rogues galleries

Warren Wolfe wizard at
Tue Nov 28 12:35:59 CST 2006

On Tue, 2006-11-28 at 09:45 -0800, Chuck Guzis wrote:

> The next step--applications--with really (for the time) top-notch 
> products such as WordStar served as impetus for manufacturers to 
> simply license an OS and resell the applications.  No one actually 
> wanted to develop their own OS--it was expensive and then there was 
> the matter of applications.

    WordStar collects a great deal of derision now, but when it came
out, I thought it just might have been developed by an extra-terrestrial
civilization, and delivered to us poor schmucks to help us crawl out of
the muck and become civilized ourselves.  (I didn't have much experience
with decent software at the time.)

> Many vertical market developers (which is where the real 
> money was) had already discovered Gordon Eubank's BASIC-M and the 
> follow-on CBASIC.

    The three BASICS that ruled the CP/M world were the Microsoft BASIC
interpreter, generally referred to as "M-BASIC" in the U.S., BASIC-E,
Gordon Eubanks' public domain compiler, developed while he was attending
class with Gary Kildall at the Naval Postgraduate School, and CBASIC,
which is an extension of BASIC-E by Gordon, made on his own time, and
not in the public domain.  Of these, CBASIC is far and away the best.
(Bias note: Gordon is a friend of mine.  I believe I'm being objective,
but YMMV.)

> There were CP/M "work alike" competitors, but the price point of 
> CP/M, particularly with OEMs was just too hard to beat.  
> Manufacturers who decided to use other non-x80 CPUs found themselves 
> firmly mired in the old "build a box, write the software" mold.  
> Apple is one such case and is really surprising in that it managed to 
> survive and prosper.

    You can thank the Woz for that.  His clear thinking kept Steve Jobs
from killing the company, which he would have done, given his hand...


            Warren E. Wolfe
            wizard at

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