cctech Digest, Vol 62, Issue 33

Jeff Erwin jefferwin at
Wed Oct 15 12:32:43 CDT 2008

> >Jeff Erwin said the following on 10/14/2008 1:56 PM:
> >> The Starplex was the NS answer to the MDS, but was much more 'late 70's'
> in
> >> its design.  The prom programmer was built into the system, as was the
> >> screen and floppy drives.  All very modular.  I learned asm80 writing
> the
> >> editor and assembler for that beast.
> ?>>
> >>
> >snip
> >> Version 4 was radically different from the 3.X and prior versions.  The
> >> earlier versions used the $X controls, version 4 used the controls that
> were
> >> then used in the PLM86 compiler.  Also, the DATA statement was
> eliminated
> >> and other language constructs were changed.  PLM80 V3 code would not
> compile
> >> without mods.  I remember it being released at about the same time the
> 8086
> >> and PLM86 was was released and the effort was to make PLM80 and PLM86
> >> somewhat similar.  The PLM80 3.x docs are pretty much worthless if you
> are
> >> using the 4.0 compiler.  4.0 was also one executable, a big change from
> the
> >> PLM81 and PLM82 2-pass method the earlier versions used.
> >>
> >>
> >
> >I'm confused.  I have V4 of the "resident" compiler, that is, the one
> >that runs on an MDS Series II or MDS-800.  Those machines had either an
> >8080 or an 8085 cpu.  I'm putting in a very small screen shot below of
> >the files.  Hopefully this is ok for the list.  It shows that there are
> >6 overlay files to this compiler.  It is not one monolithic executable.
> >Are you sure you aren't talking about the PL/M-86 compiler that runs on
> >an MDS Series III?  That one is 8086-based.
> >
> >If, indeed, you have an 8080-based compiler for PL/M-80 that is one
> >large file, I would like to see that.  It is new to me.

I think we are both right, although I am guilt of not being clearer.  The
earlier versions required two executables, plm81 and plm82.  Version 4 went
to a single executable with 7 overlays, plm80.ov0 to plm80.ov6.  I think
this is what you are seeing.  It isn't really 'one big executable' so I
misspoke.  If you see the overlays, you have version 4.

The source for CPM (2.2 I think) seems to be in the PLM80 v4 format, I am
picking up a lot of the specifics from there, but if you can find the actual

Thanks for looking.

By the way, your boss was right to be wary of National Semi in those days,
the management of the group creating Starplex was pretty squirrely.  I
stayed a year out of school before I was hired by INtel and moved to
Oregon.  Intel was a $300M company when I went there!


> >
> >snip
> >>
> >> I'd love to get a copy of whatever you have relative to 4.0.  Emailing
> the
> >> PDF is probably easiest, I am more than happy to pay any costs
> associated.
> >>
> >>
> >I did a quick look for my plm docs and didn't find them.  I'll look more
> >tonight.  I know they are in my "collection", just have to find them.
> snip
> >
> >Let me know more about your PL/M-80 compiler, if you can.
> >
> >Dave

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