On 08/25/2012 10:29 AM, Jules Richardson wrote:
On 08/23/2012 04:02 PM, Tony Duell wrote:
I must admit I was never a fan of CP/M.
I missed the CP/M boat by a couple of years - started out with home
computers where it was all BASIC and assembler, then straight to a DOS
machine. I have a feeling that CP/M would have driven me nuts if used
'in anger' though.
Why? If DOS was tolerable then CP/M was by virtue of it did the least
to get in the way. Then again in the PC world (8088)
DOS was largely dominant. For the 8080/z80 world DOS usually meant
something far weaker than CP/M such as NS*DOS,
FDOS or worse a keyboard monitor. CP/M could be matched to most
8080/z80/z180 hardware, NS*DOS for example was
married to the NS* MDS (mini Disk system).
Purely within a vintage context I like it though, it
doesn't get in
the way of the bare metal much (and I've always been more of a
hardware than software person), but still provides some vaguely useful
services on otherwise-complicated machines.
What is "otherwise-complicated machines"? Is this a z80 with more than
32K, mass storage. and two serial ports?
To me thats not a complicated machine. I would say having a an OS that
can do basic IO and file storage did
allow ME to do things like not write IO drivers and instead concentrate
on solving problems.
CP/M box is, I think, the Epson QC10. Interesting hardware
at least. A 7220 for graphics, those lovely voice-coil floppy drives,
I have a QX-10 on the desk here beside me; it really is a lovely
machine (despite the plastic case; somehow I always think that 'real'
computers should have metal cases). And yes, those drives are great
(although I had to clean/strip the eject mechanisms on mine; I suspect
they're prone to sticking with age). I'm still looking for an Epson
dot-matrix printer of some flavor to complete mine (and some add-on
cards would be nice)
That was good hardware but it was a PC with chrome trim.
Did you do anything to modify the airflow on yours? I
think I read
somewhere that they were prone to filling up with dust due to the lack
of filter and fan direction.
Not unique to most PCs and many other machines.
non-CP/M box count? The Tatung Einstein? It runs soemthing called
XtalDOS which is very CP/M-like (I think most of the calls are the
I think that was true of Torch CP/N too, wasn't it? Which makes me
wonder how common "almost CP/M" variants were...
There were many outright ripoffs, I looked at one at the byte level and
it was a copy of CP/M2 with the
same bugs but a new splash screen.
Also a few public domain Clean-room functional replacements that had
like P2DOS, SUPRBDOS, and some commercial products that were clearly
replacements like ZRDOS and a few others.
versatility, I guess an S100 machine is desirable. Not that I was
ever really into that bus.
I've been chasing one for a long time; I just have a thing for
backplane-based systems (and the actual bus doesn't bother me).
I have several. They are a lot of work to make different brand boards
work and nothing is ever plug and play.
Some boards and CPUs plain will not work in combination. I have a pair
of NS* horizons a few Compupro
and a complete CCS and two Altairs (8800 early and 8800BT boards from
the latter are not usable in the
earlier or the other way around!) . I tend to build one up and leave it
alone. Board swapping usually
tended to kill working systems.
While versatile the bus was not well thought out as it was the ALTAIR
bus and in the beginning for
undecoded 8080 status and control signals. When the Z80 hit, those
signals had to be faked as
the Z80 had simpler set of control signals with very different timing.
Want a good 8080/z80 bus try ECB or MultiBUS, though for Z80 STD was
popular in the industrial controls realm.
I like bus oriented systems but the bus has to be simple (or at least
concise) and coherent and S100
was furthest from that. Every board I did for S100 had to be buffered
for in-data and out-data
as they were separate, then I had to take all the loss control signals
and decode them into IO-read,
IO-write, mem-read, mem-write, IN-data enable and out-data enable and
heaven forbid if I wanted
to be Bus master (DMA or second CPU). In the end 7-9 pieces of TTL LSI
or two gals and and a
pair of LS245s for basic IO card. Adding bus master in the minimal form
meant at least 12 pieces
of TTL for the bus interface and then you had the actual card function
Also 80% of the S100 crates made the cooling air flow, doesn't. Even my
favored NS* has
144pound card stock taped in to direct the air from the PS cavity to
across the cards. The
Compupro and CCS was not much better. The ALTAIR crates the fan blew or
sucked air from
the card end edges but, the other end of the card from had no entrance
or exit for the airflow.
TEI did make a box with enough well placed sheet metal to direct air
across the cards, those
were scarce and cost much more as they did a better PS as well.
One thing about S100, it it wasn't heavy it was wrong.
Things I know from being part of that whole era and others as well.