Multi-platform distribution format (Was: Backups [was

tony duell ard at
Mon Sep 21 12:35:09 CDT 2015

> Not CP/M admittedly, but small contemporary
> Burroughs machines certainly used cassettes, both
> for program and data storage. I wrote several
> fairly complex diskless accounting systems using
> four cassette drives, one or two card readers and
> a line printer (in addition to the console
> printer).
> Why not; not much different conceptually after all
> from early systems using open-reel mag tape, or
> even punch(ed) cards.

I feel there are 2 distinct types of cassette system from the
user perspective. 

The first is the sort used on 1980s home computers with a
standard or slightly modified (Commodore, Atari) audio
cassette recorder. These needed considerable manual
intervention to position the tape (rewind, fast forward),
select record or play mode, etc. Essentially only useable
for loading/saving programs and sequential files

The second has the tape mechanism under computer control
like the HP9830 (HP9865 add-on drive too), this Burroughs
the PX8, etc. With these you can load particular files, rewrite
files, possibly have a block-structured file system. Often these
units (but not the PX8) used a special tape with a different
coercivity to audio tape.

The second type would seem to be entirely useable for
'business' computing before floppy drives were 
available. I am not so sure about the first type :-)


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