Each computer needs an operating system to monitor and control the sequencing of programs. As mentioned in the October Newsletter, CP/M appears to be on its way to becoming the de facto industry standard for microcomputers. Digital Research Inc., maker of the CP/M operating system, has announced that the Digital Equipment Corporation has selected CP/M as the operating system for the DEC VT180, a micro built around the highly successful VT100 terminal. The VT-180 is the first DEC product to make use of the CP/M operating system. Digital Research has been trying for some time to convince DEC, the world's largest minicomputer manufacturer, to follow the lead of such major firms as Hewlett-Packard Co., Xerox Corp. and IBM who have introduced micros supporting CP/M. The DEC decision will probably encourage more application programmers to develop CP/M-based programs.
CP/M, which can be used on microcomputers or word processors, was introduced by Digital Research in 1974. Since then it has been licensed to over 250,000 users. Digital Research estimates that 400 to 500 companies have already produced 3,000 to 4,000 individual programs. Several programming languages can be used with CP/M.
Wang Laboratories Inc. last week introduced a CP/M-enhanced Wangwriter. Xerox, Lanier, CPT Corp. and NorthStar Computers Inc. also offer CP/M compatibility for word processing systems, while representatives of Royal Business Machines, Inc., Burroughs Corp. and NBI Inc. have all indicated that they are considering it.
Western Electric, the Bell System subsidiary that developed UNIX, a competing operation system has reacted to the rapid adoption of CP/M by lowering prices. The decision is expected to encourage more micro manufacturers and software developers to use UNIX-in addition to, if not in lieu of, CP/M. Western Electric also appears to be determined to standardize UNIX by undercutting the price of UNIX-like systems-so called "look-alike" operating systems.
The operating systems for micros which appear to be losing ground are Microsoft's MS-DOS, Softech Microsystems' UCSD p-system, and Phase One System's Oasis.