Microsoft open sources GWBASIC

Fred Cisin cisin at
Tue May 26 14:34:51 CDT 2020

On Tue, 26 May 2020, Liam Proven via cctalk wrote:
>>> I do not know what a "sheering section" means.
>> Typo: "cheering".  :-)
> Aha! I still didn't know, but that, I could Google. Gotcha.

Well, there were some products whose role was to SHEAR THE SHEEP.
The Apple3 belonged in a shearing section.  Maybe even the Lisa, although 
that wasn't its intended role.

> "A gateway drug".
> Yes, indeed.
> The thing that saddens me, I guess, is that it was a first step on the
> ladder for _so many_ but then most hopped to different ladders.
> Whereas there _were_ objectively good BASICs out there -- BBC BASIC,
> MS QuickBASIC (especially 4), and so on. But they got overlooked in
> the rush to C and things built on or in C.

When I taught C, we gave the course a prerequisite of "any other 
programming language", so that the beginning of the course wouldn't get 
bogged down in "what is a program?", the concepts of stored programs, 
compiling, etc.
In the first class session, I told the students, that if they had never 
written a program in any other language, that before the second session 
(in a week), they should teach themselves a little BASIC.  That they might 
PREFER it, or they might want to forget it as fast as they could, but 
that it would serve as a "gateway drug".  (That got a chuckle, even then.)
And that then they could come back to class to get hooked on C.  And they 
could catch up with me in the lab for help getting started on BASIC.
OR take a class in BASIC (I taught 2 of the 3 sections)
Some of my students continued to use BASIC even after a semester of C.

> But I guess most American readers have never heard of any of these machines. :-(

Americans were oblivious to anything that wasn't in USA.

> Outside of CP/M were *any* mainstream American home computers Z80
> based before the C128?

Yes.  TRS80.

It had a memory map that was incompatible with CP/M.  BASIC in ROM at the 
bottom, and RAM at the top.

FMG marketed a "relocated" CP/M for it, but that never caught on. 
numerous incompatabilities, and few commercial programs were happy with the TPA
having been moved.

Howard Fulmer ("Parasitic Engineering") sold [expensive] daughter boards 
for the Model 1 to remap the memory, and convert the FDC for 8" SSSD.
Also Omikron. 
Both were walking distance from me in Berkeley, but they were much too 
expensive to catch on.  (I eventually found used ones)
Similar products became available after the model 3 came out, and Radio 
Shack included CP/M capability in the Model 4 (and 80 column screen)

For those parts of the world that didn't have TRS80:
Note: Radio Shack TRS80 model 1, 3, 4 were a straightforward transition. 
4P was a luggable version of the 4.

Model 2 (and 12, later) was a TOTALLY unrelated product consisting of a 
"business" computer with 8" drives, with CP/M available.
Model 16 had coprocessor board with 68000.

Grumpy Ol' Fred     		cisin at

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