Digital Research

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This entry is copied from english Wikipedia

Digital Research, Inc. (aka DR or DRI; originally Intergalactic Digital Research) was the company created by Dr. Gary Kildall to market and develop his CP/M operating system and related products. It was the first large software company in the microcomputer world. Digital Research should not be confused with Digital Equipment Corporation; the two were not affiliated. It was based in Pacific Grove, California.

The company's operating systems, starting with CP/M for 8080/Z80-based microcomputers, were the de facto standard of their era, as MS-DOS and MS Windows became later. Digital Research was purchased by Novell in 1991, primarily for Novell to gain access to the OS line. DR's product suite included the original CP/M and its various offshoots; DR-DOS which was a MS-DOS compatible version of CP/M, and MP/M, the multi-user CP/M.

DR produced a selection of programming language compilers and interpreters for their OS-supported platforms, including C, Pascal, COBOL, Forth, PL/I, BASIC, and Logo. They also produced a microcomputer version of the GKS graphics standard (related to NAPLPS) called GSX, and later used this as the basis of their GEM GUI. Less known are their application programs, limited largely to the GSX-based DR Draw and a small suite of GUI programs for GEM.

Digital Research made the Multiuser DOS utility, which allowed multiple users to run DOS programs concurrently on the same computer.

For a time after December 1974, the date of first use of CP/M, Control Program/Monitor was what CP/M stood for. This ended some time prior to 15 November 1976, the date of first use of the mark CP/M in commerce. By the time that CP/M was a mark in commercial use, CP/M stood for Control Program for Microcomputers. These dates are recorded in trademark registration number 1112646 at the United States Patent Office as filed by Intergalactic Digital Research, Inc. doing business as Digital Research Corporation on 25 November 1977 by an attorney acting on behalf of Gary Kildall himself. This renaming of CP/M was part of a larger effort by Kildall and his business-partner wife to convert Kildall's personal project of CP/M and the Intel-contracted PL/M compiler into an ever-more-serious commercial enterprise, where "micro", as in microcomputer, was a consistent branding, including not only Control Program for Microcomputers and Programming Language for Microcomputers but also a few years later Digital Research's Microport Unix that competed against Microsoft's Xenix. The Kildalls astutely intended to establish the Digital Research brand and its product lines as synonymous with "microcomputer" in the consumer's mind, similar to what IBM and Microsoft together later successfully accomplished in making "personal computer" synonymous with IBM and Microsoft product offerings. As further evidence that this was part of a larger effort of keeping the CP/M and Digital Research Corporation brands stable in the public's mind while evolving the underlying business behind the scenes, the Kildalls effectively publicly renamed Intergalactic Digital Research, Inc. for use in commercial activities, via only a doing-business-as filing, to Digital Research Corporation. Intergalactic Digital Research, Inc. was later renamed via a corporation change-of-name filing to Digital Research, Inc., which itself continued to do business publicly as Digital Research Corporation for a time into the 1980s, after which Digital Research, Inc. did business under its own name.

CP/M-86 and DOS

When the IBM Personal Computer was being developed, DR was invited to supply a version of CP/M written for the Intel 8086 microprocessor as the standard operating system for the PC, which used the code-compatible Intel 8088 chip. There are several different stories purporting to explain why the deal fell through. When the PC arrived in late 1981, it came with PC-DOS, which was developed from QDOS, sold by Microsoft, and by mid-1982 was marketed as MS-DOS for use in non-IBM computers. This one decision resulted in Microsoft becoming the leading name in computer software.

Digital Research developed CP/M-86 as an alternative to MS-DOS and it was made available through IBM in early 1982. DR later created an MS-DOS clone with advanced features called DR-DOS, which pressured Microsoft to further improve its own DOS. Microsoft also modified their application software such as MS Word to detect DR-DOS and refuse to run on it. A massive ad campaign by Microsoft in 1990, promising rapid delivery of MS-DOS version 5.0, suppressed sales of DR DOS 5. When MS-DOS 5.0 arrived over a year later, it was missing several promised features and was significantly inferior to DR DOS 5. Digital Research then released DR DOS 6, and again Microsoft "pre-announced" their "soon-to-arrive" Version 6.0.

Unable to match the millions of dollars of Microsoft's advertising budget Digital Research eventually sold the platform and all rights to Novell.

In a 1991 interview in Computer Reseller News, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates stated that "Digital Research only exists to duplicate Microsoft operating systems." However, a lawsuit over Microsoft practices related to DR-DOS and CP/M-86 led to a $150,000,000 payment by Microsoft to Caldera Systems, who had bought the platform from Novell.

CPC related

CP/M has a machine independent part which is provided by Digital Research and a machine dependent version which was implemented by the vendor. In Amstrad's case this was implemented by Amstrad and Locomotive Software.

GSX libraries

  • GSS-KERNEL (ISO 7942)
  • GSS-4010 aka DR Access10 (Tektronix emulation)

External links