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Date   : Mon, 28 Oct 1985 22:18:50-MST
From   : Rick Conn <RCONN@SIMTEL20.ARPA>
Subject: Re: Is CP/M Dead (or) Turbo buy fun

Hello, Bob,

       "Is CP/M Dead?" is a matter of perspective, as I see it.  It also
depends on what you mean by "Dead."  I offer the following:

Meaning of "Is CP/M Dead?"                   Answer to "Is CP/M Dead?"
1. Is anyone making commercial software        No, CP/M is not dead; there
 packages for CP/M now?                                 are many new commercial
                                                packages out there (1)

2. Are the majority of the users of all                I don't know, but I think
 microcomputers running CP/M?                   50/50 chance that IBM has
                                                not reached 2 Million users;
                                                but how many old CP/M users
                                                switched to IBM?

3. Are new users of microcomputers buying      Yes, the new users are largely
 CP/M systems (counting derivatives)?           buying IBM, so CP/M is dying
 (this refers to personal computer users)       if not already dead

4. Are total sales of new microcomputers       I don't know, but I am aware
 leaning toward CP/M (counting derivatives)?    of many, many embedded micros
 (this refers to PCs and embedded computers)    running CP/M et al

5. Is the flow of public domain CP/M software  No, as is evidenced by the
 stopping?                                      latest SIG/M releases I saw
                                                today, CP/M is still thriving

6. Where is the majority of the public domain  No, CP/M is not dead; looking
 software?                                      at the libraries, CP/M is
                                                first, IBM is second; but how
                                                do the "good/junk" ratios
(1) Some examples of new commercial packages for CP/M (or Z System):
       What                            Author                  Sold by
       ----                            ------                  -------
Z-MSG (Electronic Mail)                        Tim Gary                Echelon
ZAS (Z80/HD64180 Assembler)            Patrick O'Connell       Mitek
DSD (Dynamic Screen Debugger)          John Otken              Soft Advances
ZDM (Z80/HD64180 Debugger)             Robert Doolittle        Echelon
ITOZ/ZTOI Assembly Code Translators    Robert Doolittle        Echelon
ZRDOS (Z System BDOS Replacement)      Dennis Wright           Echelon
REVAS (Disassembler)                   Al Hawley               REVASCO
DISCAT (Disk Catalog System)           Richard Conn            Echelon
TERM III (Communications System)       Richard Conn            Echelon
MIX C Compiler                         MIX Software            ...
MIX Editor                             MIX Software            ...
KAMAS (Outline Processor)              KAMASOFT, Inc           ...
Write-Hand Man                         Poor Person Software    ...
REL/MAC (REL-to-source translator)     MicroSmith Computer Tech  ...
HiSoft C                               HiSoft                  ...
HiSoft Pascal                          HiSoft                  ...
DateStamper                            Plu*Perfect Systems     ...
ConIX Operating System                 Computer Helper Industries, Inc ...
RED Editor                             Edward K. Ream          ...
Z80ASM (Assembler)                     SLR Systems             ...
MEX Communications Program             Ron Fowler              NightOwl

[I'm sure I left someone out - data is from the Echelon Newsletters and
 the latest issue of Dr Dobbs; also, "..." above means the same as the
 author; apologies to anyone I excluded]

       So, the above sums up my response to your question.  If you look
at the "new user" community, the answer is what you expected - Yes, CP/M is
dead since the majority of new PC users are not buying it (my meaning 3 above).
There are lots of applications, especially embedded applications, where a Z80
running CP/M is a marvelous, simple, and cheap solution (try embedding an IBM
PC in a communications controller, if you see what I mean).  In the other
four categories, the issue is not at all clear.  CP/M (and the Z System)
is certainly alive as I see it.

       As for myself, I am running ZCPR3/ZRDOS and do not intend to switch
at home.  This combination meets my needs nicely.  At work, I use TIPCs
(IBM workalikes), and I have no complaints, but I don't do anything there
that I can't do at home.  I write code in assembly language and C at home,
and exclusively in C at work (except on the VAX, where I write exclusively
in Ada, and the VAX 11/785 makes a nice PC when working with Ada).

       My next hardware move is to upgrade to an S-100, 64180 board
(one is out now).  I plan to follow that with more software, particularly
a multi-tasking ZCPR4 with a large TPA.  After that, I will probably move
to a good, very fast UNIX system (68020, 32032 class).  Essentially, I plan
to skip the IBM PC market entirely ... if I need a powerful processor, I'll
go with one backed by a good operating system.

       For further discussions, see Jerry Pournelle's column in the
November "Byte" and the "Of Interest" column by Alex Ragen in the November
"Dr. Dobb's Journal."  Quoted from Alex' column:

       "Electronic Business, a magazine devoted to the dollars and
cents issues of the computer business, recently published a long article
analyzing the microprocessor market.  It carried the surprising message
that 8-bit processors make up by far the lion's share of that market,
with 16-bit processors trailing far behind.  Moreover, most industry
observers expect this situation to continue for many years.  The reason
is that the now inexpensive 8-bit processors and their peripherals are
perfectly adequate for most applications.  Where 16-bit processors hold
sway is in the prestige conscious world of the personal computer, where
only the latest fashion is marketable."

               Rick Conn

Disclaimer: While affiliated with Echelon (and thereby Hitachi [makers
of the 64180] and many others on the above list), this text expresses
my personal opinions and is not intended to be an advertisement or the
opinions of anyone else.
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