View Full Version : Voluminous recent kaypro / cp/m posts on cctalk@classiccmp.org

August 27th, 2012, 04:35 PM
I posted the following on their email list.

Have seen nothing about it here



I am late getting to these so voluminous threads on Kaypros and CP/M, since I was very busy on many other projects in retirement.

But can add my “ two [2] cents from the extensive info I have, if you are interested.

================================================== =============

I was surprised I did not find a reference to WWW.VINTAGE-COMPUTER.COM site in these posts.

A lot of what these threads presented have already been exhaustively explored on that site. In fact we have a very extensive “ knowledgebase on Kaypros” we developed there.

As far as selling Kaypros, you are right, certainly less than $100, some for only shipping, since they weigh almost 30 pounds because of the metal case and many for free + many just going to the dumpster.

That site has a “free” [what a nice “F” four letter word !] marketplace for sales / buying a lot of vintage items.

I think eBay does not hit the specific “target group” for vintage computers like this site does. But you get a lot of global exposure sure + scams that would be quickly exposed on the vintage site..

You just can do a search of that site for a great deal of specific information on so many related topics.

Comparing vintage computers to modern ones may be like comparing the ever so popular Ford Model T’s for the commodity market at that time to modern cars today.

I have a free download of just a “ draft “ of my extensive book on the early vintage computer era, including Osborne, Kaypro, etc. and many related topics.

My presentation at the 2008 Trenton Computer Festival is based on that book and is on their Festival CD.

================================================== ===============

If you want to use just “ sales “ for determining the best, no other computer is even close for the market segment the Kaypro was specifically designed for – very large common market personal, portable computer “complete “ - all you needed right out of the box, including software, for a reasonable price – “the ordinary computer user “ – a commodity product.

There were many others, but much smaller, less popular and did not last long.

================================================== ============

Simply, the issue was “hypergrowth” that is the title of Osborne’s book. Production for both very popular Ocbornes and Kaypros was one shipped every 5 - minutes – many already paid for and long backlogged !

CP/M was “the” system at that time, until Gates came along.

The real big factor was Compaq “legally cloning” the IBM system, including the ever so important operating system.

Briefly, in the last year before bankruptcy, despite their incredible best efforts, Kaypro lost 89% of their sales and Compaq set a record of $12 million profit of any computer company at that time.

Game over ! A new era of computing took off – I use the image of the” relay race “ – passing the baton of success to the next better competitor.

“ Very bitter memories “s of such times for many ! But little could be done.

Lifespan of many sci – tech companies is just very short as better products by others continue to evolve – e.g. evolution – survival of the fittest

================================================== ===============!

Kaypro / Non - Linear Systems [NLS] were very well run / well known international companies, that also provided electronic instruments even to the military & meeting their so very strict standards..

We continue to discover many incredible Kaypros in countries around the world –
specific country names are even on the back panel - how about the German Kaypro with German language on the Kaypro screen ! Many stories to tell.

The all metal, practical & well designed case is one reason Kaypros are still around.. You can even stand on them ! The basic case design did not change very much thru all their CP/M models.

This is all part of many patterns of my decades of STS – NSF research [Science, Technology & Society – National Science Foundation partial funding]..

We are seeing it so dramatically today in so many global ways – HP, Dell, Lenovo, IBM, Mircrosoft, Apple, etc .just in computing alone. A great time of ferment / change, etc. !

Very expected & predictable.

The issues are simply better understanding and managing the process, so you can apply it to your everyday lives.

Eventually as downsizing / cleaning out in retirement of a very successful, productive, wide ranging career [ never could have ever dreamed of !], my six [6] Kaypro “8’s “ will be put up for auction as “packages” with much extra parts, software, accessories, etc.

Whatever they bring, that is the then “fair market value” – at least they will not go to the dumpster.

I will well promote these auctions so all seriously interested can bid. Best might be a
“ group “ who would then just “ part them out “ for those seriously interested. I do not have the time with all my STS-NSF research.

So all the best in your continued vintage computing exploration.



Post as GADFRAN on above web site.

Just do your own research and post it for the benefit of us all !

There is no “ one “ right answer, but many depending on many factors to such complex issues with so many “tradeoff” that depend on so many other issues.

August 27th, 2012, 04:59 PM
I love my two Kaypros. There is something about the sheer industrial/ruggedness and the no-frills, green screen functionality of those metal machines that attracts. Even bare-bones CP/M 2.2 has a kind of masochistic charm.

Prehaps it's their inherent masculinity...reflecting the days when (micro-)computers were there just to do a job, anytime, anywhere before they were designed to "look" cool (and hence gained a softer edge). Kaypros wouldn't seem out of place bouncing around in the back of an army jeep!


August 27th, 2012, 08:30 PM

Well put !

Perhaps they were in the back of an army jeep - we may never know - may still be since so many vintage computers are still in operation - if many are Tom Clancy fans !