IBM 5150 PC
cclist at sydex.com
Thu Jul 9 00:09:45 CDT 2009
On 8 Jul 2009 at 23:40, Ethan Dicks wrote:
> What else was popular back then... Procomm for dialup terminal
> emulation (if you weren't using Kermit), Turbo Pascal for app
> development (unless you were already a dyed-in-the-wool C programmer,
> and there were options for that), games of course, and before Word or
> WordPerfect or even WordStar, there was WordVision by Bruce and James
> software (my first employer).
The first programs for the PC generally were direct ports of Z80/8080
CP/M products. WordStar (3.30?) was released for DOS in 1982 and was
basically the Z80 version run through an assembly-code translator and
patched. ISTR that you could still patch it to talk to terminals.
I never encountered WordVision. Supercalc, Multiplan, etc. were all
minimal ports of the basic CP/M product.
If you wanted to use C, you bought Lattice C from Microsoft (MS
didn't have their own C). MASM 1.0 was a frightful hideously slow
buggy affair that was offered in two separate versions--one for 64K
systems and another for systems with more memory. I loathed MASM 1.0-
-it was all too possible to generate the wrong code; something that
should never happen with an assembler. IMOHO, Microsoft didn't start
getting MASM right until about 4.0; 5.0 was a marked improvement and
6.0 finally represented something full-featured.
There were few secrets back then--the DOS user's manual had all of
the system calls documented as well as disk layout.
By DOS 2.0, TSRs had begun proliferating. Indeed, one of the
problems was collision between two TSRs that didn't agree on how to
do things. Think of it as an early version of DLL Hell. You had
popup editors, calculators, comms programs--all sorts of things. I
offered a popup diskette formatter that operated in the background
(yes, it was possible to multitask under DOS).
I still have the demo diskette for Word 1.0 that was packed in one of
the PC rags (PC World?).
Compared to the Z80 CP/M world, the early PC world wasn't bad. After
hard disks came on the scene and PCs had more memory options, it got
Shareware was the darling of the PC world--at last, one could write a
program with a large audience. Bottonware was a huge success story.
A lot of the darling programs are scarcely known now. Harvard
Presentation Graphics, Micrographx Deisgner, Corel Draw, numerous
accounting packages, games...
You might want to poke around in the SIMTEL archives to see what
there is to see.
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