Archive for January 2018

Debunking TMR‘s “Prepare To Operate – Part 2“   Leave a comment

Debunking TMR‘s “Prepare To Operate – Part 2“


Orac, one computer from “Blake’s Seven”, was a talking computer with just flashing lights and voice control

TMR of the blog “C64 Crap Debunk“ recently had the cheek in to debunk my excellent post examining operating systems in general and what they have to do with the Commodore 64!

I haven‘t actually written an operating system yet, but I think I may be able write one at some stage in the future. To do this, I have to look at what other people have done, what operating systems have in common, and how they work. It‘s possible to create your own custom distro of Linux, using kits provided by groups such as Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, and Arch, but that‘s not the same as creating your own OS. These kits are limited to creating a branded personal version of the distro done by the group or company which provides the kit, you can rename it whatever you like, choose to include or exclude any software you like on DVD, although other software can still be installed later on, but the end result will be based on Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, Arch, or whatever distro it was based on. As for creating a distro of Linux of a new type or genus other than Debian, Red Hat, Slackware, or the much more recent Arch, you certainly can‘t do that with such a kit.


The computers in “Space: 1999” were made up of lighted panels and TV screens

I thought I expected computers to be absolutely amazing before getting one. This was based on what I‘d seen in sci fi series, such as Star Trek: The Original Series, Space 1999, Blake‘s Seven, and Doctor Who. Looking back at at episodes and clips from these series made before 1984, they show that none of the computers featured had a GUI, they were mainly voice controlled, could also speak, and either had lots of flashing lights, or panels with lighted switches, and could often display videos, but these videos were usually live and had no computer text or graphics overlaid. There was no frequently used standard computer in Doctor Who. I only remember the Chameleon Circuit system in “Logopolis“, where The Doctor typed in some Machine Code and it displayed a pyramid as the chosen new disguise for his TARDIS, as well as a fake TARDIS databank or instruction manual in the following story “Castrovalva“ which responded to commands such as IF for Index File, plus another database in the story “Arc of Infinity“ which gave details of that particular phenomenon. It seems that computers in sci fi with GUI systems may only have started appearing after they appeared in real life in the mass market. People were fascinated by the LCARS menu GUI in Star Trek: The Next Generation (created on colour Apple Mac computers in or before 1987) and have managed to produce something that looks like it running on top of other operating systems.

In Star Trek, keyboards and mice have been totally abandoned, although Scotty manages to type very fast on one in “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home“ and Captain Katherine Janeway soon manages to pick up typing on a keyboard in the Star Trek: Voyager story “Future‘s End“, set in 1996. I think that the fictitious computers in these versions of Star Trek probably all contain a ROM or some equivalent RAM storage that can survive a reboot containing routines for graphics, so that creators of operating systems don‘t have to worry about doing this. Even the Atari 400/800 ROMs from 1979 and the Amstrad CPC ROMs from 1984 onwards contain graphics routines. Although these computers do display text, it‘s always on a graphic background and as we already know, modern computers and phones can input spoken text as well as be controlled by voice. I think that a future operating system could be entirely graphic, not bothering with any kind of typed commands at all. This goes against Linux and UNIX thinking, but the original Apple MacIntosh System Software had no shell or typed commands.

That‘s all for now! Look out for another amazing expose of the Commodore 64 soon.

Posted January 9, 2018 by C64hater in Uncategorized