WAIT6502,x Followup

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Todd Elliott

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Jul 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/29/96
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I've recently asked Mr. Butterfield about the infamous WAIT6502,x command
used in early PETs. His response follows, in which I think gives a definitive
answer to the WAIT6502,x question.

Of course, I'm still looking for any legal information involving CBM.
Todd

RESPONSE --------------------
> I hope you don't mind if I ask you a question about WAIT6502,X used in
early
> PETs? I was hoping a PET guru like you may be able to answer the true
story.

> The story I've heard is that CBM contracted with Microsoft to build the ML
> code for BASIC.

True. They paid a flat fee for unlimited usage. Microsoft thought that
was a great deal .. until, later, they made royalty deals.

> However, Microsoft fell substantially short, and CBM's own
> engineers reprogrammed and finished up the BASIC for the CBM PETs.

Not true of that time frame. Commodore paid Microsoft an additional fee
to write a revision to the original Basic that they had bought. Among
other things, spaces-in-keywords were changed, zero page shifted around,
and (unknown to Commodore) the WAIT 6502,x joke was inserted.

As it happened, I was the person to show this WAIT feature to Len Tramiel
of Commodore engineering. He was furious at Microsoft: "We're very
short of ROM memory, and they do THAT do us!"

All subsequent revisions of Basic were done by Commodore personnel.

> CBM
> marketed their BASIC as their own work, much to the chagrin of Microsoft.

As an afterthought, Microsoft would have liked to see their name come up
on the screen. But it wasn't in the contract (and Apple, later,
introduced "Applesoft Basic", another Microsoft rename.

Microsoft subsequently become quite fussy about disclosure. Commodore
was enjoined to never reveal a single byte of the Basic interpreter code
(and Commodore employees were so cautioned on many occasions). But the
user groups sorted most of that out.

> A
> lawsuit ensued, and in court, Bill Gates typed in that command, where X
> equals the amount of times MICROSOFT! would show up onscreen. Needless to
> say, CBM lost the case and had paid royalties to Microsoft since.

Could have been a nice reason for putting in the code, but it didn't happen.

> Is this true? If so, can you give me an idea of where the lawsuit was in?
> Canada? When was the lawsuit instituted? A few more specific answers may
> enable me to find the case on Westlaw.

Don't think any such case ever hit court.

> So far, lacking specific information,
> I have yet to find any legal information concerning that siutation I've
> just described.

--Jim

{.sig starts here!}
Todd Elliott
C128D Nirvana Enthusiast!
tell...@ubmail.ubalt.edu
University of Baltimore School of Law


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