Newsgroups: comp.os.cpm
From: (Dave Baldwin)
Subject: Re: Why CP/M?
Message-ID: <>
Organization: NETCOM On-line Communication Services (408 261-4700 guest)
References: <48dma9$>
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 1995 03:46:32 GMT
Lines: 63

Richard Scheffler ( wrote:

: 	Okay, now before you shoot me down for not looking at the FAQ first, I
: in fact just read it.  I am not farmiliar with CP/M as I am young enough that
: I barely remember TI computers...  (I do, for historical purposes own two
: working (I think) DEC rainbows, which my source tells me are CP/M)  my
: question is this:  Why continue to use CP/M?  if it is so difficult to find
: applications and software and hardware, why continue to use it?  it seems to
: me that using a CP/M machine is like wearing a rapier on your belt.  sure, a
: fine weapon in it's day, the rapier is now obsolete, not to mention the fact
: that you had better know damn well how to use it.  the same seems in my eyes
: to be true for CP/M machines...
: R. James Scheffler  
The advantage of CP/M machines is that ONE person, not a team hiding under the storm clouds of the northwest, can actually do something with the machine and even modify the OS to suit themselves. There are people in this newsgroup who have totally customized CP/M to their liking, made it run on a network of machines (of their own design), and others who understand the machines well enough to write emulator software that runs on PC's, Amiga's, Unix machines, and god knows what else. Emulators that are complete enough to process all the 'undocumented' Z80 instructions and/or the Z180 instructions.

Other people just like having a machine simple enough to tinker with. Some started with their Kaypro, Big Board, Compupro, Imsai, Ithaca InterSystems,...... and never had a need to go 'beyond' it. Really, the only thing that isn't available on most CP/M machines is high quality graphics. If you're retired and doing, say, a mailing list for your club, does it matter if it takes a while to print it out? Is it worth $ to go buy a PC to do the same job, especially if you're on an XT budget? The XT isn't going to do it any faster and can't really be considered an 'upgrade'. If you're 16 years old and you want to tinker with the guts of a computer and you can get a working Kaypro for $25, why would you buy a PC?

If you design Z80 embedded controllers and write the software for them like I do, you would be used to using the machine you write the code on to test your routines also. The best Z80 assembler, SLR's Z80ASM, runs under CP/M. You can learn a lot more about the hardware details of interfacing working with such a machine than you, as an individual working on your own time, can learn from a current PC or a MAC in a decade.

For the graphics part of my business, I have PC's and the appropriate software. I try to use the appropriate machine for the job. For most embedded work, I don't like PC's because there is too much there to go wrong. A little 5x7 Z80 or 8031 board can be much more reliable than a PC because it doesn't require a disk or a keyboard or a monitor to operate (or fail).

In addition, anything that still does the job it was designed for isn't necessarily obselete. I can't type code faster than any of the machines I have can accept it. I usually access the Internet through a shell account in text mode because it's easier for me to read. I have WWW browser software to look at the pretty pictures, but that's about all I use it for. If I had the Z80 CP/M machine I've been putting down on paper, I could use it for my Internet access. I guess that would make it something less than obselete.

Dave Baldwin: | The Computer Journal 1(800)424-8825
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