80-Bus News


January–February 1984, Volume 3, Issue 1

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BIOS 3 ... Where is it?

Some time ago (in fact about this time last year, early June) I wrote a piece called “SYS is dead, long live ...”, where I stated that due to alleged piracy of the SYS disk drive source for commercial purposes Gemini were likely to withdraw their permission for the publication of their disk drivers in the SYS source. At about the same time Gemini started to charge very high prices for their source code to bona fide users. The point of my piece was that Gemini were pricing their source code at prices which only pirates, who could take commercial advantage of their source code, could afford. This accusation on my part quite understandably upset Gemini, who it was aimed at, to the point that they have threatened to produce a product called BIOS 3 which will allow the Gemini user to update his BIOS to the latest spec. and include all Gemini permutations of drive/​controller/​video for himself. As the majority of SYS users were using SYS for just this purpose, the need for SYS would disappear. So far BIOS 3 has not appeared, so a gentle nudge is required. How about it Gemini!!!

An apology

Much to my surprise, my piece “SYS is dead, long live ...” provoked a much more vehement reaction from an unexpected quarter. Due to the tendency of 80-BUS magazine to appear in two’s, my published comments in Vol.2 Iss.4 could be linked with an unattributed editorial piece (which I hasten to add I did not write) in Vol.2 Iss.5, the following issue, which appeared about the same time. MAP80 Systems of Chertsey have taken very strong objection to these two pieces and claim that these have damaged their business. If MAP80 Systems think that my piece was directed at them and in consequence, damaged their business, then I can only apologise and unreservedly withdraw any such imputation. My piece made no allusions direct or indirect to any specific concern.

As far as the second piece, the editorial, is concerned, this was merely a statement of fact, nothing more nothing less. The details of the litigation were sub-judice at the time and as far as I know, still are. The fact that MAP80 Systems and Gemini are in litigation has no bearing on my piece, as this litigation started sometime after I wrote the piece, which after all, as stated above, was intended as a ‘side-swipe’ at Gemini.

The SVC Board

The new Gemini GM832 Super Video Controller Board has at long last escaped from Amersham. I’m not sure whether this was a mistake or not, as up to a week or two ago, these cards were rare-er than rocking horse manure (very good for plastic rose trees I’m told). Anyway one of these cards fell into my clutches for a couple of hours before being whipped away by the customer who had paid for it months before.

You don’t get much time to do a full evaluation in two hours, but first impressions were good. There was none of the video patterning characteristic of the GM812 when in inverse video. The most immediate impression is speed. Using the TYPE command under CP/M revealed a staggering increase in speed with text hurtling up the screen at a phenomenal rate. A lot more than the 50% increase directly attributable to the use of a 6MHz Z80B. The screen/​workspace RAM contention logic has been removed from software and placed in hardware, and this is one other factor increasing the speed. The nett result looks more like 150% faster, although I didn’t set to with stop watch to time it or to read the documentation to see if any actual figure is quoted. The only problem

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