Now I'm looking for information about the following:
Michael James Barall
Eric James Ruff
Steven W. Mann
All of the above, in particular, with reference to the 1981 - 1985
To those to whom I've suggested there may NOT have been a QDOS or a
QuickDOS, my apologies......there WAS.....HOWEVER, it appears to have
been created in 1983!
And, as I also suggested, it might well have been a LATER creation
or "invention" than the important 1981-1982 time frame.......
In that, it appears, I may have been correct.... I've now found PROOF.
If you have solid information about any of the above, I'd really like
to hear from you.......here or e-mail, your decision. I should add I
NEVER reveal sources of e-mail WITHOUT first asking and obtaining
permission from the sender.
QDOS was the original DOS created by Tim Patterson of Seattle
Computer Products in 1980. Microsoft bought the rights to QDOS
in October or November 1980. Making QDOS into MS-DOS was a major
programming task. The lead programmer was Bob O'Rear. I wonder
what happened to him.
> QDOS was the original DOS created by Tim Patterson of Seattle
> Computer Products in 1980. Microsoft bought the rights to QDOS
> in October or November 1980. Making QDOS into MS-DOS was a major
> programming task. The lead programmer was Bob O'Rear. I wonder
> what happened to him.
The name `QDOS' is a favorite of DOS bashers, of course, and I
cannot dispute that the system may originally have been called
that. The references I have from the mid-eighties mention only
the names 86-DOS and SCP-DOS, though.
I don't know about Bob, but I know MSDOS pioneer Chris Peters is
still a Microsofty. When I last spoke with him last December,
I think he was in some tiny little position that doesn't pay well
called "Vice President of Office Products" He also did a fair
bit of work on the original Excel development.
..probably makes less than $1,000,000 per year....poor guy :-)
Chris Larson is also still around doing something with the Seattle
Mariners and Microsoft.
After MS acquired QDOS, they called it SCP-DOS, then 86-DOS before
settling on MS-DOS. In a letter to IBM on 1/5/81, MS referred to it
> Many later machines also looked the same as an IBM, ran MS-DOS
> and most of the software and yet were not clones, or even
> work-alikes. Wang-PC, NEC APC, Sharp MZ, Bondwell, and many
> others were *not* clones even though they ran DOS and much
But could they run the copy-protected version of 123?
That was a test that killed lots of work-alikes. Example: a company I
worked for came out with a Z80/808x networked, diskless work-alike just
as the copy protection craze hit its stride. Needless to say, it was
difficult to "insert distribution floppy in drive A" when your box
didn't have a drive A. Bad timing. The box spoke cp/m 80, cp/m 86,
and ms-dos. Support for both ms-dos and cp/m 86 was not that big a
deal from the point of view of the 808x BIOS.
QDOS was the name of the system as it was originally 'developed'.
It was used to bring up 8086 S100 processor boards by compiling
the OS on the Z80 SCP system using CP/M and then swapping the
boards after changing the bootstrap loader. Because of this it
seems certain that QDOS used CP/M media.
When MS bought in Tim and QDOS to make PC-DOS for IBM they
required that the FAT system be used which was originally in MS's
'DEC Stand Alone BASIC'. MS retained rights to PC-DOS and
released their own version called MS-DOS. This was also licenced
back to SCP as part of the original agreement and this version
of MS-DOS was sold by SCP as either SCP-DOS or 86-DOS, depending
on how it was distributed.
So SCP-DOS and 86-DOS appear to be the same thing, QDOS is not
but is the ancestor of them all.
The August 1981 Byte magazine, wich is *prior* to IBM's
announcement of the IBM-PC and PC-DOS has an advert from
Lomas data Products for both CP/M-86 and 86-DOS to go
with the LDP88 8088 CPU board. It also lists MP/M-86.
86-DOS is marked as a trademark of SCP. This is most likely
a version equivalent to MS-DOS 1.0 but sold under the SCP
licence. Perhaps Richard Lomas is still around and can
comment on this.
The clones came quite a bit afterwards. A clone is a functional
equivalent that has the same design. There were several machines
that preceeded the IBM design and were 8086 or 8088 based that
could run CP/M-86 or DOS. Many of these were derived from
earlier S100 or CP/M machine designs. Even SCP's S100 based
8086 machines with 86-DOS were wll before the IBM-PC, yet most
of these machines could run the same software as an IBM-PC could.
Many later machines also looked the same as an IBM, ran MS-DOS
and most of the software and yet were not clones, or even
work-alikes. Wang-PC, NEC APC, Sharp MZ, Bondwell, and many
others were *not* clones even though they ran DOS and much
> To those to whom I've suggested there may NOT have been a QDOS or a
> QuickDOS, my apologies......there WAS.....HOWEVER, it appears to have
> been created in 1983!
> And, as I also suggested, it might well have been a LATER creation
> or "invention" than the important 1981-1982 time frame.......
> In that, it appears, I may have been correct.... I've now found PROOF.
It may be interesting to see what 'proof' you have found. The
chronology is that QDOS was created by taking CP/M-80 source
code, most likely version 1.4, certainly not 2.2, and putting
it through the Intel 8-16 source convertor to arrive at what
would actually run on a SCP 8086 S100 board. After much
rewriting it acutually became usable and was redeveloped into
If you are suggesting that QDOS was *later* than MS-DOS 1.0
then what did MS buy from SCP in order to build MS-DOS ?
Or are you just saying that what everyone called QDOS, the
origins of MS-DOS that SCP created, just had a different name ?
Tim called it QDOS, what more do you want ?
Very interesting. I knew that Microsoft at that time did most
all their development on DEC machines (some on PDP-10's, some on
-11's, and some on VAXen) cross-compiling and emulating the
target machine, but I never knew that these environments had an
influence on the MS-DOS file system. What, exactly, is 'DEC Stand Alone
So far I can't find ANYTHING.
Beginning 1983, I CAN find a few things that may OR MAY NOT have
anything whatever to so with 86-DOS/IBM's Personal Computer DOS
(which appeares to be what IBM called it, version 1.0)
And, of course, there are SEVERAL books out supposedly about those
early days that SAY there was a DOS with a "Q". Saying so doesn't
MAKE it so. Tell me where the ad was. Tell me under what name, by
what author, the trademark or copyright was registered. Tell me
SOMETHING that can be used to confirm the existence of such a thing.
I know about 86-DOS. Don't bother to tell me about THAT.
Now for something different.
CP/M was written (well, BDOS and CCP) in PL/M. We've discussed that
here at some length. The BIOS/CBIOS was in assembler, of course.
It now appears DRI also produced a Z-80 version of the CCP. I'm now
wondering if that was for the Z-80 Apple card?
I don't know (yet) about the BDOS coming in Z-80 flavor out of DRI.
Maybe it did, too.
And of course there were one or more 'un-official' reverse-assemblies
of CP/M, into whatever mnemonics you wanted - TDL, Intel 8080, and
Zilog Z-80 among others. While these might be interesting, I'm really
after the originals with the comments and labels intact.
The impression that I have always had, was that QDOS (for Quick and Dirty Operating System) was sort of an
in-house joke at SCP and was never intended to be the release name. Of course, sometimes such jokes are lost
on others....like the time I was working on a trust accounting program. My "working name" was "Trust Buster"
which was, of course a play on the name "Ghost Busters," which was the current popular movie. My boss saw my
title screen, and almost had stroke. He thought I meant it to be shipped that way.... In actuality, I had
been bored, and was looking to kill time one day, and created it as a joke. Unfortunately, I never got around
to adding the movie's music....
The name QDOS was never used for the product as it was sold, it was
the *internal* name applied to the development versions. After
they cleaned it up somewhat it was advertised as 86-DOS.
Just the same as 'Chicago' became Windows-95, though not as
Richard Plinston writes:
>Many later machines also looked the same as an IBM, ran MS-DOS
>and most of the software and yet were not clones, or even
>work-alikes. Wang-PC, NEC APC, Sharp MZ, Bondwell, and many
>others were *not* clones even though they ran DOS and much
Since you mentioned the NEC APC... shoot, it doesn't even LOOK like
an IBM-PC. It strikes me as primarily a CP/M-86 machine with MS-DOS
capability added as an afterthought. With those 8" drives, it was
unlikely that much MS-DOS software was available for it... although
the pile of disks that I have does include an early version of AutoCAD.
What amazes me, as a tech writer, is the scope of the documentation
that came with the thing. A complete set of schematics (not that
notable for computers of the time) and PAL programming charts(!),
as well as enough development material (and software) so that I was
able to write a "hello world" program in assembler under CP/M-86 with-
out too much trouble. Nowadays, everything is on-line (including, as
described recently in rec.humor.funny, RAM installation instructions)
and there's a lot less info in there.
I guess that's the price we pay for appliance computers.
Larry Kollar, Dawsonville GA | *** Hatred is murder *** (1 Jn 3:15)
leko...@nyx.net | http://www.nyx.net/~lekollar/
"So don't try to turn my head away
Flirtin' with disaster every day"
No, probably not, nor Flight Simulator. The point that I was making
is that unlike recent times, through the 80s there was far more
variety in machines. The original message seemed to think that
the IBM PC was the first 'PC', the first 8088, and that everything
that followed were clones. As you would know this is a completely
false assumption. many machines had a similar looking box but
the insides were vastly different. Many pre-dated the IBM.
The running of MS-DOS was not a sign of a machine being an IBM clone.
Though it may well be today.
> and ms-dos. Support for both ms-dos and cp/m 86 was not that big a
> deal from the point of view of the 808x BIOS.
Just like with CP/M it is possible to write a complete BIOS for
CP/M-86 and MS-DOS. The presence of the IBM ROM BIOS simplifies
the PC-DOS BIOS into being a simple stub. I have a Sharp MZ-5600
here where there is NO ROM BIOS other than a simple bootstrap.
MS-DOS loads its own BIOS to twiddle the hardware, this part
being done by Sharp.
Of course this version of DOS won't boot on a IBM, or vice versa.
There was even a claim here that "At one time IBM had 100% of the
PC market". Obviously he thought that PCs didn't exist before
August 1981 and then there was some delay before other manufacturers
'caught on' and produced IBM-PC-Clones.
That disagrees with my understanding. 86-DOS was a trademark of
SCP. SCP was selling 86-DOS prior to the release of MS-DOS and
PC-DOS. See p.270 of August 1981 Byte.
MS may well have referred to 86-DOS in May 1981 (I presume 1/5/81
is may) as that was the name of the product that MS licenced at
that time. It was only renamed MS-DOS after MS had rewritten it,
the IBM version was PC-DOS.
SCP retained a licence for the developed versions of the product
and resold this as SCP-DOS. So SCP-DOS was a repackaged MS-DOS
while 86-DOS was the original pre-MS product.
QDOS was the initial name applied to the internal development
before it was renamed 86-DOS.
The question that I raise is that it is almost certain that
QDOS used CP/M disk media. The FAT system came from Microsoft's
'DEC Stand Alone BASIC'. SCP-DOS definitely had FAT disks.
Did 86-DOS have CP/M or FAT media ?
86-DOS used cp/m-like file control blocks (FCB). At first, somewhat
limited in size capability, by version 1.0 it could handle gigabyte
files and hard drives, using a 32bit size descriptor (bytes 16-19)
While version 1.0 could read the earlier versions, it was recommended
old disks be copied into the 'new' format as that backward compatibility
was termed temporary
I need to sit down and map out not only the directory structure but
how the system calls actually did things (like time/date)
That's why I'm hoping somebody will have pieces of the old 86-DOS
I can fool around with....nothing like hands-on I always say......
This thread has been continuing long enough to pique my
curiousity. I fired up the ol' 8080 XT today and looked for a
directory that started with Q. Sure enough, there was QDOS.
This particular QDOS is a DOS shell that gave you directory
trees, let you mark and move files, and other Mac/Win type
functionality. Worked pretty well. (Unfortunately, due to C:
drive errors, I couldn't actually load it.) - Tony
* RM 1.31 2547 *
Internet: tony...@toadhall.com (Tony Lima)
> It now appears DRI also produced a Z-80 version of the CCP. I'm now
> wondering if that was for the Z-80 Apple card?
There was a Z80 version of the CCP called, I think, ZCPR. I don't
think it was from DRI, though. Replacing the CCP was a common thing
to do. I wrote one called COMCLP (Communications Command Line Processor)
for DMS equipment, but don't remember if it shipped to customers
or was just used internally. It contained a small loader that stayed
resident in high memory, with the rest of the functions mapped to low
memory. This gave lots of memory for extra functions while still
maximizing TPA for other programs.
123 killed a disk controller I was designed. Since the controller project
was sponsored by a manufacture of disk controller chips, we had to use their
chip instead of the 765 clone used by the average AT. Our chip was nice in
that it could do hard disks, floppies, and tapes in a single chip, but was
_not_ 765 compatible. Our original design was perhaps a dozen chips and
could deal with 1:1 interleave, something not acheivable by the monstrous
mass of logic in the standard AT controller.
Lotus did the copy protection by writing bogus sector headers all over the
disk. The particular chip we were using had an "implied seek" feature which
could not be disabled; when you told it to read a sector, it would take a
look at the header of the first sector it found and, if the cylinder number
was wrong, seek to the correct cylinder and retry the operation. Lotus'
bogus sector headers sometimes included bogus cylinder numbers; these would
be seen by the disk controller, which would then slap the heads against one
or another end of the drive trying to get to the correct cylinder.
The design we finally wind up with not only used a 765, but also needed an
8051 to be compatible with the 1010 (there are some really evil assumptions
made by the power-on self test routines of the original AT which don't work
if you're not a 1010) and had about as much cruft as the original controller
we were trying to replace.
Of course, about that time WD came out a controller that swept all _their_
cruft into custom chips, so they suddenly had about a dozen chips that could
handle 1:1 interleave...
Roger Ivie | "Since then, it's been my policy to view the
iv...@cc.usu.edu | Internet...as an electronic asylum filled with
http://cc.usu.edu/~ivie/ | babbling loonies" -- Mike Royko
Bill Marcum bma...@iglou.com
"You can pay Uncle Sam with the overtime
Is that all you get for your money?" --Billy Joel
Which one? There were several Apple Z-80 cards. The Microsoft
Softcard, the ALS (Advanced Logic Systems?) Z-Engine and Z-Card,
numerous no-name clones of the Microsoft Softcard (usually requiring
you to find your CP/M somewhere else), the PCPI Applicard aka StarCard
(bundled with Wordstar), the Franklin version of the Applicard, the
Digital Research (yes, DRI) Gold Card?...and that's just the ones I
can remember off the top of my head.
The popular choice was the Microsoft Softcard and its various clones,
some of which were reputable and came with licensed CP/M (e.g. the
ALS card(s)), usually CP/M 2.2. These were fairly simple; the Z-80
sat on the Apple bus and used the Apple's memory, though as I recall
the memory map was somewhat rotated (I think the C000H device space
was at E000H from the Z-80's point of view).
But the Applicard and the Gold Card were different implementations;
they had their own memory, and at least the Applicard was more like a
separate microcomputer that communicated with the Apple ][ via a
series of I/O ports, intended to be monitored by some code running on
the Apple's 6502. (If I remember correctly, PCPI was at Applefest
1982 in Boston and one of their demos was an Applicard on the table,
hooked up to power, running, but I don't know what.) The big
advantage of this was that you could run the Z-80 at a faster clock
I have a vague recollection that the Gold Card was shipped with
CP/M 3.0 but can't recall for sure and all my magazines are in storage
so can't look up an ad or review.
PCPI also manufactured something called the 88CARD, which was an 8088
card with 128KB of RAM (64KB of which I think was the Apple's memory).
It came with an operating system too: MS-DOS 1.25.
riplin> Just the same as 'Chicago' became Windows-95, though not
riplin> as publically.
That would explain the term "Windblows-95"...
>Microsoft Basic implemented to run 'Stand-Alone' (ie without an
>underlying OS) on a DEC machine. Disk access used an early form
This brings up an obvious followup question: *which* DEC machine?
I'd assume the time frame was early 80's. Was the DEC machine
possibly an early version of the Rainbow?
>The running of MS-DOS was not a sign of a machine being an IBM clone.
>Though it may well be today.
>> and ms-dos. Support for both ms-dos and cp/m 86 was not that big a
>> deal from the point of view of the 808x BIOS.
>Just like with CP/M it is possible to write a complete BIOS for
>CP/M-86 and MS-DOS. The presence of the IBM ROM BIOS simplifies
>the PC-DOS BIOS into being a simple stub. I have a Sharp MZ-5600
>here where there is NO ROM BIOS other than a simple bootstrap.
>MS-DOS loads its own BIOS to twiddle the hardware, this part
>being done by Sharp.
The first PC clone I bought (after my PET) was a Columbia "portable"
(only 35 pounds - I used a luggage carrier) with 128k and 2 floppies.
I had an 8087 installed. It came with ms-dos, cpm-86, and the perfect
auite - perfect (writer, calc, others). It still works.
> Digital Research (yes, DRI) Gold Card?...and that's just the ones I
I doubt that it was DRI. There was a Digital Research Computers
(of Texas) that produced S100 and SS-50 cards. While I haven't
found an advert for the Gold Card yet, it seems far more likely
to be from them (see Aug 81 Byte p.445). They had no connection
with DRI other than possibly being a CP/M customer.
I've seen references to QDOS, mostly in fairly short treatments of the
history of MSDOS in those mondo "MSDOS UNLEASHED!" kinds of
beginner-to-intermediate books available in shadier _and_ finder
bookstores everywhere, or used to be, when DOS was the predominant
operating environment on the IBMPC and clones. It does seem to have been
an intermediate stage between CP/M and what is now known as DOS.
If memory serves, it is a direct ancestor of MSDOS 1.0; probably its
Interesting that Gazelle Systems should be mentioned in this post. I
seem to recall an "Optune" (sp?) which "compressed" the hard drive in
the same way Norton's SpeedDisk does, by collecting free hard drive
space. I also seem to recall a hard drive management program called
either QDos or QuickDos (although I DO believe it was called QDos),
which was, if I remember, of the same vein as PC Tools, XTree, the
Norton Commander and other point-and-shoot interfaces. As such, the
Gazelle Systems QDos product would qualify more as an add-on to the
existing operating system than an operating system itself.
Benoit A Sauvin
Anti-junk/spam device: underscore.
Opinions and misstatements are my own.
No, I know the difference and I really meant DRI. See Apr 1984 Byte,
pp. 266-267 for an advertisement of the Gold Card, from Digital
Tim Shoppa <sho...@alph02.triumf.ca> wrote:
>The Gold Card was manufactured and sold by Qaudram. The
>one that I own has a Z-80B and 64K of RAM; I believe that it may
>have been available with even more RAM if you were willing to shell
>out the $.
This doesn't surprise me too much, though I don't remember Quadram
selling the Gold Card. The PCPI Applicard was also available from
at least three sources that I can recall: PCPI (as the Applicard),
Franklin (can't remember what they called it), and Micropro (as the
Starcard, bundled with Wordstar, Spellstar, and Mailmerge).
The PCPI Applicard also had an optional daughterboard that could hold
64K or 128K of additional RAM. I'm not sure whether you could ever
use it as anything other than a RAM disk, though -- I only ran CP/M
2.2 on mine, and certainly that didn't try to use it any other way.
Another little tidbit that I noticed when I was looking through the
older Bytes: May 1983, p. 151, is an ad from Advanced Logic Systems
(ALS) for the CP/M Card. I stumbled on this because the Byte reader
service index in that issue lists that as a Digital Research ad, and
in fact the fine print on the ad ends with "<Copyright-C-in-circle>
1982 Digital Research Inc." One of the claims made in this ad is "The
CP/M card was designed and built by Digital Research, the creators of
CP/M, and Advanced Logic Systems...." The pictured card pretty
clearly had memory on-board, and I think was advertised as coming with
CP/M Plus. Not that I know why DRI would have done a Z-80 CCP or BDOS
for this card, or indeed even the Gold Card.
(Looking at the subject:) Hey, if we keep this up maybe we can
re-establish a.f.c as a leader in thread drift!
The Rainbow didn't have a built-in BASIC. Neither did the Robin. The only
DEC machine I can think of offhand which did was the GIGI. However, I don't
recall ever seeing disk drives for the thing (perhaps it could use TU58s?).
Microsoft did have plenty of other BASICs which did disk stuff. Since
Microsoft did Radio Shack Level II BASIC, I assume they were also
responsible for Radio Shack Disk BASIC, for instance.
>> As some of you may know (especially if I've e-mailed you privately)
>> I'm looking for information about the genesis of DOS, as exemplified
> I've seen references to QDOS, mostly in fairly short treatments of the
>history of MSDOS in those mondo "MSDOS UNLEASHED!" kinds of
>It does seem to have been
>an intermediate stage between CP/M and what is now known as DOS.
> If memory serves, it is a direct ancestor of MSDOS 1.0; probably its
What I remember (and this is mostly from a documentary on the rise of the
personal computer), is that the story went something like this.
IBM talks to Mr. Bill
Mr. Bill says I don't know - talk to my buddie Mr. X.
IBM talks to Mr. X.
Mr. X. says - I can't sign that NDA (my lawyer doesn't even understand what
an NDA is).
IBM says thanks - Mr. Bill we're back can you help us.
Mr. Bill says sure... give me five minutes.
At which point Mr. Bill goes and buys out a company/product from a strugling
compeditor(??) called QDOS (Quick N Dirty Operating System - literaly)
(although the first time I heard the story it was 'Pretty Dirty Operating System').
Mr. Bill turned around (probably changed a couple of string constants) and
called it PC-DOS, and sold it to IBM. After that... later editions were called
MS-DOS v x.yz (notice how they now call is Micro Soft _DISK_ Operating System).
And of course the lovely thing about QDOS was that it wasa carbon copy of CP/M
(apparently the only real difference was that the Hard Drive was A: instead
>At which point Mr. Bill goes and buys out a company/product from a strugling
>compeditor(??) called QDOS (Quick N Dirty Operating System - literaly)
>(although the first time I heard the story it was 'Pretty Dirty Operating System').
>Mr. Bill turned around (probably changed a couple of string constants) and
>called it PC-DOS, and sold it to IBM. After that... later editions were called
>MS-DOS v x.yz (notice how they now call is Micro Soft _DISK_ Operating System).
>And of course the lovely thing about QDOS was that it wasa carbon copy of CP/M
>(apparently the only real difference was that the Hard Drive was A: instead
As I understand it, Microsoft offered to cross-license MS' languages
for Seattle Computing's operating system, but didn't mention the IBM
deal. At the time, it must have looked to Seattle Computing like a
hell of a deal. I believe that the court case which followed was
recently concluded, and the judge's comment was that there had been no
bad faith dealings, that Seattle Computing wouldn't have filed if MS
hadn't licensed the OS to IBM, that MS was within its contractual
rights to do so, and that MS wasn't obligated to tell Seattle exactly
what they were planning.
Geoffrey Welsh, MIS Co-ordinator, InSystems Technologies (gwe...@insystems.com)
At home: xenitec.on.ca!zswamp!geoff; Temporary: crs...@inforamp.net
"It ain't broke... it just lacks duct tape!" - Heard on the radio
The conversion to PC-DOS was a major programming effort, not
just a matter of "changing a couple of string constants."
Actually, as I understand it, QDOS was already using the FAT file
system, which they had seen in Microsoft's early product, and adapted
for their OS. (such borrowing of ideas was quite widespread in the
computer industry in those days)
>This thread has been continuing long enough to pique my
>curiousity. I fired up the ol' 8080 XT today and looked for a
>directory that started with Q. Sure enough, there was QDOS.
>This particular QDOS is a DOS shell that gave you directory
>trees, let you mark and move files, and other Mac/Win type
>Internet: tony...@toadhall.com (Tony Lima)
I also had this file manager product. It has nothing to do with the
QDOS operating system.
RH> tony...@toadhall.com (Tony Lima) wrote:
RH> >This thread has been continuing long enough to pique my
RH> >curiousity. I fired up the ol' 8080 XT today and looked for a
RH> >directory that started with Q. Sure enough, there was QDOS.
RH> >This particular QDOS is a DOS shell that gave you directory
RH> >trees, let you mark and move files, and other Mac/Win type
RH> I also had this file manager product. It has nothing to do with the
RH> QDOS operating system.
Yeah, that was my guess. How come they got to use the same
name? - Tony
* RM 1.31 2547 *
Yes, it was Digital Research Inc., the CP/M folks. Notice, it was
about 4 years AFTER Microsoft started the trek towards becoming DRI's
largest OEM customer ... and after Microsoft's sales of CP/M dropped.
(Eh? Whatzzat??) Well, at one time the single largest installed base
of CP/M-80 systems were Apple ][s with Microsoft SoftCards installed -
or a reasonable facsimile thereof! <B-)
(who remembers the 70's and 80's at least partly due to this .. )