Ancient 6502 FOCAL source code

From: Richard Erlacher <>
Date: Thu Sep 27 09:52:13 2001

I don't remember any talk about Larry Fish and a Commodore of any sort. Nobody
wanted to spend the money that was required for a PET, considering what it was.
Larry's first 6502, IIRC, was JOLT, similar in some ways to a KIM-1, and most of
his work prior to the Apple][ was on his Digital Group setup. Wayne Wall, Peter
Boyle, and Larry Fish, among others, including Bob Ulshafer, Jack Cox, and
Richard Ottosen, (who were more into the hardware than the others) all had
Digital Group hardware. The reason the Digital Group didn't go further in the
group than it did is because (a) they didn't get around to a working FDC, (b)
though they took orders in '79 for a 32K SRAM card, based on the TMS4044, the
boards weren't delivered until '81, by which time most of the group members had
made other arrangements, and (c) the Apple became less costly, allowing more of
the group members to standardize on that. Unfortunately, once all the "movers"
had Apple]['s, nothing new was produced by the group on a cooperative basis.
Everyone moved off in his own direction again, and, unfortunately, that's the
way it's stayed since then. I quite going to meetings in '81, and have attended
perhaps a dozen meetings since then, though I've kept in close touch with the
"group-gropers" by phone and individual contacts.

One of the newer (in 1978) group members, Tommy Billings, designed a board set
that, if properly configured, could emulate the Digital Group memory map, and
that's what I used. It became popular bcause the required enclosure was smaller
than the larger-than-S-100 Digital Group box. I do believe I'm the only one who
built additional boards, e.g FDC, HDC, etc for the Tommy-Billings board set, and
I had my own sets of boards, identical to Tommy's, but made up with gold
card-edge connectors and dry-film solder mask. My version of the
backplane/extender card was made up in such a way that two or more could be
plugged together, though I never used them that way, and my wire-wrap card was
completely filled with plated-through holes in a colander ground-plane on the
wiring side and a power (Vcc) plane on the component side.

Tommy and I were the ones doing system hardware development back then, while
Wayne Wall, Larry Fish, Peter Boyle, and Loren Blaney were the main movers and
shakers in the software area. Unfortunately, once the latter group got their
Apple]['s nothing new came out of the group, since one could buy for the
Apple][ what otherwise would have had to be built for the DG and our homebrew

----- Original Message -----
From: "Cameron Kaiser" <>
To: <>
Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2001 7:20 AM
Subject: Re: Ancient 6502 FOCAL source code

> > Well, you're in luck, as Larry Fish, one of the founding members of the
> > barely surviving Denver Area 6502 Users' Group
> Did this Larry work at Commodore at all? There's a 'fish' sometimes credited
> on Commodore motherboard designs.
> --
> ----------------------------- personal page: --
> Cameron Kaiser, Point Loma Nazarene University *
> -- Anything that can be put into a nutshell belongs there. -- F. G.
Brauer ----
Received on Thu Sep 27 2001 - 09:52:13 BST

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