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Locomotive Software

1,724 bytes added, 22:03, 7 September 2006
Founded in February 1983, Locomotive Software was the software house which developed the CPC''(Copied from Wikipedia)''s BASIC and operating system, and played a pivotal role in other Amstrad home computers of the time. The company was founded by [[Richard Clayton]] and Chris Hall.
Their first contract was to write a Z80 BASIC for Acorn's abortive ABC business computer project. This BASIC would prove pivotal in their future history, gaining them the 'in'Locomotive Software''' was a small British software house which did most of its development for Amstrad's home and small business computers of the 1980sfirst computer.
It wrote or contributed significantly to the ROMs of the Amstrad == CPC 464, Amstrad CPC 664 and Amstrad CPC 6128 home computers, the Amstrad PCW wordprocessor and the later Amstrad-manufactured ZX Spectrum +2A, +2B and +3 machines, amongst others. Its [[Locomotive BASIC]] for the CPC range was fast and highly-featured implementation of BASIC for the time and later led to the development of Mallard BASIC for Amstrad's CP/M+ machines. Locomotive was also responsible for the ports of the CP/M operating system to Amstrad machines - initially 2.2 for the CPC464 and CPC664 and later CP/M 3.0 ("CP/M+") for the CPC6128, PCW range and Spectrum +3.==
A later Most pieces of the CPC's system software were written by Locomotive: [[Locomotive BASIC was BASIC2 ]], the [[CP/M]] ports, the operating system [[firmware]], and [[AMSDOS]]. All were acclaimed for Digital Research's GEM GUItheir stability and design, as supplied with particularly the Amstrad PC-1512 BASIC. The main operating system development started in September 1983 and PC-1640 range of PC clones, for the 464, was complete by 14th January 1984. (Locomotive then worked on the documentation, both the free BASIC manual and the [[SOFT 158]] firmware manual.)
The company also developed the LocoScript word processor for the == PCW, which was a complete bootable environment in its own right with no separate underlying operating system. The company later produced a PC version of this software but it was not hugely successful - partly because it was a DOS application, just as the PC market was moving to Microsoft Windows, but also because in the more competitive environment of PC wordprocessors the program compared poorly to incumbents such as WordPerfect.and Spectrum ==
The same team later went on to develop Locomotive's association with Amstrad continued with the Turnpike Internet client for Windows, which was for many years distributed as their standard access software next range of computers to be launched by pioneering dialthe firm - the [[PCW]] word-up Internet access provider Demon Internetprocessors.
Here, as well as porting CP/M, Locomotive was to write LocoScript - a powerful and (generally) user-friendly word-processing package that would be the sole user experience for 90% of the unit's purchasers. The company still exists vast success of the PCW can therefore largely be attributed to Locomotive. Locomotive BASIC, meanwhile, made a reappearance on the PCW, this time as Mallard BASIC. Mallard had no graphics or sound functionality, but the excellent file handling from Locomotive's original Acorn BASIC made a reappearance. LocoScript was the only program for the PCW that did not have to be booted from CP/M, as it contained its own firmware (though many supposedly 'CP/M' programs, such as Flipper and RoutePlanner, were in partial formfact very much PCW-specific). The original version was followed by a greatly improved LocoScript 2 and a set of add-on programs (LocoMail, continuing LocoSpell etc.). The program continued to sell be improved up to LocoScript 4, with better printed output as the main focus of the revisions. Other Locomotive projects of the time included firmware for Amstrad's Spectrum models (after the company had acquired Sinclair), the +2, +2A and +3; BASIC 2, for the Digital Research GEM windowing system used by Amstrad's PCs; and LocoScript softwarePC, a PC port of the word-processor which found great favour with PCW upgraders but failed to make much headway elsewhere. One interesting thing is Locomotive was invited to pitch to write the software for the [[PCW16]], that Amstrad's last 8-bit machine, but declined because they didnthought the deadline was unachievable. (Creative Technology't change their company logo s failure to complete by the specified date only proved that Locomotive had been correct.) == Internet products and later == In 1993, Locomotive began work on an Internet client for more than 20 yearsWindows, called Turnpike. This was principally used by the UK ISP Demon. The program launched in 1995: later that year, Demon bought the Turnpike business, while the still profitable PCW side was bought out by Locomotive's Howard Fisher and renamed LocoScript Software. LocoScript Software is now owned by [[SD Microsystems]], which itself was once a CPC software publisher. Richard Clayton has become a well-respected, and often quoted, security expert at Cambridge University.
== Web links ==
* [ old Locomotive Software domain]
* [ Information at Wikipedia]
* [ Interview with Richard Clayton]
* [ History of Locomotive presentation] (PDF)
* [ Richard Clayton's homepage]