Re: Linux has facilitated the cituation he is lamenting about
> One of the differences between clones and PCs was that the PCs had BASIC in ROM. (Int 18h) Clones relied on GwBasic.exe
The IBM 5150 PC did have IBM Cassette BASIC in ROM. This could access the cassette tape port (fitted to the original 5150 PC - I have one here) and the machine could boot up into BASIC without needing a diskette or even a drive. This was similar to many machines of the time, such as Apple II or Commodore Pet. To use BASIC from MS-DOS there was a BASICA.COM program that used some of the ROM and provided disc access routines.
Clones didn't bother with this as they didn't have cassette ports (and always had diskette or disk drives), which was to only point of having ROM Cassette BASIC. GWBASIC was a far better version, ROM BASIC was very poor - eg it only allowed variables of 1 letter plus 1 digit.
> And nobody, but nobody, used the DOS or BIOS video routines for anything worthwhile.
I ran quite a bit of MS-DOS software on non-IBM Clones. Much of this had configuration software that required the terminal type to be set (eg ANSI or Wyse-60) as well as the printer and other items.
For example: Wordstar 3.3, Borland Pascal 3, Supercalc 2. Note that many of these had versions for PC-DOS that used direct screen writes as well as versions for MS-DOS that could be configured to use various terminal controls when outputting via the DOS routines. (they also had CP/M and CP/M-86 versions which also could output to various terminals). Later editions of these did only provide PC-Clone versions.
Note that even Microsoft Software, such as MultiPlan and earlier versions of Word and all their languages could run on non-clone machines - using DOS and ANSI.SYS (or equivalent).
> But I never saw an MDA adaptor.
My IBM 5150 PC Model B has an MDA and an IBM Mono monitor. I got it from a business throwing out old machines in the mid-late 80s.