MP/M-86 - CP/M

This is a discussion on MP/M-86 - CP/M ; On Fri, 4 Jul 2008 18:34:45 +0200, "Mr. Emmanuel Roche, France" wrote: > Altos ... seem to >have been very successful selling MP/M systems... That's why I find it >curious that they are so little know, now. >Mr. Emmanuel Roche, ...

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Thread: MP/M-86

  1. Re: MP/M-86

    On Fri, 4 Jul 2008 18:34:45 +0200, "Mr. Emmanuel Roche, France"
    wrote:

    > Altos ... seem to
    >have been very successful selling MP/M systems... That's why I find it
    >curious that they are so little know, now.


    >Mr. Emmanuel Roche, France


    What about FlexOS? There seems to have been a lot of work put into
    FlexOS around that time - again, find the July (and probably August)
    1988 issues of Computer Shopper - there's a really terrific interview
    with Kildall and others at DRI about what happened, where things
    are going, etc.

    Article says they pulled back from MP/M development to work on Flex

    Says FlexOS could work as the backend to virtually ANY system,
    VMS, OS/2, Unix, DOS, you name it. Was supposed to be a very
    powerful multi-user multitasking system. I'd only heard about it's use
    in cash registers. Boy, was I mis-informed!

    I'm thinking maybe after Ziff acquired CS they put articles onto CD
    under the title maybe Computer Library? That was about this time
    frame - 1988, so maybe these things are already available in
    computer readable form?

    Bill

  2. Re: MP/M-86

    "Bill" wrote:

    > What about FlexOS?


    I have been searching the Internet for years about any info about FlexOS.
    So far, the only thing that I have found is the following:

    ALAN BADGER
    16049 Selborne Dr.
    San Leandro, Ca. 94578-1128
    510-828-2149

    Senior Software Engineer
    Digital Research/Novell Monterey, Ca. 1989-1994

    Enhancements and redesigns for display drivers for FlexOS (Digital
    Research's real-time scaleable operating system) and XGem, the graphic
    interface for FlexOS. This included redesigns of graphic primitives, and
    conversion of the driver from 16-color to 256-color.

    Creation of a variety of device drivers, including non-graphical consoles,
    mass storage devices and printers, for FlexOs and DR's other operating
    systems, including DR/DOS (later Novell DOS) and NEST, an embedded and
    networked version of FlexOS.

    Projects were coded in C and Intel assembly.

    Another man who should know a few things about FlexOS is Frank Holsworth:

    Director of the Monterey Development Center
    Digital Research
    (Privately Held; 51-200 employees; Computer Software industry)

    June 1980 - September 1992 (12 years 4 months)

    Software engineering and management roles with heavy participation in
    worldwide marketing and sales. Responsible for the FlexOS Business Unit at
    the time DRI merged with Novell. Designated one of ten key employees at DRI
    at the time of the merger.

    Director, Monterey Development Center - Managed 40 people with development,
    marketing, and tech support responsibilities for FlexOS operating system and
    GEM graphics products. FlexOS was focused at the Point of Sale (EPOS) and
    Process Control markets.

    Senior Staff Software Engineer - Primary designer DRI's multi-tasking
    operating systems, including MP/M-86, Concurrent CP/M-86, and FlexOS
    (portable, UNIX and DOS compatibility, real-time, networking, graphics).
    Designed the Shift-JIS Kanji system for Japanese-based computers.

    Searching on the Internet, I discovered that "IBM 4680 BASIC" is a version
    of CBASIC!

    In fact, it seems that FlexOS was sold by IBM as the 4680...

    Yours Sincerely,
    Mr. Emmanuel Roche, France

    Post-Scriptum:
    Bill, since you are an American, why is it me who must tell you this? When
    will you finally do something interesting/useful?



  3. Re: MP/M-86

    Found in the "IBM 4680 BASIC Language Reference" Version 1 Release 2 (on the
    Internet):

    -----------------------------------------------
    IBM 4680 BASIC Compiler mm/dd/yy Version x.x
    XXXX-XXX (c) Copyright IBM Corp 1986-1991.
    Licensed Material - Program Property of IBM.
    (c) Copyright Digital Research, Inc. 1985.
    -----------------------------------------------
    end of pass 1
    end of pass 2
    End of Compilation

    And, on the next page:

    C>LINK86 TEST
    -----------------------------------------------
    LINK86 Linkage Editor mmm dd 19yy vers x.xx
    Copyright (C) 1982, 1989 Digital Research, Inc.
    -----------------------------------------------

    What is funny is that I went to CP/M to be able to have my own computer
    (remember: I was a COBOL programmer on IBM Mainframes) and now I discover
    that the IBM 4680 is, indeed, running a Digital Research Operating System
    and its CBASIC Compiler!

    Life is funny...

    Yours Sincerely,
    Mr. Emmanuel Roche, France




  4. Re: MP/M-86

    On Mon, 7 Jul 2008 18:23:16 +0200, "Mr. Emmanuel Roche, France"
    wrote:

    >Bill, since you are an American, why is it me who must tell you this? When
    >will you finally do something interesting/useful?


    And please, Emmanual, when your head recovers from that bike accident,
    please do be sure and let us all know?

    Meantime, you're raving lunatic drivel again ...

    Bill

  5. Re: MP/M-86

    --{ Mr. Emmanuel Roche, France a plopé ceci: }--

    >
    > 1) lack of keyboards of various sizes (have you ever bought a pair of
    > Crazy!


    Did you know the "Happy Hacking" keyboard ?



    --
    Ce n'est pas forcément optimal, mais pour un
    débutant, c'est la solution "agricole".

  6. Re: MP/M-86

    "Bill" wrote:

    > And please, Emmanuel, when your head recovers from that bike accident,
    > please do be sure and let us all know?


    Are you blind? I wrote about my ankle and shoulder being broken by a
    youngster but, since I was wearing a helmet, I had no problem with my head
    (which did not hit the ground: I was simply violently thrown to the ground
    on my right side, after being hit by the car on the roundabout). You,
    obviously, are not sure... and as for "letting us all know", this is the
    comp.os.cpm Newsgroup: you don't need to know what is happening to me.

    > Meantime, you're raving lunatic drivel again ...


    Who found that "IBM 4680 BASIC" was "CBASIC-86 Compiler"? You or me?

    Cannot you find anything relevant to Digital Research, Gary Kildall, CP/M,
    Concurrent CP/M, GSX, CP/NET, or FlexOS? Do you need to come to France to be
    able to do all that I have been doing, for years, 3,000 kilometers away from
    the US of A?

    Mr. Emmanuel Roche, France




  7. Re: MP/M-86

    Fond the following on the Internet.

    Yours Sincerely,
    Mr. Emmanuel Roche, France


    Hello,

    The Point-of-Sale-Terminals (POSTs) in Harris Teeter run an IBM
    real-time operating system known as FlexOS, or sometimes just the "4680"
    or "4690" operating system, named after the model of the terminals. The
    basic command prompt actually resembles DR [Digital Research] DOS;
    Flex/OS was originally a DR product. However, the IBM 4680 Supermarket
    applications add a number of enhancements that make it a lot different
    from a normal DOS clone. The cash registers themselves are Pentium
    class Intel boxes[1] with no hard drives; they boot diskless on an
    Ethernet network from a controller cluster and have a proprietary IBM
    peripheral interface for all of the periperals (scanners, scale,
    keyboard, etc). The controller cluster normally consists of two Pentium
    or higher class servers. This basic IBM product has been around since
    the late 1980s and used to run on Token Ring networks; H.T. replaced
    theirs with Ethernet models recently. Other area grocery store chains
    using the same basic system are: Food Lion, Lowe's Foods, Kroger, and
    Winn-Dixie[2].

    I don't know much about the graphics code that displays the information
    on the screen. The LCD flatpanels connect to the standard VGA output
    of the terminals (not to any of the proprietary interfaces). I agree
    that the display looks like fvwm, but the underlying FlexOS operating
    system is not a Unix-based OS. It could be that it was convenient
    enough for IBM to port the code from fvwm and X to FlexOS; however I
    don't see any evidence on the Web that these programs run natively on
    FlexOS. It may very well be that the programmer who created the
    interface simply copied a fvwm-style graphics while designing the
    screen. While it kind of looks like a window, in practice there are
    never any other windows, no minimizing or maximizing, etc... so it's
    really just a border, not a real "window" or GUI.

    Btw: the flat-panel LCDs are intended to be a readout for you, the
    customer, so it's not "nosy" at all to be looking at them. The cashier
    has their own smaller display on the keyboard and shouldn't need to look
    at the large one.

    Hope this helps!

    Jeremy Portzer
    Accounting Office / Customer Service / Cashier / whatever
    Harris Teeter #21, Raleigh

    [1] POST historians will note that for a long time, the 4680 terminals
    and controllers were IBM PS/2 computers; IBM continued to make
    replacement PS/2 parts for a long time after they left the consumer
    market, simply to supply the retail industry. I'm aware that some older
    Food Lion locations still have PS/2 hardware.

    [2] The "loyalty card" phenomenon that began hitting grocery stores in
    the late 90s was mainly a result of IBM's introduction of the loyalty
    card features into their 4680 Supermarket Application. Also, stores
    have a great deal of ability to customize various aspects of the system,
    which is why it may not be immediately evident that these stores all use
    the same system.




  8. Re: MP/M-86

    Found the following on an IBM Web site dealing with 4690 OS:

    CBASIC I/O Sessions

    Define Resource

    Terminal I/O Sessions are limited to 99 concurrent active (or OPEN) I/O
    Sessions per application. The I/O session numbers include pipes and devices
    as well as files. This is a CBASIC Runtime limit.

    Prior to 4690 V1 9610 level, the controller I/O Sessions are limited to 64
    concurrent active (or OPEN) I/O Sessions per application. With the 9610
    level this limit was expanded to 99 I/O Sessions. This limit is changed to
    1024 I/O Session numbers in 4690 V2R3 (CD in 1/2001). It is available
    through a CBASIC runtime update.

    How to Manage Resource

    These are limited in the CBASIC statements that OPEN the sessions by
    limiting the maximum values to 99 and 1,024 respectively for the terminal
    and controller applications. The programmer must control the I/O Session
    numbers assigned. If duplicate session numbers are used they can not be OPEN
    at the same time.


    CBASIC Application Code Size

    Define Resource

    The maximum code size supported by the linkage editor for CBASIC prior to
    4690 V2R1 was one million bytes. This was true for a terminal or controller
    application.

    These limits were extended to two million bytes in 4690 OS V2R1.

    (Contrary to what they write, this is not "CBASIC', but "CBASIC-86
    Compiler", better known as "CB-86", to distinguish it from "CB-80" for CP/M
    2.2.)

    Yours Sincerely,
    Mr. Emmanuel Roche, France




  9. Re: MP/M-86

    Sur http://images.google.fr/ quand on tape "clavier Marsan" (sans les
    guillemets), le deuxième lien est un article de 1990 sur Claude Marsan, tel
    que je l'ai connu.

    Nostalgie...

    Mr. Emmanuel Roche, France




  10. Re: MP/M-86

    On Mon, 07 Jul 2008 10:33:27 -0500, Bill
    wrote:

    >What about FlexOS? There seems to have been a lot of work put into
    >FlexOS around that time - again, find the July (and probably August)
    >1988 issues of Computer Shopper - there's a really terrific interview
    >with Kildall and others at DRI about what happened, where things
    >are going, etc.
    >
    >Article says they pulled back from MP/M development to work on Flex


    The end of the first part, July, 1988, says the details of Flex and
    future directions in the next issue. I found September 1988 in that
    box, but not August. Still looking.

    Am I the only one here who had Ziff's 'Computer Library' on CD-ROM?

    Rather amazing: I can't find ANY mention anywhere in eBay listings.

    The question is whether Computer Shopper articles, especially from
    that summer of 1988, were available in computer readable format
    ANYWHERE. Would like an answer. So I can simply post a link to
    mr roche rather than have to go to the trouble of scanning for a
    couple hours for such an ignorant ingrate.

    If I can find any of my old ''Computer Libraries'' I might learn more
    - haven't seen them in maybe 8 or ten years though.

    To serious info collectors - each CD had 12 months' articles from
    a number of magazines, including PC Mag and others of Ziff-Davis

    So a 'complete' collection would require ONE CD per year, plus the
    first one to get you going. I think I was saving October, and probably
    have some 'other' months as 'traders' in case anybody wants to get
    a collection going. I should have maybe 5-6 years' complete - now if
    I can just find the stupid things.

    Bill

  11. Re: MP/M-86

    On Tue, 08 Jul 2008 10:56:50 -0500, Bill
    wrote:

    >The end of the first part, July, 1988, says the details of Flex and
    >future directions in the next issue. I found September 1988 in that
    >box, but not August. Still looking.


    Found it.

    1) Kildall said DRI developed Concurrent after a number of OEMs,
    unhappy with ms's recent price hikes, came to him and asked him to.
    Their only alternative WAS TO BUY MS DOS FROM PATTERSON
    LABS, RECENTLY SOLD TO PHOENIX TECHNOLOGIES.

    2) Kildall showed their source code to Apple. And Apple was cool
    with it, acknowledging is was totally different from their windows
    product. THEN Apple got into negotiations with gates & co, after
    which Apple filed suit against DRI over 'look and feel'.

    Gates is evil beyond anything the business world has seen in decades.
    Our 'computing experience' is seriously degraded because of his
    influence.

    So far, Kildall has been THE ONLY creative designer of operating
    systems for micro computers. David Cutler was a washout. With him
    gone, who knows when there will be substantial improvement of this
    sorry state of affairs. Ed Roberts is right - nothing new in 30 years.
    And while Linus is a nice guy, his swiss army knife approach isn't for
    the 'prime time' user.

    Bill

  12. Re: MP/M-86

    On Jul 8, 9:38*am, Bill wrote:
    > On Tue, 08 Jul 2008 10:56:50 -0500, Bill
    > wrote:
    >
    > >The end of the first part, July, 1988, says the details of Flex and
    > >future directions in the next issue. I found September 1988 in that
    > >box, but not August. Still looking.

    >
    > Found it.
    >
    > 1) Kildall said DRI developed Concurrent after a number of OEMs,
    > * *unhappy with ms's recent price hikes, came to him and asked him to..
    > * Their only alternative WAS TO BUY MS DOS FROM PATTERSON
    > * LABS, RECENTLY SOLD TO PHOENIX TECHNOLOGIES.
    >
    > 2) Kildall showed their source code to Apple. And Apple was cool
    > * *with it, acknowledging is was totally different from their windows
    > * *product. THEN Apple got into negotiations with gates & co, after
    > * *which Apple filed suit against DRI over 'look and feel'.
    >
    > Gates is evil beyond anything the business world has seen in decades.
    > Our 'computing experience' is seriously degraded because of his
    > influence.
    >
    > So far, Kildall has been THE ONLY creative designer of operating
    > systems for micro computers. David Cutler was a washout. With him
    > gone, who knows when there will be substantial improvement of this
    > sorry state of affairs. Ed Roberts is right - nothing new in 30 years.
    > And while Linus is a nice guy, his swiss army knife approach isn't for
    > the 'prime time' user.
    >
    > Bill


    The AltairZ80 simulator can now run MP/M-86 and Concurrent CP/M-86.
    It simulates a fully loaded Compupro 8/16 system with floppy, hard
    disks, RAM drive, and four Interfacer3 cards for a total of 33 serial
    ports (counting the one on the System Support 1 card. The simulator
    and disk images are downloadable from Peter Schorn's website.

    It would be great if someone more experienced than I on MP/M-86 could
    test it out. It would also be nice if the XIOS, or even the entire
    operating system could be assembled from the sources. It looks like
    all the sources required to do it are available on the web.

    -Howard

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