Forth Books Available

MicroFORTH PRIMER - comes with MMSFORTH; separately $15.00*

USING FORTH - more detailed and advanced than above $25.00*

THREADED INTERPRETIVE LANGUAGES - advanced, excellent analysis of MMSFORTH-like language $18.95*

PROGRAM DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION - intro. to structured program, good for Forth . . $8.95* FORTH -79 STANDARD MANUAL - official reference to 79 = STANDARD word set, etc . $10.00* CALTECH FORTH MANUAL - good on Forth internal structure, etc $10.00*

FORTH SPECIAL ISSUE, BYTE Magazine (Aug. 1980) - we stock this collector's item for Forth users and beginners $4.00*

* - ORDERING INFORMATION: Software prices include manuals and require signing of a single system, single-user license. SPECIFY for Model I or Model III! Add $2 00 S/H plus $1.00 per additional book; Mass. orders add 5% tax. Foreign orders add 20% UPS COD, VISA & M/C accepted; no unpaid purchase orders, please.

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SPOOL - This command will establish a first-in, first-out (FIFO) buffer either in memory or on disk for a specified device such as a line printer.

SYSTEM* - This command will allow for setting system parameters for CPU speed (if you have a clock speed-up kit); disabling the break key; creation of a blinking cursor; specification of drive type, speed, and number; setting up the JKL function, including optionally sending graphics to a supporting line printer; loading the lower case driver; setting up a type-ahead feature; and finally configuring the disk to automatically set up your parameters upon BOOT.

TRACE* - This command will display the Program Counter address and is handy for running and debugging machine language programs.

XFER* - This command might best be called the single disk owner's COPY command. It does not require LDOS to be present on either disk used.

The Utilities

The Utilities included with LDOS are those necessary. While we missed an editor/assembler and disassembler, it would only be a loss to programmers using those tools.

As mentioned earlier, LDOS requires all disks to be formatted prior to use, as none of the utilities will automatically invoke this feature. Keep this in mind as we go through the utilities.

BACKUP - This utility is self prompting for the uninitiated or those who don't like to type in a bunch of parameters. It will allow complete duplication (even to the way the directory was written), partial backups of files in a "controlled" environment, or not having a system disk resident in drive 0. If you read the DIR information, you will note that updated files are flagged. It is possible, therefore to BACKUP ONLY THOSE FILES with this command. However, be aware that backup will not stop if there is already information on the disk. Only on disks with different pack ID's, will the operator be given the opportunity to abort the BACKUP under certain conditions.

The utility will allow for BACKUP between different disk sizes and densities and if more tiles exist than the destination disk will hold, the operator will be prompted to mount additional formatted disks until everything has been backed up.

CMDFILE - This is LDOS's answer to LMOFFSET and appears to be much more complete as it allows not only tape-to-disk and disk-to-disk manipulation of machine language files, but also disk-to-tape. In addition, two files may be appended; a single file may be offset with an optional driver routine to disable such items as clock interrupts and the keyboard debounce routines of TRSDOS, LDOS, or NEWDOS; a file may be appended with a patched code to correct errors in a manner similar to the PATCH utility described later; SYSTEM cassette tapes may be created from non-contiguous blocks of memory; and the load address range and entry point or transfer address may be displayed and printed. This utility is self-prompting and the manual is exceptionally clear and complete, even to the inclusion of explanations of the appendages.

FORMAT - This utility is completely self-prompting and allows for input of optional parameters including diskname; master password; disk density (if your controller supports it); number of sides (a two-sided disk is treated as a single-sided drive by LDOS); number of tracks; and the stepping rate if the disk is to be used in drive zero during boot. Eight-inch drives will always default to 77 tracks regardless of the parameter passed.

LCOMM - This utility is a complete terminal package allowing keyboard send/receive; spooling of a line printer through a dynamic buffer; file transfer between systems and so on. It is a very large utility and must be treated separately to be appreciated. It may be used in conjunction with KSM and other features of LDOS.

PATCH - This utility is common to the Model II TRSDOS and serves the same purpose here. It is used to make minor changes or corrections to existing disk files.

Other Features

LDOS includes an RS-232 driverfor use in configuring the RS-232 serial port(s) in expansion interfaces. The KSM filter allows the use of files containing pre-defined phrases for direct keyboard entry. The PR filter is used to format the data sent to a line printer, including: addition of a line feed after a carriage return, number of characters per line, issuance of a HEX OC instead of a series of linefeeds for top-of-form, number of characters to be indented on wrapped-around lines, number of lines printed per page, page length in lines, setting of left margin, character translation and expansion of HEX 09 tab characters.

The JCL is contained in its own portion of the manual. It is our understanding there is a tutorial being prepared to aid in the use of the JCL feature of LDOS.

The technical section of the manual is quite inclusive for machine language buffs who want to explore disk operation. It includes many calls and routines, as well as explanations of features unique to LDOS.

The LDOS disk contains patches to Scripsit and Electric Pencil. The Pencil patch causes Pencil to honor HIGH$ (top of memory) and to use the standard keyborad driver and the KSM filter. The patch may be read by Pencil and modified should the user want part or all of the features added.

The Scripsit patch forces it to use the active printer driver, honor HIGH$, corrects a stack problem and adds a "Q", or "Query" DOS directory command. It does a couple of other things which are fully explained in the remarks section of the file. Again, as in Pencil, Scripsit can read the FIX file.

Conclusion

Without a doubt, the outstanding feature of LDOS is the manual.

If one uses only Radio Shack Basic, LDOS has to be classified as one of the easiest to use DOS's. LBasic with the preceeding "L", confused those not used to it.

The solid support in the form of a very responsive group on the other end of an 800 number helps tremendously. By the same token, don't expect help if you pirated yourself a copy.

At 80-U.S., LDOS has become a real workhorse, since it fully supports any unmodified TRSDOS based programs and allows for printer configurations available oniy previously as special driver programs.

Evaluating this (or for that matter, any other) DOS is difficult at best. We worked with it for over two months and have yet to fully exploit all its virtues. If you do get this DOS, put away all your other operating systems (as we were forced to do while using the LX-BO) and give it a chance. We believe you will come to the same conclusion - LDOS is indeed the state of the art in operating systems. •

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