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CP/M Prompt          CP/M          CP/M Prompt

  Q1:  What Does CP/M Stand For?

  Q2:  Is CP/M in the Public Domain?

  Q3:  Where are the CP/M archives?

  Q4:  Can I subscribe to com.os.cpm via E-Mail?

  Q5:  What languages/compilers/databases/editors are still available?

  Q6:  Where can I find Z80 math routines?

  Q7:  What new CP/M computers are available?

  Q8:  What is this I hear about a CP/M CD ROM?

  Q9:  How can I transfer my CP/M files to DOS?

Q10:  How can I convert an (insert name) disk to (insert name) format?

Q11:  Where can I buy new diskettes?

Q12:  Can I run CP/M on my MSDOS/UNIX/68K machine?

Q13:  Where can I get a boot disk for (insert system name)?

Q14:  What terminal emulation programs are available?

Q15:  How do you unpack a .ARK or .ARC file?

Q16:  How do you unpack a .lbr file?

Q17:  What are all these .xQx, .xYx, and .xZx file types?

Q18:  Are any of these .ARK, .LBR, or CRUNCH utilities on MSDOS?

Q19:  Why does my Kaypro drop characters above (insert baud rate)?

Q20:  What is an Advent TurboROM?

Q21:  How can I add a hard drive to my CP/M Machine?

Q22:  What belongs in the unpopulated board area on a Kaypro?

Q23:  What is The Computer Journal?

Q24:  Are there other magazines supporting CP/M?

Q25:  Does anybody support Amstrad machines?

Q26:  What is ZCPR and the Z System?

Q27:  What ever happened to the Z800?

Q28:  What is the status of the Z380?

Q29:  What is the KC80?

Q30:  What is the S-100 bus?

Q31:  Anyone know a good source for cross assemblers?

Q1:  What Does CP/M Stand For?

A:   There are at least three popular answers - Control Program for Microcomputers, Control Program for Microprocessors, and Control Program/Monitor. The issue is clouded by authors of popular CP/M books giving different answers. According to Gary Kildall (author of CP/M), in response to a this question on the PBS show "The Computer Chronicles" after Computer Bowl I, CP/M stands for Control Program for Microcomputers. This is also consistent with DRI documentation. See, p. 4 of the DRI TEX manual.

(Don Kirkpatrick)


Q2:   Is CP/M in the Public Domain?

A:    CP/M is not in the public domain.  It is owned by Caldera, Inc. and a part of the Canopy Group, which is Ray Noorda's group of emerging advanced technology companies. This Digital Research CP/M FAQ is the definitive source for Digital Research CP/M files and information, and has been adapted from the comp.os.cpm FAQ in 1998. Please advise us if any of the links or references below have changed or are no longer valid.  We will be continually updating this site from December 01, 1998 forward.

Caldera is not offering a commercial version of CP/M at this time, but there are there at least 4 sources for the purchase of new, legal copies of CP/M:

        1.     David McGlone, 149 W. Hilliard Lane, Eugene, OR 97404-3057
                Phone: (503)688-3563, d.mcglone@genie.geis.com

        2.     Or you can get a copy with documentation for $9 plus shipping from:

                California Digital, Inc., 17700 Figueroa Street, Gardena CA 90248
                Phone:   (310)217-0500  or (800)421-5041

        3.     New legal copies of CP/M-86 were still available, for $75, from:

                DISCUS, 17607 Vierra Canyon Road, Salinas, CA 93907-3312 Phone: (408) 663-6966

        4.     CP/M-68K is available from:

                James Knox, TriSoft, 1825 East 38, Austin, TX 78722
                Phone:   (512)472-0744 or (800)531-5170   FAX: (512)473-2122

On the other hand, there have been lots of greatly improved clones, including ZCPR3 for the command processor and several replacements for the BDOS. Some of these are commercial (e.g., ZSDOS/ZDDOS), but many have been released to the public. Most of the latter can be obtained from http://oak.oakland.edu/oak/cpm/index-cpm-pre.html or BBSs.

There is also a CP/M-Plus replacement named ZPM3, written by Simeon Cran. It offers much more performance and some additional features compared to CP/M-Plus. An extended CCP, the ZCCP, is also available. Unfortunately, it still seems to have some bugs. ZPM3 and ZCCP are free! However no sources as Simeon won't give them away.

(Jim R. Benfer Jr., Jay Sage, Don Maslin, Tilmann Reh, Kirk Lawrence)


Q3:  Where are the CP/M archives?

A:    The known sites that stock CP/M files are:

Web:  http://oak.oakland.edu/oak/cpm/index-cpm-pre.html  -- The Main CP/M Archive at oakland university, Rochester, MI

         FTP:    ftp://ftp.update.uu.se, ftp://ftp.demon.co.uk

The main archive is http://oak.oakland.edu/oak/cpm/index-cpm-pre.html. Assuming the availability of anonymous ftp, look into the subdirectories of /pub/cpm. There is a lot there! One of the first directories to check is starter-kit. It contains everything you need to get up and running. If you wish to submit material to http://oak.oakland.edu/oak/cpm/index-cpm-pre.html, please contact: Jeff Marraccini, Senior Computing Resource Administrator, Oakland University, Rochester, MI USA 48309-4401, Phone: (810)370-4542, jeff@vela.acs.oakland.edu or jdm@msen.com.  He will send you any instructions and passwords necessary to perform an FTP upload.

Ftp.update.uu.se specializes on CP/M programs for the DEC Rainbow, but has also some generic CP/M software such as a Micro Emacs, the HI-TECH Z80 C compiler and a few games. Questions about this site can be directed to Tom Karlsson, tomk@Student.DoCS.UU.SE, the site administrator.

There is a European file server group, named TRICKLE. This group mirrors oak.oakland and other archives. For more information, get in touch with your local TRICKLE operator.

(Don Maslin, Ralph Becker-Szendy, Paul Martin, Ulrich Hebecker)


Q4:  Can I subscribe to com.os.cpm via E-Mail?

A:    To join the CPM-L mailing list, which is gatewayed to and from comp.os.cpm, you must send email to the list server. If you are on BITNET, send the following command:  SUBSCRIBE CPM-L  your full name  to LISTSERV@RPITSVM. If you are not on BITNET, the Internet subscription address is LISTSERV@VM.ITS.RPI.EDU. Send mail to that address with this text in the body of the message: SUBSCRIBE CPM-L your full name

(Keith Petersen)


Q5:  What languages/compilers/databases/editors are still available?

A:   Unfortunately, SLR sold out to Symantec and all products except for one DOS (or Windows) tool have been withdrawn from the market (what a shame). However, Sage Microsystems East (contact Jay Sage) does carry the excellent ZMAC package including a macrorelocatable assembler, linker, and librarian. Except for the speed, ZMAC is better and cheaper than the standard SLR tools.

       MIX C and other MIX products are available from:

       Ed Grey, P.O. Box #2186, Inglewood, CA 90305

       Phone: (213)759-7406 <ac959@cleveland.Freenet.Edu>.

Hi-Tech C V3.09 for CP/M is now freeware. The authors are still maintaining their copyright, but are allowing free use for both private and commercial users without royalty. The original is on their bbs in Australia, at (61)(7)300-5235. Copies can be obtained from:

       ftp.update.uu.se: /pub/rainbow/cpm/c

       ftp.mcc.ac.uk: /pub/8051c/htc.zip

       http://oak.oakland.edu/oak/cpm/index-cpm-pre.html: /pub/cpm/hitech-c



Sage Microsystems East still offers BDS C, in both the original, straight CP/M version and in a version that includes Z-System support. The package, with both versions of the compiler and a very large manual, is only $25. Micro Emacs is available from:

       ftp.update.uu.se: /pub/rainbow/cpm/emacs

       Public domain CP/M programs are available via:

       Elliam Associates, Box 2664, Atascadero, CA 93423

       Phone: (805)466-8440

In the past, Elliam has sold Turbo Pascal, Uniform, Nevada COBOL, SuperCalc, and much more. Call for availability and price.

WordStar 4.0 is available from:

Trio Company of Cheektowaga Ltd., 3290 Genesee Streetm P. O. Box 594, Cheektowaga, NY 14225-0594  Phone: 716-892-9630

Dynacomp stills sell CP/M software (or to be accurate, they still had several dozen CP/M programs in the 1992 catalog.) It is the kind of programs which ought to be written in BASIC: Typing tutors, little engineering programs like calculation of the stiffness of beams, education math programs. Their address is:

   Dynacomp, 178 Phillips Road, Webster, NY 14580
   Phone: (800)828-6772 orders    (716)265-4040 support

There is no known U.S. source to purchase the following programs: muMath/muSim, any Microsoft product (M80, L80, F80, Pascal, BASIC), VEdit, but Jay Sage has copies of a number of programs that were donated to his Boston Computer Society Zitel User Group. As of this writing, there are some copies of Turbo Pascal, F80/M80/L80, Perfect Writer and other programs in the Perfect line, WordStar and other programs in the 'Star' line, and quite a number of others. They may be obtained in exchange for a cash donation to the user group. Most have been "abandoned" by their makers, but not placed in the public domain. Contact Jay Sage.

Much CP/M software is still available in Germany, including dBASE, dBASSI, WordStar 3.0, Multiplan, SuperCalc PCW, and Microsoft Basic (Interpreter and Compiler), M80, L80, CREF80 , and LIB80 can be ordered in either PCW format or C128 (also native 1571) format from:

        Fa. Wiedmann, Unternehmensberatung, Korbinianplatz 2, D 85737 Ismaning
        Phone:: +49.89.965029 (from 9:00 to 18:00 )

Also, for our European readers, Z3PLUS (for CP/M, DM 70.--), NZCOM (for CP/M 2.2, DM 70.--), (both for package 100.--), Z-Systems come complete with Z3COMs and ZHELPs (another 14 Disks at 360K app. or equ.) and German manual(!), BDSC-Z, TURBO Tools, Turbolader, and Juggler (DM 50.--) from:

        Helmut Jungkunz Zacherlstr.14 D 85737, Ismaning
        Tel.: +49.89.9614633 (18:30 to 21:30) +49.89.969374 (18:30 to 21:30)
        BBS : +49.89.9614575 (17:00 to 3:00) "ZNODE 51" 100024.1545@compuserve.com

C128 CP/M Plus (DM 80.-) is available from: Schaltungsdienst Lange Berlin Tel.: 030/7036060

(Ralph Becker-Szendy, Ulrich Hebecker, Jay Sage)


Q6:  Where can I find Z80 math routines?

A:     Programmers looking for examples of commonly used Z80 assembler routines may want to look at "Z80 Assembly Language Subroutines" by Leventhal and Saville. It was published by Osborne/McGraw-Hill in 1983 (ISBN 0-931988-91-8), and it 497 pages long. It also contains general programming information, as well as a summary of the Z80 instruction set and reference data for the Z80 PIO. Assembler routines given in the book fall into the following categories: code conversion, array manipulation and indexing, arithmetic, bit manipulation and shifts, string manipulation, I/O, and interrupts.  For transcendental routines, it is generally better to use a high level language, such as Hi-Tech C, where they are built-in.

(Roger Hanscom)


Q7:   What new CP/M computers are available?

A:     The YASBEC (uses a 64180, has SCSI interface), written up in TCJ, issues #51 and #52. It is important that the YASBEC uses a proprietary bus system. The CPU280 (uses a Z280, an IDE interface is available), also written up in TCJ, issues #52 and #53. Circuit boards are available from Jay Sage and Ralph Becker-Szendy. CPU280 uses the ECB-bus which allows many other I/O cards to be connected. Ampro Little Board products were available from Dean Davidge of Davidge Corporation, Buellton, CA, but he may have moved and the address and phone number are unknown. 

        The Micromint SB180/SB180FX is also still available from:

        Micromint, Inc., 4 Park Street, Vernon, CT 06066
        Phone: (203)871-6170 (technical assistance) (800)635-3355 (for order placement)

 (Ralph Becker-Szendy, John D. Baker, Tilmann Reh)


Q8:  What is this I hear about a CP/M CD ROM?

A:    The disk is now being shipped. It contains over 19,000 files with executable programs, source code, documentation, and other materials. Included are the the entire Simtel20 pub/cpm archives, the contents of some major bulletin boards, and the personal collections of several leaders in the CP/M community. You'll find assemblers, compilers, code libraries, programming tools, editors, word processors, spreadsheets, calculators, Disk, printer, modem and other system utilities, archive and compression tools, telecommunication software for users and BBS operators, articles from user's group journals and other publications, games and educational software, help files.

You'll also find CP/M emulators and other tools for working with CP/M files under DOS, OS/2, and Unix. Most programs include not only documentation but also complete source code. Programs for all different computers are on the disc: Kaypro, Osborne, Commodore, Amstrad, Starlet, and others. This disc comes with a MSDOS view program which allows you to view, decompress, or copy files to your disk. It's fully BBS'd with description files compatible with popular MSDOS BBS programs. The cost is $39.95 plus $5 shipping and handling (per order, not per disk) for US/Canada, and $10 for airmail overseas. If you live in California, please add sales tax. For further information: info@cdrom.com

        Walnut Creek CDROM, 1547 Palos Verdes, Suite 260, Walnut Creek, CA 94596 USA
        Phone: (510)674-0783 voice (510)674-0821 fax (800)786-9907

(Jack Velte)


Q9:  How can I transfer my CP/M files to DOS?

A:   One solution is Sydex' excellent shareware program 22DISK which permits reading, writing, and formatting many CP/M format disks on a PC. It is available on: http://oak.oakland.edu/oak/cpm/index-cpm-pre.html: /pub/msdos/diskutil/22dsk142.zip.  22DISK is shareware and should be registered. It supports 8-inch drives on PC's, provided either a adaptor is wired to the PC's floppy controller or that a CompatiCard is installed. Sydex or Herb Johnson can provide assistance with using standard PC controllers. Sydex can be reached at:

       Sydex, P.O. Box 5700, Eugene, OR 97405
       Phone: (503) 683-6033 FAX: (503) 683-1622 Data: (503) 683-1385

There is also UniForm by Micro Solutions that should still be available from them. There are versions for both the IBM PCs and a lot of different CP/M machines. Micro Solutions can be reached at:

       Micro Solutions,  123 W Lincoln Highway, DeKalb, IL 60115
       Phone: (800)890-7227 or (815)756-3411  FAX: (815)756-2928  

If it's for an IBM type system, talk to them about what kind of hardware/software you have. Some flavors of PC have a problem with  both UniForm and 22disk and UniForm will not operate properly under DR-DOS v6.0. UniForm also fails if the machine clock exceeds ~20MHz. This has been confirmed with Micro Solutions, and no fix is available.

You need not use the DOS machine - there are also at least three transfer programs running under CP/M: TRANSFER (for CP/M-2.2),of which a quick-hack CP/M-3 adaptation also exists; DOSDISK, and MSDOS for CP/M-Plus written by Tilmann Reh, latest version 2.1 of Oct 93. TRANSFER and MSDOS are freely available, DOSDISK is commercial.

MSDOS has two related utilities: MSFORM will create the DOS Boot Record, FAT and directory structure on a freshly formatted disk, and MSDIR will give you a quick look at the main directory of a DOS disk. DosDisk is a standard CP/M product. As supplied, it runs only on the following specific hardware: all Kaypros equipped with a TurboROM, all Kaypros equipped with a KayPLUS ROM and QP/M or CP/M, Xerox 820-I equipped with a Puls-2 ROM and QP/M, Ampro Little Board SB180 and SB180FX equipped with XBIOS, Morrow MD3 and MD11, Oneac On!, and Commodore C128 with CP/M-3 and 1571 drive.

There is also a kit version for which the user can write his own driver, provided the BIOS implements a table-driven disk interface. Contact Jay Sage for details. DosDisk and MSDOS both handle DOS subdirectories. Remember, these conversion programs only move the data, as is, in its current binary form, from one disk format to another. They do not reinterpret the data so that a different program can use the information. However, there are some tools under DOS that will convert word processing file data among different word processors, such as WordStar, Word Perfect, and Microsoft Word. If the CP/M computer that made the original disk is still running, you might want to try to generate a pure text (ASCII) version of your information (e.g., by "printing to disk") before moving it over to a DOS disk. If the computer is not working but you still have the program, you might try copying it over to a DOS disk and running it under a CP/M emulator on the DOS machine to produce a text file.

 (Don Maslin, Will Rose, Alan Ogden, Tilmann Reh, Herb Johnson)


Q10:  How can I convert an (insert name) disk to (insert name) format?

A:    David McGlone and Elliam Associates (see above) offer disk conversion services at modest prices that can convert from just about any format to just about any other format. If you have a Kaypro equipped with an Advent TurboROM, Plu*Perfect Systems offers a program called MULTICPY that can read/write about one hundred different 5 1/4 formats. It is not possible to directly read/write Apple II CP/M disks on any other host machine because an Apple disk is recorded in GCR which is incompatible with FM/MFM disk controllers.

The only way to get CP/M files in or out of Apple II CP/M disks is via a serial link with a non-Apple II host or with special hardware. For example, MicroSolutions had a device called the MatchPoint PC. When used in conjunction with a MicroSolutions CompatiCard, files can be read from an Apple CP/M disk and transfer to another disk format with a special configuration of UniForm. MicroSolutions can be reached at: (815)756-3411

There exists a program called "Jugg'ler" for the C128's CP/M that will read/write 140 different CP/M formats both 3.5 and 5.25 MFM (and some GCR) formats. A demo version with 22 formats, and other C128 specific CP/M software, can be found at: ftp://ccnga.waterloo.ca/pub/cbm/os/cpm The last known source for the complete version of Jugg'ler, Herne Data Systems, is no longer in business. The CPU280 CP/M-3 implementation offers the AutoFormat feature which allows to format, read and write almost every disk format.

Another way of converting formats is to use a PC with 22DISK - just copy the files from one CP/M disk to DOS, and then back to the other CP/M disk.

(Jay Sage, Curt Schroeder, Mike Gordillo, Helmut Jungkunz, Tilmann Reh, Randy Winchester)


Q11:  Where can I buy new diskettes?

A:   California Digital still lists hard and soft sector diskettes - both 10 and 16 sector at $9.95. They also list 8" double density diskettes at $12.95.

       California Digital, Inc.m 17700 Figueroa Street, Gardena CA 90248
       Phone:  800-421-5041 or 310-217-0500    FAX: 310-217-1951

(Don Maslin)


Q12: Can I run CP/M on my MSDOS/UNIX/68K machine?

A:  Available by anonymous ftp from the primary mirror site http://oak.oakland.edu/oak/cpm/index-cpm-pre.html and its mirrors located at: simtel/msdos/emulator/zsim241.zip ZSIM is an (extremely accurate) Z80 emulator (80386/40 -8 MHz Z80) in conjunction with a CP/M 80 BIOS, i.e. it simulates a Z80 machine, that can run CP/M. Together with the original CP/M operating system you have a full Z80-CP/M machine.

If you don't have a CP/M system disk at hand, you can use the included public domain CP/M compatible operating system P2DOS. ZSIM uses CP/M format disks, a ram disk and a hard disk. Supported disk formats are CP/M 86 single sided and double sided, but you can install any singled sided CP/M format PC drives can physically read. So you can use ZSIM to transfer data to MS-Dos. The RAM disk can be saved to the PC hard disk. The hard disk is in an MS-DOS file. A sample hard disk containing the SMALL-C compiler is included.

As ZSIM uses an original operating system and CP/M disks it should run every CP/M program that does not use special hardware. ZSIM is free for personal use. Sources of the CP/M BIOS are included. On silver.cstpl.com.au (formerly: raven.alaska.edu) you'll find: /pub/coherent/sources/z80pack.tar.Z. (Also available as z80pack.tgz at ftp.cs.uni-sb.de in the directory /pub/others.) This is a Z80 CPU emulation completely written in C, an I/O emulation for a typical CP/M system also is included. The package also comes with the BIOS source for the I/O emulation and a Z80 cross-assembler. It was developed it under COHERENT but it's known that it does work under Linux and SunOS too. You still need a CP/M license to get CP/M running or you might try to get one of the free available CP/M clones running on it. On a 486/66 DX2 running COHERENT it's like a 11Mhz Z80 CPU, so the emulation speed is acceptable.

On sunsite.unc.edu you'll find: /pub/Linux/system/Emulators/cpm-0.2.tar.gz This package, written by Michael Bischoff,  is well integrated into the host operating system. It provides options to use either a container file for the CP/M disk for full BIOS compatibility, or to access the Linux file system through the included BDOS emulator. The Z80 emulator is written in 86 assembler and the rest is in C. A pre-assembled ZDOS CCP is included with the package. The emulation speed on a 486/66 is approximately a 22 Mhz Z80, and on a Pentium/90 it is 50 Mhz. Full source is included.

On http://oak.oakland.edu/oak/cpm/index-cpm-pre.html you will find:    /pub/msdos/emulator/myz80111.zip.  MYZ80 is a Z80/64180 emulator package. The new 80486, 80386 & 80286 machines with the fast hard drives and the snazzy OS/2 operating systems are such a delight... but for many, the Z80 machines still have to be fired up from to time in order to develop code for CP/M and the Z80 chip. Well, not any more, thanks to MYZ80.

Other emulators on the market are less than satisfactory solutions. Of the small number which can actually run without causing system errors under the later versions of DOS, apparently none is capable of running real CP/M. Instead they use an emulated version of CP/M which is only as accurate as the developers have bothered to make it.

MYZ80 can run CP/M 3.0 and ZCPR (which is such a useful Z80 developer's environment). So if you suffer from less than perfect Z80 emulation and slow overall performance, give MYZ80 a try, and save the 'real' Z80 machines for those cold winter mornings when you really need the heat. The author of MYZ80, Simon Cran, can be reached at:

Simeon Cran P/L, PO Box 5706, West End, Queensland, AUstralia 4101


22NICE is (like 22DISK) from Sydex. It emulates the application program while translating all BDOS and BIOS calls into the appropriate DOS calls. This way, it's comparably fast and allows for free use of the DOS file system (including paths). You are able to map drive/user combinations to particular paths in the DOS file system. The emulator can be configured for different emulation modes (8080, Z80, and automatic detection) and different terminal emulations. There are two run-time options: First, you can create a small COM file which will then load both the emulator and the CP/M program (contained in a .CPM file to avoid confusions); Second, you can build the emulator and the application together to a single COM file (which is larger then but needs no run-time module).

MicroSolutions still has their UniDOS Z80 card available. It has an 8MHz Z80 with 64k of ram with UniDOS system software and Uniform-PC. It's a half size plug-in card.

You will also find on http://oak.oakland.edu/oak/cpm/index-cpm-pre.html: pub/unix-c/cpm/yaze-1.00.tar.gz .    Yaze is a Z80 and CP/M emulator designed to run on Unix systems. The package consists of an instruction set simulator, a CP/M-2.2 bios written in C which runs on the Unix host, a monitor which loads CP/M into the simulated processor's ram and makes Unix directories or files look like CP/M disks, and a separate program (cdm) which creates and manipulates CP/M disk images for use with yaze. Yaze's emulates all documented and most undocumented Z80 instructions and flag bits. A test program is included in the package which compares machine states before and after execution of every instruction against actual Z80. Yaze is independent of the host machine architecture and instruction set, written in ANSI standard C, and is provided with full source code under the GNU General Public License. It supports CP/M disk geometries as images in Unix files or as read-only disks constructed on-the-fly. These disks are indistinguishable from real disks for even the most inquisitive, low-level CP/M programs and can be mounted and unmounted at will during emulation.

Parag Patel provides a z80 and CP/M emulator at: + ftp://ftp.cgt.com/pub/z80/z80.tgz.   This archive includes complete  sources and has been ported to a number of Unix systems as well as DOS and the Mac. Executables for both are available in the same directory. It run exceedingly fast on DEC Alphas. It can use either PDOS or CP/M 2.2. The PDOS image is included with the sources and the modified source for PDOS can be found in the same directory as well. There is a CP/M 2.2 Simulator that simulates an 8080 CPU and CP/M 2.2 environment. The heart of the simulator is written in 680x0 assembly language for speed. It has been tested under DNIX (SVR2 compatible with many SVR3, BSD, Xenix, and Sun extensions), on a 68030 NeXT, and on a 68030 Amiga running SVR4. One 'benchmark' shows that on machines of the 68020/68030 class the simulator performs about as well as a 7 MHz Z-80 would. Other tests indicate that this is somewhat optimistic. The simulator was posted to alt.sources and can be found at:

FTP:  ftp://src.doc.ic.ac.uk:/usenet/ alt.sources/articles/09000-09999/ P ALIGN=Justify> (Juergen Weber, Udo Munk, Paul Martin, John D. Baker, Mark Litwack, Tilmann Reh, Frank Cringle, Gottfried Ira, TJ Merritt)


Q13: Where can I get a boot disk for (insert system name)?

A:   Getting a system disk is pretty easy - if Dina-SIG CP/M System Disk Archives has it. However, some dialogue with  the requester has usually been necessary to assure that we are talking about the same Jurassic inhabitant! There are just too many variants in the CP/M world. A request with specifics on the computer, an address to mail to, and some recompense is all it takes. Since this is an unfunded effort on the part of the SIG, the costs of media, mailer, and postage must be recouped. In general, and there are variations, this runs $3 for the first disk and $2 or less for each additional. Eight inch disks are a bit more! However, a swap can be arranged if the other party has disks that are not duplicative of ones already in the archive. If you can help augment the archive, yours is free. The keeper of the archives can be reached at:

     Don Maslin, 7742 Via Capri, La Jolla CA 92037
     Phone:  619-454-7392 or e-mail: donm@crash.cts.com

David McGlone of Lambda Software Publishing has a variety of boot disks, and he sells CP/M with them, and he can be reached at:

     Lambda Software Publishing, 149 West Hilliard Lane, Eugene OR 97404-3057
     Phone:  (503) 688-3563

(Don Maslin, Herb Johnson)


Q14: What terminal emulation programs are available?

The leading CP/M public domain or freeware (author kept copyright but distributed it for free) modem programs are:

MDM740 - The last of the "MDMxxx" programs.

IMP245 - This is nice, and works smoothly within what it does. What it does, it does very well. IF you have slow floppy drives, there is a patch to cut down the receive buffer size.

MEX114 - different from the above two, but minimally functional with just a MDM740 overlay. To use all of its fine features, you need MEX overlay for your machine.

ZMP15 - This program includes ZMODEM file transfers.

KERMIT - This program may have the widest implementation base because it uses only printable characters for its file transfers. This is a plus because the MODEM7 family of protocols send binary characters that sometimes conflict with the underlying system use. It is a minus because many more characters must be sent and thus is slower. KERMIT may be found on watsun.cc.columbia.edu.

QTERM43F - This is somewhat like using QMODEM on an MSDOS machine. Qterm has VT100 emulation mode as well as XMODEM and KERMIT protocol. If you can get (or write) a good overlay, this is a nice program. (Bug fixes to 43E were released in a separate library to bring it up to 43F. The FIX library did not include a new binary; users had to do their own patching.) For high speed transfers, you will probably need interrupt-driven routines, which are available for some these. The exact baud rate where it becomes necessary varies by system and program.

(Peter A. Schuman, Howard Goldstein)


Q15: How do you unpack a .ARK or .ARC file?

Archive files are a collection of related files packed together so they stay together. They have somewhat been replaced by librarys, but are still encountered often. The C or K at the end only differentiate the original packing program, they are otherwise identical. Some archives are self extracting, just rename them with a .com ending and execute them. Others must be unpacked with a program, unarc16.ark containing one of the most popular (in a self extracting archive). This archive can be found at:

http://oak.oakland.edu/oak/cpm/index-cpm-pre.html: /pub2/cpm/arc-lbr/unarc16.ark

(Gier Tjoerhom, Don Kirkpatrick)


Q16: How do you unpack a .lbr file?

A:   A .lbr is a single file that contains a number of compressed files inside. The files must be extracted from the .lbr before the can be used. One very good library extract program is called lbrext.com. It's  simple to use and uncrunches the files at the same time.

     EXAMPLE:   A:>lbrext b:myfile.lbr c:*.* uo

This takes the lbrext.com file on 'A' to extract all the files in myfile.lbr on 'B' and put them on 'C' uncrunched. A simple 'lbrext' first will show you how to use the .com file. Other popular library maintenance programs are LUE, DELBR, and NULU, the latter being one of the best CP/M programs for handling LBRs. However, don't use NULU to extract and unsqueeze simultaneously. It occasionally screws up doing this, and it can trash an entire disk when it does so. LT31 is also able to unpack libraries and also supports all current compression standards (including LZH 2.0!). It is a very useful utility and can replace several single programs.

(William P. Maloney, Peter A. Schuman)


Q17: What are all these .xQx, .xYx, and .xZx file types?

A:     These are compressed files, a.k.a. squeezed or crunched files. They must be uncompressed before they can be used. They differ in the compression algorithm; .?Q? was the first generation and .?Y? the newest. There are many fine programs that uncompress files, but most handle only one or two compression types (e.g. SQ111.ARC and CRUNCH24.LBR). One program that will uncompress all three types can be found in CRLZH20.LBR.

(Don Kirkpatrick)


Q18: Are any of these .ARK, .LBR, or CRUNCH utilities on MSDOS?

A:    Yes, MSDOS versions do exist and can be located as follows:

       http://oak.oakland.edu/oak/cpm/index-cpm-pre.html:/pub/msdos/arcutil/lue220.zip (.LBR)

       ftp.switch.ch:/mirror/simtel/msdos/archiver/arce41a.zip (.ARK)

       nic.funet.fi:/pub/msdos/simtel/compress/alusq.com (.xQx)

       nic.funet.fi:/pub/msdos/simtel/compress/uncr233.zip (.xZx)

       Also check out the files in oak.oakland.edu: /pub/unix-c/cpm.

(Geir Tjoerhom)


Q19: Why does my Kaypro drop characters above (insert baud rate)?

A:   The basic problem is that updating the screen takes too long and some incoming characters are missed. The exact baud rate where characters begin to disappear depends on the configuration of the Kaypro and the terminal program.

Generally, the older non-graphic Kaypros will run at a much higher baud rate before characters start to disappear. Stock Kaypros are not interrupt driven and the BIOS ROM has several built-in delays, which demanded too much of a 2x/4x/10's time. Several things can be done to help the situation. If your Kaypro came with the MITE software package, you can use it for high speed terminal emulation. A Kaypro 2X using MITE can go as fast as 19200 bps. MITE uses interrupts to achieve this. Sometimes the problem can be ignored. A 2X will drop characters at 300 baud using Kermit-80. File transfers work fine at 19200 bps. It is always a good ides to run file transfers in the quiet mode if terminal mode is dropping characters as then the display update time is minimized.

The graphic-equipped Kaypros can be significantly improved in terminal mode just by turning off the status line at the bottom of the screen. As most terminal programs have an initialize sequence available, just send the no status line command to the Kaypro - <ESC>, C, 7 [1BH, 43H, 37H in hex]. There are several hardware changes that can lessen or eliminate the problem. There is a speed modification for the 1983 Kaypro-II's & IV's requiring changing some chips to faster versions and outfitting the back with a toggle switch. Upgrading to a MicroCornucopia MAX-8 or Advent TurboROM also helps. If your machine is equipped with the Advent TurboROM and you choose to run QTERM, Don Kirkpatrick can send you an interrupt driver that allows the graphic-enhanced Kaypros to work just fine to at least 2400 baud.

(Jeff Wieland, Stephen Griswold, Don Kirkpatrick)


Q20: What is an Advent TurboROM?

A:   The Advent TurboROM is a firmware upgrade to the Kaypro. It replaces the original Kaypro system ROM and provides flexible configurations, additional disk formats, greater speed, and bug fixes. The contact point for this is:

        Chuck Stafford, 4000 Norris Avenue, Sacramento CA 95812
        Phone: (916)483-0312  or e-mail: 73664.2470@compuserve.com

(Don Maslin)


Q21: How can I add a hard drive to my CP/M machine?

A:   If you have a Kaypro, Chuck Stafford can sell you a hard drive conversion kit. (See Q20.) Emerald Microware no longer offers hardware support. Tilmann Reh, an engineer in Germany, has designed an IDE hard drive iinterface that plugs into a Z-80 socket, and described it in The Computer Journal magazine as the Generic IDE (GIDE). He has produced a number of kits that include the circuit board, parts, and even a time of day clock chip. Several people have bought these (as of Jan 1996) and are beginning to write software to support these on various Z-80 based computers (including ADAM and TRS-80 as well as CP/M based systems). Europeans can contact Tilmann Reh directly. In the USA, Tilmann may refer you to a US distributor. In addition, The Computer Journal has a Web page with references to the GIDE. (See Q23.) The current US distributor is Herb Johnson (See Q30.)

(Don Kirkpatrick, Herb Johnson)


Q22: What belongs in the unpopulated board area on a Kaypro?

A:   A clock and modem go there. The modem is rather useless as it is only 300 baud. The clock/calendar is useful. The Computer Journal, issue 64, Nov./Dec. 1993, describes the installation procedure. There is also an area on a 2X for a hard drive interface.

(Don Maslin, Don Kirkpatrick, Peter A. Schuman)


Q23: What is The Computer Journal?

A:   The Computer Journal is a magazine specializing in CP/M, small systems, and related topics. The Editor is Dave Baldwin. Chuck Stafford writes a regular column on Kaypros and Herb Johnson writes one on S-100. In their own words: The Computer Journal has articles and reviews on both new and old hardware and software. In the last year, there have been articles on most of the popular microcontrollers, reviews of a new Z180 system for CP/M, modifications for older systems, software articles and tutorials on Forth, 'C', and assembly language, and the 'Centerfold' schematics for older computer circuits.

In general, we cover hardware and software that one person can work with, where you can 'do it yourself'. This means boards and systems where you can identify (and get) the parts and get code to make it work. In particular, this means the Kaypro, S-100 boards, Z80/180/280 and CP/M systems, microcontrollers like the 8048, 8051, and 68HC11, and software articles that include source code. This is also why we started covering the PC-XT clones made with identifiable ttl parts. Bios code is also available for them now so you can make them do what you want. On the other hand, if a project or system requires an engineering team or access to custom IC's, you probably won't read about it in TCJ. The exception to that is when our authors and/or readers get together for a project and can provide all the necessary resources.

There are six issues per year, and the subscription rate is $24 for 1 year, or $44 for 2. Subscriptions may be sent to:

     The Computer Journal, P.O. Box 3900, Citrus Heights, CA 95611-3900
     Phone: (916) 722-4970   FAX: (916) 722-7480

The The Computer Journal has it's own mailing list. To subscribe, send an email message to 'Majordomo@psyber.com' with subscribe list-tcj <your@email.address> end as the body of the message. 'list-tcj' is a digested mailing list - the messages are collected during the day and then sent out to subscribers in the middle of the night. That way, you only get one email message from the list on any day. The Computer Journal (TCJ) has a Web Site at www.psyber.com and their e-mail at tcj@psyber.com.

(David Baldwin)


Q24: Are there other magazines supporting CP/M?

A:   Other magazines of interest include the Z-Letter from McGlone, "exclusively for CP/M and the Z-System. Eagle computers and Spellbinder support":

     1.   The Z-Letter $18/year, 6 issues:

           Lambda Software Publishing, 149 West Hilliard Lane, Eugene OR 97404-3057
           Phone: (503) 688-3563

     2.   Historically Brewed, edited by David Greelish: "computer history, " $18/year, 6 issues:

           Historically Brewed, 2962 Park Street #1, Jacksonville FL 32205

    These magazines list other publications, support groups and CP/M supporting companies.

(Jay Sage)


Q25: Does anybody support Amstrad machines?

A:   WACCI on http://info.ox.ac.uk/~chri0264/wowww.html, now includes: A directory of suppliers for Amstrad CPC and PCW machines An "email helpline" of contacts who are willing to give advice A listing of other Amstrad user groups and magazines Forthcoming events in the Amstrad world The WACCI PD Library listings - both Amstrad and CP/M stuff. There is also a limited amount of information on WACCI itself, the UK's biggest Amstrad CPC user club.

(Matthew Phillips)


Q26: What is ZCPR and the Z System?

A:   The original ZCPR was written in Z80 code and was called the "Z80 Command Processor Replacement". It was a drop-in replacement for the Digital Research CCP (Console Command Processor) and adhered to the 800H space restriction. ZCPR2 (February 14, 1983) was the first experiment in greatly extending the power of the command processor. It added additional memory modules for supporting such things as multiple commands on a line, a dynamically reconfigurable command search path, and directory names associated with drive/user areas.

The ideas and implementation in ZCPR2 were experimental, and they came to logical fruition in ZCPR3 (Richard Conn's 3.0 and Jay Sage's 3.3 and 3.4).   ZCPR3 gives you UNIX-like flexibility. Features implemented include shells, aliases, I/O redirection, flow control, named directories, search paths, custom menus, passwords, on line help, and greater command flexibility.

ZCPR3 can be found on many BBS and SIMTEL mirrors. The Z System commercial version is available for a nominal fee from Jay Sage. Further details can be found in the text "ZCPR3,  The Manual", by Richard Conn, ISBN 0-918432-59-6.  You can find a detailed history of the development of ZCPR and the Z System in Jay Sage's column in issue #54 of The Computer Journal. This article celebrated the 10th anniversary of ZCPR, which was first released on February 2, 1982. His "ZCPR33 User's Guide" also has a section on the history (it can be ordered from Jay for $10, domestic shipping included).

There still are active Z-nodes supporting Z-system and many RCP/M's supporting CP/M as well as some special interests.  As of November 7, 1995, the known BBS's supporting the Z-System are:

Sysop                               Telephone                  Type of BBS

Jay Sage                         617 965 7046             PC 33,600 baud

Ian Cottrell                      613 829 2530             Z-Syst 2,400 baud

Finn, Morgen, Isaac        215 535 0344             Z-Syst 2,400 baud

Don Maslin                      619 454 8412             PC 14,400 baud

Ludo Van Hemelryck       206 481 1371             Z-Syst 2,400 baud

Jim Sands                       405 237 9282              Z-Syst 2,400 baud

Richard Mead                  818 799 1632             PC 28,800 baud

Richard Reid (Ken)          713 937 8886              PC

Michael McCarrey           509 489 5835              Z-Syst 2,400 baud

Wil Schuemann               702 887 0408             PC 28,800 baud

Wil Schuemann               702 887 0507              Z-Syst 9,600 baud

TCJ Dave Baldwin           916 722 5799              PC 14,400 baud

Germany:  Z-node 51 in Munich. 51 Helmut Jungkunz (Ger)+49.89.961 45 75 14,400 baud.

(Jay Sage, Mike Finn, Don Kirkpatrick, Dave Baldwin)


Q27: What ever happened to the Z800?

A:   The Z800 was planned to be NMOS, and was finally implemented as the Z280 in CMOS, five years late. It has a 4kB/8kB paged MMU, and separate I/D space, and cache. There are small differences between the Z800 preliminary spec and the final Z280 specification. The call for Z280 end-of-life last time buys went out in December, 1995. The Z180 was not an outgrowth of the Z800. It was a joint effort between Zilog and Hitachi.

The first two versions of the HD64180 were slightly different from the current Z180. The current HD64180 and Z180 are identical, and both have flags in one of the control registers to emulate the earlier versions. The changes are mostly bus timing, as the HD64180 was designed to interface with Motorola 6800 style peripherals as well as Intel and Zilog, which wasn't too strange since Hitachi second sources some Motorola 6800 series products.

(Ralph Becker-Szendy, Frank Zsitvay)


Q28: What is the status of the Z380?

The Z380 is a 32-bit version binary-compatible upgrade of the HD180. The 18MHz part in the 100-pin QFP package is shipping. The plan for a PGA-package for the Z380 has been scrapped. Zilog is working on a 25MHz part, but it isn't quite ready yet. The "Preliminary Product Specfication", Zilog part number DC6003-02, documents the part. According to the manual, the plans include a 40MHz part, but the time frame is uncertain.

(Ralph Becker-Szendy)


Q29: What is the KC80?

A:   There was an announcement in the trade press about a deal between Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Zilog. Kawasaki has developed something called the KC80, which is a Z80 (no MMU, extended address space, or 32-bit enhancements), but speeded up to execute most instructions in one or two cycles, and running at 20MHz. Zilog has the rights to the design. The catch is that Zilog is currently not planning to sell it as a chip.

(Ralph Becker-Szendy)


Q30: What is the S-100 bus?

A:    The S-100 bus, also known as the IEEE-696 bus, is a bus standard of 100 pin cards, 50 pins per side, which plug into 100-pin edge connectors on a passive (i.e. no computer logic) backplane once called a "motherboard". Dozens of computer companies produced cards and systems to this standard in the 1970's and 1980's. One of the first popular microcomputers was the Altair 8800 by MITS, which was offered as a kit in the January 1974 issue of Popular Electronics.

Each functional block of the computer, which at that time required many logic or memory chips each, was designed to fit a single card which plugged into a bus or "motherboard". The function and timing of signals on the 100-pin connectors of that bus became known as the "S-100 bus". An industry was started in producing cards compatible to the Altair, followed by the production of whole systems. The bus evolved as other manufacturers, such as Cromemco and Compupro, used slight variations of the bus design for their product line. These differences were finally addressed with the IEEE-696 standard, published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers in 1983. The IEEE-696 standard was already in use by then but only influenced designs for the next few years.

Most new CP/M personal systems went to single-board designs with no bus at all, and competition from IBM and Apple systems caused S-100 system production to decline.   IEEE-696 systems were subsequently developed primarily for industrial and development applications, particularly where multiprocessing or speed were important, through the rest of the 1980's.

Compupro and Cromemco still support these systems at commercial prices, but apparently do not support their prior CP/M systems except as cards for sale. Heath (later Zenith) produced the Z-100 system (labeled Z-120, Z-121) which was IEEE-696 compatible.   While they no longer support it, there are many active Heath user groups with some Z-100 interests.

A further distinction can be made in S-100 standards: boards designed for the Altair, IMSAI and early Cromemco systems with front panel switches and LED displays can be called "MITS/Altair"cards. Subsequent cards (after about 1979) grounded certain pins and reused other pins that affected the use of front panels.

One person who provides S-100 cards, documention, and some support (1996) is Herb Johnson. As "Dr. S-100" he writes a regular column in The Computer Journal and corresponds with S-100 and IEEE-696 owners. As of 1995 he can be reached at The Computer Journal or at:

Herbert R. Johnson Dr. S-100, 59 Main Blvd, Ewing NJ 08618

Phone: (609) 771-1503 or e-mail: hjohnson@pluto.njcc.com

(Herb Johnson)


Q31:  Anyone know a good source for cross assemblers?

A:    There are a variety of sources for cross platform development tools.

The C Users' Group (1601 W. 23rd St., Suite 200, Lawrence, KS 66046-2700) has a library of software that includes all kinds of development tools. Source code is distributed with many of them. They charge $4/disk and $3.50 s&h per order, and can supply 3.5" or 5.25" DOS formats. Those of you seeking assemblers or disassemblers will be particularly interested in volumes number 398, 363 (2 disks), 348, 346 (2 disks), 338 (2 disks), 335 (4 disks), 316, 303, and 292(4 disks). They also market a CD-ROM of volumes 100 through 364 for $49.95 list (it can usually be found at computer shows for $25 to $35). They can be reached at 913/841-1631 FAX: 913/841-2624.

The Circuit Cellar BBS is on-line 24 hours per day with some cross development tools, particularly for CPU's that are commonly used as controllers. They have a Courier HST running 2400/9600 bps at 203/871-0549, and another line that will do up to 14.4k bps (8N1) at 203/871-1988. Both of these numbers are in Connecticut.

The Motorola BBS is in Austin, Texas, on 512/440-3733. They have downloadable cross development products mostly for the 68xx and 68xxx architectures. Like the Circuit Cellar BBS, this BBS seems to specialize in micro-controller development. Many of these files  can also be accessed over the network on bode.ee.ualberta.ca (

2500AD software lists a Z80 assembler, a Z80 C compiler (that includes the assembler in the package), a Z280 assembler, a Z280 C  compiler (that includes the assembler), and a Z380 assembler.

Don't forget to look in the old familiar places, such as http://oak.oakland.edu/oak/cpm/index-cpm-pre.html

The Walnut Creek CDROM has some tools from some of the sources listed above on the CP/M CDROM. (Roger Hanscom, Mike Morris)


We wish to thank the following people their contributions to this FAQ:

John D. Baker


David I. Baldwin


Jim R. Benfer Jr.


Frank Cringle


Ralph Becker-Szendy


Mike Finn


Mike Gordillo


Stephen R. Griswold


Howard Goldstein


Roger Hanscom


Ulrich Hebecker


Gottfried Ira


Herb Johnson


Tom Karlsson


Kirk Lawrence


Mark Litwack


William P. Maloney


Paul Martin


Don Maslin


Thomas J. Merritt


Billy Michael


Udo Munk


Alan Ogden


Keith Petersen


Matthew Phillips


Jay Sage


Curt Schroeder


Peter A. Schuman


Kevin Spears


Tilmann Reh


Geir Tjoerhom


Jack Velte


Juergen Weber


Jeffrey J. Wieland


Randy Winchester


Frank Zsitvay


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