What makes the OS for QL any better, different, unique ?

A place to discuss general QL issues.
User avatar
Pr0f
Super Gold Card
Posts: 623
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:54 am

Re: What makes the OS for QL any better, different, unique ?

Postby Pr0f » Thu Apr 16, 2020 8:56 pm

os/9 - I remember seeing this on an a dragon computer ages ago, and being quite impressed by it. It's been in the background for some time, but is still licensed by the owners, so finding runnable versions is hard - there are versions that can be used freely on emulators for the Tandy coco and dragon, plus a 68K version that runs on an emulator - would be amazing to see this running on a Q68.

It was capable of multitasking

There was a rumour of it on the QL - but I don't know if that project ever made it to the public?


User avatar
tofro
QL Wafer Drive
Posts: 1964
Joined: Sun Feb 13, 2011 10:53 pm
Location: SW Germany

Re: What makes the OS for QL any better, different, unique ?

Postby tofro » Thu Apr 16, 2020 9:10 pm

Pr0f wrote:There was a rumour of it on the QL - but I don't know if that project ever made it to the public?


It was actually Cumana (the disk set retailer) who announced in 1985

Siinclair User 8/1985 wrote:The future operation

THE OS-9 operating system, capable of turning the QL into the equivalent of a high speed mini computer, is on the way courtesy of disc drive manufacturer Cumana.

OS-9 will be available as a hardware add-on in September, with QL compatible disc drives and interface.

Clive Martin of Cumana says. "We see OS-9 as being the operating system of the future for both the QL and the BBC microcomputer."

Planned software for OS9 includes word processors, databases, a fast version of Basic and a C compiler. Cumana also plans to add hard disc on the hardware front. Martin comments, "The whole system will be very Unix-like".

A data sheet on the disc drives and operating system is available from Cumana, Surrey.


Not sure if that ever made it to the shops, though.

Tobias


ʎɐqǝ ɯoɹɟ ǝq oʇ ƃuᴉoƃ ʇou sᴉ pɹɐoqʎǝʞ ʇxǝu ʎɯ 'ɹɐǝp ɥO
User avatar
Peter
QL Wafer Drive
Posts: 1039
Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2011 8:47 am

Re: What makes the OS for QL any better, different, unique ?

Postby Peter » Thu Apr 16, 2020 9:40 pm

Pr0f wrote:os/9 - I remember seeing this on an a dragon computer ages ago, and being quite impressed by it. It's been in the background for some time, but is still licensed by the owners, so finding runnable versions is hard - there are versions that can be used freely on emulators for the Tandy coco and dragon, plus a 68K version that runs on an emulator - would be amazing to see this running on a Q68.

It was capable of multitasking

OS/9 is even a realtime operating system, a capability beyond QDOS/SMS. But it is closed-source proprietary software.


Derek_Stewart
QL Wafer Drive
Posts: 1835
Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Runcorn, Cheshire, UK

Re: What makes the OS for QL any better, different, unique ?

Postby Derek_Stewart » Fri Apr 17, 2020 11:04 pm

Hi,

I nearly bought a Dragon to use OS/9, but a single user licence was required and is still required from Microware.

Here is s link to some OS/9 archived software and documentation:
http://www.os9projects.com/Newsletters/Newsletters.html

I do not think it is worth the effort of porting OS/9 to the Q68 because the result would be not a Q68.

I used supply the Q60 with Linux as an alternative operating system. Which made the Q60 a Linux box, not a computer that can run SMSQ/E, QDOS systems.

I had more support work teaching Q60 owners Linux use and configuration.

When really, we should be developing new applications to run on the Q68 in SMSQ/E...


Regards,

Derek
Tinyfpga
ROM Dongle
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Sep 27, 2018 1:59 am

Re: What makes the OS for QL any better, different, unique ?

Postby Tinyfpga » Sun May 24, 2020 5:47 pm

Some time ago I bought a number of Q68s from Mr Stewart's second batch. I have spent what little spare time I have to configure
a user interface suitable for learning to write SBASIC programs. To do this I have downloaded close to 2000 pages of instuctions from
the dilwyn.me website and various others.

Whilst doing this I delved into the QL Forum and noticed the discussion "What makes the OS for QL any better, different, unique?",
started by SinclairSociety.

With a little bit of searching I found two documents that might interest SinclairSociety. Both were written by Tony Tebby and both were
"published" for the benefit of those using variants of Mr Tebby's operating systems.

The first document that I have attached has been collated from a series of articles that were published in QL Today.
The second document,also attached and in the form of a series of HTML files, I found by searching for articles on Stella.

What is intriguing is that the documents never seem to have created any interest amongst QL users.
Clearly Mr Tebby considered his OS to be technically superior to systems that preceded it.

The QL Today document is written in the negative implying that his system software is not cursed by the technical errors built into
conventional computing architectures.
The Stella document is positive and is a brief description the last OS he created. As far as I know Stella only ever ran on Atari Sts.
It had no user interface and no high level language was ever developed to express the its architecture.

To be able to explore Tebby's ideas in native hardware, currently in production and supporting high resolution displays, I bought some Q68s
and am learning to write multitasking and multiprocessing application programs for them.

I am not a software writer but am enjoying the struggle to understand the instruction manuals that I have downloaded. The development
environment I am using comes from SMS2. I use it because it forces one to develop windowing programs as standard
and is, in my opinion, easier to use.
I managed to get SMS2 to run in FPGA a few years ago but only a with a low resolution display output.

I agree with Mr Stewart when he suggests that a Q68 without SMSQE would be pointless. I also like Mr Kilgus's comment :- " which is why I
like FPGAs more and more, it empowers software people like me to solve real hardware problems" (8 Jan 2020).
I believe that FPGAs do and can provide the hardware in which to express Tony Tebby's OS architecture.
Attachments
TTos.zip
(7.05 MiB) Downloaded 19 times
Stella.zip
(146.33 KiB) Downloaded 21 times


User avatar
RalfR
Gold Card
Posts: 413
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2018 8:58 pm

Re: What makes the OS for QL any better, different, unique ?

Postby RalfR » Sun May 24, 2020 6:06 pm

Thanks for putting this all together!


User avatar
RalfR
Gold Card
Posts: 413
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2018 8:58 pm

Re: What makes the OS for QL any better, different, unique ?

Postby RalfR » Sun May 24, 2020 6:12 pm

Tynifpga wrote:
I managed to get SMS2 to run in FPGA a few years ago but only a with a low resolution display output.
----------
I once got an SMS2 disk from TT to generate a working SMS2 disk for Atari. It works well but I have never understand, why he has so different names to start programs. E.g. to load an extension, you have to use "rext" in the CLI, very different to QL. But QLiberator and its compiled programs work perfect, though, I had to change my Sedit colours to work on b/w on the SM 124.


User avatar
bwinkel67
Gold Card
Posts: 458
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 2:09 am

Re: What makes the OS for QL any better, different, unique ?

Postby bwinkel67 » Sun May 24, 2020 8:25 pm

I love how some of these conversations continue over a long period and others wander in different directions.

1024MAK wrote:How are we defining multitasking?

Only the Sinclair ZX81 could be described as a very limited multitasking system because in normal (slow) mode the CPU was constantly (as far as the user was concerned) switching between running the users program and generating the serial data stream to maintain a steady non flickering video picture.

Is it anything like modern multitasking systems, of course not. But CPU technology has moved on rather a lot.

Mark


To answer here, the term multitasking and the specific categories of preemptive (Unix/Linux/QL OS's/most modern ones) and cooperative (original Mac OS) is generally applied to how the operating system kernel handles programs (err, really processes/tasks as programs can be made up of more than just a single executable). It is true that multiple things occur within the hardware of a computer and a CPU may have to worry about all of them, but the term multitasking is generally not applied to that. So a computer like the Commodore 64, for instance, in its base configuration, you could only run a BASIC program or load in a machine code program and run it. Whereas on the QL, you can have two programs up and running and behaving independently.

The subtle but important difference between preemptive and cooperative is who has control. For cooperative multitasking the program does and all other programs keep their fingers crossed that the current program yields control after a small amount of time. If one program crashes (maybe has an infinite loop) you are kind of SOL -- this happened on the old Mac's and you had to use the hardware switch to reset. With preemptive multitasking, things are much simpler and you can still retain control of the machine if a program behaves badly -- of course, depending on CPU power, if the program is grabbing up many resources your machine can still freeze. Unix/Linux tends to handle that the best whereas even Windows can get bogged down by a badly behaving Firefox or Chrome browser (happens for me in Windows 7 and Firefox at times) and you have to struggle to get the Task Manager up to kill it.

The QL also shares this problem. I know when I run a Digital 'C' SE compile it can take a bit of time before you get the console to respond, though if you do type, it catches everything in the buffer and then displays it all once it gets some cycles. I think it's the I/O that bogs things down in that case as media is being read from and written to. I think some of the add-on toolkits give you more process control so you could give different priorities to running ones although I don't think there is a way to do so permanently so that when you start a program the OS knows that it should be throttled down but even that won't fix the I/O read/write delays. Perhaps SMSQ/E improves on these sort of things...haven't used it much.

But that's the cool part about the QL, even with the original model from 1984. Compared to what was out there like the Spectrum, Commodore VIC20 & 64, BBC Micro, Amstrad, and even the IBM PC, the QL was giving the user more than just a single entry interface where once you ran a program that was it. You could open up two program and see them run side-by-side. Granted that BASIC was tied to the console shell so you couldn't run two BASIC programs, any stand-alone executable you could just fire off with the exec command and it was running. Even when the Mac came out, initially you could only open one program in the Finder. The next popular 80's home computer to do true multitasking was the Amiga, I believe, which came out 18 months later.


User avatar
bwinkel67
Gold Card
Posts: 458
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 2:09 am

Re: What makes the OS for QL any better, different, unique ?

Postby bwinkel67 » Sun May 24, 2020 8:46 pm

Oh, and to continue from my post above, I found this quote from John C. Dvorak, famous computer columnist in the 90's who, on October 22, 1996 wrote this about the Amiga in "Inside Track". PC Magazine. p. 89. I was looking to see how the Amiga OS compared back in 1985 to QDOS.

"The Amiga OS remains one of the great operating systems of the past 20 years, incorporating a small kernel and tremendous multitasking capability the likes of which have only recently been developed in OS/2 and Windows NT. The biggest difference is that the Amiga OS could operate fully and multitask in as little as 256K of address space. Even today, the OS is only about 1MB in size. And to this day, there is very little a memory-hogging, CD-ROM-loading OS can do the Amiga can't. Tight code—there's nothing like it. I've had an Amiga for maybe a decade. It's the single most reliable piece of equipment I've ever owned. It's amazing! You can easily understand why so many fanatics are out there wondering why they are alone in their love of the thing. The Amiga continues to inspire a vibrant—albeit cultlike—community, not unlike that which you have with Linux, the Unix clone."

Well, the QL did it in 128K :-) I do believe the Amiga had a very good OS kernel.


tcat
Super Gold Card
Posts: 617
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:27 pm
Location: Prague, Czech Republic

Re: What makes the OS for QL any better, different, unique ?

Postby tcat » Sun Jul 19, 2020 10:18 am

Hi,

Reading first document `25 years have gone by since the launch of the QL'

The ill-fated XENIX system should give an idea of the slowness of Unix. When this was launched (just
after the QL) on an IBM PC XT platform (about 4 times fasler than a QL with 10 times as much working
memory)


Not sure I got the comment right, but remembering IBM XT compatible clones we had at University, some 1984. Even ZX Spectrum was faster from user perception.

Code: Select all

10 LET j = 1
20 FOR i=1 TO 1000
30 LET j = i*j
40 NEXT i


This sort of bench would complete much faster on Speccy to XT machines with their ROM BASIC.

I am led to believe so was QL outperforming IBM XTs and early ATs.

Tomas



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests