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Rare Docs Show How Apple Created Apple II DOS

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the won't-be-big-and-fancy-like-gnu dept.

Operating Systems 130

An anonymous reader writes with a link to this "CNET story about arguably the most important technical documents in Apple's early history: the source code, contract letters, schematics and notes for the creation of the Apple II Disk Operating System (DOS). From 1977 and 1978, these documents chronicle Apple's first OS and what made the Apple II into a serious computer for the masses, able to support killer apps like Visicalc and build the PC industry."

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Maybe it was just my youth but... (4, Interesting)

TWX (665546) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357111)

...I could never figure out what to do with an Apple-II at a prompt. It always came down to inserting the software disk and rebooting the machine.

It probably didn't help that the Packard Bell XT that dad bought had both "Teach Yourself DOS" and an MS-DOS 3.3 full command manual, and obviously the MS-DOS commands didn't work on the Apple...

Sometimes I shudder to think that Packard Bell instigated the turning point that led to my professional career...

Re:Maybe it was just my youth but... (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357155)

...I could never figure out what to do with an Apple-II at a prompt.

LOL.. memories.

10 PRINT "I AM BOOTING"
20 GOTO 10
RUN

"Ah, fuck it." - insert disk and reboot.

Unfortunately, I never got to see a tape-driven unit!

Re:Maybe it was just my youth but... (2)

TWX (665546) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357195)

I did something similar, though a little bit ruder, on the built-in BASIC interpreter on an IBM PS/2 Model 25 that was the library card catalog machine when I was in school... It looked like a DOS prompt, but every input responded with one of half a dozen randomly-chosen rude responses...

Re:Maybe it was just my youth but... (4, Funny)

hoggoth (414195) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357611)

HAHA Good 'ol days. I wrote a little 6502 code that intercepted the keyboard input and every time it saw an "S" it spit out a "TH" to the system. I called it "LITHP".
It drove the teachers nuts.

Lithp and Thcheme (2)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357807)

I wrote a little 6502 code that intercepted the keyboard input and every time it saw an "S" it spit out a "TH" to the system. I called it "LITHP".

It's too bad you weren't a little bit older, or you could have written an interpreter for a language with parenthesized syntax. You could have called it "Thcheme".

Re:Maybe it was just my youth but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43358403)

Ha ha, this was the full intent!

Re:Maybe it was just my youth but... (3, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360951)

I wrote a little 6502 code that intercepted the keyboard input and every time it saw an "S" it spit out a "TH"

Tho you're the thupid idiot who got me thuthpended from thchool! Bathtard! I'm thtuck uthing my old thythtem becauthe of that.

Re:Maybe it was just my youth but... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357753)

Speaking of rude... typed from memory... hopefully no typos.

10 A$ = "DON'T TOUCH ME! "
20 M$ = A$ + A$ + A$ + A$
30 POS = 1
40 PRINT MID$(M$,POS,39);
50 POS = POS + 4: IF POS > LEN(A$) THEN POS = POS - LEN(A$)
60 IF PEEK(-16384) < 128 THEN GOTO 40
70 HOME
80 FOR I = 1 TO 1000:NEXT
90 HTAB 10:VTAB 12
100 PRINT "I SAID ";
110 FOR I = 1 TO 1000:NEXT
120 PRINT "DON'T ";
130 FOR I = 1 TO 2000:NEXT
140 PRINT "TOUCH ";
150 FOR I = 1 TO 2000:NEXT
160 PRINT "ME!"
170 FOR I = 1 TO 3000:NEXT
180 HOME
190 POKE -16368,0
200 GOTO 30

Re:Maybe it was just my youth but... (2)

cormandy (513901) | about a year and a half ago | (#43358509)

Pretty good for off the top of your head. Only issue is that POS is a reserved word in Applesoft. Here is your code changing POS to PS:

10 A$ = "DON'T TOUCH ME! "
20 M$ = A$ + A$ + A$ + A$
30 PS = 1
40 PRINT MID$(M$,PS,39);
50 PS = PS + 4: IF PS > LEN(A$) THEN PS = PS - LEN(A$)
60 IF PEEK(-16384) < 128 THEN GOTO 40
70 HOME
80 FOR I = 1 TO 1000:NEXT
90 HTAB 10:VTAB 12
100 PRINT "I SAID ";
110 FOR I = 1 TO 1000:NEXT
120 PRINT "DON'T ";
130 FOR I = 1 TO 2000:NEXT
140 PRINT "TOUCH ";
150 FOR I = 1 TO 2000:NEXT
160 PRINT "ME!"
170 FOR I = 1 TO 3000:NEXT
180 HOME
190 POKE -16368,0
200 GOTO 30

I ran it and it works!

Re:Maybe it was just my youth but... (1)

elfprince13 (1521333) | about a year and a half ago | (#43358085)

I did that to a lot of school graphing calculators, in TI-Basic: While 1 Input "",Str1 Disp rand*10^(randInt(-5,5)) End

Re:Maybe it was just my youth but... (1)

mrpacmanjel (38218) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357335)

Just for LULZ I used to add something like this in a qbasic file and add it to the end of autoexec.bat

10 input "C:\>"; haha$
20 goto 10

Especially the confusion on a Salesperson's face when rebooting wouldn't solve the "problem" !!!

Used to drive people nuts!

Re:Maybe it was just my youth but... (1)

TWX (665546) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357497)

Heh. Try adding "echo Y|format C: /q" to the autoexec.bat on early versions of DOS that didn't clear the buffer before executing format commands...

Re:Maybe it was just my youth but... (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360457)

Heh. Try adding "echo Y|format C: /q" to the autoexec.bat on early versions of DOS that didn't clear the buffer before executing format commands...

So it was YOU! YOU are the one that got them to start clearing the buffer! YOU are the one that formatted my 5MB MFM drive! :>

Re:Maybe it was just my youth but... (1)

TWX (665546) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360863)

By virtue of requiring a reboot I was never banned from any retail shopping centers...

Re:Maybe it was just my youth but... (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | about a year and a half ago | (#43361209)

By virtue of requiring a reboot I was never banned from any retail shopping centers...

Speaking of retail shopping centers... Did you ever have the experience of seeing the word "penis" scratched in MS paint on demo machines (sometimes all) every single time you went to one? And I wondered where the initial desire for a locked screen saver or boot-time "demo program" came from. lol

Re:Maybe it was just my youth but... (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357561)

I started off with a cassette based apple-ii. You had to play the tape until you heard the synch tone. Stop it. Plug in the player into the computer. Play it. Hope for the best. If it loaded you had to RUN it or BRUN the correct memory address to play it. Memories of the very crude Flight Simulator.

Re:Maybe it was just my youth but... (2)

djdanlib (732853) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357343)

Ugh, I wouldn't want to think that either. Here, have some relief: Learning how to use MS-DOS was really what got you started. The underlying hardware was only a little bit relevant, mostly when you had to wrangle CONFIG.SYS just right to make it work, or wanted to know what video modes you could use in BASIC or which floppies to buy at the store.

Re:Maybe it was just my youth but... (1)

TWX (665546) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357487)

Well, I installed an internal modem in that computer and added a 3.5" floppy drive (not realizing that it wouldn't address a 1.44MB disk so I had to tape over the high-density holes and reformat 720K) when the machine had only two drive bays, so we had to take the computer apart to drill holes in it to mount the 30MB hard disk drive on its side in an empty spot. So I guess it'd be analogous to learning about cars by upgrading a Chevette...

Upgrading to MS-DOS 5.0 was useful with online help, though I wonder if having too much online help would have stunted my skills by making it too easy...

Re:Maybe it was just my youth but... (1)

Imagix (695350) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357447)

Ah the days of "PR#6", "CATALOG", "RUN", "BRUN", "INIT HELLO" ...... (and... Slashdot's filter not liking so many caps...)

Re:Maybe it was just my youth but... (1)

slartibartfastatp (613727) | about a year and a half ago | (#43358157)

what about

PRINT CHR$(4) + "CATALOG"

to invoke it from BASIC? ahh, the days.

Re:Maybe it was just my youth but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43358697)

When I saw "INIT HELLO" it brought up some long buried fear which I didn't immediately understand...

Re:Maybe it was just my youth but... (4, Insightful)

drerwk (695572) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357475)

CALL -151 the only command worth using

Re:Maybe it was just my youth but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43357687)

With that one command, all else was possible.

Re:Maybe it was just my youth but... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43358979)

Yep. The original red pill.

Re:Maybe it was just my youth but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43357507)

Perhaps it was because you didn't read the very good Apple II manuals. You could learn BASIC and even 6502 stuff from them. There was plenty of technical info in them and they were quite clearly written. http://www.classiccmp.org/cini/pdf/Apple/Apple%20II%20Basic%20Programming%20Manual.pdf [classiccmp.org]
ftp://ftp.apple.asimov.net/pub/apple_II/documentation/misc/a2_reference_manual_alt.pdf [asimov.net]

I was about 7 or 8 when I learnt BASIC and 6502 machine code from them. Because of that I believe we shouldn't underestimate what kids can learn.

Re:Maybe it was just my youth but... (1)

TWX (665546) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357799)

I didn't read any Apple II manuals. They didn't provide them for us in elementary school. They expected us to play Oregon Trail or Number Munchers or the like.

Re:Maybe it was just my youth but... (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about a year and a half ago | (#43358205)

ahh... memories of learning Logo on the Apple II... and while I don't remember it, there's a comment on my report card from that era saying that I had taught the teacher how to use the computer (we had a computer at home since 1984 and I didn't start school until later than that: I was born in' 81).

And yes, I realize that there's folks who were into computers before I was even born. I'll get off your lawn, now.

Re:Maybe it was just my youth but... (1)

TWX (665546) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360933)

You're not a lot younger than I am; the school district I was in for elementary school wasn't very wealthy so they didn't replace things that ostensibly still worked...

Re:Maybe it was just my youth but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43358017)

I always inserted a CP/M disk...

Re:Maybe it was just my youth but... (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year and a half ago | (#43358427)

It's a shame you didn't manage to get your hands on any of the good reference books or Apple ][ magazines. I had a clone too (Laser 128) but also had some good books and the library had A+ on subscription.

Re:Maybe it was just my youth but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43359199)

Apple copied dos from Microsoft. Microsoft invented dos. Everyone knows that.

Re:Maybe it was just my youth but... (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about a year and a half ago | (#43361159)

/sarcasm Right! That's why DOS3.x in 1978 had 32 character filenames WITH spaces and MS-DOS in 1980 had that shitty 8.3 filenames. ;-)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_file_systems [wikipedia.org]

Copied? (5, Funny)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357119)

Were the documents Xeroxed as well?

Re:Copied? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43357165)

Were the documents Xeroxed as well?

oooooooo! Low blow. On Slashdot you get points for insults, though!

here comes Bobby buzzkill! (4, Insightful)

Thud457 (234763) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357217)

This is the Apple ][, not the Lisa.
Therefore your attempt at humor is invalidated by being factually incorrect.

Re:here comes Bobby buzzkill! (4, Funny)

moderatorrater (1095745) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357899)

Looks like everything's in order. From a technical and possibly legal perspective, then, everyone is barred from laughing at GP's post until further notice.

Re:Copied? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43357965)

Wow you are young, no they were mimeographed.

Licensed by Xerox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43358055)

Try reading actual history, not fiction. Apple licensed Xerox's inventions after having been invited to view them... They also employed some of the key people at Xerox at Apple.

Shepardson Microsystems (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43357183)

I wonder what it was like working for Shepardson Microsystems back in the day. Not only did they do Apple's DOS, they also did Atari DOS, Atari Basic, and some of their stuff even found its way into OSS products.

Re:Shepardson Microsystems (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43357955)

Bill Wilkinson. A truly wonderful person. Bill worked for Shepardson Microsystems and was able to purchase
the rights to software he developed and helped developed while there. That was how he started Optimized System Software.
He had 2 or 3 really smart people working for/with him, but could only take his vision so far (he had the genius to be M$,
but not the criminal soulless temperament that was required). I think his focus was mainly Atari and Apple, but OSS
didn't really focus on the PC initially (they, like everyone else were fascinated by the 68000 Macintosh), so that amounted
to a failed opportunities. Also, Atari eventually demonstrated their lack of seriousness in the computer market, basically
staying consumer-only oriented and their eventual purchase by Jack. Jack reaffirmed this (even with the Atari ST)
while the PC silently entrenched itself as the _real_ next platform. OSS could not recover from these events and went out of business.

You have to understand, the playing field looked level to all players - hell even IBM didn't understand what the PC was/will be.
If they had, the royalties to M$ would not have been $50.00 a copy for every machine sold. (Adobe did the same trick with PostScript
as Apple paid $100.00 in royalties for every LaserWriter sold - but a $7,000.00 printer - $100.00 didn't _sound_ like a lot).
But too much software was already written for MS DOS before they realized their folly and it was impossible to pull the rug from
under Bill's feet with a cheaper, replacement OS.

But, despite the 20/20 vision looking backwards, at the time it was very exciting in those days which seemed to bring something
new with each passing day. I can't remember being bored...

Re:Shepardson Microsystems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43357999)

AC of the message to which you responded.. thanks for taking the time to reply!

Re:Shepardson Microsystems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43358529)

Paul Laughton, who is the subject of the CNET article, currently maintains an open source BASIC interpreter for Android phones and tablets. It's developed quite a cult following:

http://laughton.com/basic/ [laughton.com]

the more things change... (4, Insightful)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357285)

The Apple II was really only one of three massively successful PC lines: the Commodore, the TRS-80 line, and the Apple line, all introduced in 1977. The Apple II and TRS-80 both received floppy drives in 1978. The Apple II did keep production costs down, but both the machines and its disk drives were pretty expensive, so Apple really didn't do anything to help the masses with its cost savings. In terms of market share, Apple II was always a smaller player relative to the others. So, like today, Apple was had a product with a smaller market share, a lot of proprietary technology, and a large profit margin. And like today, they probably received more credit for innovation than they deserve.

Re:the more things change... (2)

Tempest_2084 (605915) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357389)

I'd say the Atari computer line was more successful than the TRS-80 line. Maybe I'm a bit biased though as the Atari 400 was my first computer.

we could have a whole thread just on bad keyboards (2)

Thud457 (234763) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357565)

Atari 400

HAHA, mebrane keyboard peasant. Full keyboard master race checking in.


actually, in this case, I think I'm pretty safe in assuming that the Joint Chiefs of Staff would concur...

Re:we could have a whole thread just on bad keyboa (1)

Tempest_2084 (605915) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357591)

Yes, that membrane keyboard was a pain (quite literally), but not nearly as bad as the pain from waiting 20 min for your game to load from a tape on the 410 only to have it error out at the last minute.

Re:we could have a whole thread just on bad keyboa (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year and a half ago | (#43358099)

I can understand your confusion because of the GP's poor spelling, but - he meant he had the "me brain" interface. It was a prototype direct neural interface.

Only the coolest kids were allowed to own it.

Re:we could have a whole thread just on bad keyboa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43360771)

mebrane

Full keyboard master race checking in.

Oh, the irony is delicious! It makes me brane hurt.

Re:the more things change... (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357977)

I didn't say that there weren't other massively successful PC lines, I merely gave the three earliest (those introduced in 1977).

Re:the more things change... (1)

Nyder (754090) | about a year and a half ago | (#43358755)

I'd say the Atari computer line was more successful than the TRS-80 line. Maybe I'm a bit biased though as the Atari 400 was my first computer.

Where i grew up, the schools all had TRS-80's and no Apples. So I cut my teeth on Radio Shack & a C64 before I got my hands on an Apple II.

Today? I have all 3 of them. TRS-80 4p, Apple IIe & IIgs, C64 + C128. All working.

My conclusion? The Apple computers rocked. It was made to be used and abused. Built in Assembler Monitor, tons of ports, easy access to the insides. A computer that said, "Learn all of me!!!!"

Re:the more things change... (1)

PRMan (959735) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360649)

Actually, not. But Atari 8-bit blew Apple II out of the water:

http://www.trs-80.org/was-the-trs-80-once-the-top-selling-computer/

Re:the more things change... (0)

the_B0fh (208483) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357413)

Seriously? Around 1983-1985, the market was 50% IBM PC/compatibles and 50% Apple II. How is that a smaller market share? And WTF is proprietary technology? Every system had its own OS, but Apple documented their stuff out the wazoo.

ProntoDOS, a drop in replacement for DOS was written because Apple IIs came with a annotated copy of the source code to DOS. And that is "proprietary"?!

Jesus Fucking Christ, you Apple Haters are really impressive.

Re:the more things change... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357505)

50% Apple2 in 1985? I think you need to lay off those drugs.

It is you Apple fanboys that are really impressive.

8bit hardware that cost as much as the 32-bit hardware from anyone else and you seriously think it had 50% market share? Half of the market simply did not have the money for that kind of nonsense.

Re:the more things change... (1)

the_B0fh (208483) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357683)

Mis-remembered. 1985 was when the Apple //gs came out, so Apple's marketshare was already on the downward spiral. But IBM PCs were still pieces of shit compared to the Apple IIs.

I just recently had a chance to play Wasteland on a PC and boy, did it suck, compared to the graphics that was available on the Apple ][s.

As I responded to N0decam, the one time Apple IIs and IBM PCs/compatibles had equivalent market shares was in 1982, but that wasn't 50/50.

Re:the more things change... (1)

Tempest_2084 (605915) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357901)

>>I just recently had a chance to play Wasteland on a PC and boy, did it suck, compared to the graphics that was available on the Apple ][s.

OK, I'm going to have to call bullcrap on that one. I grew up with the Apple II version and loved it (I think it was the only game I played for over a year), but there's no way the graphics were better than the PC version (unless you're talking about the CGA version). Check out Mobygames if you doubt me: http://www.mobygames.com/game/wasteland/screenshots [mobygames.com]

The only thing the Apple II version had going for it over the PC version were less bugs (the PC version was buggy as hell for some reason).

Re:the more things change... (1)

mrbester (200927) | about a year and a half ago | (#43358257)

CGA was the standard for PCs until you managed to get a Hercules card (required for Autoroute with its special "hi-res" mode) to up the resolution.

Plus Apples had the graphic designer advantage that what you saw on the screen was exactly the same size when printed.

Re:the more things change... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43359057)

He was talking about the ][gs, which did have much better graphics than anything from IBM at the time.

Re:the more things change... (2)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year and a half ago | (#43358141)

1985 was when the Apple //gs came out, so Apple's marketshare was already on the downward spiral. But IBM PCs were still pieces of shit compared to the Apple IIs.

Wow, the Jobs reality distortion field is apparently still in full effect. In 1985, you could get an Amiga 1000 with hardware accelerated graphics, a 68k processor, and a multitasking OS. The PC had EGA cards, with higher resolution than the Apple II. There were tons of other interesting personal computers in the market. The Apple II was still stuck with its half-assed late 70's graphics hack. My Apple II was long mothballed by then. Yeah, the PCs were pieces of sh*t in 1985, but so were the Apple IIs: the two crappiest computer lines from that era survived and took over the market, and the rest is history.

Re:the more things change... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43360749)

The Apple ][ went up to 64k. I don't see how 68k is significantly better.

Re:the more things change... (1)

voss (52565) | about a year and a half ago | (#43358483)

Atari was outselling both IBM and Apple in 1982, right before the C-64 came out.

http://arstechnica.com/features/2005/12/total-share/4/ [arstechnica.com]

Re: the more things change... (1)

Wovel (964431) | about a year and a half ago | (#43358641)

Look again, you misread the chart. Atari had the smallest marketshare by 84.

Re:the more things change... (1)

N0decam (630188) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357517)

Seriously? Around 1983-1985, the market was 50% IBM PC/compatibles and 50% Apple II.

[Citation needed] Given that the C64 was selling like hotcakes (market share that I found reference to on the net was between 35 and 40% over that time period, but I don't necessarily trust those sources) your 50/50 IBM/Apple split sounds suspiciously like it was pulled out of thin air.

Re:the more things change... (1)

the_B0fh (208483) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357643)

You're right, pulled out of bad ram. It was from an old article, misremembered years ago. In 1982, Apple II and IBM PC/Compatibles had equivalent market share, but they weren't 50/50.

http://jeremyreimer.com/m-item.lsp?i=137 [jeremyreimer.com]

Re:the more things change... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43361353)

Yeah, you're gonna have to retire this login now. Enjoy your new 7-digit UID.

Re:the more things change... (1)

jythie (914043) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357555)

Apple's market share around that time was about 10%, which is not shabby at all, but was no where near 50%.

Re:the more things change... (2, Insightful)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year and a half ago | (#43358027)

Seriously? Around 1983-1985, the market was 50% IBM PC/compatibles and 50% Apple II. How is that a smaller market share?

Your numbers are wrong. Apple never had anywhere near 50% market share in the desktop computer market.

And WTF is proprietary technology?

Technology that belongs to Apple and is incompatible with everything else. Many other machines used standard floppy disk controller chips.

Jesus Fucking Christ, you Apple Haters are really impressive.

You Apple fanboys and your ability to falsify history are really impressive.

Re:the more things change... (2)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about a year and a half ago | (#43359163)

" Apple never had anywhere near 50% market share in the desktop computer market."

A fact which is rendered meaningless by the fact that the market wasn't even called the desktop computer market at the time. Apple's target market at the time was the Home Computer, whereas IBM was targeting the Small Office / Business market.

"Technology that belongs to Apple and is incompatible with everything else. Many other machines used standard floppy disk controller chips.

... and proprietary filesystems and encoding schemes. There was no such thing as a non-proprietary PC until much later in history.

"You Apple fanboys and your ability to falsify history are really impressive."

The irony is tripled by your complete lack of grasp of the facts of said history.

Re:the more things change... (1)

whit3 (318913) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360669)

And WTF is proprietary technology?

Technology that belongs to Apple and is incompatible with everything else. Many other machines used standard floppy disk controller chips.

That's twisted; proprietary technology means OWNED technology. Apple had a patent on some its floppy controllers, and IBM decided on a NEC part, uPD765 if memory serves, that was proprietary to NEC. It wasn't a standard, either, just a documented solution that DOS was made compatible with.

All the early floppy disks were proprietary. CDs had a data-format standard, though.

A standard is built around a full formal specification, by a group (IEEE, ANSI...) that usually is not the 'owner' of the underlying patents, but is an interest group which sponsors the publication and growth/modification of the specification.

Re:the more things change... (2)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about a year and a half ago | (#43361105)

Agree with you. Apparently the OP never read "Beneath Apple DOS".

Diversi-DOS and ProntoDOS (sold by Beagle Bros) were a much better DOS then DOS due to massive reading speed increases.

Hell Copy ][+ when it booted up would two full tracks of data faster then DOS could read a few sectors! Tons of people were figuring things out on the Apple and sharing it.

Re:the more things change... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43357481)

go back under the bridge troll.

Re:the more things change... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43357879)

In terms of market share, Apple II was always a smaller player relative to the others. So, like today, Apple was had a product with a smaller market share, a lot of proprietary technology, and a large profit margin.

Proprietary technology? There wasn't a single component in an Apple II (including Woz's disk controller) that wasn't off-the-shelf until the Apple IIe was introduced, and if you wanted to see how the software worked, all you had to do was look at the source code that Apple helpfully provided. If you'd really like to look at proprietary technology, how about discussing the Commodore 1541 drive, which couldn't hold a candle to the Apple drives in terms of speed even though it had its own 6502 processor onboard.

Re:the more things change... (1)

repetty (260322) | about a year and a half ago | (#43359071)

I OWNED a Commodore 1541 hard drive and, yes, they were slow but they held a lot of data and -- most importantly -- they doubled as a convenient electrical hibachi.

Re:the more things change... (3, Informative)

pamar (538061) | about a year and a half ago | (#43359887)

You apparently forgot the fact that Apple published schematics and was built with "off-the-shelf" components, and this soon resulted in a massive "clones" market, offering good if not perfect compatibility (the ROMs were easy to copy, too) at vastly reduced prices.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Apple_II_clones [wikipedia.org]

Apple Innovation (2)

emil (695) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360427)

In addition to the disk controller, credited in the article as dramatically (and masterfully) reducing the parts count and expense, the Apple 2 was the first computer to use a switching power supply [wikipedia.org] .

1977: Apple II is designed with a switching mode power supply. "For its time (1977) it was a breakthrough, since until then switching mode power supplies weren’t used. Designed by Rod Holt,". "Rod Holt was brought in as product engineer and there were several flaws in Apple II that were never publicized. One thing Holt has to his credit is that he created the switching power supply that allowed us to do a very lightweight computer".

The design of the color graphics capability [wikipedia.org] also demonstrated intelligent and practical engineering:

Color on the Apple II series took advantage of a quirk of the NTSC television signal standard, which made color display relatively easy and inexpensive to implement. The original NTSC television signal specification was black-and-white. Color was tacked on later by adding a 3.58-MHz subcarrier signal that was partially ignored by B&W TV sets. Color is encoded based on the phase of this signal in relation to a reference color burst signal. The result is that the position, size, and intensity of a series of pulses define color information. These pulses can translate into pixels on the computer screen.

The Apple II display provided two pixels per subcarrier cycle. When the color burst reference signal was turned on and the computer attached to a color display, it could display green by showing one alternating pattern of pixels, magenta with an opposite pattern of alternating pixels, and white by placing two pixels next to each other. Later, blue and orange became available by tweaking the offset of the pixels by half a pixel-width in relation to the colorburst signal. The high-resolution display offered more colors simply by compressing more, narrower pixels into each subcarrier cycle. The coarse, low-resolution graphics display mode worked differently, as it could output a short burst of high-frequency signal per pixel to offer more color options.

The Apple 2 showed the computer hardware engineering trade that much, much more could be done with less. I'm no Apple fanboi, but accolades earned and deserved should be recognized.

Re:the more things change... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43360679)

Apple has never, ever, made, or marketed a competitive computer. Not then, not now.

A Computer For The Masses? (4, Informative)

westlake (615356) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357463)

From 1977 and 1978, these documents chronicle Apple's first OS and what made the Apple II into a serious computer for the masses.

The computer for the masses has to be affordable.

The original retail price of the computer was US $1298 (with 4 kB of RAM) and US $2638 (with the maximum 48 kB of RAM). The original Apple II was discontinued at the start of 1981, having been superseded by the II+.

An estimated 40,000 machines were sold for its 4-year production run.

Apple II series [wikipedia.org]

What cost $1298 in 1977 would cost $4848.66 in 2012. What cost $2638 in 1977 would cost $9854.21 in 2012. The Inflation Calculator [westegg.com]

Following Visicalc's release, Bricklin and Frankston developed ports for the Atari 800 and Commodore PET, both of which could be done easily due to sharing 6502 CPUs with the Apple II and being able to recycle large portions of code. Other versions followed for the HP 150 and TRS-80 Model I and II. Finally, Visicalc was ported to the IBM PC and became one of the initial pieces of software available for it on its 1981 launch.

VisiCalc [wikipedia.org]

Re:A Computer For The Masses? (4, Informative)

jythie (914043) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357607)

'Masses' is a fairly relative concept, as is 'affordable'. Compared to the targeting of the IBM compatible computers it could be argued that the Apple ][ line was more a computer for mass consumers, even if at its price point it was out of the range of many people. It is kinda like today out the Canon 5Dmk3 is a FF camera for the 'masses' in that it is intended (or at least marketed to) 'prosumers' as opposed to professionals and companies. Its price point is still higher then most people can plunk down for a camera, but it is still aimed at the mass market.

Now, it could be argued there were other 'for the masses' computers also being sold at the time, but that is why it is "A" computer for the masses, not "The" computer for the masses.

I think people tend to forget how computers were seen and marketed at the time, and how little attention there was on anyone other then hobbyists and professionals. The Apple ][ and other computers like it really were a new push to get usable computers into the homes of a much larger audience.

Re:A Computer For The Masses? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357735)

Yes, having been around and associated with computer geeks at the time, I can say for certain that the primary computers we were using back them were Commandos. They were everywhere. Apples would pop up here and there but mostly you just saw ads for them, not in actual use. Even in the 80s Apple was all about marketing.

Re:A Computer For The Masses? (1)

WillAdams (45638) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357987)

Visicalc --- one of my most vivid memories from childhood was being in a computer store in Richmond, VA when an accountant came in and declared,

``I want a Visicalc.''

The salesperson patiently explained that Visicalc was only a software program and that to use it, he would need a computer.

``Whatever, give me everything I need for a Visicalc.''

The salesperson then proceeded to lay out almost one of everything in the store (high-end items were possible, the 132 column printer, 80 col. card, dual-disk drives, &c.), which the accountant paid for w/ a company check, loaded up into his Trans Am and drove off with.

Re:A Computer For The Masses? (1)

putaro (235078) | about a year and a half ago | (#43358313)

Heh - I was selling computers at the UCSD bookstore around that time and I had a customer come in one time and tell me that another store had sold her a "DBase" machine and she wanted to figure out what it was. Turned out to be an Apple II+ with a CP/M card.

and the coke. mountains of coke everywhere. (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about a year and a half ago | (#43358823)

accountant ... his Trans Am

Holy crap, the late 70's where a whole different country...

VisiCalc? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year and a half ago | (#43361047)

I've heard different stories on why VisiCalc was developed on Apple first. In one interview, a key project person (I don't remember which) said it was simply because the Apple happened to be available at the time as the Pets and TRS's were booked up. Another was that Steve Jobs gave them discounts on Apples for porting one of the company's popular games to Apple sooner.

Slightly Relevant: Web Based Apple II Emulator (5, Interesting)

MrYingster (594507) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357983)

running Apple DOS 3.3.
http://porkrind.org/a2/ [porkrind.org]
For those interested in reliving the memories of Apple DOS.... This emulator is all written in javascript. There seem to be quite a few ROMs present as well to try.

A short trip down memory lane (2)

ciurana (2603) | about a year and a half ago | (#43358051)

If you bleed in 6 colors and are a true Apple hacker, I have two words for you:

INIT HELLO

Cheers!

Command-line hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43358195)

All these stories are precisely why I avoided early PCs like the plague. It was bad enough using a command-line interface on dumb terminals to interact with the mainframe at work. Who wanted to go home and deal with the same crap? But then, the Mac came along, and the WYSIWYG interface eased many of the intuitive problems with using computers.

Re:Command-line hell (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about a year and a half ago | (#43359239)

So basically, your a pussy?

What DOS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43358277)

Apple II used CPM, not DOS.

Re:What DOS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43358461)

And your mother, apparently, used drugs while pregnant.

Re:What DOS? (2)

cormandy (513901) | about a year and a half ago | (#43358643)

You're drunk. And to confuse you further, here is the Z-80 card Microsoft produced to allow CP/M to run on an Apple ][ http://www.z80.eu/apple2.html [z80.eu]

Re:What DOS? (2)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about a year and a half ago | (#43361293)

Apple in 1978 starting shipping _their_ version of DOS 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, and ProDOS in 1983. Microsoft didn't ship their MS-DOS until 1981.

The Apple ][ _could_ run CP/M _if_ you had a Z-80 card. i.e. Wordstar.

References:
  * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_DOS [wikipedia.org]
  * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PRODOS [wikipedia.org]
  * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MS-DOS [wikipedia.org]

35 Days to write an OS (3, Interesting)

Fool106 (977984) | about a year and a half ago | (#43358311)

Pretty crazy to think he wrote an OS in 35 days. How long did it take Linus to write linux?

Given that Linux is still in use... (1)

voss (52565) | about a year and a half ago | (#43358507)

The length of time it took to write it needs to be put in perspective.

Re:35 Days to write an OS (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year and a half ago | (#43359323)

How long did it take Linus to write linux?

It took about a year. That is, from the beginning of the project to the release of the first public version.

Re:35 Days to write an OS (1)

wed128 (722152) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360473)

Given a small featureset and relatively simple hardware, 35 days sounds about right for something like Apple II DOS. No multitasking, a simple command language, limited hardware to support.... It was cutting edge then, but it's a student project now.

Re:35 Days to write an OS (1)

White Flame (1074973) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360621)

People can and still do write OSes in 35 days. Just look at the 8-bit CPU & microcontroller hobbyist groups. Lots of new or rehashed implementations come up relatively quickly, vs trying to do the same on full-on workstations. The scope of these machines allow complete understanding and control to be quite tractable in a 1-person effort.

Re:35 Days to write an OS (1)

butlerm (3112) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360641)

He didn't write an OS, he wrote a disk operating system, i.e. a system that operated disks. They called it DOS for a reason.

use the source (1)

v1 (525388) | about a year and a half ago | (#43358575)

the source code, contract letters, schematics and notes for the creation of the Apple II Disk Operating System (DOS)

I did a good deal of assembly back in 'th day, and I ran Merlin Pro. I had decompiled FaskDiskOne (an optimized version of Dos 3.3) It featured optimized sector reading and interleaving. Nibbles were decoded on the fly, instead of after the sector was read, greatly improving read speed. After getting that fully loaded into merlin I could tweak it any way I liked. Though all I really ever ended up doing was implementing EA's copy protection in my main programming disk. Still, it was nice being able to directly modify your DOS.

Ha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43359243)

Apple built the PC industry? HAHAHA. Is it still April 1?

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