for Multiplexed Information and Computing Service), were described in a set of six papers presented at the 1965 Fall Joint Computer Conference.  The development of the system was undertaken as a cooperative effort involving the Bell Telephone Laboratories (from 1965 to 1969), the computer department of the General Electric Company, and Project MAC of M.I.T.  Implicit in the 1965 papers was the expectation that there should be a later examination of the development effort.

646
From the present vantage point, however, it is clear that a definitive examination cannot be presented in a single paper.  As a result, the present paper discusses only some of the many possible topics.  First we review the goals, history and current status of the Multics project.  This review is followed by a brief description of the appearance of the Multics system to its various classes of users.  Finally several topics arc given which represent some of the research insights which have come out of the development activities.  This organization has been chosen in order to emphasize those aspects of software systems having the goals of a computer utility which we feel to be of special interest.

647
9.3 UNIX
* UNIX was an important innovation in computer.  It is awkward but the computer professionals were perfectly willing to tolerate its difficulties in order to get the power it gave them access to.  UNIX's shortcomings were not considered notable at the time.
The concept of user-friendly software came a decade later.  UNIX users were more concerned that something could be achieved at all rather than whether it required use of non-mnemonic commands.
* The use of UNIX spread around the country and initially Bell Labs gave it away free.  Later Bell Labs realized that UNIX had commercial potential and arranged for the marketing of it.

648
Background
* The name "Unix" was intended as a pun on Multics (and was written "Unics" at first, for UNiplexed Information and Computing System).
* For the first 10 years, Unix development was essentially confined to Bell Labs and most scripting related work was also done in NJ.  The initial versions of Unix were labeled "Version n" or "Nth Edition" (of the manuals)
and some milestones in shell history are directly related to particular Unix releases.  Major early Unix implementation were for DEC's PDP-11 (16 bits) which was so tiny by today's hardware standards (typical configuration were limited to 128K memory, 2.4M disc, 64K per-process limit (inc the kernel)) and similar configurations can be found only in palmtop computers and top electronic watches.  The fact that they managed to created pretty powerful shells for such a computer is nothing but simply amazing and attests tremendous ingenuity of early creators of Unix extremely well.

649
For computer science at Bell Laboratories, the period 1968-1969 was somewhat unsettled.  The main reason for this was the slow, though clearly inevitable, withdrawal of the Labs from the Multics project.  To the Labs computing community as a whole, the problem was the increasing obviousness of the failure of Multics to deliver promptly any sort of usable system, let alone the panacea envisioned earlier.  For much of this time, the Murray Hill Computer Center was also running a costly GE 645 machine that inadequately simulated the GE 635.
Another shake-up that occurred during this period was the organizational separation of computing services and computing research.

650
* Thompson is really the guy who is primarily attributed with developing UNIX.  He's an employee of AT&T-Bell Labs at the time-and still is.  Dennis Ritchie was the co-developer.  It was really those two guys working together who developed UNIX.
* Borne wrote the Borne shell (SH), Korn wrote the Korn shell (KSH).  Steve Johnson was very involved in writing a lot of the early utilities associated with UNIX.  Kernighan was involved in various utilities, but was primarily involved in the C Language with Ritchie-as was Plauger, also a C language guy.
Plauger wrote the first commercial C compiler.
Interestingly enough, all these guys are still out there doing related things in the UNIX business.

651
In the case of UNIX, the stage was set by events going back at least as far as 1945.  There were four or five things that happened over a period of years that made it possible for the whole UNIX thing to happen by the grass roots method that it did.

652
In 1945, AT&T was involved with an antitrust case with the federal government.  The federal government felt that AT&T was monopolistic, so they pushed them in 1956 into a consent decree in which AT&T agreed to make all it's patent technology licensable to the public.  They were also restricted to the communications business.  As a result, they couldn't be in the computer business.  This big event is the reason AT&T never commercialized UNIX along the way-it wasn't allowed to.

653
* One of the other significant events that was taking place at this same time was a project going on at MIT called Project MAC (Multiple Access Computers).  They were doing research on time-sharing systems, trying to allow multiple users to interactively use a computer system.  So time-sharing and multi-programming--all that multi-user stuff--is really evolving and taking place around 1963 and in the early '60's.
* So AT&T, GE, and IBM formed a partnership with MIT and Project MAC to try to develop a time-sharing operating system called MULTIX.  MULTIZ was meant to be a large multi-user system, but it turned out that this large multi-user system could only support a total of one or two users interactively which isn't exactly what IBM and AT&T had in mind when they started out on the project.  (GE ultimately was able to turn MULTIX into a viable commercial product.)

654
* Not too long after that, in 1969, AT&T Bell Labs said enough is enough, we‘re pulling out of this Project MAC sinkhole.  Around that same time, these two guys, Thompson and Ritchie, were finishing up some education requirements.  Here’s another Berkeley connection: Ken Thompson got a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from nowhere else but Berkeley so that‘s the link back to why the software ends up back at Berkeley?
* Dennis Ritchie was working and finishing up a degree in Mathematics at Harvard, but he ended up without a degree, without his Ph.D., decided to bag it and just go to work.  So Thompson and Ritchie, who go to work for Bell Labs thinking they're going to work on this fantastic new operating system called MULTIX.

655
* They're all fired up and excited and do in fact spend a little time on it but within months of when they get there, the plug gets pulled and they don't have a project.  Well, no problem, because Thompson figures he could have done it better himself anyway, which is in fact the case.  So he says, I'm going to write a multiuser system.  One of the main motivations for Thompson embarking on this project was that he needed a decent operating system to run his game called Space Travel on, so instead of optimizing Space Travel he decided to write a new operating system.  He jumped right on it.

656
* There was a one month period, with all the extra time he could really focus on this thing, he basically wrote UNIX in one month.  He wrote a kernel, a shell, a file handling system, and one of the other utility sets and had a working operating system.  He did this on a 4K machine with 18-bit words and that's what UNIX ran on originally.  You hear the folklore of Bill Gates writing his 4K basic compiler, well Thompson wrote a 4K operating system--a 4K multi-user operating system--which is pretty impressive.

657 Value
* UNIX is the most innovative, influential, operating system in the history of computing.  And it really is.  If you look at all the other operating systems, there are many ideas that are derived from UNIX.  Look at the DOS commands.  DOS took baby elements out of UNIX--it's just ideas completely extracted from UNIX.
* The original version of UNIX was written in PDP assembly language.  In 1972 it was rewritten in a language called C, which is another fundamental breakthrough in the whole process--they developed this new programming language just so they could write the operating system in it.  So UNIX was, one of the first, operating systems written in a high level language.

658
9.4 CP/M
* With the concept of operating system widely popularized it was standard practice to develop an operating system for each new line of computers.  About this time the personal computer was developed.
* Gary Kildall of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California acquired one of the early personal computers and he immediately proceeded to develop an operating system for it.
He called the operating system CP/M, for Control Processor Monitor.  It was the first operating system for a personal computer.

Background
* •In the beginning, there was CP/M.  As the first easily configurable standard operating system for micros based on Intel's then flagship the 8080, this small but effective system became the MS-DOS of its day.  With its logical, simple, and open architecture it captured the hearts of legions of amateur systems hackers the world over; so much so that even in the 1990's some diehards have refused to surrender entirely to the overwhelming dominance of DOS/Windows.  It also powered thousands of microcomputer based business systems, often to the frustration of its users who didn't care about its internals but hated dealing with its arcane command line syntax.
* CP/M was developed on Intel's 8080 emulator under DEC's TOPS-10 operating system, so naturally many parts of CP/M were inspired by it, including the eight character filenames with a three-character extension that every MS-DOS/Windows 3.X user still lives with today.

660
* "Necessity is the mother of invention" the old saying goes.  And its true; but as we all know it takes two to make a baby and in the case of CP/M the father was a man named Gary Kildall, who in 1975 was working as a consultant to Intel.

661
* Kildall's task at Intel that year was to design and develop a language called PL/M for the 8080 chip, to be used as a systems development language.  At the time, the chips themselves barely existed and Intel was just then starting to design a computer system that used the
8080.  The plan was for Gary to use the 8080 emulator Intel had running on their big PDP-10 minicomputer, but he preferred to work directly on the 8080 itself, in part because by working on his own machine at home he could avoid the 50 mile drive to Intel to work every day.
The only 8080-based computer Intel had available was called "Intellec-8", but it didn't have any software or disk storage attached to it.  So Kildall obtained a used test floppy drive free from Shugart Associates, attached it to the Intellec-8 with a controller designed by his friend John Torode, and wrote a primitive operating system for it which he called CP/M.

662 Development
The company's seminal product was CP/M 2.0, which fully separated the three components of the operating system into logical pieces: the CCP (console command processor); the BDOS (Basic Disk Operating System); and the BIOS.  Only the BIOS need be provided by anyone to get CP/M running on a new machine, the CCP and BDOS would be unchanged.  CP/M 2.0 was quite buggy, and was quickly followed by 2.1 as a fix-up release.  However, 2.1 was limited in its internal capacity to small floppy drives, and by 1977, hard drives were coming on the scene.  CP/M version 2.2 added expanded disk formatting tables which could allow access to up to
8 (eight) megabytes per drive in up to 8 (eight) total drives.  It was version 2.2 that became the megabit that dominated microcomputing almost from its outset.

663
It was CP/M's adaptability that gave it appeal and launched it on the road to success.  It packed a surprising amount of power in a tiny package, and did so in a simple, clean logical way.  Many of its critics bemoaned its sometimes cryptic commands (rightly) and also its lack of powerful features.  But it must be remembered that CP/M was designed in an age when it was a rare, high-end computer owner that could afford the thousands of dollars it took to fill up the whole 64K of the 8080's address space.  The entire operating system took only 8K of the computer's memory, and would run in a mere 16K of total memory with room left over for any of its system development utilities to run.  More features would have swelled the system to the point where decently featured applications would have had no room to execute.

664
And it was the applications that moved this operating system out of the realm of the computer enthusiasts and into the hands of "real users" (people who don't care if their computers are powered by hamsters, so long as they run their necessary applications reliably).
The first real "killer app" for CP/M was probably WordStar, a word processing program that became very widely used.  Also famous was the first microcomputer database application, dBASE II.  These and many, many other applications and utilities eventually made CP/M a useful tool for a wide range of ordinary people.

665
* By 1981, a new generation of Intel microprocessors was on the horizon -- the 8086 and 8088 16-bit chips, which could address an incredible 1 megabyte of memory.  This seemed at the time more than anyone could ever figure out a use for, so Digital Research focused much of their attention on producing CP/M 3.0 for the dominant
8080/Z80 platform.  There were plans of course to port CP/M to the new 16-bit chips with a version called CP/M-86, but it was not a priority at the time.
* While DR did finally announce CP/M 3.0, a more full featured successor to the successful 2.2, the upgrade was only for 8080/Z80 based systems which were no longer seen as the coming thing by the public.  And CP/M-86 was ported to the IBM-PC, but by that time IBM was practically giving away the new PC-DOS operating system.  Except for a diehard core of those that loved it for what it was, CP/M began rapidly to vanish from the land of living operating systems.

666
9.5 Microsoft Joined
Microsoft rose to fame and power on the basis of the Disk Operating System, one of the most dramatic business coups of the twentieth century.  But while DOS was great it lacked the ease of use of the Apple system so Microsoft launched a project to create an operating to achieve the ease of use of Apple's operating system.  The result was Windows.  The first versions were not spectacularly successful technically and commercially but Microsoft continued to develop Windows until it became virtually the universal operating system for personal computers.  This was in part due to the technically capabilities and ease of use of Windows but it was also due to the marketing practices of Microsoft which resulted in every personal computer coming with Windows so the acquisition of any other operating system would superfluous and costly.

667
9.5.1 DOS
* Microsoft initially kept the IBM deal a secret from Seattle Computer Products.  And in what was to become another extremely fortuitous move, Bill Gates, the not uncontroversial founder of Microsoft, persuaded IBM to let his company retain marketing rights for the operating system separately from the IBM PC project.
Microsoft renamed it PC-DOS (the IBM version) and MS-DOS (the Microsoft version).  The two versions were initially nearly identical, but they eventually diverged.
* MS-DOS soared in popularity with the surge in the PC market.  Revenue from its sales fuelled Microsoft's phenomenal growth, and MS-DOS was the key to company's rapid emergence as the dominant firm in the software industry.  This product continued to be the largest single contributor to Microsoft's income well after it had become more famous for Windows.

668
The final major version was 7.0, which was released in 1995 as part of Microsoft Windows 95.  It featured close integration with that operating system, including support for long filenames and removal of numerous utilities, some of which were on the Windows 95 CDROM.  It was revised in 1997 with version 7.1, which added support for the FAT32 filesystem on hard disks.

669
Although many of the features were copied from UNIX, MS-DOS was never able to come anywhere close to UNIX in terms of performance or features.  For example, MS-DOS never became a serious multi-user or multitasking operating system (both of which were core features of UNIX right from the start) in spite of attempts to retrofit these capabilities.  Multitasking is the ability for a computer to run two or more programs simultaneously.



Renegade

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Re: History of CP/M
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2012, 01:48:38 AM »
At the time, I loved them! PETs too. :)
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Tinman57

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Re: History of CP/M
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2012, 04:47:46 PM »
This brings back memories. My first computer was a Kaypro II, CPM based transportable. Like my first car, I wish I had kept it.

  My CP/M machine was a Commodore 128C.  The 128C had 3 OS's, CP/M and the C-64 and C128 OS's.  About the only command I remember when booting up the 128 was "Go 64", which would boot up in C-64 mode.  Great little machine, I had a lot of fun on it.

Rover

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Re: History of CP/M
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2012, 12:47:58 AM »
Quote
But it does show just how underhanded MS was in it's stolen code and the eventual death of CP/M, which was by far superior to MS's OS at the time.

Not sure what you mean here.  MS based is crappy OS on QDOS, which it bought from someone who should've asked for more $. ;)

CP/M died for the same reason most of MS's competitors do, Out Marketed.  MS excels at Marketing and adaptation; they just really suck at originality. :) :two:
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TaoPhoenix

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Re: History of CP/M
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2012, 01:30:49 AM »
  MS excels at Marketing and adaptation; they just really suck at originality. :) :two:

Maybe they used to, before Apple took the banner on Marketing. Or rather, maybe the whole Borg meme was right, they didn't really market anything, they Excel'ed (TM!) at simply making copies of competitor's software then doing smokey back room deals with the OEMs to get lock in agreements, which is maybe promotion, but not marketing.

Circa about 2004 with PlaysForSure, MS seems to have lost their edge in tech domination because the subsequent 8 years proved a total mess in both Music and Phones. Apple marched on in and crushed those so badly everyone else is picking up the scraps.

40hz

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Re: History of CP/M
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2012, 06:10:24 AM »
This brings back memories. My first computer was a Kaypro II, CPM based transportable. Like my first car, I wish I had kept it.

  My CP/M machine was a Commodore 128C.  The 128C had 3 OS's, CP/M and the C-64 and C128 OS's.  About the only command I remember when booting up the 128 was "Go 64", which would boot up in C-64 mode.  Great little machine, I had a lot of fun on it.

Ooooo....

I bought one of those too. What a crazy machine. It had both the Zilog Z-80 and a Motorola 6502 CPU chips in it. Two separate CPUs from two completely different manufacturers! Talk about a kludge - although it was an extremely clever one. And it worked very well too, although IIRC sometimes switching from C64 mode back to native C128 mode was a little dicey and required a power cycle. CP/M, in true CP/M style, worked beautifully on it. Like CP/M did on everything it was ever ported to.

The only real "problem" (challenge?) with the C128 machine was programming it. And by programming I mean in assembler. The C128 had the weirdest memory architecture I had ever seen. The whole V20/C64 family's architecture was pretty weird to begin with since the memory map got shifted around whenever a cartridge was plugged into them. The Vic-20 was the most confusing. They fixed that mess somewhat with the C64. But not by much.

The C128, however, was a complete nightmare to get your head around. I must have spent hundreds of hours pouring over the Commodore 128 Reference Guide for Programmers and Mapping the 128 along with the other 4 or 5 books Compute Magazine published for the C128. This box was being viewed as a "very serious" machine back then because it had 128 kilobytes of RAM - which was huge for the time. Easily twice that of any of it's competitors. And the programmers were drooling! IIRC even Sams Books had a few programming titles out for it.

Too bad it was so complex not much got written to take advantage of the native mode. And since the 128 could run virtually all the old C64 programs (compatibility was close to 100%) - and the C64 was still selling well - most developers took the safe route and just continued to crank out C64 software. And the business programmers just continued to release their stuff for CP/M, so the native 128 mode never really took off.

Commodore also didn't market the C128 anywhere near as hard as they had the C64. Which greatly puzzled most industry watchers.

But it wouldn't be until later that we found out why they didn't when Commodore unveiled the very much ahead of its time Amiga1000. Two years after that they would release the incredibly popular Amiga500 model - and the rest was history. Amiga sold more successfully in Europe than it did in the USA. But it still had a very loyal and respectable following here. In Europe it actually became the most popular personal computer for a few years. They're still used today. And an Amiga2000, kitted out with a NewTek Video Toaster card, brought broadcast quality video editing within the reach of a small studio or serious hobbyist. For about $4000 you could do what it used to take a $100,000 video editor to accomplish. Truly amazing product! The Amiga/Toaster combo did to the world of video what the Macintosh would one day do to the world of publishing.

a2000.JPG

Ah...memories! It all seemed so magical back then... :-*
« Last Edit: November 04, 2012, 06:26:58 AM by 40hz »

Shades

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Re: History of CP/M
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2012, 10:50:52 AM »
You´re mean 40hz, now I want to play with one again. I owned one A1000, several A500´s, several A2000´s, one A600 and several A1200´s. Over time with expansion kits and processor upgrades for practically all of them.

Amazing machines, amazing OS and together with Directory opus 5 amazingly capable. 

40hz

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Re: History of CP/M
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2012, 12:11:00 PM »
You´re mean 40hz, now I want to play with one again. I owned one A1000, several A500´s, several A2000´s, one A600 and several A1200´s. Over time with expansion kits and processor upgrades for practically all of them.

Amazing machines, amazing OS and together with Directory opus 5 amazingly capable.  

Agree. I "lost" my Amiga1000 in a move many years ago. Of all the computers I no longer own, that is really the only one I truly regret no longer having.

For those who are wondering what we're going on and on about, there's a nice half four long video on YouTube called Why use Amiga in 2011? (AmigaOS 4, MorphOS, AROS, AmigaOS 3.9) that will give a good idea of what that amazing machine was all about. If Commodore didn't stupidly shoot itself in the foot so many times, the Apple Macintosh would have been the historical curiosity, and we wouldn't have had the pleasure of putting up with Steve Jobs all those years - or living with his legacy today.



 8)

TaoPhoenix

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Re: History of CP/M
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2012, 01:31:35 PM »

I bought one of those too. What a crazy machine. It had both the Zilog Z-80 and a Motorola 6502 CPU chips in it. Two separate CPUs from two completely different manufacturers! Talk about a kludge - although it was an extremely clever one. And it worked very well too, although IIRC sometimes switching from C64 mode back to native C128 mode was a little dicey and required a power cycle. CP/M, in true CP/M style, worked beautifully on it. Like CP/M did on everything it was ever ported to.

The only real "problem" (challenge?) with the C128 machine was programming it. And by programming I mean in assembler. The C128 had the weirdest memory architecture I had ever seen. The whole V20/C64 family's architecture was pretty weird to begin with since the memory map got shifted around whenever a cartridge was plugged into them. The Vic-20 was the most confusing. They fixed that mess somewhat with the C64. But not by much.

The C128, however, was a complete nightmare to get your head around. I must have spent hundreds of hours pouring over the Commodore 128 Reference Guide for Programmers and Mapping the 128 along with the other 4 or 5 books Compute Magazine published for the C128. This box was being viewed as a "very serious" machine back then because it had 128 kilobytes of RAM - which was huge for the time. Easily twice that of any of it's competitors. And the programmers were drooling! IIRC even Sams Books had a few programming titles out for it.

Too bad it was so complex not much got written to take advantage of the native mode. And since the 128 could run virtually all the old C64 programs (compatibility was close to 100%) - and the C64 was still selling well - most developers took the safe route and just continued to crank out C64 software. And the business programmers just continued to release their stuff for CP/M, so the native 128 mode never really took off.

Commodore also didn't market the C128 anywhere near as hard as they had the C64. Which greatly puzzled most industry watchers.

I was in a weird age bracket for Commodore. I was some 9 years old for a Commodore 64, a little too young for the Peek-Poke madness.

I was about 12 when we got hold of a Commodore 128. I mostly ignored the crazed Bank-Switching stuff and wrote about 10 simple games using the new commands... (then I never programmed again. yikes!) Those were the days when games could be made by one guy, before MS lock-ins and million-dollar studios. Bonus trivia for the hardcore gang, "Keypunch Software" (or some such) was cheap C64 gaming with terrible graphics but it was written for what 1984 wanted, for some $10 a copy, so you just laughed and played it anyway.

40hz

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Re: History of CP/M
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2012, 01:53:33 PM »
^And as long as you had Shamus, M.U.L.E., Ultima III - Exodus, Seven Cities of Gold, and  :-* Elite  :-* - you had all the entertainment you needed. Great games all of them. Especially with the groovy theme songs and sound effects the SID chip provided. Commodore's sound was to die for back then. (And if you had a copy of the Kawasaki Synthesizer you could do some pretty decent compositions of your own!)

Here's the C64 theme and "docking sequence" music from Elite. (They must have been Kubrick fans!) This was all done on an 8-bit PC folks!





« Last Edit: November 04, 2012, 01:58:40 PM by 40hz »

Tinman57

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Re: History of CP/M
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2012, 06:48:12 PM »
Agree. I "lost" my Amiga1000 in a move many years ago. Of all the computers I no longer own, that is really the only one I truly regret no longer having.

For those who are wondering what we're going on and on about, there's a nice half four long video on YouTube called Why use Amiga in 2011? (AmigaOS 4, MorphOS, AROS, AmigaOS 3.9) that will give a good idea of what that amazing machine was all about. If Commodore didn't stupidly shoot itself in the foot so many times, the Apple Macintosh would have been the historical curiosity, and we wouldn't have had the pleasure of putting up with Steve Jobs all those years - or living with his legacy today.

  I still have my "Tweaked Out" Amiga 500 in my closet.  Just didn't have the heart to get rid of it.

  Don't know if you remember, but Commodore was investigated by congress.  Seemed that the Amiga (and Commodore) was purposely sabotaged into foreclosure.  One of the big investors (from Saudi-Arabia) was supposedly killing the company for MicroSoft, in which he also had a big share in.  Don't know where it went from there, kind of just magically "went away" along with Commodore.
  As for the new AmigaDos, it's not 100% backward compatible.  From what I understand it's just a Windows machine with Amiga Forever installed (which I also have).

40hz

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Re: History of CP/M
« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2012, 08:08:16 PM »
Don't know if you remember, but Commodore was investigated by congress.  Seemed that the Amiga (and Commodore) was purposely sabotaged into foreclosure.  One of the big investors (from Saudi-Arabia) was supposedly killing the company for MicroSoft, in which he also had a big share in.  Don't know where it went from there, kind of just magically "went away" along with Commodore.

I had heard that there was some investigation into whether or not Commodore had been acting in a fiscally irresponsible manner prior to their bankruptcy. But that complaint was supposedly initiated by a group of shareholders - and that sort of thing is looked at automatically during a bankruptcy proceeding anyway. I hadn't heard of anybody (Saudi or otherwise) in collusion with Microsoft to kill the Amiga. Not that they needed to. Amiga never successfully penetrated the corporate business environment. It was too...weird and innovative for the era. The IBM-PC was already out and making major inroads on corporate desktops - more because of the name IBM behind it than anything else. And it was an obvious and visually understandable "business" machine.

I personally always believed the Amiga was just a bit too ahead of its time when it came out. Very few people really understood what it was about beyond the oo-ahs of the bouncing ball and Betty Boop animations. And it was also much too expensive to be justifiably affordable for most people who were interested in it. It was supposedly targeted at business, yet it had virtually no productivity software available for it. And Commodore itself was also indelibly linked with the VIC-20 and the C64 in the minds of most corporate buyers - and those were game machines! You could find them at Toys'R'Us and the other big discount stores. (Usually either in the hobby or toy department.)

An IBM PC, however, was sold through professional office equipment stores, where it took its place among the more familiar accouterments of business life such as photocopiers, adding machines, and electric typewriters. Guys wearing neckties and wingtips would come out to discuss them with you. There were never any kids in those stores. And anybody that didn't look "business" (or was an obvious 'tire kicker' who came in hoping to play with the machines for an hour or two) was very politely eased out the door after a very brief conversation about PCs and prices. (This ain't a playground folks!)

Sure the IBM was boring. It was freekin' beige! "Pacific Basin Beige" to be precise. It used commodity components. It lacked the pizzaz of the Amiga's engineering and graphics.


But it could run Lotus 1-2-3...

And DBase II/III.

And you could get a version of IBM's DisplayWrite wordprocessor for it.

And you could get a card that turned it into an IBM 5250 terminal - which could then connect directly to a "real computer" such as an IBM System/360 mainframe.

Two guesses which PC looked like a better deal for business buyers? And besides..."Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM" as common IT wisdom used to put it back then. (And that much was completely true BTW.)

So no...I can't buy the Saudi/Microsoft conspiracy theory. The Amiga had already missed the boat as a product since it didn't really fit the market niche (i.e. business offices) it was supposedly going after. And that would have been a fatal flaw even if the Amiga hadn't been torpedoed by Commodore's near legendary internal power struggles plus their track record for poor operational judgment and fiscal management.

I really think it was just a case of the wrong product, for the wrong market, at the wrong price, by the wrong company, at the wrong time.

Such a shame. It truly was a lovely and unique machine.
 8)
« Last Edit: November 04, 2012, 08:22:23 PM by 40hz »

Renegade

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Re: History of CP/M
« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2012, 07:25:52 AM »
Here's a bit of fun history:

http://en.wikipedia....g/wiki/Commodore_PET

Quote
In September 1976 Peddle got a demonstration of Jobs and Wozniak's Apple II prototype, when Jobs was offering to sell it to Commodore, but Commodore considered Jobs' offer too expensive.

Oh, what could have been~! :P
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Mark0

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Re: History of CP/M
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2012, 08:29:48 AM »
The whole V20/C64 family's architecture was pretty weird to begin with since the memory map got shifted around whenever a cartridge was plugged into them. The Vic-20 was the most confusing. They fixed that mess somewhat with the C64. But not by much.

That! I have vague memories about overlapping ROM & RAM, so that for some locations if you PEEK, you read from ROM; if you POKE you wrote in RAM! DOH!  ;D