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Seattle Computer Products 86-DOS

Rhinozz

New Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2021
Messages
4
Hey VCF,

I'm on the search for any copies of 86-DOS anyone may have. I have every copy I know of already on the internet, but they only cover 9 copies (including the 4 I got via email) and 3 versions, all 3 of which are in the 1.xx area. All copies sold before May 1981 are of extreme interest, and all other copies are also of interest due to their slack spaces and slight platform differences.
86-DOS was sold with the following computers:
- Seattle Computer Products Gazelle (some may have MS-DOS instead)
- Seattle Computer Products 8086 System (some may have MS-DOS instead)
- Lomas Data Products LDP88 (some may have CP/M-86 instead)
- Lomas Data Products LDP1 (some may have CP/M-86 instead - I believe this was a mainframe)
- Lomas Data Products LDP2 (some may have CP/M-86 instead - I believe this was a mainframe)
They were also sold alone by Seattle Computer Products and Lomas Data Products.

If you don't have a copy but you do have any information or documents you think might be of interest (for example, letters from Microsoft and IBM, or a manual), please do share.

Thank you all! (If you want to contact me privately, email me at s101885 AT o u t l o o k DOT com.)
 

GeoffB17

Experienced Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2016
Messages
438
Location
Guisborough, England
Hm, interesting.

I assume that this is the system that Seattle wrote that became the basis for the original MS-DOS?

But before MS changed it to create the system that IBM had (already ?) agreed to buy for the first PC?

Geoff
 

Rhinozz

New Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2021
Messages
4
Hm, interesting.

I assume that this is the system that Seattle wrote that became the basis for the original MS-DOS?

But before MS changed it to create the system that IBM had (already ?) agreed to buy for the first PC?

Geoff
Mostly, yes. (Some of the below information is new, AFAIK, so ask me if you want any sources.)

Tim Paterson was Seattle Computer Products' first full-time employee. He got approval to write 86-DOS in early February 1980 after CP/M-86 was delayed. He was able to start writing the kernel and main software in mid-April.

The first stable version was up and running in late July, and Microsoft first learned about it via a letter from Tim Paterson to employee Bob O'Rear. Microsoft would then use it as a part of IBM's software project Project Chess (which went along with their hardware project, Acorn, AKA the IBM PC - Microsoft supplied a few languages and an operating system for the PC, called PC-DOS), and eventually for their own MS-DOS. The operating system was first mentioned in late September, and IBM knew what they were getting.

Paterson was the one that mostly made changes, however. From the beginning of January to the end of April 1981, he took requests for changes from Microsoft, and also implemented some of his own ideas. (O'Rear did make some more technical changes - he sent me one of his notes containing the changes he wanted, which I uploaded to the Internet Archive.) After April, he was working at Microsoft and the only third-party changes came in the form of a bug fix from SCP employee Pat Opalka.
 

GeoffB17

Experienced Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2016
Messages
438
Location
Guisborough, England
Looking at the web, I suspect that the 'Lomas Data Products' may not have been a complete computer, but were components (add-on boards etc) for S-100 type systems, which I believe were micros and not mainframes. But somewhat of a 'building-block' approach.

I've got the Ray Duncan book here from 1986 which gives some hints as to the scope of 86-DOS (basically CP/M-80 for 8086 CPU) and a list of the 'extras' included in PC-DOS 1.0 (which I guess were NOT in 86-DOS) followed by the additions for PC-DOS 2 and 3.

Geoff
 

Rhinozz

New Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2021
Messages
4
I do know that the LDP88 and also Seattle Computer Products' 8086 System weren't complete computers. I'm unable to verify that the LDP1 and LDP2 weren't complete.

By "the Ray Duncan book" from 1986, do you mean the MS-DOS Technical Reference Encyclopedia? I have a scan of the first few pages - it's a good reference. (It gets one detail wrong about the date that Bob O'Rear first got 86-DOS running - it says it was in February, but he got it running between January 22 and 25 - but otherwise it's accurate.) Yes, PC-DOS definitely had a lot of extras to 86-DOS.

Slightly off-topic but I haven't brought this up publicly anywhere. One of the copies of 86-DOS was for a 5.25" North Star floppy disk, a development copy owned by the aforementioned SCP employee Pat Opalka. With it came a copy of "WM.COM". WM.COM is a decompilation, translation, and recompilation of MicroPro Word Master (version approx. 1.07) by Tim Paterson - Tim told me this. He dubbed it "SCP SuperEditor" and used it as his IDE to write later things like MSX-DOS. It was never distributed. I sent it over to Al Kossow of bitsavers - it's up there now.
 

GeoffB17

Experienced Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2016
Messages
438
Location
Guisborough, England
Actually, the Ray Duncan book I have is 'Advanced MSDOS', which is much to do with programming DOS, incl simple device drivers, although there's a substantial set of notes about the various DOS (BDOS and BIOS) calls. The book has been very useful to me over they years, I've had it since early 1990s

Geoff
 

GeoffB17

Experienced Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2016
Messages
438
Location
Guisborough, England
Regarding this topic, I was looking at the Wikipedia page for 'MS-DOS', which I've looked at numerous times before, which doesn't say THAT much, when I noticed a link to a sub-page called 'time-line re history of DOS' or something like that. Never looked at that before. I clicked into this, and this is a massively detailed chronology regarding the history of DOS, etc. WAY too much detail unless you're REALLY interested. Just then, I was, so I read into parts of it, and there's LOTS of detail about the development of 86-DOS, and the very period of interest in this thread.

Has OP seen this? It is sort of hidden behind the main page. Or will OP tell that is fact he wrote parts of it??

Geoff
 

Rhinozz

New Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2021
Messages
4
Regarding this topic, I was looking at the Wikipedia page for 'MS-DOS', which I've looked at numerous times before, which doesn't say THAT much, when I noticed a link to a sub-page called 'time-line re history of DOS' or something like that. Never looked at that before. I clicked into this, and this is a massively detailed chronology regarding the history of DOS, etc. WAY too much detail unless you're REALLY interested. Just then, I was, so I read into parts of it, and there's LOTS of detail about the development of 86-DOS, and the very period of interest in this thread.

Has OP seen this? It is sort of hidden behind the main page. Or will OP tell that is fact he wrote parts of it??

Geoff
Sorry for the late reply, but yes, I've seen it. I did not write any of it - I believe that honor would go to Matthias Paul.

While it has a lot of good information, it's not too in-depth. Attached to this message is my timeline of 86-DOS so far. It's "complete" (I'm still on the hunt for more very early information) up to the end of March, 1981. I haven't finished researching after that.

If you want any copies of the emails or scans of other documents, let me know.
 

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