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punchy71
December 23rd, 2017, 10:51 AM
Hi,
I'm somewhat interested in using CP/M for the very first time. Though I'm wondering what I can do with it now days (2017)? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Thank you

ziloo
December 23rd, 2017, 11:25 AM
This is a good read:

http://www.retrotechnology.com/dri/howto_cpm.html


ziloo :mrgreen:

krebizfan
December 23rd, 2017, 11:42 AM
What hardware are you going to be running CP/M on? Some systems were a bit more flexible and were supported longer so have more extensive software libraries.

Run business software. Write software. Discover all the myriad ways a disk can be laid out. Learn PIP to be ready to switch over to DEC systems. Not much that is unique to CP/M, especially now.

punchy71
December 23rd, 2017, 01:22 PM
What hardware are you going to be running CP/M on? Some systems were a bit more flexible and were supported longer so have more extensive software libraries.

I haven't looked this far into it yet. So I'm hoping you can clue me in. :wink:

krebizfan
December 23rd, 2017, 02:56 PM
Where are you located? What systems do you have? I would recommend downloading and trying out one of the Z-80 CP/M emulators to familiarize yourself before trying out real hardware.

If in Europe, a good choice would be the Amstrad line especially the more graphical word processors which led to graphical CP/M software in the 90s. http://www.fvempel.nl/domain.html

Sharp MZ-80 was another nice choice. http://www.sharpmz.org/succpminfo01.htm

Rick Ethridge
December 23rd, 2017, 03:18 PM
CP/M is a text-based operating system. The very first home computers were almost all this way. Most text-based systems had 64 or 80 column screens. Xenix and Unix (relatives) were text-based as were business computers using monochrome monitors. Business applications, programming and communications were the most used programs used on these early systems. Spreadsheets, word processing, databases and other programming languages were the most popular applications for CP/M-based computers. Graphics applications were unheard because color systems were more complicated, required more resources, more expensive and were generally slower.

Chuck(G)
December 23rd, 2017, 08:08 PM
I think that punchy71's question is very apt. Other than to satisfy one's curiosity or to migrate an old CP/M application and data, I can't think of any modern use. CP/M is extremely limited in capabilities even compared to MS-DOS.

JonB
December 23rd, 2017, 10:54 PM
Chuck's right, but it is great to learn programming on, especially assembly language. You can also understand the whole of the operating system as the source code is available and small enough to get your head round.

ziloo
December 23rd, 2017, 11:21 PM
CP/M is a software that falls inside the 8-bit hardware universe.
So...your question can be modified slightly as to say "what is
the use of an 8-bit architecture CPU nowadays?" Once you
look around and see the numerous applications that are
more adept to 8-bit environment, then your question would be
more like "why not using CP/M....".

Everything about 8-bit architecture is "One-man/woman doable";
CP/M was designed by one individual and not by a team of
programmers, thus it can also be understood and modified by
one individual. 8-bit use in robotics, control applications, home security,
embedded systems, and communication are abundant. Understanding
CP/M will also help you in understanding more multifaceted softwares,
8-bit, 16-bit, or higher.

And one last thing......to get into the 8-bit environment and use a
computer, you won't need to turn on your multi-core system....


ziloo :mrgreen:

SomeGuy
December 23rd, 2017, 11:40 PM
If you are looking for existing applications, you would usually want to look at application lists provided for specific machine models.

There were word processors such as WordStar and spreadsheets like PerfectCalc. For games, you probably want to try out Infocom interactive fiction games. There were various programming languages - use those and make it do whatever you want! :)

As for what machine is best, that is a matter of taste and availability. There was another thread somewhere that asked that same question. Just off the top of my head, Kaypro Z-80 computers were fairly popular and turn up on eBay regularly. Just keep in mind the different models are not really compatible with each other. A hardware geek would probably want a customizable S-100 based system. People who want to keep a toe in DOS may want Z-80 machines that have 8088/8086 co-processor cards although those usually won't run typical IBM PC programs. Z-80 CP/M processor cards could even be added to Apple II computers.

CP/M was also ported to some other CPUs such as CP/M-86, that can even run on many newer PCs, as well as CP/M for some Motorola 68000 system.

durgadas311
December 24th, 2017, 04:53 AM
CP/M, in spite of all it's shortcomings "in hindsight", will forever hold a pivotal place in the history of computing. I would even maintain that CP/M's success as a small-business platform was one of the factors that encouraged IBM to enter the PC market.

I'm assuming punchy71 is not planning to run a business on CP/M (although you could - after-all, some businesses are even still being run on paper, although governments make that difficult). But CP/M is just as capable and viable as it was back then. As pointed out, there are word processors, spreadsheets, accounting software, even scientific applications. As well as games, educational software, and all the programming languages to support it all. Certainly the conveniences of modern operating systems make many wonder why one would subject themselves to the "inconveniences" of CP/M and slow hardware, but the machines and software can still do the exact same things they did 30 years ago (provided you can keep the hardware running...) - which people paid "good money" for back then. If nothing else, a little time on CP/M can make one appreciate all those that came before - and since.

Also, most serious software for CP/M was written platform-independent, with the exception of software that "painted" the screen (e.g. word processors). Most applications that did paint the screen allowed for customization to other terminal types - although it often required more than "user" skills. I ran Magic Wand word processor on Kaypro and H89/H19. Peachtree accounting software could be customized for any terminal type. Many games were available for several different terminal types. So, a large amount of the available software can be run on any platform, or made to work on almost any platform.

punchy71
December 24th, 2017, 09:44 AM
Where are you located? What systems do you have? http://www.sharpmz.org/succpminfo01.htm

I'm in the U.S.A. An emulator test is probably a good idea. These days I'm mostly using Linux Mint on a modern PC.

krebizfan
December 24th, 2017, 10:14 AM
A fairly complete emulator with software can be found at http://www.autometer.de/unix4fun/z80pack/

http://www.autometer.de/unix4fun/z80pack/screenshots/gsx80.html shows some of what could be done with GSX though that was ported to MS-DOS just like most other CP/M programs.

Chuck(G)
December 24th, 2017, 10:47 AM
CP/M was also ported to some other CPUs such as CP/M-86, that can even run on many newer PCs, as well as CP/M for some Motorola 68000 system.

It's a pretty safe bet that any software written for CP/M-80 that was useful made it to MS-DOS. WordStar did, as did SuperCalc and CBASIC and a whole raft of other things.

In the CP/M world, I find that MP/M is the most interesting, particularly in multi-CPU application.

Plasmo
December 25th, 2017, 06:56 AM
Hi,
I'm somewhat interested in using CP/M for the very first time. Though I'm wondering what I can do with it now days (2017)? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Thank you

I'm new to CP/M myself (about 6 months). My interest is 680x0 and I design/build my own 680x0 computers. To me CP/M-68K is the next level in software development. CP/M68K is probably the least 'useful' of the CP/M, but yet it provides BASIC and C (and others) compilers, it has a good debugger, it has a nice, easy-to-understand file system, and it is small in size. In general CP/M also has a great, helpful community of users.
I thought I was just passing through on my way to Linux or other 'modern' OS, but I find myself lingering, learning and finding different ways to apply its features. I'm not tire of it at all. The small, simple OS is so much easier to write & debug and fits in a small system. You read about internet-of-things, but I'm thinking CP/M-of-things is more applicable to homebrew. I suspect I'll continue to use it even when I have moved on to the bigger & more modern OS.

per
December 25th, 2017, 03:56 PM
I would say that CP/M was a bit like Linux is today. It can run the same software on many different machine architectures, while being pretty lightweight at the core. A lot of what kept it barely alive for several years during the advent of the PC/MS-DOS was also the availability of free user-created content available "online" on various BBS'es.

It also provides a nice library of IO-functions and a simple file system if you want to code for anything Z80- or 8080-based.