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Thread: A server that gives CP/M to any vintage computer via serial/parallel - thoughts?

  1. #1

    Default A server that gives CP/M to any vintage computer via serial/parallel - thoughts?

    I had this idea for a server that gives any vintage Z80 machine CP/M via serial or parallel port.

    There is a page here with all the details .....

    https://github.com/dukedougal/cpmserver

    The basic idea is that CP/M could run on any vintage computer by connecting the vintage machine via a cable to a modern computer.

    The modern computer would emulate CP/M disk drive functionality through the bidirectional port.

    A CP/M disk driver would be installed on the vintage machine.... making the parallel/serial port appear to be a CP/M disk drive.

    The server would also be able to provide Internet access to the vintage machine via the same bidirectional port.

    The server would be written in Python and could run on pretty much any modern machine.

    At this stage it is just an idea. I wondered what people think of this idea?

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    What kind of vintage computers are you thinking of as a target?

    That sounds a bit like CP/M CP/NET.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Well if you do it.. Make it all the popular versions... Apple.. Commodore.. Kaypro..osborne..etc.

  4. #4

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    It has been done at least for the Epson PX-8 and is a viable idea. I have a PX-8 project that uses a microcontroller to connect a microSD, and I know others have done this too.

    You will only have to emulate BIOS/block commands on your server and you will have to write a custom BIOS for CP/M to use your virtual disk system.

  5. #5

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    Sorry but I am not following. Are you planning on using the modern machine just as a HDD/Network tunnel for the vintage machine?

    A more interesting idea, IMHO, would be to have a modern adaptation of CP/M (i.e. std. x32 or x64 native code on a modern machine) running in linux or on a windows terminal window that allow connections via direct wire (serial port) or telnet. That way you could have an always on CP/M machine (i.e. on a linux box) that you could connect to and use. Many

    I guess you can kind of achieve this by running an emulator on windows or linux and then booting an old CP/M system (DR's maybe?) but 1. it seems a bit heavy handed to run an emulator in the background all the time for something you want to use as a hobby and 2. you would be limited to CP/M that ran on Intel chips not Z/80 implementations.

    Just thinking out loud here...
    Current Wish List: 1. IBM 7531 Industrial Series PC 2. NEC MultiSync XL (JC-2001) Monitor 3. MicroSolutions MatchPoint AND/OR UniDOS card 4. Compaq 14" VGA CRT Monitor (the one that came with the SystemPro). 5. Stacker HW CoProcessor Board MCA BUS. If you have any of the above for sale please PM me. Thank you!

  6. #6
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    Most classic 8 bit computers running CP/M have serial ports that peak at 9600 or 19200 serial port speed and and communication with them will be limited in speed unlike a more modern high speed USB port. There are already serial WiFi adapters that can connect a classic to a WiFi router too. Perhaps make use of that and develop software to work with CP/M to automate saving and retrieving data from a remote computer acting as a server.
    Crazy old guy with a basement full of Pentium 1 laptops and parts

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    It will work - just do it.
    Torfinn

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