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Lineo Frees CP/M 245

Posted by timothy
from the if-you-have-the-hardware dept.
rbeattie writes: "The Register is reporting that the code for 'the first generic operating system for microcomputers' is now open source. It's interesting to see the final chapter for the code that could have been what was MS-DOS. The article includes the requisite background of CP/M from Gary Kildall's snubbing of IBM to its transformation into DR-DOS, later being sold to Novell then to Caldera who spun it off with Lineo who finally opened up the source in October." The original story is actually at NewsForge. Update: 11/27 22:13 GMT by T : Note, thanks to reader Greg Head, that DR-DOS source appears available only for money; the original headline implied that DR-DOS source was also now available at no charge.
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Lineo Frees CP/M

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  • I still like DOS
    • I still like DOS too, I just wish it was a protected mode flat memory model OS with multitasking. Oh! that's Linux right?

      Try a non-graphical installation of Linux.
      • Nah, there's something charming with an OS that has a help that fits every command there is in it on ~2 screens.
      • by Sj0 (472011) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @04:32PM (#2620862) Homepage Journal
        I had found several ways to do multitasking dos easily, and at least one of them was pmode.

        First: OS/2 warp allowed you to use a text mode shell, which would be multitaskable and pmoded. That was a long time ago... The only one of these other than windows(which is a bitch about it) which will run Quake multitaksing.

        Second: TSX411 allowed for multitasking in text mode and in some CGA modes, and it also allowed for VGA modes to run normally, but I haven't heard anything about it since the early 80s.

        Third: Fallback Windows 3.1 with command.com set as the shell. Not my favourite solution...

        Fourth: Linux with dosemu: I'd really rather not get into why this is a bad idea for day to day use, but it has something to do with never being able to run shell 0 apps and general instability in regular apps.

        The reason for all this research is simple: At one time I learned about most of these(early 80s), windows sucked so badly nobody used it (whereas today, MS marketing(Bill Gates considers 1984 an instruction manual, not a novel) has convinced everybody to use it...), and multitasking under DOS was cool and innovative. Secondly, I'm a dos programmer right now (moving to linux with my next project to avoid Windows "He made a nice program -- lets clone it!" XP), and multitasking comes in handy, but the crashability of Windows is bad when I'm trying to make something work..
        • You forgot DESQview...with the right hardware, you could multitask under DOS on an XT! I used it with DR DOS 6 back in '91 on a 286-12 with 2 megs of RAM and EMS 4 support on the motherboard to run my BBS and let me do other stuff at the same time. Ran like a champ...never crashed, unlike certain other DOS shells that were somewhat common at the time... (...mumble...mumble...Windows 3.1...mumble...mumble...)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I just heard some sad news on CNET radio. Ms. Dos, was found murdered in her home this morning. She was 21 years old. We are still looking for Mr. Dos. If you see him, please contact me immediately.
    • Her husband was Dr. DOS (whereabouts unknown) - there is speculation that the murderer entered and left through the broken Windows.

      Ms Dos' twin P.C. Dos was unavailable for comment.
  • by teambpsi (307527) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @03:41PM (#2620559) Homepage
    I used MP/M - a multiuser/multitasking version of MPM on what i think was an Altaire?? in High School back in the mid-80's

    To think where the lowly PC would be now...

    Its often easy to blame the arrogance of Gary for blowing off IBM -- but to some extent it was one of those golden opportunities

    kind of funny...the arrogance of someone who thought they could say no --vs-- the arrogance of someone who thought they could say yes

    Who knew?
    • Altos 580 [www.gaby.de]

      there it is in all its glory ;)
    • Its often easy to blame the arrogance of Gary for blowing off IBM


      I don't necessarily think it was arrogance. There are variations on the story floating around about him deciding to go out flying that day, etc; but from what I have read, he probably wouldn't have signed anyway. IBM at the time required people to sign ridiculously stringent Eternal Soul contracts with them, and he probably wouldn't have liked it.

    • > I used MP/M - a multiuser/multitasking version of MPM on what i think
      > was an Altaire?


      There were a couple of those; after all this time, it's hard to keep them straight. I want to say that MP/M used multiple processors in the same box and ran on 8 bits. Then there was CCP/M for the 16 bits machines; I worked on QA for that in '84. It could run multiple ms-dos programs at the time. Then that became CDOS, and was ultimately folded into the regular DR-DOS
      hawk

  • CP/M stands for... (Score:1, Informative)

    by rde (17364)
    I realise no-one cares, but I'm going to say it anyway.
    CP/M stands for Control Program/Monitor. If it was Control Program for Microcomputers, it wouldn't have a slash.

    Wow, it's been at least five years since I got to bore someone with that argument.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Gary named it CP/M in the same manner he named PL/M; Programming Language for Microprocessors. The slash was a take-off on Intel's PL/1.
      • Still wrong... and here's why.

        That would be IBM's PL/1. You know, the people who brought you RS/600, OS/2 and AS/400. The slash thing is sort of a theme at IBM. It was also a convention at Digital, which is where Gary probably borrowed it from moreso than IBM. RSTS/11, RSX/11, etc. were all PDP-11 OSes. CP/M was greatly influenced by PDP OS design.

    • by jorbettis (113413)

      I realise no-one cares, but I'm going to say it anyway. CP/M stands for Control Program/Monitor. If it was Control Program for Microcomputers, it wouldn't have a slash.

      The article refrenced the comp.os.cpm FAQ, which has this to say on the subject:

      Q3: Does CP/M stand for anything?

      There are at least three popular answers - Control Program for Microcomputers, Control Program for Microprocessors, and Control Program/Monitor. The issue is clouded by authors of popular CP/M books giving different answers. According to Gary Kildall (the author of CP/M), in response to a direct question on the PBS show "The Computer Chronicles" following Computer Bowl I, the answer is: Control Program for Microcomputers. This is also consistent with DRI documentation. See, for example, p. 4 of the DRI TEX manual.

      I agree that your argument makes sense, but the authoritive souces say "Control Program for Microcomputers

      • Christ I remember having a screaming match in front of a first year lecture MANY moons ago with a lecturer who insisted it was "Control Program for Minicomputers". I was certain it was "Central Program for Microprocessors"

        Heh... We where both wrong. Now I know what that bearded guy in the front row was grinnin 'bout.
  • DOS stability (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    DOS was the last truly stable OS. In all the years I used it, it never crashed once. Although applications hanging was a different matter.
    • A stable operating system allows you to keep operating the system when an application crashes. If an application can crash the OS, it ain't stable.
    • Re:DOS stability (Score:2, Interesting)

      by firecode (119868)
      Yes, DOS was/is "stable", but only because requirements for the modern OS were much lower than nowadays.

      a) if bad behaving applications can cause crash with modern OSes, OS is considered to be unstable.

      b) Modern OSes must support lot more different hardware and any combinations of different hardware.

      c) Modern OS must do multitasking, multiple, good memory management, handle different priviledge levels, support multiple users

      d) Modern OS (kernel+core libs) must support lot of different APIs, executable formats, abstract away direct hardware accesses etc..

      It's _relatively_ easy to code 'dos'-size program to be efficient and (mostly) always working when the requirements aren't very demanding. When the program size / number of features grow the number ways things can go wrong increases dramatically (O(n!) interacting parts (in theory)).
    • That's one of the stupidest things I've read today.

      DOS is a thin file-access and memory allocation library, with a very small and weak command shell, on top of the BIOS routines. Applications mostly serve as their own OS, or use the BIOS.
      The reason DOS "itself" crashes little, is because there is almost none of it!

      In fact, applications crashing the entire machine is exactly the reason DOS is completely unstable. It is the responsibility of the OS to ensure system stability.
      • You say "It is the responsibility of the OS to ensure system stability", but it wasnt always that so. Many people believe that multi-tasking OSs was a blunder. In particular, when it comes to server operation, a single tasking OS makes a lot more sense...the simplicity keeps the MTF way way down.
        • Re:DOS stability (Score:2, Insightful)

          by jandrese (485)
          I'm probably being trolled, but...

          Assuming you're using the standard conventions, MTF stands for Mean Time to Fail. ("to" sometimes being replaced by "between" and Fail with Failures). In that case I can wholeheartedly agree with your statement, using a single tasking OS in a multiuser environment will decrease your MTF significantly, especially if your users have service level agreements.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @03:44PM (#2620577)
    http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/5711/histor y.html
  • It looks to be open source although there is one catch - the words "as part of the 'unofficial CP/M web site'". Does that mean that this license does not cover, say, putting CP/M into a product, putting it up on a different web site, or the like? On the face of it, that would seem to be so, but I can't help but wonder whether Lineo is going to open source it the rest of the way at some point - as has been pointed out, CP/M is hardly the focus of their business these days.

  • The article states:

    Let this email represent a right to use, distribute, modify, enhance and
    otherwise make available in a nonexclusive manner the CP/M technology as
    part of the "Unofficial CP/M Web Site" with its maintainers, developers and
    community.

    I further state that as Chairman and CEO of Lineo, Inc. that I have the
    right to do offer such a license.

    Lineo and its affiliates, partners and employees make no warranties of any
    kind with regards to this technology and its usefulness or lack thereof.


    Since Lineo is the previous license holder and here they have effectively released all previous licenses, doesn't this put the CP/M technology in the public domain? I can't see anything that would suggest that any of the Free Software/Open Source licenses should apply, only that the previous ones are gone. Can anyone confirm this?
  • by Tassach (137772) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @03:50PM (#2620624)
    While it is commendable to open the source to a defunct product rather than keep it in some kind of propriatary graveyard, this release comes too late to make any practical impact. The few niches where a lightweight DOS kernel would still be useful have pretty much been filled by better alternatives.



    Considering how far the Windows product line has diverged from it's MS-DOS roots, even the hope of finding code that's useful for interoperability with M$ systems is pretty slim. Sadly, I can see little practial value to this announcement other than academic and historical interest.

    • There is plenty of practical value.

      Alot of embedded systems, particularly POS systems and some industrial controllers use DOS.
      • particularly POS systems and some industrial controllers use DOS.

        Yeah, I've got a piece of s--- 286 system at home that still runs DOS.

        Oh, wait, did you mean Point Of Sale?
      • CP/M isn't DR-DOS and according to the articles only CP/M is open-sourced at this time. However, there are quite a few similarities; everyone copied the ideas in CP/M (D.R. apparently didn't sue unless you also copied the code itself), so the first releases of PC/MS-DOS were at least 75% a CPM work-alike.

        Yes, it is good news for embedded system developers. CP/M is a pretty good OS for 8 & 16 bit systems, and being open-sourced makes it easier to adapt it to a system that lacks some of the desktop hardware (e.g., Flash chip instead of disk drive, a few buttons instead of keyboard, undersized display).

    • While it is commendable to open the source to a defunct product rather than keep it in some kind of propriatary graveyard, this release comes too late to make any practical impact. The few niches where a lightweight DOS kernel would still be useful have pretty much been filled by better alternatives.

      Last time I bought a hard drive, I noticed the configuration diskette used Dr. DOS.

      (That's the whole post. Move along.)
      • Last time I bought a hard drive, I noticed the configuration diskette used Dr. DOS.

        Novell has also continued to use DR-DOS for the NetWare boot partition and installation diskette, at least through NetWare 5.1. NetWare 6 probably uses it too, I just haven't installed it yet.

    • The few niches where a lightweight DOS kernel would still be useful have pretty much been filled by better alternatives.

      But do those alternatives have the vast array of software available for them that DOS does?

      If you've got a 386/20 class processor with a meg of RAM and an 80x25 text display you have a platform that will run a huge library of useful programs.

      And I will continue to be crotchety until I get a version of SoundGlobs that'll run under Windows, dammit!
    • DOS still has a use, even on powerful desktop systems. Flashing the PC BIOS, or the BIOS of an expansion card, can usually only be done from DOS. If you are a Linux user, you are kind of stuck with your existing BIOS. With a free DOS implementation, you can update your BIOS. I've been nursing a DOS 6 boot diskette for seven years, just so I can flash ROMs. If that disk ever bites it, I'll switch to this open DR-DOS.

    • Making it open source does not mean that it is only now available for use. It was always available via buying a license. You just had to pay for it.
  • Neither the stories, nor the CP/M site referenced in them state anything about DR-DOS being freed...
  • The Newsforge article states that Novell dropped plans for DOS, which is funny, 'cause I have a copy of Novell DOS 7. Features above MS-DOS 6.22 included built-in Novell Netware support (I tried it once... plug in an NE2000 compatible NIC, turn on one setting in the configuration tool, reboot, log in) and multitasking including multiple consoles (not just task-switching). My memory is failing to come up with anything else. I tried the networking part and it worked great. IIRC, the multitasking stuff could even multi-task Win3.1. Not that my 40-Mhz 386 back then could do that very well. Just for the record, I used DR-DOS 6 before Novell DOS 7. DR-DOS 6 was also light-years ahead of MS-DOS 6. (Novell bought DR-DOS, I think.)
    • The lineage is like this:

      DR-DOS was essentially an upgraded version of CP/M-86 that was made to be (sorta) MS-DOS compatible.

      It was sold as a retail product (before MS/IBM DOS was) with the primary benefit being peer-to-peer networking in the box. It was significantly cheaper than "LANtastic" or the MS/IBM solution.

      Novell went insane and among other things, ended up buying DR (for a lot of money, about a year before Win95 was released. MS's OEM relationships were widely understood at the time, too.). They renamed the product Novell DOS. Again the primary sell was peer-to-peer, but it also had Novell compatibility without an additional client install. NetWare also require(d|s) DOS to boot, so the product was somewhat useful to Novell.

      Novell spun off Caldera, as both a Linux business and as a vehicle to sue Microsoft over DOS marketing issues. Caldera renamed the product back to DR-DOS.

      Caldera (after winning a chunk of change from MS) spun off Lineo so they could buy SCO and go and focus on whatever SCO does.
      • I disagree with the characterization of DR-DOS as an upgraded CP/M-86. It was a virtually complete clone of MS-DOS. It hit the market, as I recall, during the late-'80s boom of MS-DOS 3.x. DR-DOS 3.31 was the first release I was familiar with, being a work-alike of MS-DOS 3.3. But it wasn't a clone. Unlike MS-DOS 3.x, DR-DOS code was re-entrant, so it could be run from ROM. This gave it a niche in embedded systems.

        DR-DOS 5 added a bunch of features, and DR-DOS 6 had more. I bought DR-DOS 6 around 1990, when I bought a 286. It included disk compression (SuperStor, I think) before DOS did; that helped a lot with my 20 MB drive! It had a lousy graphical shell that I never used. DR's GEM was no gem either; I was using an Atari ST with DR's buggy GEM-based TOS for several years before moving to the Inteloid Dark Side.

        Novell had bought DR by the time V7 came out, hence the name Novell DOS. Caldera had the good sense to go back to the DR-DOS name.

        Mickeysoft buggered Windows 3 to detect DR-DOS and fail for no good reason. This sort of stuff led to a big legal victory for Caldera a couple of years ago, when Caldera was the holder of the DR heritage.
  • I'm not too sure about the reasons of opening up the source now, do they think they can get anything back, or generate a flood of "renewed interest" in it?

    Besides a bit of values from a computer historical perspective, what else? Ok, maybe some embedded device still use the code, but I don't see any new project is going to go into that direction, when you have Linux and *BSD.

  • i followed cp/m well into th "ZCPR" era, the elephant's graveyard, Z-nodes, etc.

    although the site is /.'ed, I hope the CP/M 68K source is there, too.

    I have an old Motorola 68K based Compupro box laying around, but I think the disks are bad.
  • Even better than CP/M was ZCPR, a drop in replacement with wheels and bells (e.g., modules), which, I believe, was more or less open source. I used this until I moved to linux. It was lean and mean on my Kaypro machine.
  • .... Bill will be able to find and remove those pesky copyright hotkeys from DOS?
  • Put it in Debian! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DdJ (10790)
    Now someone has to wrap up the newly-open-source CP/M stuff, combine it with a Z80/8080 emulator, and make a Debian package that runs CP/M software!
    • Now someone has to wrap up the newly-open-source CP/M stuff, combine it with a Z80/8080 emulator, and make a Debian package that runs CP/M software!
      You mean something like this [sourceforge.net]?
  • Mod me down if you want. BUT. DOS WAS the last stable OS. Helluva lot better than windows... and let's face it, linux/unix simply was not there. If you knew what you were doing, you could make it dance. It didn't care about the novice user... you just used it, and it did what it was told.
    • I have to agree that DOS was relatively stable compared to Windows. I ran AutoCad (versions 10 thru 13) under DOS and crashes came only every few months. As soon as I began running AutoCad under Windows, crashes and lost data became almost a dayly occurence.

      I ran OS/2 for a while at home and it was as stable if not more that DOS
    • How can you refer to (MS-)DOS as "the last stable OS", and then make an exception for Linux/Unix citing that they weren't available. If you consider linux a stable OS (which I do), then it is the last stable OS.

      IIRC UNIX in one form or another was definately around during the time of DOS.

    • DOS WAS the last stable OS
      No. DOS was never stable.

      C:\&gtTSR1.COM
      C:\&gtTSR2.COM
      C:\&gtTSR1.COM /unload
      ---crash---

      Handled properly (with certain 3rd party tools like mark/rel, 4DOS, norton utilities, etc.), DOS could be almost enjoyable, but then the same can be said for Windows (gasp!)...

      Oh, and DR-DOS was always better than MS-DOS, even with the Win 3.1 warnings of incomatibility...
  • by GiMP (10923)
    CP/M was already released into the Public Domain by caldera ages ago. I was seriously considering porting CP/M to the gameboy, infact.

    CP/M was written in z80 asm and rewritten in C. The z80 port would be transferable to the Gameboy, as it uses a cut-down z80 processor.

    I hardly consider this new news.
    • CP/M was not written in Z80 asm. CP/M predates the Z80 processor by a few years. My understanding is that the majority of it was written in PL/M with some assembly.
      • Then what is this CP/M that I had z80 assembler source to ? :)

        I'll see if I can dig it up somewhere, doubt it however.. I haven't done any gameboy programming in a long time.
        • Then what is this CP/M that I had z80 assembler source to ? :)

          A newer version, obviously. CP/M was originally written for the 8080, such as the IMSAI or the Altair - before Zilog introduced the Z80.
        • > Then what is this CP/M that I had z80 assembler source to ? :)


          If' it's actually CP/M, it's 8080 code--the Z80 was backwards compatible. It's also possible that the customization for the particular machine was in Z80. Additionally, there was a clone (ZP/M ?) that was for Z80 only. But if it's actual CP/M source, it can't be Z80, as that would not run on the 8080 machines.


          hawk

  • ... the first generic operating system for microcomputers' is now open source.

    And in the dark winter of the great white north of Finland, a hacker's mind is stirring. Will this signal the birth of a wave of open source CP/Mania? God, I hope not.

    • I thought you were talking about the Fimbulwinter that precedes Ragnarok.

      Anyway, wait until someone ports some GNU utils to CP/M, makes a distro like "Green Beret CP/M" and RMS gets up and says... "Damnit, that's supposed to be 'GNU/CP/M.'"
  • Actual MS-DOS source (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @04:04PM (#2620702)
    believe it or not, the actual MS inhouse source for MS-DOS 6.2 is floating around on a WarezSiteNearYou(tm). No idea how it got out, but it's out. It's interesting mainly for its comments and revision logs, and all the unfixed bugs they released it with (about 266, if grep ain't lying to me - they flag it with the string BUGBUG - and those are only the ones they know about!).

    It's a 19mb (approx) tarball which blows up to 70mb. I got it as dos-6.0-src.tar.gz. About half of that bloat is the code for QBASIC and associated bits n bobs (edit, help) which are made with "COW" - Character Oriented Windows - hey, they tried for cool acronyms.

    I've tried posting some of it here for the last 10 mins, but I can't beat the "Lameness filter - please use fewer 'junk' characters". If anyone wants to tell me how to get around it....

    Meanwhile I'll leave you with a revision note from around 1983 or so:

    REV 1.50
    Some code for new 2.0 DOS, sort of HACKey. Not enough time to
    do it right.
  • Would this have any use in an embedded system? It would probably be easier to boot/manage than Linux since CP/M was designed and used back when computers had severe limits on processor speed, memory size, and storage.
    • The storage space and memory requirements are low enough that I really can't imagine an x86 or x86-clone based machine that would be unable to run freedos, but would still run CP/M. Remember, DOS was also designed to deal with severe memory constraints. Finally, I'd point out that there already are DOS embedded systems - CP/M users would have to reinvent the wheel ad infinitum.
  • (Enter smarmy marketroid. Linus Torvalds typing at his PC in the background.)

    Here at Evil Inc., we're always on the lookout for the freshest evil money can buy. To that end, we've replaced Linus's 2.5 Kernel Tree with CP/M...Let's see if he notices! ;)

    (Focus on Linus at his PC)

    "What the?!? What happened to the VM?!? Wait a minute! This isn't my OS! DAMN YOU GREG KILDALL!!!!!"

    (Cut back to marketroid. Background switches between images of Linux developers screaming after installing 2.5.1-evil-herring)

    Don't you just love the smell of steaming hot Evil in the morning? I know I do! Mmmm! Mm! Refreshing!

    This message has been brought to you by the fine folks at Evil Incorporated.
  • /me blows the dust off the old Zorba "portable", hauls out those ancient 5.25" floppies, and tries to remember how to run DDT and the assembler. :)

    Gads, it's been too long! I grew up with CPM, and then MPM, ZCPR, Fidonet, MODEM7, all those oldies :) I even bought a used 10 meg HD from Randy, who said it had been used in his and Ward's BBS (one of many HDs they used over the years).

    It's great to see that the source is now available (well, once the site recovers from the /. effect).
  • All these posts and not one link to the actual site [z80.de]! You ought to be ashamed of yourselves.

    Anyway, the site looks very cool. Lots of interesting proggies, including full source to a shitload of programs.

    I love the old school programs and programmers. Its simply amazing the stuff that they were doing with a 2 Mhz processor and 64k of RAM. I may even go ebaying to find a real system to run some of this stuff on, instead of simply emulating it.

  • by x136 (513282)
    Hooray! The Kaypro 10 will rise again! (And you road warriors can pull that Osborne 1 out of the closet.)
  • by the_2nd_coming (444906) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @04:18PM (#2620784) Homepage
    Where would the world be today if IBM had made a deal for CP/M?
    I almost die laughing when someone tells me that MS had revolutionised computing and did it all on there own....then I ell them that if IBM had picked CP/M rather than MS-DOS, then no one would care who Bill Gates is today....infact, I bet MS would either be defunct or be an ISV making software for a 32 bit CP/M derivitive with a GUI..........hey!! that would be a cool project..put a GUI on CP/M!!!

    anyway, I don't think Digital woul be in the place that MS is currently since Digital had there hands in a lot of diffrent hardware. so actualy, if MS-DOS was not shiped on PCs in the 80's perhaps the "they" would have been right, perhaps we would all be using Unix today!
    • Something also to consider:

      If Microsoft had not gotten ahold of 86-DOS when IBM came around looking for an OS, might they have licensed XENIX (or a cut-down derivative thereof) to IBM? It certainly ran on 16-bit x86 architecture machines and Microsoft had it prior to 1981.

      Moreover, if that had happened, widespread acceptance of 32-bit Unix workstations (based on, say, the 68k) might have occured in the 1980s, because everyone would be by then using Unix anyway on their PCs.
      • Microsoft's plan at the time was in fact to migrate the userbase from DOS to Xenix (apparently DOS 2 supported Unix-like / path seperators and -switches).

        MS's primary customer (IBM) had other plans however, and Xenix was dropped as the next gen PC OS in favor of OS/2.
  • In Robert X Cringely's book "Accidental Empires", there's a section where Cringely has Gary Kildall ranting about how MSFT ripped off CP/M - the quote is something about how MS-DOS uses '$' to mark the end of a string, and at MSFT, not even Bill Gates knows why. Can someone paw through the DR-DOS code and find out why?

  • by SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @04:21PM (#2620803) Journal
    Does this mean I can FINALLY upgrade the CP/M for my Commodore 128?

    Lately, the Z-80 CPU in there only gets to boot the machine and never does any other computing.

    -----

  • Caldera had to have one of the more innovative methods of funding their company that I've heard of.

    They bought the rights to DR Dos and then sued Microsoft for having using dirty tactics to limit the success of DR Dos back in the late 80s and early 90s. This was after DR Dos itself had been irrelevant for several years.

    Caldera won something like $250,000,000 (I am too lazy to look up the exact figure) and besides a bunch of lawyers that got rich, Caldera got funding for their company.

    So I guess that since Caldera purchased DR Dos simply in order to sue Microsoft, there is no reason to not open it now.

    • That's not entirely true. Caldera [caldera.com] did purchase the assets of Digital Research from Novell [novell.com], and begain a lawsuit against Microsoft [microsoft.com], and settled for ~$250M. They must have needed the money badly because they settled, even though their case seemed very strong and an eventual win almost guaranteed. During this time Lineo [lineo.com] (nee Caldera) did sell embedded solutions based on the DR-DOS code base. They also purchased the Arachne [browser.org] web browser for DOS, ported it to their Linux offering and sold it as DR-WebSpider. At the time they sold both DR-DOS and Linux based embedded packages, targeting the Kiosk market. They also made the source to DR-DOS (Caldera OpenDOS) available for the first release or two but closed it back up due to lack of interest, the difficulty of getting the build environment setup and business reasons.

      DR-DOS lives on as the bootstrap for Novell Netware and I'm sure that there were a few other clients for embedded DOS (IIRC Kavouras [meteorlogix.com]used it, I can't remember others). DR-DOS, AFAIK, is still available for download and personal use, and Caldera has packaged it for use with DOSEmu. So while they did use DR-DOS for the lawsuit money (A perfectly valid and appropriate lawsuit if there ever was one) they also based the beginnings of their embedded offerings on it. Lineo is one of the better embedded companies right now, gunning for Wind River's marketshare, they are not going away.

      Further DR-DOS history links

  • running cpm (Score:2, Interesting)

    by frankmu (68782)
    sigh. i remember running cpm because i needed to use a decent wordprocessor (Wordstar)for college. i picked up a cpm card from an obscure computer company in belluvue, wa (microsoft). it ran on my apple II. talk about convergence.
  • Actually I already had the sources of some of Gary's earliest CP/M versions. Allegedly they weren't much of an OS yet, but it was definitely source code (in PL/M, and it didn't look like an OS at all - it looked more like a stupid game from a 13 year-old 31337 h4x0r). But it's definitely nice to see the DR-DOS sources, for comparison with MS-DOS;)

    One must notice, however, that it's hardly possible to write, for instance, a fdisk that's worse than the one for MS-DOS, source-wise...
  • [code]
    10 RUN DOS
    .
    .
    [code]

    Hmmm, so Microsoft swiped this, and evolved it, and now all MS OSes are based on it? Interesting...

    [more code]
    .
    .
    10000 X = Random(256)
    .
    .
    [mode code]

    I wonder if any of this ancient legacy stuff is still around in the new versions of Windows..

    [even more code]
    .
    .
    20000 IF( X = 128)
    20001 GOTO 50000
    20002 ELSE
    20003 GOTO 10000

    [even more code]

    What an odd piece of code.. I wonder what it does.

    [end of code]
    .
    .
    49999 END DOS
    50000 CRASH DOS

    [end of code]
  • FreeDOS has been an interesting and successful project. Its kernel based. Now that DR-DOS is open, it'll be interesting to see what kind of projects and distros become of DR-DOS. DR-DOS is closer to *real* MS-DOS than FreeDOS. Does this mean that perhaps FreeDOS will be pushed aside for preference of DR-DOS, in such arenas as DOSEMU support of legacy applications? Just some points to think about. I'm sure FreeDOS isn't going away anwyay, because it rocks as much as DR-DOS, as much as DOS can rock.

    Cool stuff.
  • Finally! (Score:3, Funny)

    by ryanr (30917) <ryan@thievco.com> on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @04:57PM (#2621017) Homepage Journal
    Now I no longer have to pay the CP/M tax, and I can continue writing software for a FREE operating system.
  • It is nice to read that it is freely available now (its been about time).
    But i havent seen any hints where I can actually find the code. Any known links??

    Lispy
  • What would it take to make a 32 bit DR-DOS distribution which could be stuck in a dos emulator like DOSEMU? If we could set that up, then who needs to dual-boot into Windows? Just run Windows on top of Linux whenever you want to use whatever applications.

    Of course, we'd need to set up an emulation layer that Windows 95 sits on top of.

Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.

Working...