Bill Gates & Steve Jobbs question

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James MacDone

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Mar 16, 2002, 6:21:17 PM3/16/02
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I don't know if this is the correct newsgroup to post this.

I was reading Bill Gate's history from the internet a couple of days ago and it made me think of a good question to ask you
people. What if Bill was out of the picture or "not on the ball", would Steve Jobbs be as knowledgeable on how to make an operating
system like 'Basic' as Bill did? Would Steve imagined what Bill had imagined, that there would be a computer in every home?

James


Jason

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Mar 16, 2002, 8:53:10 PM3/16/02
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In article <ZqQk8.1233$ue2....@read2.cgocable.net>, James MacDone
<jamesm...@yahoo.ca> writes

>I don't know if this is the correct newsgroup to post this.

Interesting cross-post - hello to anyone in alt.fan.bill-gates =-)

>I was reading Bill Gate's history from the internet a couple of days
>ago and it made me think of a good question to ask you people. What if
>Bill was out of the picture or "not on the ball", would Steve Jobbs be
>as knowledgeable on how to make an operating system like 'Basic' as
>Bill did?

Two part answer; Steve Jobs wasn't really a coder, he's always been more
of a marketing force with Apple; it was Jobs who got the marketing
people in, the professional designers who came up with the case, the
venture capital people. But he also didn't design the Apple or Apple 2
hardware, that was Steve Wozniak and Woz *did* write a BASIC of his own.
Originally it was bundled as software, for the II it was on ROM.

As for Bill "making an operating system like BASIC", he didn't really
create anything - he simply boiled down some existing concepts to make
his own interpreter for an existing language and there are other coders
who did that around the same time. According to Steven Levy's
"Hackers", when Gates was writing the Altair BASIC, there were other
flavours floating around that were either as good or, in a few cases,
better implementations.

That's not to say Gates' programming skills weren't shit-hot, because
Altair BASIC was (by most accounts) a well written piece of code - but
it wasn't an original idea or some major leap, just an implementation.

>Would Steve imagined what Bill had imagined, that there would be a
>computer in every home?

Gates has had very little to do with that actually *happening*, it took
people like Jobs and Woz, Jack Tramiel, Clive Sinclair et al to actually
*put* the first computers there. Gates and Microsoft have popularised
the modern home computer (more by turning it into an easy-to-use
appliance to the detriment of some of it's ability than anything else)
but they certainly can't lay any major claim to the groundwork that
popularisation required.

And we still haven't forgiven him for the bugs in Commodore BASIC! =-)
--
Jason =-)
_______________________________________________________________________
TMR / / / / / / / /\
/ /__/ / / /__/ / / / /__/ Email: t...@c64.org / /
/ /\_/ / /__ / / / / __// TMR_C0S on IRC / /
/ /__/ / / / / / / / / / http://www.cosine.org.uk / /
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\_____\_____\_____\__\__\__\_____\_____________________________________\/

Mike Holmes

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Mar 17, 2002, 2:42:50 PM3/17/02
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My understanding was that BASIC was originally created at Dartmouth (by a woman?) sometime in the sixties. Microsoft then somehow got
rights to it later. I don't think "Bill" created it. Go ahead and tell me how wrong I am, but that's what I have read in several
locations And if I'm wrong, I'm wrong. My intention is not to offend your supreme leader :).

- Mike

Sam Gillett

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Mar 17, 2002, 8:20:56 PM3/17/02
to

James MacDone wrote ...

> I don't know if this is the correct newsgroup to post this.

I doubt it. Most of the people in csc are not Bill Gates fans. Most of
them do not like Bill Gates at all.

> I was reading Bill Gate's history from the internet a couple of days
>ago and it made me think of a good question to ask you
>people. What if Bill was out of the picture or "not on the ball", would
>Steve Jobbs be as knowledgeable on how to make an operating
>system like 'Basic' as Bill did?

Basic is not an operating system and Bill Gates did not invent Basic. Basic
is a high-level computer language developed at Dartmouth College (Hanover,
N.H.) in 1964. Its creators, Thomas E. Kurtz and John G. Kemeny, conceived
Basic as a simple language for students first learning about computers.

> Would Steve imagined what Bill had imagined, that there would be a
>computer in every home?

Science Fiction writers were predicting a computer in every home when Bill
Gates was still wearing diapers. He may have read some of their stories
when he was growing up.

Sam Gillett aka Mars Probe @ Starship Intrepid 1-972-221-4088
Last 8-bit BBS in the Dallas area. Commodore lives!


Mike Holmes

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Mar 17, 2002, 7:50:02 PM3/17/02
to
James MacDone wrote:

Here's an interesting link to look at:
http://www.digitalcentury.com/encyclo/update/BASIC.html

It kinda explains about where basic came from, how it had been around the
block about fifty times... then Bill got ahold of it. Of course, didn't add
anything to it per se, but collected a fortune off of what was originally
meant as a talented programmer's public domain piece of work... go figure!

I think I got everything right except for the woman part.

- Mike

Charles Richmond

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Mar 17, 2002, 11:35:40 PM3/17/02
to
Mike Holmes wrote:
>
> My understanding was that BASIC was originally created at Dartmouth
> (by a woman?) sometime in the sixties. Microsoft then somehow got
> rights to it later. I don't think "Bill" created it. Go ahead and
> tell me how wrong I am, but that's what I have read in several
> locations And if I'm wrong, I'm wrong. My intention is not to offend
> your supreme leader :).
>
BASIC was created at Dartmouth in the 1960's by John Kemeny and
Thomas Kurtz...neither one a woman. Bill did *not* get the "rights"
to BASIC...Bill and Paul Allen worked from a set of public domain
flowcharts for Dartmouth BASIC.

--
+-------------------------------------------------------------+
| Charles and Francis Richmond <rich...@plano.net> |
+-------------------------------------------------------------+

Dave Dahle

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Mar 17, 2002, 11:40:45 PM3/17/02
to
"Mike Holmes" <mdho...@nwlink.com> wrote in message
news:3C94F1BA...@nwlink.com...

> My understanding was that BASIC was originally created at Dartmouth (by a
woman?) sometime in the sixties.

Unless you're thinking of COBOL which was created around that time by Adm.
Grace Hopper?

Dave


Cameron Kaiser

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Mar 17, 2002, 11:52:05 PM3/17/02
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"Sam Gillett" <samgi...@msn.com> writes:

>Basic is not an operating system and Bill Gates did not invent Basic. Basic
>is a high-level computer language developed at Dartmouth College (Hanover,
>N.H.) in 1964. Its creators, Thomas E. Kurtz and John G. Kemeny, conceived
>Basic as a simple language for students first learning about computers.

However, at least on the Commodore 8-bits, BASIC can be considered to be the
operating system, since that's the computer's startup program and the default
command shell.

--
Cameron Kaiser * cka...@stockholm.ptloma.edu * posting with a Commodore 128
personal page: http://www.armory.com/%7Espectre/
** Computer Workshops: games, productivity software and more for C64/128! **
** http://www.armory.com/%7Espectre/cwi/ **

Sam Gillett

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Mar 18, 2002, 1:54:09 AM3/18/02
to

Cameron Kaiser wrote ...

>"Sam Gillett" <samgi...@msn.com> writes:
>
>>Basic is not an operating system and Bill Gates did not invent Basic.
>>Basic is a high-level computer language developed at Dartmouth
>>College (Hanover, N.H.) in 1964. Its creators, Thomas E. Kurtz and
>>John G. Kemeny, conceived Basic as a simple language for students
>>first learning about computers.
>
>However, at least on the Commodore 8-bits, BASIC can be considered to be
>the operating system, since that's the computer's startup program and the
>default command shell.

True. However the key word here may be shell.

Looking at it from a different perspective, the Kernal can be considered the
operating system, and Basic a shell to provide easy access to the Kernal.

Best regards,

Jason

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Mar 18, 2002, 5:02:21 AM3/18/02
to
In article <3c9571c8$0$9811$45be...@newscene.com>, Cameron Kaiser
<cka...@stockholm.ptloma.edu> writes

>"Sam Gillett" <samgi...@msn.com> writes:
>
>>Basic is not an operating system and Bill Gates did not invent Basic. Basic
>>is a high-level computer language developed at Dartmouth College (Hanover,
>>N.H.) in 1964. Its creators, Thomas E. Kurtz and John G. Kemeny, conceived
>>Basic as a simple language for students first learning about computers.
>
>However, at least on the Commodore 8-bits, BASIC can be considered to be the
>operating system, since that's the computer's startup program and the default
>command shell.

How much of that was Bill and how much was Commodore, though...?

Sam Gillett

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Mar 18, 2002, 5:27:16 PM3/18/02
to

Jason wrote ...

>In article <3c9571c8$0$9811$45be...@newscene.com>, Cameron Kaiser
><cka...@stockholm.ptloma.edu> writes
>>"Sam Gillett" <samgi...@msn.com> writes:
>>
>>>Basic is not an operating system and Bill Gates did not invent Basic.
>>>Basic is a high-level computer language developed at Dartmouth
>>>College (Hanover, N.H.) in 1964. Its creators, Thomas E. Kurtz and
>>>John G. Kemeny, conceived Basic as a simple language for students
>>>first learning about computers.
>>
>>However, at least on the Commodore 8-bits, BASIC can be considered
>>to be the operating system, since that's the computer's startup program
>>and the default command shell.
>
>How much of that was Bill and how much was Commodore, though...?

Years ago an article in Compute's Gazette, based on interviews with
Commodore insiders, addressed that question. IIRC, all of the code had been
changed by Commodore. The syntax of some statements and functions was kept
the same as in Microsoft Basic. Same or similar syntax made it easier for
someone who knew one version of basic to transition to the other.

A good example of where syntax remained the same would be the LEFT$, MID$,
and RIGHT$ functions.

Best regards,

Mike Holmes

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Mar 18, 2002, 7:12:38 PM3/18/02
to
Charles Richmond wrote:

> Mike Holmes wrote:
>>
>> My understanding was that BASIC was originally created at Dartmouth
>> (by a woman?) sometime in the sixties. Microsoft then somehow got
>> rights to it later. I don't think "Bill" created it. Go ahead and
>> tell me how wrong I am, but that's what I have read in several
>> locations And if I'm wrong, I'm wrong. My intention is not to offend
>> your supreme leader :).
>>
> BASIC was created at Dartmouth in the 1960's by John Kemeny and
> Thomas Kurtz...neither one a woman. Bill did *not* get the "rights"
> to BASIC...Bill and Paul Allen worked from a set of public domain
> flowcharts for Dartmouth BASIC.
>

I was wrong about the woman part, hence the questionmark. By and large, I
had the right idea though :)

When I say "rights" - technically anybody could make a version of BASIC -
It was in the Public Domain. Knowing this M$ essentially capitalized on a
Public Domain program 10 years after its inception. They creatively ripped
off of someone else's idea and hard work at THE RIGHT TIME by adapting and
licensing it to many computers for profit, which has essentially been
their business model to this day!. I would imagine that had the originators
been able to reserve rights, MS would have ripped off some other language
and we'd all have been programming Fortran or C or Forth on our C64's,
Ataris, etc. I'm not sure they've ever had an original idea - didn't invent
the Windows concept, didn't invent the web browser etc. etc. etc. etc. I
mean come on, I had a windows OS on my C64 (GEOS) when most PC's were
monochrome green text and windows wasn't a word, and Microsoft had to
resort to giving away their browser in order to try to kill the superior
product Netscape.

In any case that's not the point - the point is "Bill" did not "invent"
BASIC - that's all I'm saying.

- Mike


Martijn van Buul

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Mar 19, 2002, 9:56:34 AM3/19/02
to
It occurred to me that Mike Holmes wrote in comp.sys.cbm:

> When I say "rights" - technically anybody could make a version of BASIC -
> It was in the Public Domain. Knowing this M$ essentially capitalized on a
> Public Domain program 10 years after its inception. They creatively ripped
> off of someone else's idea and hard work at THE RIGHT TIME by adapting and
> licensing it to many computers for profit,

That is, pardon me, nonsense. Microsoft doesn't "own" BASIC, just like
Microsoft doesn't "own" HTML or C++.

If you want to write your own BASIC interpreter/compiler, Microsoft will not
stop you. They just wrote one themselves, which, at that time, was considered
a rather good and fast implementation - which is the reason it was often
used (in some way) by (home)computer companies.

Ofcourse, they have *every* right to *their* implementation. No "capitalizing
of ideas" involved.

In fact, it was Commodore who did the Dirty Deed in this story, making a
rip-off of Microsoft Basic without nicely asking them.

> I mean come on, I had a windows OS on my C64 (GEOS) when most PC's were
> monochrome green text and windows wasn't a word, and Microsoft had to
> resort to giving away their browser in order to try to kill the superior
> product Netscape.

Oh come on. If you insist on bashing Windows because it's Not A New Idea,
then please give credit where credit is due. Not to GEOS, not to Apple,
but to Xerox, IIRC.

Oh, and you have your timescale wrong. GEOS was hardly a 'new idea' at
that time. It was clearly based on MacOS, and Windows *was already available at
that time*

Bad Berkeley Softworks. They ripped an idea of Microsoft *boggle*.

> In any case that's not the point - the point is "Bill" did not "invent"
> BASIC - that's all I'm saying.

And all I'm saying is that bashing Microsoft is fine, as long as you do
it based on *facts*, and not on nonsense or non-arguments.

Or based on blatant lies.

--
Martijn van Buul - Pi...@dohd.org - http://www.stack.nl/~martijnb/
Geek code: G-- - Visit OuterSpace: mud.stack.nl 3333
Kees J. Bot: The sum of CPU power and user brain power is a constant.

no...@real.address.sir

unread,
Mar 20, 2002, 3:57:03 AM3/20/02
to
Mike Holmes wrote:
> Here's an interesting link to look at:
> http://www.digitalcentury.com/encyclo/update/BASIC.html
>
> It kinda explains about where basic came from, how it had been around the
> block about fifty times... then Bill got ahold of it. Of course, didn't add
> anything to it per se, but collected a fortune off of what was originally
> meant as a talented programmer's public domain piece of work... go figure!

Having actually read the "Back to Basic" book mentioned in the
page cited above, I would say it is a good read for anyone who
wants to learn how BASIC got a raw deal.

Mike Holmes

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Mar 19, 2002, 11:26:24 PM3/19/02
to

Martijn van Buul wrote:

> It occurred to me that Mike Holmes wrote in comp.sys.cbm:
> > When I say "rights" - technically anybody could make a version of BASIC -
> > It was in the Public Domain. Knowing this M$ essentially capitalized on a
> > Public Domain program 10 years after its inception. They creatively ripped
> > off of someone else's idea and hard work at THE RIGHT TIME by adapting and
> > licensing it to many computers for profit,
>
> That is, pardon me, nonsense. Microsoft doesn't "own" BASIC, just like
> Microsoft doesn't "own" HTML or C++.

I don't see where I wrote "own" in there anywhere. Might read again. I believe I
said they had "rights" to their own licensed versions later in a previous post,
which is true. Why would they do it if they weren't going to get paid? Hell, even
I'll give them that.

> If you want to write your own BASIC interpreter/compiler, Microsoft will not
> stop you. They just wrote one themselves, which, at that time, was considered
> a rather good and fast implementation - which is the reason it was often
> used (in some way) by (home)computer companies.

Of course they can't stop anybody - they didn't even invent it - that's my whole
point! Thanks Marty!

>
> Ofcourse, they have *every* right to *their* implementation. No "capitalizing
> of ideas" involved.
>

Sure it is... If you invented a fancy new machine, failed to patent it, and I
created a virtual copy and sold it for money - I capitalized on your idea. That's
kinda what they did with Netscape (except instead of charging for it - they just
tried to drive them under by handing out free product.)


> In fact, it was Commodore who did the Dirty Deed in this story, making a
> rip-off of Microsoft Basic without nicely asking them.

A rip off of a rip off? OK. I am pretty sure that you are right - Commodore
probably wrote their BASIC and not M$ - I can't remember my Commodores crashing
frequently :) I'm pretty sure M$ had a one-time licensing agreement on the PET at
least. If it makes you feel better I can say that Commodore no more invented BASIC
than M$ did - does that make you feel better?


> > I mean come on, I had a windows OS on my C64 (GEOS) when most PC's were
> > monochrome green text and windows wasn't a word, and Microsoft had to
> > resort to giving away their browser in order to try to kill the superior
> > product Netscape.
>
> Oh come on. If you insist on bashing Windows because it's Not A New Idea,
> then please give credit where credit is due. Not to GEOS, not to Apple,
> but to Xerox, IIRC.

OK, those will work. You doing a splendid job of proving my point - thanks for the
help!


>
> Oh, and you have your timescale wrong. GEOS was hardly a 'new idea' at
> that time. It was clearly based on MacOS, and Windows *was already available at
> that time*

I never said it was a 'new idea' - I said C64 had a windows system before
"windows". Might want to read again. But thanks, you are right - there were many
others.

>
> Bad Berkeley Softworks. They ripped an idea of Microsoft *boggle*.

Seems like Berkeley got theirs OUT on the C64 if not first, then within months
according to these.

http://members.fortunecity.com/pcmuseum/windows.htm
http://www.zimmers.net/geos/GEOSFAQ.html#B1

I'll even give you the benefit of the doubt and say they released them at the same
time if it makes you feel better. I seem to remeber GEOS coming out about 1985.
There were many others that came out before anyways.


> > In any case that's not the point - the point is "Bill" did not "invent"
> > BASIC - that's all I'm saying.
>
> And all I'm saying is that bashing Microsoft is fine, as long as you do
> it based on *facts*, and not on nonsense or non-arguments.
>
> Or based on blatant lies.
>

Half of the things things you said I said weren't even in my posts, and the others
I have provided links for. Marty, Relax, re-read the post, have a scooby-snack
slowly and calmly reason it out :)

Martijn van Buul

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Mar 21, 2002, 9:59:49 AM3/21/02
to
It occurred to me that Mike Holmes wrote in comp.sys.cbm:
>
>
> Martijn van Buul wrote:
>
>> It occurred to me that Mike Holmes wrote in comp.sys.cbm:
>> > When I say "rights" - technically anybody could make a version of BASIC -
>> > It was in the Public Domain. Knowing this M$ essentially capitalized on a
>> > Public Domain program 10 years after its inception. They creatively ripped
>> > off of someone else's idea and hard work at THE RIGHT TIME by adapting and
>> > licensing it to many computers for profit,
>>
>> That is, pardon me, nonsense. Microsoft doesn't "own" BASIC, just like
>> Microsoft doesn't "own" HTML or C++.
>
> I don't see where I wrote "own" in there anywhere.

Not literally, but this *is* what you're saying. That BASIC was a public
domain thing "snatched" by Microsoft. Which is nonsense. In combination with
your rants about "Fortran or C or Forth", it does seem to imply that you
consider BASIC as a "program", and not as an idea. Which is wrong, again.

> Might read again.

I have.

> I believe I said they had "rights" to their own licensed versions later

No. Quoting yourself:

>>> My understanding was that BASIC was originally created at Dartmouth
>>> (by a woman?) sometime in the sixties. Microsoft then somehow got
>>> rights to it later

I may not be English, but I should say that "it" refers to "BASIC" in this
context.

> Of course they can't stop anybody - they didn't even invent it - that's my
> whole point!

No, your point was that they "capitalized and claimed somebody elses idea".

Which is wrong. Becuase the idea doesn't belong to Microsoft.

> Thanks Marty!

The name is "Martijn", thank you very much.

>> Ofcourse, they have *every* right to *their* implementation. No "capitalizing
>> of ideas" involved.
>>
>
> Sure it is... If you invented a fancy new machine, failed to patent it, and I
> created a virtual copy and sold it for money - I capitalized on your idea.
> That's kinda what they did with Netscape (except instead of charging for it -
> they just tried to drive them under by handing out free product.)

And Netscape did exactly the same thing.

>> In fact, it was Commodore who did the Dirty Deed in this story, making a
>> rip-off of Microsoft Basic without nicely asking them.
>
> A rip off of a rip off? OK. I am pretty sure that you are right - Commodore
> probably wrote their BASIC and not M$

No, Microsoft wrote a BASIC-implementation for Commodore, which Commodore
ripped, slightly improved, and claimed to be theirs. It's a well-known fact.

Find a PET (One with BASIC v1 or v2, not 4.0), or find an emulator emulating
a 3032 or so, and enter

wait 6502,10

You *really* think Commodore would put in such an easter egg?

>- I can't remember my Commodores crashing frequently :)

Have you ever turned them on? The CBM basic is far from bugfree. Two simple
examples: The garbage collector, and silly bugs like

print 5+"a"+-5

Needless to say that any credits towards the perceived stability of the
C64 BASIC should be directed to Microsoft - they wrote the thing, after
all.

>If it makes you feel better I can say that Commodore no more invented BASIC
>than M$ did - does that make you feel better?

Ah, changing your mind already? Commodore didn't invent BASIC for a single
bit, since they didn't even write one.

>> Oh come on. If you insist on bashing Windows because it's Not A New Idea,
>> then please give credit where credit is due. Not to GEOS, not to Apple,
>> but to Xerox, IIRC.
>
> OK, those will work. You doing a splendid job of proving my point - thanks
> for the help!

I'm proving that you're a nitwit, who only screams without knowing what he's
saying.

>> Oh, and you have your timescale wrong. GEOS was hardly a 'new idea' at
>> that time. It was clearly based on MacOS, and Windows *was already available
>> at that time*
>
> I never said it was a 'new idea' - I said C64 had a windows system before
> "windows".

Which is untrue.

Let me explain it in simple terms, with a nice story.

Situation: A computer shop. At a certain point of time.

Customer_1: "Hello, I want to buy Windows for my PC"
Salesdroid: "There you are"

Customer_2: "Hello, I want to buy GEOS, or something else that resembles
Windows, for my C64"
Salesdroid: "I'm sorry sir, you will have to come back in about two months,
GEOS hasn't been released yet".

Capiche?

And ofcourse, the first version of Windows couldn't possibly compete against
a current release. And at that time, it featured little more than just a
graphical shell. But that isn't the point, because the first release of
GEOS wasn't overly useful either. Only when Geos 2.0 was released, things
were really starting to take off.

> Might want to read again. But thanks, you are right - there were many others.

Yes, windows being actually one of the first of them. And still, you
claim that *Microsoft* stole the idea of a product that got released one
year *later*? You've *got* to be kidding!

>> Bad Berkeley Softworks. They ripped an idea of Microsoft *boggle*.
>
> Seems like Berkeley got theirs OUT on the C64 if not first, then within months
> according to these.
>
> http://members.fortunecity.com/pcmuseum/windows.htm

GEOS released in 1984? Hah! Strange that they *announce* it in the 1986
winter CES, held in January!

MS Windows 1.0, however, was released on November 20th, 1985, the announcement
dating back to 1983.

Please get your facts straight, or "You might want to read again".

> http://www.zimmers.net/geos/GEOSFAQ.html#B1

".. which was developed in 1986..."

"Might want to read again", as you put it so nicely.

> I'll even give you the begnefit of the doubt and say they released them at


> the same time if it makes you feel better. I seem to remeber GEOS coming out
> about 1985. There were many others that came out before anyways.

You loose. GEOS wasn't "earlier" than Windows, which *was your point*. Don't
start denying that, and don't start saying that it doesn't make any difference,
because it does.

> Half of the things things you said I said weren't even in my posts,

You do have the ability to read, don't you?

You claim a lot of things, which are untrue, and then you go saying that
it doesn't matter anyway.

Olvar Neophys

unread,
Mar 21, 2002, 10:13:36 AM3/21/02
to
Martijn van Buul once wrote:

> It occurred to me that Mike Holmes wrote in comp.sys.cbm:
>> Martijn van Buul wrote:
>>> It occurred to me that Mike Holmes wrote in comp.sys.cbm:
>>> > When I say "rights" - technically anybody could make a version of
>>> > BASIC - It was in the Public Domain. Knowing this M$ essentially
>>> > capitalized on a
>>> > Public Domain program 10 years after its inception. They creatively
>>> > ripped off of someone else's idea and hard work at THE RIGHT TIME by
>>> > adapting and licensing it to many computers for profit,
>>>
>>> That is, pardon me, nonsense. Microsoft doesn't "own" BASIC, just like
>>> Microsoft doesn't "own" HTML or C++.
>>
>> I don't see where I wrote "own" in there anywhere.
>
> Not literally, but this *is* what you're saying. That BASIC was a public
> domain thing "snatched" by Microsoft. Which is nonsense. In combination
> with your rants about "Fortran or C or Forth", it does seem to imply that
> you consider BASIC as a "program", and not as an idea. Which is wrong,
> again.

Mike probably meant that Microsoft took a public domain BASIC
implementation and said it was theirs. Not that Microsoft invented BASIC,
that is something that you just made up. I for one cannot see that Mike
claimed that Microsoft invented BASIC.

> Find a PET (One with BASIC v1 or v2, not 4.0), or find an emulator
> emulating a 3032 or so, and enter
>
> wait 6502,10
>
> You *really* think Commodore would put in such an easter egg?

For those of you who doesn't even know what a PET3032 is (this is X-posted
to alt.fan.bill-gates as well, remember?), I can tell you that it prints
out the word "MICROSOFT!" all over the top part of the screen.

--
O.

Andy Finkel

unread,
Mar 21, 2002, 3:27:36 PM3/21/02
to
On 21 Mar 2002 14:59:49 GMT, Martijn van Buul <pie...@c64.org> wrote:

>It occurred to me that Mike Holmes wrote in comp.sys.cbm:

>> A rip off of a rip off? OK. I am pretty sure that you are right - Commodore


>> probably wrote their BASIC and not M$
>
>No, Microsoft wrote a BASIC-implementation for Commodore, which Commodore
>ripped, slightly improved, and claimed to be theirs. It's a well-known fact.
>
>Find a PET (One with BASIC v1 or v2, not 4.0), or find an emulator emulating
>a 3032 or so, and enter
>
>wait 6502,10
>
>You *really* think Commodore would put in such an easter egg?

Actually, Commodore bought the 6502 BASIC from Microsoft, in a "one time
payment, source license" deal. This BASIC got ported for each new 6502 flavor
computer that Commodore did. (but with no additional payment required, which
kind of bugged Bill Gates at the time).

Microsoft BASIC at the time was _the_ BASIC to have for your 8 bit machine.
It was a definite sales point to have the standard 8 bit BASIC available.

BASIC was enhanced a couple times by various Commodore programmers, for the
VIC-20 (the Super Expander), Business Basic, TED Basic, etc. The core
remained Microsoft for many years though.

As I recall, we had a full hardcopy source listing, with official comments
from Microsoft. All of those were stripped when the source was first moved to
the 6502 platform, because the source was transmitted via a 110 baud modem,
and no one wanted to wait for the additional transfer time. Thereafter, BASIC
was pretty comment free until it was ported and enhanced for the TED (Plus/4)/

The Wait 6502,x was one of the Gates easter eggs that had to be removed for
space reasons; it took something like 400 bytes to do it (!). In those days,
rom space was extremely scarce. When faced with the choice of spending time
shrinking an easter egg or removing it entirely (to make room for bug fixes),
the Commodore programmers opted for the latter.


Andy Finkel

Microsoft is a "scrappy" company in exactly the same sense that Godzilla is a 'scrappy' monster.

witchy

unread,
Mar 21, 2002, 7:08:06 PM3/21/02
to
In article <lagl8.14289$e33....@nwrddc01.gnilink.net>, "Sam Gillett"
<samgi...@msn.com> wrote:

> True. However the key word here may be shell.
>
> Looking at it from a different perspective, the Kernal can be considered
> the operating system, and Basic a shell to provide easy access to the
> Kernal.

On the same tack, anyone remember billg's first attempt to take over the
world with the MSX "standard" in 1983?

Sam Gillett

unread,
Mar 21, 2002, 8:21:47 PM3/21/02
to

Andy Finkel wrote ...

I have always been under the impression that the last input Microsoft had
toward Commodore Basic was around 1977. And, that by the time the C64 was
released, almost all of the code originally obtained from Microsoft had been
rewritten by staff software engineers at Commodore.

Among the reasons for rewriting the Basic code were; to optimize it for CBM
hardware, to compress more functionality into limited ROM space, and to fix
bugs.

>Microsoft is a "scrappy" company in exactly the same sense that Godzilla is
a 'scrappy' monster.

Yes, when it comes to software vendors, Microsoft is "King of the Monsters"
:-)

Anders Carlsson

unread,
Mar 22, 2002, 3:41:52 AM3/22/02
to
"witchy" <wit...@sruasonidyranib.oc.ku> writes:

> On the same tack, anyone remember billg's first attempt to take
> over the world with the MSX "standard" in 1983?

Huh? Was the MSX definition a project run by Microsoft? I believe the
acronym stands for Microsoft eXtended (Basic), but the computers were
typically Japanese (except for Spectravideo) and built according to a
standard platform.

Kind of cool concept, maybe a little outdated when the real production
of the first line (MSX-1) kicked in early 1985. Almost all the major
home electronics companies had their MSX computer. Yamaha's CX5M had
an stripped down version of their DX-7 synthesizer built in. Pioneer
had prepared their machine to connect a laser disc player.

Even Sony sold MSX:es, with the special property of a built-in diary (!)
which was unable to save the notes you did on neither tape or floppy,
but only on a special battery-backuped RAM cartridge. There existed other
RAM cartridges for MSX, but of course Sony's own was incompatible with
the other (in both directions). The first version of Sony's Hit-Bit only
had 16K RAM and touch keyboard (a'la ZX81) too. Later versions had 64K
and a real keyboard.

(hm, this one would be more on-topic in comp.sys.msx)

--
Anders Carlsson

Josef Molnar

unread,
Mar 23, 2002, 11:35:14 AM3/23/02
to
Hey guys,

I just deleted the previous posts from this one, but I love such discussions
for and against Microsoft. I am an anti-Microsoft fan. It means I love
everything, that is not from M$ (nice symbol for them). I hate (and do
everything to change it) that I must read newsgroups and e-mails with M$
software, but I do it just because I am online through a mobile phone and
until now I was not able to set up an infrared conection for Linux. By the
way I write programs for the C64's LNG and also for Linux (do not seek them
yet on the net). As soon as I get everythig working under Linux I will
forget M$ forever. Did you watch the film "Pirates of the Silicon Valley"? I
love it. Steve Jobs is much more sympathetic to me in that film and hate,
that M$ did and does their things that way.

Huh, I did not say and write something like this until now, but I am happy
now! Do you know, by the way, the spy tricks of the new Win XP? Shame for
M$!

It could be a neverending discussion without a winner (I think) so now I say

Bye
Josef


Jim Butterfield

unread,
Mar 24, 2002, 11:28:39 AM3/24/02
to
Martijn van Buul <pie...@c64.org> and Mike Holmes have written quite a
lot of stuff, much of which I'll omit ...

>>> > It was in the Public Domain. Knowing this M$ essentially capitalized on a
>>> > Public Domain program 10 years after its inception. They creatively ripped
>>> > off of someone else's idea and hard work at THE RIGHT TIME by adapting and
>>> > licensing it to many computers for profit,

There were dozens of independent Basic implementations at that time;
they were all major customizations of the original Basic conceived by
Kemeny and Kurtz at Dartmouth back in the 1960s, In the late 1960s,
General Electric offered their own style of Basic for their
time-sharing service. Digital Electronics had version on their PDP-8
and PDP-11 minicomputers, long before the micro. Ways of implementing
Basic on microcomputers was one of the main themes of the journal, Dr.
Dobb's Journal of Computer Calisthenics and Orthodontia (at that time
a public domain publication).

Microsoft was one of many implementors of Basic for microcomputers;
they gained a market advantage because their code was relatively
full-featured (transcendental functions), and faster than most.

>>>> My understanding was that BASIC was originally created at Dartmouth
>>>> (by a woman?) sometime in the sixties. Microsoft then somehow got
>>>> rights to it later

I don't believe that either John G. Kennedy or Thomas E. Kurtz was a
woman. But both were indeed professors at Dartmouth, and both
conceived of a language for time-sharing called "Basic", and
implemented it there. Various other languages, such as "Joss" were
developed in the academic community, and there were several university
sites with Basic implementations. The various Basics were
significantly modified as new kinds of computer interfaces appeared
(such as graphics), and as structured programming became a desirable
feature. Although various code implementations might be copyrighted,
Basic itself was not, and others were welcome to do their own
versions.

>>> In fact, it was Commodore who did the Dirty Deed in this story, making a
>>> rip-off of Microsoft Basic without nicely asking them.

Commodore paid good money to Microsoft for the rights to use their
Basic. Indeed, Microsoft was delighted to get a substantial lump sum
payment in a marketplace that had at that time yielded them only
nickels and dimes. Later, when Microsoft started licensing their
Basic to others on a royalty basis, they greatly regretted having sold
rights in perpetuity to Commodore. As a result, a feud developed
between Commodore and Microsoft.



>> A rip off of a rip off? OK. I am pretty sure that you are right - Commodore
>> probably wrote their BASIC and not M$

Commodore bought Basic from Microsoft. They subsequently paid
Microsoft to write and update to the first version (no spaces within
keywords, and such). The title "Commodore Basic" that appears at
startup was part of the contract specification; but Commodore didn't
write any of the Basic code at that time.

Subsequently, Commodore and Microsoft were unable to conclude further
agreements on updates, so Commodore wrote the extra code in-house.

>wait 6502,10
>
>You *really* think Commodore would put in such an easter egg?

Shortly after that implementation, I show this to Len Tramiel at the
Commodore booth of a CES show. He was enraged: "We have a machine
that's short of memory space, and the #$#!* put that kind of stuff
in!!"
--j

-----= Posted via Newsfeeds.Com, Uncensored Usenet News =-----
http://www.newsfeeds.com - The #1 Newsgroup Service in the World!
-----== Over 80,000 Newsgroups - 16 Different Servers! =-----

Hidehiko Ogata

unread,
Mar 24, 2002, 5:43:14 PM3/24/02
to
Anders Carlsson wrote:

> > On the same tack, anyone remember billg's first attempt to take over
> > the world with the MSX "standard" in 1983?
>
> Huh? Was the MSX definition a project run by Microsoft? I believe the
> acronym stands for Microsoft eXtended (Basic), but the computers were
> typically Japanese (except for Spectravideo) and built according to a
> standard platform.

Excuse me for butting in, but I believe it was a joint-effort by M$
and "Ascii", a big Japanese book/software publisher... I could be
wrong though.

FWIW it looked to me like a ticket for the first wave of the home-
computer bandwagon, prepared for latecomers who had taken wait-and-see
attitude until then - typically big companies as mentioned.
--
// }{idehiko ()gata "What did ya expect in an opera?
\X/ Amiga since '86 A happy ending?" - Bugs Bunny
RIP Chuck Jones 1912-2002

Alexandre Pechtchanski

unread,
Mar 25, 2002, 1:36:06 PM3/25/02
to
On Sun, 24 Mar 2002 16:28:39 GMT, f...@pathcom.com (Jim Butterfield) wrote:
[ snip ]

>Digital Electronics had version on their PDP-8
>and PDP-11 minicomputers, long before the micro.

You meant, of course, Digital Equipment Corporation. And they had several
different versions, one of which, Basic Plus 2, was even used to write pretty
extensive systems.

--
[ When replying, remove *'s from address ]
Alexandre Pechtchanski, Systems Manager, RUH, NY

witchy

unread,
Mar 26, 2002, 6:11:16 PM3/26/02
to
In article <k2gg02t...@legolas.mdh.se>, "Anders Carlsson"
<anders....@mds.mdh.se> wrote:

> "witchy" <wit...@sruasonidyranib.oc.ku> writes:
>
>> On the same tack, anyone remember billg's first attempt to take over
>> the world with the MSX "standard" in 1983?
>
> Huh? Was the MSX definition a project run by Microsoft? I believe the
> acronym stands for Microsoft eXtended (Basic), but the computers were
> typically Japanese (except for Spectravideo) and built according to a
> standard platform.

Sort of. Yes MSX stood for M$ Xtended BASIC, but machines weren't just
Japanese. Several european manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon (Grundig
and Philips spring to mind), but ISTR it was M$ led......

Michael J Schülke

unread,
Mar 26, 2002, 6:32:29 PM3/26/02
to
On Tue, 26 Mar 2002 23:11:16 +0000, witchy wrote:
> Sort of. Yes MSX stood for M$ Xtended BASIC, but machines weren't just
> Japanese. Several european manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon (Grundig
> and Philips spring to mind), but ISTR it was M$ led......

"The Ultimate MSX FAQ" (http://www.faq.msxnet.org/) has this to say on
that topic:

--8<------------
The MSX standard has been designed by a company called ASCII in
Cooperation with Microsoft which provided a firmware version of its
BASIC for the machine. Because this BASIC version was an extended
version of MicroSoft Basic, it was called "MicroSoft eXtended BASIC".
This explains the name "MSX". The system thanks his name to the built-in
BASIC.

Note that according to Kazuhiko Nishi, the `inventor' of the whole MSX
idea, MSX can mean a lot more than just MicroSoft eXtended. He says
(published in an article in a Japanese business magazine in 1997) that
he used the abbreviation MSX to contract a lot of companies saying that
it means Matsushita Sony X-machine in which the X could stand for the
company Nishi was talking with at that moment. He also said that he
initially wanted to name it NSX, Nishi Sony X (or MNX, Matsushita Nishi
X) but the name NSX was already taken by Honda. So, in the case of
Microsoft he just said the MS stands for MicroSoft. Anyhow, at least it
is clear that Matsushita and Sony are the most important companies that
produced MSX machines and hardware, according to Nishi.

Other possibilities were Matsushita Sony Shake-hands (X). But actually,
MSX doesn't really have a meaning, it's just a nice-sounding 3-letter
combination. On the MSX fair in Tilburg (21st April) 2001, Nishi gave a
general meaning: Machines (hardware) with Software eXchangeability. A
funny remark was that when MSX seemed to be succesful, Microsoft said MS
in MSX means MicroSoft, but after 1986, when MSX seemed not as succesful
as Microsoft had hoped, they denied that...
--8<------------

Cheers,
Michael

--
Michael J Schülke
Hamburg, Germany

Reply-to is valid, but use MJSchuelke at gmx dot net for a faster reply.

bud

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Mar 27, 2002, 3:10:37 AM3/27/02
to

Hi Michael:

Group: comp.sys.cbm Date: Wed, Mar 27, 2002, 12:32am (CST+7) From:
MJSch...@hotmail.com (Michael J Schülke)

script:

>"The Ultimate MSX FAQ" >(http://www.faq.msxnet.org/) has this
>to say on that topic:

(snip)

Ah! So now we know why MS called their new toy "X-Box". :))

salaam,
dowcom

--
http://community.webtv.net/dowcom/DOWCOMSAMSTRADGUIDE

DOShead Credo:
a) Try it! It might work.
b) GOTO a).

Andy Finkel

unread,
Mar 27, 2002, 4:34:37 PM3/27/02
to
On Fri, 22 Mar 2002 01:21:47 GMT, "Sam Gillett" <samgi...@msn.com> wrote:

>>rom space was extremely scarce. When faced with the choice of spending
>time
>>shrinking an easter egg or removing it entirely (to make room for bug
>fixes),
>>the Commodore programmers opted for the latter.
>
>I have always been under the impression that the last input Microsoft had
>toward Commodore Basic was around 1977. And, that by the time the C64 was
>released, almost all of the code originally obtained from Microsoft had been
>rewritten by staff software engineers at Commodore.
>
>Among the reasons for rewriting the Basic code were; to optimize it for CBM
>hardware, to compress more functionality into limited ROM space, and to fix
>bugs.

After the initial source transfer, it was indeed entirely maintained by
Commodore software engineers. That doesn't mean it was entirely rewritten,
though. Most work was fixing bugs, saving bytes, and so on. As late as the
time of the (late lamented) LCD machine, no one had ever really touched the
math package, for instance. (where I discovered that whoever wrote the
initial package at Microsoft really didn't 'get' the use of guard bits to
protect precision :-) )

Eventually, every part of the BASIC rom got touched. Though, I suspect the
original author might still recognize 'structures', control flow, things like
that; I don't remember a 'start on a blank sheet of paper' stage for BASIC.


Andy Finkel

witchy

unread,
Mar 27, 2002, 5:50:30 PM3/27/02
to
In article <MPG.170b237cc...@news.t-online.de>, "Michael J
Schülke" <MJSch...@hotmail.com> wrote:

> On Tue, 26 Mar 2002 23:11:16 +0000, witchy wrote:
>> Sort of. Yes MSX stood for M$ Xtended BASIC, but machines weren't just
>> Japanese. Several european manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon
>> (Grundig and Philips spring to mind), but ISTR it was M$ led......
>
> "The Ultimate MSX FAQ" (http://www.faq.msxnet.org/) has this to say on
> that topic:
>
> --8<------------
> The MSX standard has been designed by a company called ASCII in
> Cooperation with Microsoft which provided a firmware version of its
> BASIC for the machine. Because this BASIC version was an extended
> version of MicroSoft Basic, it was called "MicroSoft eXtended BASIC".
> This explains the name "MSX". The system thanks his name to the built-in
> BASIC.

<snippage>

Excellent! Mind me using that on my museum site?

cheers

Oh...arse...no sig....it's www.binarydinosaurs.co.uk....

witchy

unread,
Mar 27, 2002, 5:52:02 PM3/27/02
to
In article <MPG.170b237cc...@news.t-online.de>, "Michael J
Schülke" <MJSch...@hotmail.com> wrote:

> On Tue, 26 Mar 2002 23:11:16 +0000, witchy wrote:
>> Sort of. Yes MSX stood for M$ Xtended BASIC, but machines weren't just
>> Japanese. Several european manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon
>> (Grundig and Philips spring to mind), but ISTR it was M$ led......
>
> "The Ultimate MSX FAQ" (http://www.faq.msxnet.org/) has this to say on
> that topic:
>

Oop - it's from the FAQ.....maybe no need to ask then.....

Michael J Schülke

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Mar 27, 2002, 6:04:56 PM3/27/02
to
Precisely. I just cut & pasted from that site.
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