Adam's CP/M Page

My Favorite Web Sites

Oakland University CP/M Archive< (mirror)/a>
Gaby's Computer museum and CP/M center (English version)
Commercial CP/M Software Archive
CP/M newsgroup

Ah, good ol' CP/M. Short for Control Program for Microcomputers, it was an operating system developed by Digital Research Inc. (DRI) which was very popular with businesses in the late '70s and early '80s. What does it look like? If you've ever used MS-DOS, then you've also used a form of CP/M. When you start up CP/M, you get the familiar A> prompt, and commands like DIR are there. However, their are differences: instead of COPY A:FILE.TXT B:, you type PIP B: A:FILE.TXT. Parts of its command structure was patterned after operating systems used by early DEC computers.

CP/M was used on many different computers due to it being easy to port to multiple platforms. Most CP/M-based computers used a Zilog Z-80 processor (CP/M-80), but versions were also made for the Intel 8086 processor series (CP/M-86) and the Motorola MC68000 processor series (CP/M-68k), not to mention a variant for multiple-user systems called MP/M. Computers that ran CP/M included the Osborne 1, the Kaypro 2/4/10, the Commodore 128, and many others. Sadly, the man who gave us CP/M, Gary Kildall (founder of DRI) is no longer with us; he died in 1994 under mysterious circumstances.

My first CP/M-based machine was the Commodore 128. A multi-talented machine with two CPUs (8502 and Z-80), the Commodore 128 is able to boot CP/M 3.0 (aka CP/M Plus) as well as operate in both native C=128 and C=64 modes. The Commodore 1571 disk drive allows for certain CP/M disk formats to be read, notably the one used with Kaypro machines. I tried using Wordstar 4.0 with it, which ran but was unable to print properly to my Commodore MPS-1250 printer for some reason. Nevertheless, it remains an interesting example of a late-period CP/M machine.

I also own two Kaypro dedicated CP/M 2.2 machines, a 2X and a 10. The 2X is essentially one of Kaypro's many variants of the original Kaypro II "luggable" computer. It sports two half-height double-density (360K) floppy drives, compared to the original II's full-height single-density (170K) drives. It also has a built-in 300 baud modem. Unfortunately, it was involved in a flood a few years ago, so I haven't been able to use it much. I'm hoping to get it running again at some point.

The Kaypro 10 is actually older than the 2X, basically being a Kaypro II with a once-cavernous 10MB hard disk drive installed alongside a single half-height double-density floppy drive. Said HD is actually split into two 5MB partitions, both of which are loaded with numerous productivity programs like WordStar, SuperCalc and DataStar, as well as associated data files. The hard drive itself was very cranky at first, but I managed to get it to spin up after the first few times I tried to boot up the computer, and it generally loads files without too much trouble.

Site Navigation:
Back to the list of computers!
Back to the main page!