So I’ve had, for a while, a non-functional Toshiba T1000 laptop computer — a classic 1987 laptop with a 4.77MHz 8088 processor and a whole 512kB of memory. And, er, no mass storage whatsoever. I got it from the late, lamented Weirdstuff Warehouse in Sunnyvale, California, before it closed. I have recently managed to aquire another broken T1000 along with a spare motherboard, and out of these three corpses I have managed to assemble a fully functional computer.
As part of the work I’ve been doing with cpmish I’ve been trying to track down the copyright holders of some of the more classic pieces of CP/M software and asking them to license it in a way that allows redistribution. One of the people I contacted was R.T. Russell, the author of the classic Z80 BBC BASIC, and he very kindly sent me the source and agreed to allow it to be distributed under the terms of the zlib license. So it’s now open source!
So last year I got an Amstrad NC200 laptop, and ported CP/M to it, because what the hell. That kind of… snowballed. So, what I’m doing now is releasing a fully open source CP/M clone distribution. Finally, after only 42 years, there’s a CP/M-like system you can distribute for free!
I have a low-key, ongoing project to produce a fully open source CP/M
clone which can be distributed with emulators (or used in real
hardware). The issue is that while Caldera
and Lineo have released all the old source, it’s under an encumbered license
which prohibits redistribution, making
it useless for these purposes. As part of this, I’ve just written a
mostly-functional clone of the original
asm.com which was shipped with CP/M
— a simple 8080 assembler. And I did it all on video, so you can watch me
I’ve just got back from a walking holiday in the Greek Cycladian islands of Andros and Tinos; very different, but very similar in many ways, with winding walking paths, terraces, amazing wildflowers, lizards everywhere, and far, far too much good food (and wine and beer).
I found a new toy in my favourite local junk shop! It’s a battery-powered portable typewriter from 1986, the Canon TypeStar 4 (slightly German edition), which uses an interesting technique to make the marks on the paper: a thermal print head, which I hadn’t seen on a typewriter before. It would print on special treated paper or use an equally special ribbon (which came with it). I got it for five francs, and I can see them on eBay for about $15, so that’s 200% profit.