January 2 1985January 2 1985
Antic Magazine got a look at the Atari STs three days before they were due for unveiling at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas.
This Antic Preview was hosted at the Atari Engineering Center in Sunnyvale by Sig Hartmann, President of Atari’s Software Division, and Sam Tramiel, President of the Atari Corp.THE FIRST STEPS
January 5-8 1985January 5-8 1985
At the International Winter Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Atari introduced the 130ST(«under $400» with STM1 mouse; never shipped), and 520ST («under $600» with STM1 mouse) personal computers.
Atari also introduced or announced: SM124 High-Resolution Monochrome Monitor («under $100»), SC1224 color monitor («under $200»), SF324 MicroFloppy disk drive (3.5 inches SSSD 250K unformatted; never shipped), SF354 MicroFloppy disk drive (3.5 inches SSDD 500K unformatted/360K formatted, «under $150»), PS3000 Color Monitor-Disk Drive (equivalent to SC1224+SF354; not shown), SH317 10MB hard disk drive («under $600»; not shown; never shipped), STC204 printer («under $100»; not shown; never shipped), STC504 printer («under $150»; never shipped), SMM804 printer («under $200»), SDM124 printer («under $200»; never shipped).
«Atari officials realized they would meet the CES deadline, and they did: they shipped five STs to Las Vegas.»
According to Landon Dyer, who worked for Atari on the Gem port for the ST, the 130ST prototypes (a 128K RAM version of the ST) shown at CES really had 256Kbs with DRI/ATARI OS booting from disk: “The hardware guys doubled the amount of RAM in the system so the OS could live in RAM with room left over for applications.”
Landon Dyer also stated: “The 130ST prototypes shown at CES were running GEM on top of CP/M-68K”. This same statement was said in the previously mentioned article Three years with the Atari ST, published by STart magazine in the summer of 1988.
This video was recorded during the Atari’s new line of systems presentation in the Winter CES’85. We can see with more detail the GEM Desktop that was booted from those ST prototypes:
There are reasonable doubts that this specific proto-TOS really ran on top of CP/M-68K. The video recorded during the ST presentation at the Festival clearly showed some folders inside the content of a floppy disk opened from the ST prototype. This is just not possible under CP/M, knowing it didn’t support hierarchical file systems.
The shortcomings of using a language like CP/M-68K as the basis for a GUI like GEM were very apparent from the beginning. Quoting Landon Dyer: “CP/M (in any of its variants) didn’t really do a whole lot. There was a simple flat file system. There was some character-at-a-time console output (useless on a computer with a graphical interface). And CP/M could load and programs. That was about it. (By modern standards it was missing: A hierarchical file system with directories, networking, memory management, processes and process scheduling, a notion of time, synchronization and locking primitives, a driver architecture, graphics, fonts, character sets . . .)”
Atari and DRI software engineers had been working for months on the GEM port to a 68K-based system (without even having the final hardware) and they had been using CP/M-68K as the base for a long time, so they were squeezing it and twisting it heavily to try to get GEM working on it. But during that time they at DRI also started to work in parallel to write a new operating system for the 68000 and, as Landon said: “When we heard that someone at DRI had been doing something much better, even though it was still unfinished, we unofficially jumped at it.” Dyer referred here to GEMDOS (named GEM DOS initially).
Tim Oren, who was also working on the DRI side in the port of GEM, wrote in 1986:
“There has been a good deal of confusion in the Atari press and among developers over what GEMDOS is, and how it relates to TOS and CP/M-68K. It’s important to clear this up, so you can get a true picture of what GEMDOS is intended to do. The best way is to tell the story of GEMDOS’ origins, which I can do, because I was there.
«As most developers are aware, GEM was first implemented on the IBM PC. PC GEM performed two functions. The first was a windowed graphics extension to the PC environment. The second was a visual shell, the Desktop, which ran on top of the existing operating system, PC-DOS. When work started on moving GEM to the ST, there were two big problems. First, no STs actually existed. Second, there was no operating system on the 68000 with which GEM and the Desktop could run. Unix was too large, and CP/M-68K lacked a number of capabilities, such as hierarchical files, which were needed to support GEM.
«Work on porting the graphics parts of GEM to the 68000 had to start immediately to meet schedules. Therefore, CP/M-68K running on Apple Lisa’s was used to get this part of the project off the ground. Naturally, the Alcyon C compiler and other tools which were native to this environment were used. In parallel, an effort was begun to write a new operating system for the 68000, which would ultimately become the ST’s file system. It was designed to be a close clone of PC-DOS, since it would perform the same functions for GEM in the new environment. At this point, the term TOS was introduced. […]
«The first engineer to work on «TOS» at Digital Research was Jason Loveman. This name leaked to the press, and in some distorted fashion generated a rumor about «Jason DOS», which was still just the same unfinished project. As «TOS» became more solid, the developer’s tools were ported to the new environment one by one, and the GEM programming moved with them. CP/M-68K was completely abandoned, though the old manuals for C and the tools lived on and are still found in the Atari developer’s kit.
«All of this work had been done on Lisas or Compupro systems fitted with 68000 boards. At this point, workable ST prototypes became available. An implementation of «TOS» for the target machine was begun, even before the basic operating system was fully completed.”
Dyer also stated in his blog that GEMDOS was still been written at the time of CES.
In conclusion, it seems this proto-TOS version shown at 1985 Winter CES was really based on an very early and still-not-finished GEMDOS implementation.
During a demonstration at CES one 130ST running a FORTH model was doing some remarkable things through its MIDI interface, driving a [Casio CZ-101] synthesizer with a very impressive demo.
net.micro.atari newsgroup / January 6 1985
New York Times / January 7 1985
Popular Computing Weekly / January 10, 1985Personal Computer News / January 19 1985
InfoWorld Magazine / January 28 1985
Saint Paul ATARI Computer Enthusiast’s Newsletter / January 1985
Science et Vie Micro Magazine / February 1985
Analog Computing Issue 28 / March 1985
Analog Computing Issue 29 / April 1985
Happy Computer Magazine / April 1985
Compute! Magazine / April 1985
Racunari Magazine / April 1985
Atari USER Vol. 1 N0 2 / June 1985
Atari ST at CES ’85 / The Atari Exhibition (saved website from The Wayback Machine)
WINTER CES ’85
At the International Winter Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Atari introduced the 130ST(«under $400» with STM1 mouse; never…
January 1985January 1985
Tom Rolander (founder of Activenture Corp.) and Gary Kildall (DRI Chairman and technical consultant to Activenture) went to see Atari Chairman Jack Tramiel. It was Activenture’s very first meeting to raise outside support for their CD-ROM technology.
«In late January […] Leonard Tramiel made the decision to go with GEMDOS» as the specific environment (inside TOS) responsible for interaction between applications and file-based devices. CP/M-68K was completely abandoned.
January 2 1985January 5-8 1985 January 1985