80-Bus News


September–October 1983, Volume 2, Issue 5

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Editorial and Letters to the Editor

There was no Editorial last issue owing to lack of time (I assumed you would prefer a mag. without my bit, rather than no mag.!), and this time I thought I would restrict myself to answering a couple of letters that raise quite a few interesting points between them.

Expanding Range.

It is nice to see that the range of BUS compatible products is still increasing, although it is now very difficult for the average Hobbyist to keep up with many of the more sophisticated features. I have a hybrid Nascom/​Gemini system at home, and I look after two Nascom 2s and a Gemini Galaxy 2 at my place of work.

I look forward to the new EPROM programmer that is soon to be available. Looking into the future, can we expect CP/M 3 to be available, (including a version for N2/Pertec Drives as well)? Will Richard Beal produce even more powerful SYS’s to enable us to implement CP/M 3 on a variety of hardware such as Gemini GM833 RAM-DISKs and all the combinations of Keyboards and Disk Drives? A little further ahead, are there any plans for a Z800 CPU card ?

I am very puzzled by the extremely high prices that Gemini are asking for some source listings. As an amateur ‘hacker’ I have disassembled SIMON for my own use. This took a lot of time and I would have been very happy to have paid £10-£15 for a listing. I think that quite a few other people would feel the game. People who wish to ‘rip it off’ will either pay the high price, or disassemble it anyway. Can there be any justification for not making CBIOS listings available at a sensible price to the benefit of the author and end user? One of the things that helped make the Nascom system superior was that operating system listings were provided FREE. Many of the Nascom and Gemini users are still enthusiasts rather than ‘plastic box’ users and they enjoy modifying and adapting. Their enthusiasm for a good product must often favourably affect sales. That enthusiasm will fade if essential information is not easily available to those that need it. It is nice to see that most suppliers of cards still provide a circuit diagram and hardware description, even with ready made cards. Let us hope that this will continue. It would be nice if system software were reasonably priced too.

Yours sincerely, C.Bowden, Truro, Cornwall.

[Ed. – There are quite a few interesting points raised by this letter and so I shall try to comment on then.

EPROM Programmer.

First of all, “What EPROM programmer?” I’d be interested to hear about this as I am not aware that anything is imminent and I do like to keep in touch with things.

CP/M 3.

Well, I do not pretend to be an expert on this (in fact I don’t pretend to be an expert on anything!) but I shall make a few statements, if you’ll accept that there may be some inaccuracy in them. Firstly, the official name is CP/M Plus. The reason for this is quite simple – CP/M 2 was an upgrade of CP/M 1 and was always intended to be a replacement. CP/M Plus, on the other hand, is intended to be an option to CP/M 2 for those wanting the additional facilities that it provides, and CP/M 2 continues to be available. I have NOT seen any real signs that CP/M Plus is being made available by many manufacturers, and that is probably because of three major reasons – all cost! Firstly you may have noticed that a copy of CP/M 2 goes for about £120 on average, whereas a CP/M Plus will set you back about £260. Secondly, as far as

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