What are your obstacles to running CP/M? - CP/M

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  1. What are your obstacles to running CP/M?

    It seems to me that in the year 2008, interest in CP/M from those
    "new" to it is a challenge. It's especially a challenge to those who
    expect that a "computer" basically comes with a hard drive and video
    display and an operating system. And that it runs programs without
    much fuss, or they don't run at all - period. They all have pretty
    much the same hardware, so you don't have to "worry" about hardware
    details. And, other assumptions like that - the ones we make today for
    (mostly) Windows/Intel based systems.

    The point I'm trying to make is that the CP/M world of the 1970's -
    which primarily means CP/M-80 version 2.2 - was a very different
    world, at a very different time, for different users. The
    microcomputers of the 70's did not have common hardware, often no
    "video" hardware, sometimes even no floppy OR hard drives. Some were
    not even 8080 based, so (generally) CP/M won't help them. (CP/M 86 and
    68K notwithstanding).

    CP/M was made available such that anyone with some technical skills in
    digital hardware and software - at the chip level and the ASSEMBLY
    language level - could put CP/M on most any system with an 8080-
    compatible processor, RAM, ROM and a disk drive (floppy or hard disk).
    The manuals provided, and the software tools, were adequate to the
    task of moving CP/M. Later on in the 70's, there were many books about
    CP/M. Also, it was the practice in the 1970's, that CP/M-based
    computers often included manuals about how their CP/M actually worked
    at the BIOS and hardware level. So that level of skill and knowledge
    was not only reasonable, it was EXPECTED for quite a while through the
    1970's; less so into the 1980's.

    Today of course "everything" is Web based. And with a common hardware
    architecture, "everything" about Windows/Intel PC's is available - on
    the Web. But most CP/M "deep" knowledge is *not* on the Web. It's in
    those books and manuals I mentioned. Some can still be found and
    bought or borrowed from "libraries", some have been scanned and put
    online. But books and libraries are not so popular anymore, even books
    online. Hardware and software knowledge at that level is exceptional
    today.

    But there *are* CP/M Web sites, or sites about computers which ran CP/
    M. I have one such site myself. Some of them are very informative
    about how CP/M works, how to program CP/M or Z80's, about some old
    hardware. So there is that route, if you don't like books.

    So, here's the question I'm posting about. Given all these resources,
    what are some of the obstacles that persons new to CP/M have when THEY
    try to "run" CP/M today, on something which did not run it before?

    Now this question is not "how do I find a CP/M boot disk for the (blah-
    blah) computer?". That's easy enough to answer in principle. You find
    someone with a copy of that disk, you get it, you try it. This is not
    about "how do I fix my broken computer?" And it's not about "how do I
    run CP/M on my Windows/Linux box?" - you get an emulator, the end.

    I'm not looking for a tutorial on how to install CP/M. Those were
    written 20 or rmore years ago. If that were enough, this would not be
    an issue. And I already posted "read the manuals!" today - I posted
    *this* because that was not very satisfactory advice.

    This question is more like "...and when you read books about CP/M, do
    they make any sense?" or "..and when you look at the hardware, is it
    too complicated?" or "...do you know that CP/M needs a disk or
    floppy?". Issues of that sort are what I have in mind. Those are
    issues for people TODAY, starting TODAY. Whereas many with CP/M
    interests in this newsgroup learned their CP/M skills decades ago,
    they simply don't have those questions. They already know, as I do.
    But maybe their answers aren't satisfactory to those asking - that's
    about how I feel, myself, when I see these questions come in.

    So what I DON'T know, is what the 'nubies" know and don't know, what
    their expectations are, what they bring to bear when they say "..and
    now I want to run CP/M". I've guessed at some of the obstacles, but
    maybe there are others more important, or maybe I've underestimated
    what they know. I invite some responses from those who tried,
    especially those who failed.

    But please don't nibble my argument to death, answer the question.
    Follow where I am pointing, don't bite my finger.

    Herb Johnson
    retrotechnology.com

    Herbert R. Johnson, New Jersey USA
    http://www.retrotechnology.com/herbs_stuff/ web site
    http://www.retrotechnology.net/herbs_stuff/ domain mirror
    my email address: hjohnson AAT retrotechnology DOTT com
    if no reply, try in a few days: herbjohnson ATT comcast DOTT net
    "Herb's Stuff": old Mac, SGI, 8-inch floppy drives
    S-100 IMSAI Altair computers, docs, by "Dr. S-100"




  2. Re: What are your obstacles to running CP/M?

    On Wed, 2 Apr 2008 11:55:49 -0700 (PDT), Herb Johnson
    wrote:

    >
    >Herb Johnson


    Herb,

    Can't answer the question being expereinced, however..

    The seriously lacking info is more in the realm of programming bare
    metal or near the bare metal. For the PC generation unless they are
    in the embedded systems realm this is a new thing as PCs are never
    bare metal. So there is a whole level of hardware and software
    related knowlwdge that is not in the do this to bring up CP/M books
    and articles.

    It's two levels, are you launching on a system that media with the
    required bios existes for. or are you really starting on bare metal.
    There is a third case, ther is hardware, bios and media for the iron
    you ahve but you want to install a new (larger, softsectored floppy)
    media and yor no doing a BIOS or atlest modding an existing one
    to fit. Typical mod to fit is either of two areas, the bios you have
    works with the FDC but not the serial IO or the bios matches
    everything but the FDC. There is also the case where the you have
    the FDC and serial to fit but no boot rom (NS* horizon case).

    Generally I've found that bringing up CP/M is each case these days
    will be specific. For exampe I get a request like I (or read here)
    I have XYZ hardware combination I want to run CP/M, what to I do?
    Often the combo is an adhoc list of things that should play together
    (assuming they work) but are not supported by any vendor.

    A good example:

    NS* case/backplane, NS* CPU, XYZ 84k ram and a Compupro FDC1A.
    In that case if you can make the media off the net (or beg it) your
    almost there save for the serial IO on the NS* will not match the Cpro
    boot roms or BIOS and there is no rom monitor to boot, patch and save.
    The problem isn't CP/M as much as dealing with limited tools and a way
    to work at the iron level. The easiest fix is replacing the CPU with
    a different one with a monitor rom or using a front panel machine.
    A Compupro CPUZ is a good choice or a SBC880.

    Another is a IMASI, some romless Z80 card, mix of ram less than 64k
    and unrelated serial and FDC card. Here the whole mess depends on
    what FDC and is the bios source available. Often that is not. This is
    often a serious ground up effort and involces getting real close to
    the metal to build a working bios and booting media.

    Then there is the additional case of "I have a XYZ that used a 8"
    floppy and I want to use a 1.2MB 5.25 floppy" but the only media
    image is 8" SSSD.. or some other non supported at the time
    configuration. This is usually both a software task and hardware with
    a requirement of debugging skills with limited resources. One can
    hope the system has some kind of monitor in rom... often that is non
    existent and has to be developed as well.

    If a system never ran CP/M before or is a mix of many vendors
    all of which did do CP/M on their complete systems you may be
    somewhere inthe range of programming bare iron or just tweeking the
    serial IO.. or all of that. It depends on what mix of hardware you
    have and that is an broad set of variables.

    The general must haves list for CP/M to run:

    Ram for 0000 to at least 32K , yes 1.4 ran in 16k but not much else
    and 2.2 was 20K and you could assemble a trivial program in that.
    Most applications require at least 48K to 56K as a reasonable
    system.

    Ability for the CPU to do a power on jump to some address OR
    start running from Eprom at 0000 with the ability to turn off the
    Eprom.

    CPU can be 8080, 8085, NSC800, Z80, Z180 or Z280. However!
    The easiest are 8085 and Z80 as all the others have caveats or
    special must know or do things. Z80 will be most common.

    The system must have a console device. That can be a video
    card and keyboard combo, serial line to a terminal (or PC
    running terminal emulator) or priner with keyboard. In short you
    need user IO. The minimum can be a keyboard and a
    nline by nChar LCD CP/M can run to most anything but lines
    shorter than 32 chars and less than two or three lines will be
    very awkward. Most applications that run on CP/M will work
    in 64char by 16 lines but most want 72-80 char by 24 lines or
    hard copy terminal.

    The system must have some form of block addressable
    mass storage. This can be a Floppy, tape system, Hard disk,
    IDE hard disk, CF, SD or flashrom.. The only requirement is that
    thorugh software (BIOS) it will look like a block oriented device
    as a bunch of sectors that can be randomly addressed.
    NOTE: CP/M itself is small enough to fit in as little as 8K and
    cannot use more than 8mb per device. A good size is 256K
    or larger as CP/M is small but you still need room for utilities
    and applications.

    For most the short form is:

    Z80, 64k, bootrom, console(serial or other), mass storage.


    Allison

  3. Re: What are your obstacles to running CP/M?

    On Apr 2, 2:55*pm, Herb Johnson wrote:

    > So what I DON'T know, is what the 'nubies" know and don't know, what
    > their expectations are, what they bring to bear when they say "..and
    > now I want to run CP/M". I've guessed at some of the obstacles, but
    > maybe there are others more important, or maybe I've underestimated
    > what they know. I invite some responses from those who tried,
    > especially those who failed.
    >
    > But please don't nibble my argument to death, answer the question.
    > Follow where I am pointing, don't bite my finger.
    >
    > Herb Johnson
    > retrotechnology.com
    >
    > Herbert R. Johnson, *New Jersey USAhttp://www.retrotechnology.com/herbs_stuff/* web sitehttp://www.retrotechnology.net/herbs_stuff/* domain mirror
    > my email address: hjohnson AAT retrotechnology DOTT com
    > if no reply, try in a few days: herbjohnson ATT comcast DOTT net
    > "Herb's Stuff": old Mac, SGI, 8-inch floppy drives
    > S-100 IMSAI Altair computers, docs, by "Dr. S-100"


    I think one of the biggest issues would be with hardware. If a "noob"
    comes accross a complete CP/M system they would probably fall into the
    boot disc catagory. But if they just have some parts and want to put
    together a complete system, the "noob" would need help knowing what
    parts go with what (ie what memory boards will work with what cpu
    card, back plane, controller card, drives with what controller etc)
    since they will probably be purchasing these parts on sites like eBay
    or just coming across them.

    With the PC over the bast 20 years you could basically take any PC
    card and plug it in your system and have a 95% chance of it working
    with little more than putting in the driver disc. Now with the USB
    devices you just plug and play, so the idea of hardware compatibility
    is almost a non issue now.

    I think a great resource for CP/M would be a large cross referenced
    database that shows what cards work with what hardware with what
    jumper settings and / or bios changes etc.

    My 2 cents

    Bill H

  4. Re: What are your obstacles to running CP/M?

    Hallo Herb,


    > But please don't nibble my argument to death, answer the question.


    The answer is quite simple in my case: lack of time

    I have a Kaypro 2, Bondwell B14, Philips P2000C and of course various
    Commodore C128 models laying around. The last time when I started CP/M
    was when I bought the Kaypro, about 5 months ago.


    --
    ___
    / __|__
    / / |_/ Groetjes, Ruud
    \ \__|_\
    \___| URL: Ruud.C64.org



  5. Re: What are your obstacles to running CP/M?

    On Wed, 2 Apr 2008 17:44:07 -0700 (PDT), Bill H
    wrote:

    >On Apr 2, 2:55*pm, Herb Johnson wrote:
    >
    >> So what I DON'T know, is what the 'nubies" know and don't know, what
    >> their expectations are, what they bring to bear when they say "..and
    >> now I want to run CP/M". I've guessed at some of the obstacles, but
    >> maybe there are others more important, or maybe I've underestimated
    >> what they know. I invite some responses from those who tried,
    >> especially those who failed.
    >>
    >> But please don't nibble my argument to death, answer the question.
    >> Follow where I am pointing, don't bite my finger.
    >>
    >> Herb Johnson
    >> retrotechnology.com
    >>
    >> Herbert R. Johnson, *New Jersey USAhttp://www.retrotechnology.com/herbs_stuff/* web sitehttp://www.retrotechnology.net/herbs_stuff/* domain mirror
    >> my email address: hjohnson AAT retrotechnology DOTT com
    >> if no reply, try in a few days: herbjohnson ATT comcast DOTT net
    >> "Herb's Stuff": old Mac, SGI, 8-inch floppy drives
    >> S-100 IMSAI Altair computers, docs, by "Dr. S-100"

    >
    >I think one of the biggest issues would be with hardware. If a "noob"
    >comes accross a complete CP/M system they would probably fall into the
    >boot disc catagory. But if they just have some parts and want to put
    >together a complete system, the "noob" would need help knowing what
    >parts go with what (ie what memory boards will work with what cpu
    >card, back plane, controller card, drives with what controller etc)
    >since they will probably be purchasing these parts on sites like eBay
    >or just coming across them.
    >
    >With the PC over the bast 20 years you could basically take any PC
    >card and plug it in your system and have a 95% chance of it working
    >with little more than putting in the driver disc. Now with the USB
    >devices you just plug and play, so the idea of hardware compatibility
    >is almost a non issue now.
    >
    >I think a great resource for CP/M would be a large cross referenced
    >database that shows what cards work with what hardware with what
    >jumper settings and / or bios changes etc.


    I'd agree save for it's near impossible to build. There is a lack of
    information and lack of resources to test it.

    The matrix for the table woul ahve to include:
    Case
    Power supply
    capacity
    desireable features (CVC, Regulators)
    Cooling issues
    space (enough slots)
    Front panels (where present, switches or firmwares based)
    Backplane
    termination?
    CPU card
    CPU used
    Speed
    Bus varient (MITS, IMSAI, NS*, CCS, Compupro. Comemco,
    IEE696)
    Local ROM./EPROM
    Local RAM
    Local IO (serial parallel)
    Local mass storage
    Memory
    static
    Dynamic
    Local refresh
    CPU refreshed
    ROM/PROM/EPROM
    IO (serial, parallel, and misc)
    Serial
    devices used
    Addresses
    Status and registers
    Parallel
    Devices
    Style (centronics or general)
    IO (device programmer cards, Eprom, Bipolar prom, and other
    Eprom CPUs)
    Mass storage
    DMA types
    Non-DMA types
    Polled IO
    Interrupt IO (or variations)
    Those that use stall IO
    Documentation for all of the above
    There are many cards that info is lost or thin at best.

    For S100 system those are the major elements an integrator would
    grapple with. For allof those there are compatability,
    interoperability and revisions. The latter Referes to Things like
    early cards had a bug but later may work.

    A good example was early Dram was very fussy and would only work in
    certain busses with certain CPUs usually of the same vendor. Add to
    that some Dram relied on the Z80 refresh signal which saved parts and
    power but was incompatable with FDCs that use IO stall as a long IO
    hang (like missing floppy in drive) could result in no refresh for
    far too long ans the system would crash as the memory plain forgot.
    Other memory cards were sensitive to bus reflections or CPU timing.
    While S100 was for the day fairly close to plug and expect to work
    (and maybe play ) that would occur over time and was not there
    the earliest days of 1975.

    Also this only covers the things needed to assure a functional system
    not assure that CP/M was both loadable and could boot. An example
    fo that was NS* Horizon, a basic system might only have 32K and the
    start address did not have to be 000h as the system loaded above taht
    starting at 2000h. Easily dealt with but then you need CPM for NS*
    hard sector which did not exist before 1979 (LifeBoat CPM.1.4). That
    version FYI was not insert and boot, you needed to use NS* dos to
    format a floppy and to copy the precious system disk before you could
    run Movcpm and sysgen to creat a larger that 20K[LB1.4 had a extra 4K
    requement for the disk BIOS] system.

    For the modern integrator the issues also include the main problems of
    aging systems. These include is the power supply functional? Are
    there aged tanalum caps (bang, smoke)? Has corrosion compromized the
    connectors on the backplane or individual boards? Are the available
    boards functional? Is there an expactation they are relaiable? The
    latter speaks to things like flaky sockets, ESD to edge and other
    connectors possibly injuring ICs [even TTL can suffer], are all the
    parts there and have larger ones been flexed or moved enough they may
    break off and have the on card regulators been stressed (or are being
    stressed) enough to fail ot shut down from over temp?

    That was only for the S100 case. there is also STD, and proprietory
    busses as well. This does not touch on the many single board systems
    (most of which did support CPM or similar OS).

    The last case is systems like TRS80, Tandy M100/2, TI calcs,
    Printer buffers and the like that are true experimental systems from
    the CP/M perspective as they were never designed to run CP/M
    and their memory/IO maps are incompatable without modification
    or they never ran any OS and were built for task. I'd say they are
    the most fun but also require the user/developer to be both close to
    the iron and close to the software.

    That and any assumptions based on how PCs are or were since their
    inception does not apply to the older systems.


    Allison

    >My 2 cents
    >
    >Bill H



  6. Re: What are your obstacles to running CP/M?

    Herb Johnson schrieb:
    > It seems to me that in the year 2008, interest in CP/M from those
    > "new" to it is a challenge. It's especially a challenge to those who
    > expect that a "computer" basically comes with a hard drive and video
    > display and an operating system. And that it runs programs without
    > much fuss, or they don't run at all - period. They all have pretty
    > much the same hardware, so you don't have to "worry" about hardware
    > details. And, other assumptions like that - the ones we make today for
    > (mostly) Windows/Intel based systems.


    CP/M is not a challenge in the 21th century, it is a trivial piece of
    software that a single person can master completely in a couple of
    weeks. What you see is lack of interest.

    The CP/M of the 20th and 21th century is called UNIX and it's
    derivatives like Linux. This OS's are implemented on absolutely
    everything that has some sort of CPU and memory, embedded controlers,
    PDA's, cell phones, desktop systems, servers, mainframes.

    A challenge is to get Linux working on Microsofts Xbox and work arround
    all the security hardware and software layers e.g. Does it make much
    sense to run Linux on a Xbox? Not really, but it is done anyway by
    hobbiests.

    > The point I'm trying to make is that the CP/M world of the 1970's -
    > which primarily means CP/M-80 version 2.2 - was a very different
    > world, at a very different time, for different users. The
    > microcomputers of the 70's did not have common hardware, often no
    > "video" hardware, sometimes even no floppy OR hard drives. Some were
    > not even 8080 based, so (generally) CP/M won't help them. (CP/M 86 and
    > 68K notwithstanding).


    Well, have a look at some 16 bit microcontroller compared with a IBM z10
    mainframe. They heve less in common than a Z80 compared to a 8086,
    nevertheless both run some sort of UNIX OS. No difference, but the world
    has shiftet from CP/M to much more complicated and much more interesting
    software.

    > CP/M was made available such that anyone with some technical skills in
    > digital hardware and software - at the chip level and the ASSEMBLY
    > language level - could put CP/M on most any system with an 8080-
    > compatible processor, RAM, ROM and a disk drive (floppy or hard disk).
    > The manuals provided, and the software tools, were adequate to the
    > task of moving CP/M. Later on in the 70's, there were many books about
    > CP/M. Also, it was the practice in the 1970's, that CP/M-based
    > computers often included manuals about how their CP/M actually worked
    > at the BIOS and hardware level. So that level of skill and knowledge
    > was not only reasonable, it was EXPECTED for quite a while through the
    > 1970's; less so into the 1980's.


    Nowadays that is exactely so with UNIX systems, tons of open sources
    OS's free for anyone to mess with. Probably nowadays more people play
    with such systems than back then the CP/M enthusiast. We also have
    several 100 million people using systems all over the planet without any
    clue about hardware and software. We had few less people using the stuff
    way back then. This is the only difference as I see it.

    > Today of course "everything" is Web based. And with a common hardware
    > architecture, "everything" about Windows/Intel PC's is available - on
    > the Web. But most CP/M "deep" knowledge is *not* on the Web. It's in
    > those books and manuals I mentioned. Some can still be found and
    > bought or borrowed from "libraries", some have been scanned and put
    > online. But books and libraries are not so popular anymore, even books
    > online. Hardware and software knowledge at that level is exceptional
    > today.


    No one stops you printing a PDF manual you downloaded from the Web, if
    you like that better. The Internet allows faster distribution of
    information than possible with printed media. What you see is just
    another revolution/evolution in information distribution. Something
    similar happend when book printing was invented I can imagine.

    > But there *are* CP/M Web sites, or sites about computers which ran CP/
    > M. I have one such site myself. Some of them are very informative
    > about how CP/M works, how to program CP/M or Z80's, about some old
    > hardware. So there is that route, if you don't like books.
    >
    > So, here's the question I'm posting about. Given all these resources,
    > what are some of the obstacles that persons new to CP/M have when THEY
    > try to "run" CP/M today, on something which did not run it before?


    It is boring and trivial. There are much greater challenges nowadays for
    those who look for them.

    > Now this question is not "how do I find a CP/M boot disk for the (blah-
    > blah) computer?". That's easy enough to answer in principle. You find
    > someone with a copy of that disk, you get it, you try it. This is not
    > about "how do I fix my broken computer?" And it's not about "how do I
    > run CP/M on my Windows/Linux box?" - you get an emulator, the end.


    Correct, why messing with ancient hardware and spare parts difficult to
    get, if you can just run it on an emulator anyway?

    > I'm not looking for a tutorial on how to install CP/M. Those were
    > written 20 or rmore years ago. If that were enough, this would not be
    > an issue. And I already posted "read the manuals!" today - I posted
    > *this* because that was not very satisfactory advice.
    >
    > This question is more like "...and when you read books about CP/M, do
    > they make any sense?" or "..and when you look at the hardware, is it
    > too complicated?" or "...do you know that CP/M needs a disk or
    > floppy?". Issues of that sort are what I have in mind. Those are
    > issues for people TODAY, starting TODAY. Whereas many with CP/M
    > interests in this newsgroup learned their CP/M skills decades ago,
    > they simply don't have those questions. They already know, as I do.
    > But maybe their answers aren't satisfactory to those asking - that's
    > about how I feel, myself, when I see these questions come in.


    Complicated? It's way to easy and so it is boring. In the 21th century
    you try to get much more advanced hardware to work with much more
    advanced software.

    > So what I DON'T know, is what the 'nubies" know and don't know, what
    > their expectations are, what they bring to bear when they say "..and
    > now I want to run CP/M". I've guessed at some of the obstacles, but
    > maybe there are others more important, or maybe I've underestimated
    > what they know. I invite some responses from those who tried,
    > especially those who failed.


    If a 'noob' is able and willing to read there is nothing about CP/M that
    could not be read on the Internet, or is there?

    > But please don't nibble my argument to death, answer the question.
    > Follow where I am pointing, don't bite my finger.
    >
    > Herb Johnson
    > retrotechnology.com


    Udo Munk
    --
    The real fun is building it and then using it...

  7. Re: What are your obstacles to running CP/M?

    On Apr 2, 6:12 pm, no.s...@no.uce.bellatlantic.net wrote:
    > The minimum can be a keyboard and a nline by nChar LCD
    > CP/M can run to most anything but lines shorter than 32 chars
    > and less than two or three lines will be very awkward. Most
    > applications that run on CP/M will work in 64char by 16 lines
    > but most want 72-80 char by 24 lines or hard copy terminal.


    Also, because of the PX-8, there is a range of software that has been
    especially adapted to fit into 80 x 8.

  8. Re: What are your obstacles to running CP/M?

    On Thu, 3 Apr 2008 21:07:51 -0700 (PDT), BruceMcF
    wrote:

    >On Apr 2, 6:12 pm, no.s...@no.uce.bellatlantic.net wrote:
    >> The minimum can be a keyboard and a nline by nChar LCD
    >> CP/M can run to most anything but lines shorter than 32 chars
    >> and less than two or three lines will be very awkward. Most
    >> applications that run on CP/M will work in 64char by 16 lines
    >> but most want 72-80 char by 24 lines or hard copy terminal.

    >
    >Also, because of the PX-8, there is a range of software that has been
    >especially adapted to fit into 80 x 8.


    True, I know I have three of them. However.. 80x8 is an uncommon LCD
    out there. I've looked at a lot of LCDs and the 40x4 is about the
    argest common type. to go larger you need to build you own display
    system using a fairly raw 320x240 or maybe larger. In the end the
    display system becomes lots of hardware.

    With that said if you know of a panel that will do 64x16 or better I
    am interested. Unobtainium is however not considered.


    Allison





  9. Re: What are your obstacles to running CP/M?

    > Herb Johnson schrieb:
    >
    > > It seems to me that in the year 2008, interest in CP/M from those
    > > "new" to it is a challenge.

    >

    Udo Munk wrote:
    >
    > CP/M is not a challenge in the 21th century, it is a trivial piece of
    > software that a single person can master completely in a couple of
    > weeks. What you see is lack of interest.
    >
    > The CP/M of the 20th and 21th century is called UNIX and it's
    > derivatives like Linux. This OS's are implemented on absolutely
    > everything that has some sort of CPU and memory, embedded controlers,
    > PDA's, cell phones, desktop systems, servers, mainframes.


    > > So, here's the question I'm posting about. Given all these resources,
    > > what are some of the obstacles that persons new to CP/M have when THEY
    > > try to "run" CP/M today, on something which did not run it before?

    >
    > It is boring and trivial. There are much greater challenges nowadays for
    > those who look for them.


    I appreciate Udo's comments, they offer some important perspective.
    One point he's making, is that most of today's personal interest in
    installing and tinkering with operating systems, is taken up with
    Linux on fairly current computer hardware. That path is pretty well
    established to say the least. And, if someone wants more challenge, he
    says, they try to install Linux on less typical hardware. Udo mentions
    the Xbox, and there are other platforms which are harder and more
    challenging still.

    As he says, "the world has shifted from CP/M to much more complicated
    and much more interesting software."

    I agree the world has shifted. How could I not? CP/M is over 30 years
    old. But the point I was addressing, was not about "the world", or
    what's new. And it's not about the RELATIVE interest in CP/M versus,
    say, Linux.

    I can make a case that CP/M interest, and opportunity to run it, has
    GROWN in the last decade. But the simple facts are that there are many
    people interested, and many opportinities for one to run CP/M. "Many"
    is enough to ask the question I'm asking. The likely fact that many
    MORE are working with Linux is not the point - this is not a
    popularity contest, not (quite) a competition.

    However, my takeaway from Udo's comments, relative to my question, is
    that those above some level of technical skills, are more likely to
    work with Linux. That implies that many people who have an interest in
    CP/M installations may have modest technical skills and knowledge.
    That's no insult, people's skills vary, certainly their interests
    vary.

    But it's not that simple, either. Some technical challenges with CP/M
    "boxes" and hardware are different - and difficult - compared to
    today's hardware on WinTel class computers. Some recent replies to my
    post have addressed those differences and difficulties. Again, not
    everyone is interested in those challenges.

    Another takeaway is suggested: Linux is new and popular, some people
    prefer that. Again no insult, ask any antique car collector if "old"
    is bad, or if they are competing with new cars, or if they are trying
    to win over new-car owners to buy something "old". In any event, there
    are enough old car shows and collectors, to not worry about the
    relative lack of interest.

    Thanks for your comments.

    Herb Johnson
    retrotechnology.com

  10. Re: What are your obstacles to running CP/M?

    On Apr 4, 7:35 am, no.s...@no.uce.bellatlantic.net wrote:
    > On Thu, 3 Apr 2008 21:07:51 -0700 (PDT), BruceMcF


    > wrote:
    > >On Apr 2, 6:12 pm, no.s...@no.uce.bellatlantic.net wrote:
    > >> The minimum can be a keyboard and a nline by nChar LCD
    > >> CP/M can run to most anything but lines shorter than 32 chars
    > >> and less than two or three lines will be very awkward. Most
    > >> applications that run on CP/M will work in 64char by 16 lines
    > >> but most want 72-80 char by 24 lines or hard copy terminal.


    > >Also, because of the PX-8, there is a range of software that has been
    > >especially adapted to fit into 80 x 8.


    > True, I know I have three of them.


    Three PX-8's or three programs adapted to the PX-8?

    > However.. 80x8 is an uncommon LCD
    > out there. I've looked at a lot of LCDs and the 40x4 is about the
    > largest common type. to go larger you need to build you own display
    > system using a fairly raw 320x240 or maybe larger. In the end the
    > display system becomes lots of hardware.


    > With that said if you know of a panel that will do 64x16 or better I
    > am interested. Unobtainium is however not considered.


    You're right, I had 256x64p and 640x200p graphic serial LCD's mixed
    together as 640x64p in my head ... and when I look at DigiKey, they
    say the 256x64k part they list is obsolete and they have none in
    stock.

  11. Re: What are your obstacles to running CP/M?

    On Apr 4, 12:15 pm, Herb Johnson wrote:
    > I can make a case that CP/M interest, and opportunity to run it, has
    > GROWN in the last decade. But the simple facts are that there are many
    > people interested, and many opportinities for one to run CP/M. "Many"
    > is enough to ask the question I'm asking. The likely fact that many
    > MORE are working with Linux is not the point - this is not a
    > popularity contest, not (quite) a competition.


    > However, my takeaway from Udo's comments, relative to my question, is
    > that those above some level of technical skills, are more likely to
    > work with Linux.


    Precisely. Part of the appeal of CP/M for someone who wants to
    experience getting down almost to the bare metal is that the BDOS and
    BIOS is something that a person can grasp, setting aside a reasonable
    number of hours on weekends. For those who came into computing after
    assembly language programming for CISC processors started being an
    intricate science of pipeline scheduling, assembly language
    programming for a Z80 is much more accessible.

  12. Re: What are your obstacles to running CP/M?

    > On Wed, 2 Apr 2008 17:44:07 -0700 (PDT), Bill H
    > wrote:
    >
    > >I think one of the biggest issues would be with hardware. If a "noob"
    > >comes accross a complete CP/M system they would probably fall into the
    > >boot disc catagory. But if they just have some parts and want to put
    > >together a complete system, the "noob" would need help knowing what
    > >parts go with what [memory card, CPU, etc.]....

    >
    > >With the PC over the bast 20 years you could basically take any PC
    > >card and plug it in your system and have a 95% chance of it working
    > >with little more than putting in the driver disc....

    >
    > >I think a great resource for CP/M would be a large cross referenced
    > >database that shows what cards work with what hardware with what
    > >jumper settings and / or bios changes etc.

    >

    On Apr 3, 9:01 am, no.s...@no.uce.bellatlantic.net wrote:

    > I'd agree save for it's near impossible to build. There is a lack of
    > information and lack of resources to test it.
    >
    > The matrix for the table would have to include:
    >
    > [followed by a page of features of computers of the 70's: case,
    > power supply, CPU, memory, I/O types, file storage.]
    >
    > For S100 system those are the major elements an integrator would
    > grapple with. For all of those there are compatability,
    > interoperability and revisions. [Plus age of components, plus lack
    > of available documentation.]


    These posts make the point, that many CP/M vintage systems are not
    really "systems" as is thought today. They are collections of
    hardware, cards and chips. In the S-100 world, anyone could pile any
    set of cards together - dealers or end users. That was the point of
    S-100! It was difficult but possible to make some sets work, some not.
    CP/M (and S-100) were the "glue" to make it possible, and even then it
    may not have been enough. Hey, some of those boards did not work, even
    when first sold! But many did. Today, a "nubie" may get a set of cards
    with no knowlege, by buyer OR seller, if they will work together, if
    they work at all.

    The problem of making these work today is compounded, as Allison says,
    by age of components and lack of docs. Well, most of the docs ARE
    available - I should know, I have them, I make them available. Others
    do too, for free on their Web sites.

    But there are more subtle issues which are not outright documented in
    the manuals; those were discussed in the magazines and books of the
    time, or later in email discussions. Dynamic RAM boards were not "good
    players" in the S-100 world, many designs worked poorly, some failed
    when combined with other hardware. And age makes memory chips
    "forgetful", RAMs lose bits. Even ROMS lose bits after a few decades.

    Certainly, one issue for "nubies" is that it's a lot of work to dig up
    documented information. But the Web and time has mostly solved that.
    Another issue is the technical challenge to understand basic CP/M
    operation and requirements. But a deeper challenge is to understand
    chip-level designs, and to know why some combination of hardware may
    have problems - NOT because the manuals says so, but because the
    digital logic between the chips or boards is flawed. Timing errors,
    signal delays, and incompatible signals between S-100 cards through
    the bus. There are similar problems between floppy controllers and
    floppy drives.

    One can avoid some of these issues by only working with single-card CP/
    M hardware; or use a well-established set of S-100 cards (from
    Northstar, Compupro, etc). Or, as Udo Munk provides, use an emulator
    and avoid old hardware all together. But some people insist that they
    want to make a "fresh" or "from scratch" hardware CP/M system.

    In that case, Allison and Bill have outlined that class of issues. But
    there is no general "fix" for those problems, no list of "here is what
    will work", because there are just too many ways cards and hardware
    can be combined. There is no manual or list, and there never, ever
    will be.

    One has to do what they did in the 1970's when that situation was new.
    They have to know the hardware, down to the chip and bus. It's a
    considerable challenge, for some. For others, it's one they don't care
    for. A "nubie" needs to know this is what they are in for, so they can
    make a decision about these challenges.

    But I see some people, which seem to believe they can be talked
    through these technical issues. If they ask enough people, get enough
    discussion, they will get "help" and they can make their stuff "work".
    What that does, is pass these problems on to someone with more
    knowledge - they have to face those same issues. With luck, or with
    some changes to hardware used, there is some success that way. I
    suppose an obstacle for those nubies is "finding the right people to
    help you". One can argue where the line is, between "help you" and
    "doing it for you". But as Allison and Bill note, some critical
    knowlege is from experience, and sometimes you just have to ask around
    to find out.

    Thanks for the comments.

    Herb Johnson
    retrotechnology.com

  13. Re: What are your obstacles to running CP/M?

    On Fri, 4 Apr 2008 09:25:42 -0700 (PDT), BruceMcF
    wrote:

    >On Apr 4, 7:35 am, no.s...@no.uce.bellatlantic.net wrote:
    >> On Thu, 3 Apr 2008 21:07:51 -0700 (PDT), BruceMcF

    >
    >> wrote:
    >> >On Apr 2, 6:12 pm, no.s...@no.uce.bellatlantic.net wrote:
    >> >> The minimum can be a keyboard and a nline by nChar LCD
    >> >> CP/M can run to most anything but lines shorter than 32 chars
    >> >> and less than two or three lines will be very awkward. Most
    >> >> applications that run on CP/M will work in 64char by 16 lines
    >> >> but most want 72-80 char by 24 lines or hard copy terminal.

    >
    >> >Also, because of the PX-8, there is a range of software that has been
    >> >especially adapted to fit into 80 x 8.

    >
    >> True, I know I have three of them.

    >
    >Three PX-8's or three programs adapted to the PX-8?


    Both, I have three PX8s and some of the supplied programs
    tuned for that display and a few I wrote for myself that are tuned for
    80x8.

    However most of the PX* software usually relies on 80x8 being
    virtualized to larger screen. It's an approach but scrolling around
    the screen is a bit ugly and slow too.

    >> However.. 80x8 is an uncommon LCD
    >> out there. I've looked at a lot of LCDs and the 40x4 is about the
    >> largest common type. to go larger you need to build you own display
    >> system using a fairly raw 320x240 or maybe larger. In the end the
    >> display system becomes lots of hardware.

    >
    >> With that said if you know of a panel that will do 64x16 or better I
    >> am interested. Unobtainium is however not considered.

    >
    >You're right, I had 256x64p and 640x200p graphic serial LCD's mixed
    >together as 640x64p in my head ... and when I look at DigiKey, they
    >say the 256x64k part they list is obsolete and they have none in
    >stock.


    240 or 256 by 54 are available from many sources as are 256x128
    but as a character display 256x128 using an 8x8 cell is at best
    32x16 and that is awkward. For character pannels 40x4 is about as
    big as they can easily be found and I've gotten them from
    http://www.crystalfontz.com/ along with QVGA screens (320x240).

    What I'd like to find is a 640x240 or 640x480 that has the controller
    and ram on it (most need external controller and ram).

    Allison

  14. Re: What are your obstacles to running CP/M?

    Herb Johnson schrieb:

    > I appreciate Udo's comments, they offer some important perspective.
    > One point he's making, is that most of today's personal interest in
    > installing and tinkering with operating systems, is taken up with
    > Linux on fairly current computer hardware. That path is pretty well
    > established to say the least. And, if someone wants more challenge, he
    > says, they try to install Linux on less typical hardware. Udo mentions
    > the Xbox, and there are other platforms which are harder and more
    > challenging still.


    The Xbox just was one example and when I think about it, it even is not
    a very good one.

    Imagine you are a bright 2x year old IT student in the 21th century. One
    nerd thing you could do is play with CP/M on some ancient hardware or an
    emulator. With that you sure can impress some other "command-line-nerds" ;-)

    Now, on the other hand you also could take the iPod or the iPhone of
    that very cool nice looking blonde girl, and replace the Apple
    properitary software in the devices with much nicer working software you
    have hacked in your spare time.

    The later tasks can't be done in a few weeks, that stuff is much more
    complicated than any CP/M system has ever been. You have to work arround
    tons of DRM chips and software that Apple put into the devices, because
    they don't want you to tinker with this hardware on your own.

    So given that what would you do? The other day I read a news article,
    that in the US more hacked iPhones are registered now, than unmodified
    devices. Seems to answer that question pretty well me thinks.

    We often say: the worldwide dumbing is permanentely increasing. True for
    the masses, but when I read stuff like that I know, there are still
    bright people at work hacking nowadys equipment the same as we did way
    back then. And this really gives me some hope.

    > As he says, "the world has shifted from CP/M to much more complicated
    > and much more interesting software."
    >
    > I agree the world has shifted. How could I not? CP/M is over 30 years
    > old. But the point I was addressing, was not about "the world", or
    > what's new. And it's not about the RELATIVE interest in CP/M versus,
    > say, Linux.


    This is not what I meant. Someone looking for IT challenges could find
    interesting tasks to do for the next 500 years. Thing is no one becomes
    this old to get all the fun stuff done. So you have to select some task,
    that you can complete sometime and this task should have the coolness
    and nerd factor, that you need for your own ego ;-)

    > I can make a case that CP/M interest, and opportunity to run it, has
    > GROWN in the last decade. But the simple facts are that there are many
    > people interested, and many opportinities for one to run CP/M. "Many"
    > is enough to ask the question I'm asking. The likely fact that many
    > MORE are working with Linux is not the point - this is not a
    > popularity contest, not (quite) a competition.


    Agreed, this also is not what I was trying to say.

    > However, my takeaway from Udo's comments, relative to my question, is
    > that those above some level of technical skills, are more likely to
    > work with Linux. That implies that many people who have an interest in
    > CP/M installations may have modest technical skills and knowledge.
    > That's no insult, people's skills vary, certainly their interests
    > vary.


    I don't think so. See, having very deep CP/M knowledge also would be
    helpfull still in the 21th century. If you can debug a CP/M program with
    DDT you also can repair a crashed Oracle database by hacking the data
    files, because you learned the basics to hack on bit and byte level.
    But where is the coolness factor of using CP/M after you learned the
    basics? So people move on to other more challenging tasks with a higher
    nerd factor.

    > But it's not that simple, either. Some technical challenges with CP/M
    > "boxes" and hardware are different - and difficult - compared to
    > today's hardware on WinTel class computers. Some recent replies to my
    > post have addressed those differences and difficulties. Again, not
    > everyone is interested in those challenges.


    And exactely what is the difference between taking a S100 board and
    plugin some cards, and taking a PCI board and plugin some cards??
    If you are clueless both systems build won't work. If you learned about
    the hardware you are using there, you will be able to get more or less
    working systems.

    > Another takeaway is suggested: Linux is new and popular, some people
    > prefer that. Again no insult, ask any antique car collector if "old"
    > is bad, or if they are competing with new cars, or if they are trying
    > to win over new-car owners to buy something "old". In any event, there
    > are enough old car shows and collectors, to not worry about the
    > relative lack of interest.


    Old cars, old planes, old spaceships, old computers are not bad. You
    play with them for fun, but you won't use them for your daily needs. For
    that you use more modern versions, and don't forget about the nerd
    factor! Will the cool blonde girl have a fun ride with the guy with a
    1936 oldtimer or will she have that with the guy with the 21th century
    Dodge Viper? Go figure.

    > Thanks for your comments.


    You are welcome.

    > Herb Johnson
    > retrotechnology.com


    Udo Munk
    --
    The real fun is building it and then using it...

  15. Re: What are your obstacles to running CP/M?

    On Fri, 4 Apr 2008 10:05:45 -0700 (PDT), Herb Johnson
    wrote:

    >> On Wed, 2 Apr 2008 17:44:07 -0700 (PDT), Bill H
    >> wrote:
    >>
    >> >I think one of the biggest issues would be with hardware. If a "noob"
    >> >comes accross a complete CP/M system they would probably fall into the
    >> >boot disc catagory. But if they just have some parts and want to put
    >> >together a complete system, the "noob" would need help knowing what
    >> >parts go with what [memory card, CPU, etc.]....

    >>
    >> >With the PC over the bast 20 years you could basically take any PC
    >> >card and plug it in your system and have a 95% chance of it working
    >> >with little more than putting in the driver disc....

    >>
    >> >I think a great resource for CP/M would be a large cross referenced
    >> >database that shows what cards work with what hardware with what
    >> >jumper settings and / or bios changes etc.

    >>

    >On Apr 3, 9:01 am, no.s...@no.uce.bellatlantic.net wrote:
    >
    >> I'd agree save for it's near impossible to build. There is a lack of
    >> information and lack of resources to test it.
    >>
    >> The matrix for the table would have to include:
    >>
    >> [followed by a page of features of computers of the 70's: case,
    >> power supply, CPU, memory, I/O types, file storage.]
    >>
    >> For S100 system those are the major elements an integrator would
    >> grapple with. For all of those there are compatability,
    >> interoperability and revisions. [Plus age of components, plus lack
    >> of available documentation.]

    >
    >These posts make the point, that many CP/M vintage systems are not
    >really "systems" as is thought today. They are collections of
    >hardware, cards and chips. In the S-100 world, anyone could pile any
    >set of cards together - dealers or end users. That was the point of
    >S-100! It was difficult but possible to make some sets work, some not.
    >CP/M (and S-100) were the "glue" to make it possible, and even then it
    >may not have been enough. Hey, some of those boards did not work, even
    >when first sold! But many did. Today, a "nubie" may get a set of cards
    >with no knowlege, by buyer OR seller, if they will work together, if
    >they work at all.
    >
    >The problem of making these work today is compounded, as Allison says,
    >by age of components and lack of docs. Well, most of the docs ARE
    >available - I should know, I have them, I make them available. Others
    >do too, for free on their Web sites.
    >
    >But there are more subtle issues which are not outright documented in
    >the manuals; those were discussed in the magazines and books of the
    >time, or later in email discussions. Dynamic RAM boards were not "good
    >players" in the S-100 world, many designs worked poorly, some failed
    >when combined with other hardware. And age makes memory chips
    >"forgetful", RAMs lose bits. Even ROMS lose bits after a few decades.
    >
    >Certainly, one issue for "nubies" is that it's a lot of work to dig up
    >documented information. But the Web and time has mostly solved that.
    >Another issue is the technical challenge to understand basic CP/M
    >operation and requirements. But a deeper challenge is to understand
    >chip-level designs, and to know why some combination of hardware may
    >have problems - NOT because the manuals says so, but because the
    >digital logic between the chips or boards is flawed. Timing errors,
    >signal delays, and incompatible signals between S-100 cards through
    >the bus. There are similar problems between floppy controllers and
    >floppy drives.
    >
    >One can avoid some of these issues by only working with single-card CP/
    >M hardware; or use a well-established set of S-100 cards (from
    >Northstar, Compupro, etc). Or, as Udo Munk provides, use an emulator
    >and avoid old hardware all together. But some people insist that they
    >want to make a "fresh" or "from scratch" hardware CP/M system.
    >
    >In that case, Allison and Bill have outlined that class of issues. But
    >there is no general "fix" for those problems, no list of "here is what
    >will work", because there are just too many ways cards and hardware
    >can be combined. There is no manual or list, and there never, ever
    >will be.
    >
    >One has to do what they did in the 1970's when that situation was new.
    >They have to know the hardware, down to the chip and bus. It's a
    >considerable challenge, for some. For others, it's one they don't care
    >for. A "nubie" needs to know this is what they are in for, so they can
    >make a decision about these challenges.
    >
    >But I see some people, which seem to believe they can be talked
    >through these technical issues. If they ask enough people, get enough
    >discussion, they will get "help" and they can make their stuff "work".
    >What that does, is pass these problems on to someone with more
    >knowledge - they have to face those same issues. With luck, or with
    >some changes to hardware used, there is some success that way. I
    >suppose an obstacle for those nubies is "finding the right people to
    >help you". One can argue where the line is, between "help you" and
    >"doing it for you". But as Allison and Bill note, some critical
    >knowlege is from experience, and sometimes you just have to ask around
    >to find out.
    >
    >Thanks for the comments.
    >
    >Herb Johnson
    >retrotechnology.com



    Herb,

    There is one significant difference... In the late 70s I was one of a
    few running a system with a disk so CP/M or and DOS was rare.
    The process to get them up made me dependent on Kilobaud, Byte, DDJ,
    and LICA(Long Island Computer Association) to answer all those whys.
    They are gone now but We ahve the net and more impostantly we can
    look back at systems known to work well and those that didn't as well.
    Plus on any given day there are more people here than either ran, run
    or have built systems around CP/M then in 1979.

    No uestion with the long list of available CP/M emulators or 8080/Z80
    emulators that can CP/M or its heirs as possible OS to run are a
    resource and tool that in 1980 I would have found very useful.

    While manuals are available often they explain a board or maybe a
    peice of software. Most never have a complete picture unless you get
    a manual like that is system level. For example The three biggies I
    have complete S100 [I'll leave out SBCs like the AmproLB, SB180 or
    even for that Kaypro] systems for CompuPro, NS* Horizon, CCS 2200
    series each to have what I'd call complete documentation easilly fills
    a 2-3" [or more] binder with manuals for each board, Backplane and box
    and then there is the native software be it ROM monitor,boot or DOS.
    Bringing up any of those systems without a full set of thsoe docs and
    also assimilating them is possible but for a new to S100 sort there
    will be hole that 747s can fly through. The result is a lot
    frustrating work to figure out things that often are explained in
    another manual.

    For 1980 S100 and CP/M were as close to plug and play as possible
    considering the state of S100 was never standardized till many years
    later and there was without question "flavors" that didn't mix well.
    So some examples like ...I have a MITS altair 8800(early) and want
    to run CP/M and it' has a Z80 card literally translates to you have a
    pile of very mixed pedigree hardware that MAY work with the right
    combinations and may be a few wires are added/removed. Why?
    Because from 1975 to as early as 1976 S100 was sorta adhoc and there
    were two flavors that were almost the same (MITS Altair and IMSAI)
    and when Z80 hit the street that went from bad to worse as Z80 and
    8080 were software compatable (mostly) but totally hardware different
    for bus timing and interface.. So you ahd system trying to make Z80
    look like 8080 on S100 and that really bent timings with attendant
    pain. After about 1979 everyone had figured out that If you doing Z80
    it's should look like the other guys Z80 to the bus with that the IO
    and other things started to behave better.

    So if anyone out there wants to do S100 hardware and is a bit new at
    it start with a single pedigree system like Compupro, or Cromemco
    or CCS as at least all the docs are findable and consistent for the
    end product. Once your working then start playing mix and match or
    growing to a super system.

    Some hints:

    PT VDM-1 was one of the easiest and best of the 16x64 video boards.
    the manual for it is very good and has sorce code for a driver.

    Avoid Dram to start (have fun with that later)

    Known good 8K cards [Seals, PT, Vectorgraphic.] be prepared to find
    bad 2102s and very likely socket problems. NOTE: these run HOT
    and really want good cooling.

    There were many vendors of 64K static rams using 2116/6116 2kx8 and
    that was good technology and never met one that didn't behave well.
    There wer alter designs that use the 8Kx8 parts and wre vary low
    power. Compupro had a bunch that I've used a lot of RAM16, Ram17.
    Those cards larger than 64K are appealing but make sure the can be set
    up as a simple 64K to start with to avoid startup pains.

    Start with a Z80 card that has a usable Rom socket (2716 minimum).
    CCS, Compupro, Comemeco, Computime SBC800 among others.
    the Computime SBC880 is very useful to the new system inegrator as it
    has a serial port, 1K of and 2716 socket so it can run a rom based
    monitor even on a dead bus. If you ever have had to troubleshoot
    a non front panel machine that board is worth it. If you working on a
    machine like a NS* Horizon the ability to have a software front pannel
    is the tool to have for troubleshooting FDC or other problems or to
    initially load CP/M when you don't have boot media but have blank hard
    sector disks!

    There were some great disk controllers and some really sad ones.
    Avoid those that are hard sectored as you locked to media and
    if you dont have it it's not usable. That saif NS* has one of the
    easiest and mostl likely to make work but finding NOS 10sector media
    is a challenge. Of the soft sector designs I found CCS,
    Compupro(Disk1A) and Tarbell to be well known but there are many
    others out there. The easiest to bring up will always be those that
    support very common drives that can eb had and known to behave well.
    Aso controllers with built in boot roms can be an aid. Myself I
    prefered 5.25 (DSDD) Double density single or two sided softsector as
    you can generally create the media on a PC (maybe a older PC) and
    drives for that are the most available. Also many of the 8" drive
    beside being big also required 24V and maybe even -5 (or -12).
    Be aware that many of the better FDCs had real analog PLLs and like
    most analog circuits they sometimes do not age well. If you going to
    do it start with the standard config as that is most likely to work
    then venture forth to variations.

    IO, there were a raft of IO cards, most all good some a real pain to
    set up all the jumpers/headers. Again use same IO board as FDC
    and CPU will help assure that the serial ports and any software line
    up. For example Compupro boot roms and BIOS are able to work with
    several of the Compupro IO boards for serial IO but will not work with
    NS* IO (out of the box).

    Just a brain dump for the S100 challanged.

    Allison





  16. Re: What are your obstacles to running CP/M?

    On Fri, 4 Apr 2008 09:15:13 -0700 (PDT), Herb Johnson
    wrote:

    >> Herb Johnson schrieb:
    >>
    >> > It seems to me that in the year 2008, interest in CP/M from those
    >> > "new" to it is a challenge.

    >>

    >Udo Munk wrote:
    >>
    >> CP/M is not a challenge in the 21th century, it is a trivial piece of
    >> software that a single person can master completely in a couple of
    >> weeks. What you see is lack of interest.
    >>
    >> The CP/M of the 20th and 21th century is called UNIX and it's
    >> derivatives like Linux. This OS's are implemented on absolutely
    >> everything that has some sort of CPU and memory, embedded controlers,
    >> PDA's, cell phones, desktop systems, servers, mainframes.

    >
    >> > So, here's the question I'm posting about. Given all these resources,
    >> > what are some of the obstacles that persons new to CP/M have when THEY
    >> > try to "run" CP/M today, on something which did not run it before?

    >>
    >> It is boring and trivial. There are much greater challenges nowadays for
    >> those who look for them.

    >
    >I appreciate Udo's comments, they offer some important perspective.
    >One point he's making, is that most of today's personal interest in
    >installing and tinkering with operating systems, is taken up with
    >Linux on fairly current computer hardware. That path is pretty well
    >established to say the least. And, if someone wants more challenge, he
    >says, they try to install Linux on less typical hardware. Udo mentions
    >the Xbox, and there are other platforms which are harder and more
    >challenging still.
    >
    >As he says, "the world has shifted from CP/M to much more complicated
    >and much more interesting software."
    >
    >I agree the world has shifted. How could I not? CP/M is over 30 years
    >old. But the point I was addressing, was not about "the world", or
    >what's new. And it's not about the RELATIVE interest in CP/M versus,
    >say, Linux.
    >
    >I can make a case that CP/M interest, and opportunity to run it, has
    >GROWN in the last decade. But the simple facts are that there are many
    >people interested, and many opportinities for one to run CP/M. "Many"
    >is enough to ask the question I'm asking. The likely fact that many
    >MORE are working with Linux is not the point - this is not a
    >popularity contest, not (quite) a competition.
    >
    >However, my takeaway from Udo's comments, relative to my question, is
    >that those above some level of technical skills, are more likely to
    >work with Linux. That implies that many people who have an interest in
    >CP/M installations may have modest technical skills and knowledge.
    >That's no insult, people's skills vary, certainly their interests
    >vary.
    >
    >But it's not that simple, either. Some technical challenges with CP/M
    >"boxes" and hardware are different - and difficult - compared to
    >today's hardware on WinTel class computers. Some recent replies to my
    >post have addressed those differences and difficulties. Again, not
    >everyone is interested in those challenges.
    >
    > Another takeaway is suggested: Linux is new and popular, some people
    >prefer that. Again no insult, ask any antique car collector if "old"
    >is bad, or if they are competing with new cars, or if they are trying
    >to win over new-car owners to buy something "old". In any event, there
    >are enough old car shows and collectors, to not worry about the
    >relative lack of interest.
    >
    >Thanks for your comments.
    >
    >Herb Johnson
    >retrotechnology.com


    I've always maintaind that for getting to bare metal CP/M is it.
    Also while Linux both popular and useful it's also big wher CP/M BDOS
    source is around 140K source and assembles to around 5.5k the whole
    OS (CCP, BDOS, standard style BIOS) binary is around 8K total and the
    source is maybe 250-300K. It's one of the few OSs out there that
    every one that wants to can wrap their minds around the entire source
    line by line. You can see the hardware and software interaction and
    also tradeoffs made in to make CP/M more portable. This is very
    useful and instructive as everthing needed to understand OSs are there
    (even if elementary level). There is useful software for it
    including all of the basic tools one would expect and an assortment of
    languages and user applications as well. It's old but it still can do
    useful work.


    Allison

  17. Re: What are your obstacles to running CP/M?

    On Apr 3, 11:08*am, Udo Munk wrote:
    > Herb Johnson schrieb:
    >
    > > It seems to me that in the year 2008, interest in CP/M from those
    > > "new" to it is a challenge. It's especially a challenge to those who
    > > expect that a "computer" basically comes with a hard drive and video
    > > display and an operating system. And that it runs programs without
    > > much fuss, or they don't run at all - period. They all have pretty
    > > much the same hardware, so you don't have to "worry" about hardware
    > > details. And, other assumptions like that - the ones we make today for
    > > (mostly) Windows/Intel *based systems.

    >
    >


    Hi
    As Herb knows, I've built a CP/M system from truly
    the ground level up. Including writing routines to format
    the disk.
    I'd never used CP/M during its day but I'll admit to being
    very involved in electronics and computers at the time.
    I mostly self tought myself digital and IC's. Most all my formal
    training was tubes and analog transistors.
    It is true that bringing CP/M up from scratch can seem like
    an over welming project. Still, the web is a great source
    of information. Doing it from scratch usually requires at
    least schematics and data sheet for complex parts.
    Software listing are great when they can be found.
    Even copies of firmware run through a decompiler can
    enlighten one enough to make progress.
    I think it mostly takes a willingness to jump in. If your
    jumping in with no knowledge, expect the project to take
    some time. Maybe even more than a year. Even so, the
    things you'll learn will be worth the trip.
    I currently work for a company that makes uPs. The knowledge
    that I used to get my CP/M system running is mostly the
    same knowledge I use every day in my job. Sure, the parts have
    changed but the basic knowldge really hasn't.
    Learn how to experiment. No one has ever completed a complicated
    working project without some experimenting. On one
    hobby project I'm working on now, I assemble code and
    blow EPROMs. Each experiment leads me closer to the
    ultimate goal. Even the failed experiments yield important
    understanding in to the problem.
    Dwight

  18. Re: What are your obstacles to running CP/M?

    On Fri, 04 Apr 2008 23:32:01 GMT, no.spam@no.uce.bellatlantic.net
    wrote:
    > on any given day there are more people here than either ran, run
    >or have built systems around CP/M then in 1979.


    There are many times more people running Symbian than the
    total who ever ran CP/M. Nokia gives away really nice SDK's
    and encourages people to program applications. Sony and
    others also build Symbian devices.

    There's music players, video recorders, cameras, GPS, plus
    the fact that wireless connection and bluetooth is common,
    and most have USB. Word processing with a telephone
    pad turned out to be a nuisance so most later generations
    either have a keyboard somewhere (flip, twist, slide) or allow
    using a USB or Bluetooth one. Some people are putting movies
    in theirs. Basically, pocket computers WAY more powerful
    than anything we had running CP/M 'in the day'.

    Until a few weeks ago, I knew NOTHING about it.

    Then, I bought a Nokia 6620 in an auction. For a BUCK!

    You want something to hack on? Hack Symbian! You can
    carry the results around in your pocket!

    Bill

  19. Re: What are your obstacles to running CP/M?

    On Apr 4, 6:10 pm, no.s...@no.uce.bellatlantic.net wrote:

    > >> With that said if you know of a panel that will do 64x16 or better I
    > >> am interested. Unobtainium is however not considered.


    > >You're right, I had 256x64p and 640x200p graphic serial LCD's mixed
    > >together as 640x64p in my head ... and when I look at DigiKey, they
    > >say the 256x64k part they list is obsolete and they have none in
    > >stock.


    > 240 or 256 by 54 are available from many sources as are 256x128
    > but as a character display 256x128 using an 8x8 cell is at best
    > 32x16 and that is awkward. For character pannels 40x4 is about as
    > big as they can easily be found and I've gotten them from http://www.crystalfontz.com/ along with QVGA screens (320x240).


    > What I'd like to find is a 640x240 or 640x480 that has the controller
    > and ram on it (most need external controller and ram).


    I've not seen anything like that ... not looked for anything like
    that, actually. All the graphics HVGA LCD's I've seen need an external
    controller, with something like ...

    http://www.reachtech.com/display/slcd.html

    .... as a two-part serial controller + LCD module giving the lowest
    part count. I think the slcd goes up to HVGA, but I don't know
    anything about what HVGA LCD graphics modules are out there.

    Between economies of scale and a fast moving market, I don't LCD
    makers want to tie themselves to specific controller combinations for
    anything any bigger than the simplest or smallest displays.

  20. Re: What are your obstacles to running CP/M?

    On Apr 4, 11:51*pm, Bill wrote:
    > On Fri, 04 Apr 2008 23:32:01 GMT, no.s...@no.uce.bellatlantic.net
    > wrote:
    >
    > > *on any given day there are more people here than either ran, run
    > >or have built systems around CP/M then in 1979. *

    >
    > There are many times more people running Symbian than the
    > total who ever ran CP/M. Nokia gives away really nice SDK's
    > and encourages people to program applications. Sony and
    > others also build Symbian devices.
    >
    > There's music players, video recorders, cameras, GPS, plus
    > the fact that wireless connection and bluetooth is common,
    > and most have USB. Word processing with a telephone
    > pad turned out to be a nuisance so most later generations
    > either have a keyboard somewhere (flip, twist, slide) or allow
    > using a USB or Bluetooth one. Some people are putting movies
    > in theirs. Basically, pocket computers WAY more powerful
    > than anything we had running CP/M 'in the day'.
    >
    > Until a few weeks ago, I knew NOTHING about it.
    >
    > Then, I bought a Nokia 6620 in an auction. For a BUCK!
    >
    > You want something to hack on? Hack Symbian! You can
    > carry the results around in your pocket!
    >
    > Bill


    This is comparing apples and oranges though. Getting a CP/M system up
    and running would be akin to completly rebuilding a Ford Model T from
    boxes of parts versus Tricking out a 2008 Ford Focus (ie getting
    Symbian runnning).

    Allison's thoughts on picking a specific known system to start out
    with is a good one. I could picture a web page that says:

    "So you want to make a CP/M system?"

    And then it goes on to list some well known, well behaved systems and
    the components you should look for, almost a check list.

    Bill H

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