View Full Version : New to CP/M how does it compare to MS-DOS?

September 17th, 2013, 03:23 PM
Hi to all,
I am new to CP/M and have never actually used it before so I was wondering how it compares to MS-DOS? What is it good at that MS-DOS is not and vice versa? Or, said another way; what are some advantages and disadvantages to each?

Thank you

September 17th, 2013, 03:33 PM
CP/M is a bit more simplistic than MS-DOS; it doesn't support hierarchical filesystems (i.e. nested subdirectories,) and is much more geared towards the idea of a handful of files on removable disks than the modern practice of storing hundreds or thousands of files in a hierarchy on a hard disk. One thing it does have over DOS, however, is that it's portable to a very broad range of hardware (basically anything with a Z80, a storage medium, and a serial port) and runs pretty well on most of it. (Though you do get programs that require or work better with particular systems/configurations, or just need to be fed the right control codes for your terminal in order to display properly.)

September 17th, 2013, 08:32 PM
Try running with DOS/MS-DOS 1.x and you'll be awfully close. I mean, really, really close, right down to a fair number of internals.

DOS 2.0 introduced subdirectories, installable device drivers and such.

September 17th, 2013, 11:48 PM
The major difference that one needs to get used to is PIP which does many things including copy. It will take some time to get used to reversing the order of the operands. CP/M PIP B:=A:*.* is equivalent to MS-DOS COPY A:*.* B:

A difference that is annoying if using real hardware is that there are many different CP/M disk formats. You can't just grab any old disk and expect to readily read it.

Later versions of CP/M had multi-tasking functionality.

September 18th, 2013, 08:34 AM
...and MP/M was not only multi-tasking, but multi-user--something pretty remarkable for an 8-bit 8080-compatible OS.

The OEM kit was very thin on utilities. Basically, you got a copy program (although PIP can do far more things than DOS COPY can), an editor (again, ED, while a line editor, is far more powerful than EDLIN), an assembler and loader (you paid for those separate in DOS), a simple system management/generation utilitiy (MOVCPM) and a debugger (DDT) similar to DOS DEBUG. There is also a batch file processor (SUBMIT and XSUB), with similar, but not identical capabilities to DOS batch files as well as the usual "builtin" commands (DIR, TYPE, REN, ERA, etc.). Another utility, STAT, was a catchall for managing some devices, and furnishing general information about disks. That's pretty much it--no BASIC, for example.

OEM vendors were expected to customize some of the DRI-furnished utilities and provide their own utilities, such as FORMAT.

But, as I mentioned, if you were at home in DOS 1.x, you could get acclimatized to CP/M in very little time--and vice-versa.