Monday, October 6, 2008

CP/M and the Z-80 Softcard

When Patrick Alessi and I were working on our original inventory software (called Forecaster-Buy) for the Apple II+, Patrick wanted to expand our marketing reach. He decided to purchase a Z-80 Software for the Apple II and also a copy of CP/M.

This was a completely different environment than the Applesoft BASIC interpreter that comes built into the Apple II+. It reminded me somewhat of the HDOS that ran on my father's Heathkit H-89 computer. You first booted up the CP/M operating system before you could do anything else, like writing software.

You run a copy of MBASIC (Microsoft BASIC-80) to develop in BASIC, and then used a copy of BASCOM to compile this. Then you had to link the software with a library. This was all new to me.

We also purchased an 80 column card for the machine. The Z-80 Softcard, the 80 column card and CP/M didn't get much use because soon after Patrick went out and bought an IBM PC. CP/M would quickly fall out of favor, although in later years I would be reintroduced to it for a time.

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