Stupid CP/M question

From: Allison J Parent <>
Date: Sat Jan 9 11:30:38 1999

<some forms. There was precedent. But the guy hacking
<DOS was just messing around, trying to do a slightly
<better CP/M (as was Digital Research, who GAVE AWAY the
<whole stinking computer world to Bill Gates on a silver

Specifically it was seattle computer that needed a 16bit os
for their S100 8088 box. They literally took CPM1.4 disassembled
it and lofted it to run on 8088 and called the result Q-dos.

They had no incentive to improve it and cpm1.4 was actually
behind V2.2 (then current!).

Billy took it and modified it some say per IBM to go from the
CPM allocation scheme to FAT (Billy had used that in their
disk basics).

<For crying out loud, the first versions of UNIX ran on
<minis that didn't have any more memory space than micros.
<(OK, so they had 16 bit processors, I know. So did the
<PC! Sort of...)

Unix had been on DEC pdp-11s for years when the Altair
rolled out. It was a $24,000 source license and even though
the PDP-11 is 16 bit the instuction set, memory managment and
disks were about 10 years ahead of the PC. Unix wanted memory
and it wanted a hard disk of some size to work well.

What si forgotten is the path to unix(linux etal) was via C
language for micros. To that Scot Guthry(Tinyc) was the
starting point for Smallc and later SmallVM. Those things were
the catalyst needed to get people interested in C (adverse to BASIC
and PASCAL) as a language. With a systems language people were
thinking about Unix (written in C). concurrent to this DRI was
working on and delivered GSS Kernal, GSS-80, and GEM which was
influential in presenting graphics to the desktop as part of the
OS. Others were doing it but as standalone apps aimed at specific
hardware. This was the early to mid 80s where the PC went from
XT to AT, DOS to desktops and integrated applications and the z80
was still giving them a hard run for the money. It wouldn't be
until the late 80s and the advent of the 386 before the battle
lines were starting to clear. In the mid to late 80s the SUN,
Apollo and DEC (others too) workstation war would extend to the
PC market via apple and the Mac and push 32bit cpus, graphics,
networking and performance.

I's more than Gates getting dos, it was opportunities and near
disasters in the industry that got us here. Even Gates saw a few
really bad years in the mid 80s when dos3.3 was really the harbinger
pointing at an end of the line with something new/better needed.

Graphics we know were not going to happen on PDP11 or most other
16bit cpus as they don't address enough space. OSs were driven by
the environment and it's tasks plus space needs.

Received on Sat Jan 09 1999 - 11:30:38 GMT

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