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ADAM had a pirated operating system?


SoulBlazer
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So I happened to be on the Old Computers website today looking up some systems and decided to check their entry on the Coleco ADAM.

 

The comments section was very interesting. You can find it yourself at http://www.oldcomputers.net/adam.html

 

You had one person saying they had helped work on the assembly line and the QA was horrible:

 

Name: Allen Location: Saratoga Springs NY Date: Fri, Sep 02, 2016 - 19:48:43 PST
Comments: I am amazed any of these things still exist, I worked as an inspector on the assembly line in 1983 and 1984. We were lucky if we could pass 1 in a day the first year we would run the line for a few minutes then shut down for an hour so the engineers could try to figure out a solution a new chip or something and off we went over and over again. The second year was a bit better.

 

But what REALLY got my attention was this comment about the OS:

 

Name: Lou Ploch Contact: Location: new jersey Date: Tue, Nov 03, 2015 - 14:36:47 PST
Comments: Having done work for both Apple & Commodore, Coleco contacted my company to produce some additional software and provided me with the source code of their operating system. It looked like something I had seen before, and sure enough it turned out to be a lot of pirated Applesoft code. I called them back and explained what I had discovered & all they said was RETURN EVERYTHING IMMEDIATELY. So much for the ADAM. I notified Apple and they basically told me that it was a toy from a toy company GOING NOWHERE. Whats worse, we never really got it to work. A BAD IDEA from Coleco.

 

I've never heard anything about this before. Is there any truth to this?

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I certainly doubt about this, because Apple always used 6502 code and the Coleco ADAM is Z80.

 

Operating system? the Apple disk format used 256 byte sectors while Coleco stand at 1K.

 

I believe he is thinking in Franklin Ace or some of these Apple clones https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Apple_II_clones

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To me it just sounds like some ADAM haters...hating...I have never, ever heard anything like this before and I've been an ADAM fan from the beginning.

 

So I happened to be on the Old Computers website today looking up some systems and decided to check their entry on the Coleco ADAM.

 

The comments section was very interesting. You can find it yourself at http://www.oldcomputers.net/adam.html

 

You had one person saying they had helped work on the assembly line and the QA was horrible:

 

Name: Allen Location: Saratoga Springs NY Date: Fri, Sep 02, 2016 - 19:48:43 PST
Comments: I am amazed any of these things still exist, I worked as an inspector on the assembly line in 1983 and 1984. We were lucky if we could pass 1 in a day the first year we would run the line for a few minutes then shut down for an hour so the engineers could try to figure out a solution a new chip or something and off we went over and over again. The second year was a bit better.

 

But what REALLY got my attention was this comment about the OS:

 

Name: Lou Ploch Contact: Location: new jersey Date: Tue, Nov 03, 2015 - 14:36:47 PST
Comments: Having done work for both Apple & Commodore, Coleco contacted my company to produce some additional software and provided me with the source code of their operating system. It looked like something I had seen before, and sure enough it turned out to be a lot of pirated Applesoft code. I called them back and explained what I had discovered & all they said was RETURN EVERYTHING IMMEDIATELY. So much for the ADAM. I notified Apple and they basically told me that it was a toy from a toy company GOING NOWHERE. Whats worse, we never really got it to work. A BAD IDEA from Coleco.

 

I've never heard anything about this before. Is there any truth to this?

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I would say that both of these people that posted those messages where full of shit and if they aren't, they absolutely don't know what they are talking about:

 

- "could barely pass one system per day... the first year" would mean that roughly only 90-100 working systems made it to store shelves in 1983.

 

- "the OS of the Adam was stolen code". This one is easy to call out as BS seeing as the person that posted that doesn't even know the difference between an Operating System and a Basic Language Interpreter!!! I find it hard that the poster was somehow supplied with the source code to SmartBasic (which was a knock-off of Apple's Basic) because Coleco didn't share tech info about the Adam until much later and even then, they wouldn't have shared source code. And why would source code be required for a Basic Interpreter???

 

Gotta love the haters even after all these years.

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Because the CPUs are different, I'd say it's bogus.

 

However, I can't help but wonder why Coleco didn't just join the list of MSX manufacturers (or at least adopt the MSX standard).

 

MSX did their official announcement about four months before the Adam was released. That means that there's a very good chance that staff from Coleco knew something about the proposed MSX standard from one of their many trips to Japan.

 

I suppose it's because Coleco already had the computer idea in their heads from the earlier ColecoVision computer expansion module concept.

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I can't help wonder if the first guy (who worked on the line) was talking about Adam's that passed FIRST inspection versus ones that had to have some additional work done on them before they went to the stores. We know the failure and return rate on the first six months or so of production of the Adam was horrible (I've seen figures as high as 60 to 70 percent!) so that would have a ring of truth to me.

 

And yeah, I tend to agree with what nanochess said. I think the second guy got confused with the Franklin Ace.

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Also keep in mind Applesoft is mostly Microsoft basic with a few features and commands to keep compatibility with Apple's own older Integer Basic, Im sure a ton of basic's from back then looked nearly identical cause they were either MS basic or work a like

Edited by Osgeld
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The simple fact about the second poster and the supposed shared source code is that the Adam's EOS and Apple OS are two completely different animals developed for use on completely different processors. Heck, the Adam was much more advanced compared to the Apple line available at the time especially considering the Adamnet, so why would you want to hamstring the Adam with a knock off/pirated version of the Apple OS. I would venture a guess that the ads and info that were made available by Coleco stating that SmartBasic was compatible with Apple Basic is this posters impetus.

 

Anyway, source code would not be shared... that's a given. What would have been shared eventually is the Adam Technical Manual, but for those that remember, that took a while for Coleco to get in the hands of possible developers.

Edited by NIAD
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Load of garbage, 6502 vs. Z80, etc.

 

SmartBASIC is supposed to be a clone (more or less) of Applesoft BASIC, which was done intentionally as Apple IIs were used extensively in schools at the time and that would maintain some compatibility for a "family" computer. Doesn't mean it was stolen.

SmartBASIC also functions very differently than Microsoft BASICs on the inside.

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