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 Post subject: Computerphile video on the history of CP/M
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2018 9:22 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 9:42 am
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Location: Athens, GA, USA
Computerphile: CP/M. This may be of interest for those interested in the history of operating systems, especially those who think MS-DOS was something special somehow.

The speaker does repeat the inaccurate story about Kildall being out flying his glider when IBM called, and all that. The fact is that Kildall was in the hospital after a glider crash a few days earlier, and the meeting was delayed, not cancelled - and IBM was going to be contracting for PC-DOS anyway, on the expectation that it was a throw-away project that would just give enough of a system for novice users to do something if they couldn't afford the $200 for CP/M, or (as IBM may have actually wanted them to do) the $600 for UCSD Pascal p-system.

IBM wasn't really too concerned about the software, anyway; the whole point of the project was to get a lever with which to pry the small-computer market off its foundations, and then topple it so they could turn the microcomputers into smart terminals as they were 'supposed to be' all along (according to IBM). They saw the small computers a threat, yes, but not for the reason most people believe - they saw it as something that disrupted the smooth, 'correct' use of computers as a business and research tool, and introduced a lot of dangerous ideas about how computers should be used. They believed, whole heartedly, that batch processing was the right way to go (and even their timesharing system of the era, CMS, was designed to run in a virtualized sandbox from which the users would submit requests to the real, batch-processed, system run on the same mainframe; their small-business systems such as System/38 were similar, being mostly a way of running a few local operations and then connecting remotely to a mainframe that would do the 'real work'), and saw the microcomputer users as a sort of wild eyed anarchists who would destroy the industry with bad ideas.

Still, it was IBM, so they were still surprisingly thorough in getting the software lined up; they were already working with Microsoft for the BASIC interpreter, on the assumption that this was what a microcomputer OS was (which to be fair, was the impression one would probably get from an Apple ][ or a VIC-20 of the time). It was Bill Gates (or maybe Paul Allen, I'm not sure) who recommended they speak to Kildall in the first place, as well as pointing them to the UCSD group.

Rev. First Speaker Schol-R-LEA;2 LCF ELF JAM POEE KoR KCO PPWMTF
μή εἶναι βασιλικήν ἀτραπόν ἐπί γεωμετρίαν
Lisp programmers tend to seem very odd to outsiders, just like anyone else who has had a religious experience they can't quite explain to others.

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