Recenty I stumpled multipe times upon a certain name. It was Gary Kildall. Gary was the one, who founded Digital Research. The company who was well known for its operating system CP/M, designed for smaller computers. In a time where mainframes were more common, than a personal computer. Some people might rember DR DOS, which was an interesting alternative to MS Dos. The company who was well known for its operating system CP/M, designed it for smaller computers. In a time where mainframes were more common, than a personal computer. Some people might rember DR DOS, which was an interesting alternative to MS Dos. Many people called in wrongly Dr. Dos, because they never heard about a company named Digital Research.
I have learned a lot about Micrisoft and Apples history, but never looked into the history of CP/M and the company and people who created it. After some webresearch I found an interesting episode of the TV show Computer Chronicles. It was a Gary Kildall special, which was broadcasted after his sudden death and gave an voerview about his life and all his achievements.
Computer Chronicles and Archive.org are already quite interesting finds. I never used Archive.org before. There are tons of ancient episodes of Computer Chronicles. It was exciting to see reviews about C64, AMIGA 1000 or the Apple II. A lot of celebrities from the Bits & Bytes world have shown up at Computer Chronicles. So its a must see. Gary was always a part of Computer Chronicles as being the co-host. He was one of the most important inventors in Computer history. But most people don’t know him.
For Gary, it was not easy not to be recognized for his work from the world. Especially because others did a lot. One of them of course still is Bill Gates. When Gates started the deal with IBM, selling MS-Dos to big blue, he basically sold a 1:1 copy of CP/M. I knew that a copy of the CP/M manual from Radio Shack, was the germ cell of QDOS (Quick and Dirty Operating System), which Gates sold as MS-Dos. What I didn’t kew was, that MS-Dos 1.0 was binary compatible to CP/M! At that time and maybe even later, Gary didn’t complain about that. That Microsoft was able to get QDos, all credit goes to the Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Yes, its not only Gates who made Microsoft.
Later Microsoft was not excited about DR Dos. So they successfully managed to put some obstacles into Digital Resarchs way. They integrated a “bug” into Windows 3.1/3.11, to ensure that Windows can’t run in it’s 386 extend mode, when its launched from DR Dos. Gary was this time willing to fight for his right in court. It took years to finally win, but it was too late for Digital Research.
I was motivated to look at this ancient CP/M stuff again and my Commodorer 128D is quite a good system for that. Fun to play around with CP/M and really old software.
Thats how it looks, when my C128D is booted into CP/M 3.0 in 80 column mode.
There is an enhanced Version of this disk available called “ZP/M”. Its Z80 instead of 8080 coded and runs faster. You can find it with other Commodore CP/M stuff here.Its not difficult to find CP/M software on the web. Like MS Cobol, Turbo Pascal, Algol and other programming languages here. But not only programming languages, you can get there Wordstar, Dbase or other business related stuff as well.
If you are curious and don’t own some CP/M hardware, don’t worry. Emulator with ready made harddisk images are available.