DRI History and Douglas Goodall

This document copyright Herbert R. Johnson 2010. Updated Feb 16 2010.
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I corresponded with Douglas W. Goodall, a former Digital Research software developer, in Sept 2009. He was part of developments in Concurrent DOS and had a hand in CP/M-86 Plus in an unusual fashion. Here's some exerpts of our discussions. Edits and comments by me are in []'s.

[ Doug Goodall describes his professional and personal history at this Web page. He has a Web site at www.goodall.com- Herb] - Herb Johnson.

Goodall and CP/M-86 Plus

David August, having just finished CCP/M-86 for the IBM-PC Version 1.0 was leaving OEM Systems Division to go to Graphics Divisions and invent GEM. I took over his job in OEM Systems. In 1984 I joined DRI in Pacific Grove as "Senior Operating System Specialist".

My job was to write machine specific implementations of Concurrent XIOSs for licensees of the operating system. As I was about to deploy to UK for six months, I dropped by and spoke with a friend in Operating Systems Division who had a long face. He said his project had been cancelled even though it was a fine product. That was CP/M-86 Plus. I asked him for machine readable sources for it, and I took those with me to Newbury where the DRI office was. While I was there, I gave the disks to them. I then spent six months teaching them how things were done back in the states, coding practices and the like.

The UK crew were very ambitious and they took the code for CP/M-86 plus and they added a DOS emulation module. For a while they called it Dos Plus. Then they polished it up and just renamed it DR-DOS. Engineering on that product continued at the European Development Center in Hungerford for several years, where they also continued enhancing the Concurrent DOS product.

As it turns out, while I was busy putting Concurrent on the ACT Apricot Personal Computer, some enterprising salesperson went ahead and sold them CP/M-86 Plus anyway.

Joe Wein was the senior engineer from UK while I was there. Frank Iveson was in charge of the DRI UK office in Newbury. These people were in a position to know [what occurred]. - Doug Goodall

Goodall and Concurrent CP/M

[Doug describes how he brought his Intel MDS development experience to bear on DRI's develoment process. - Herb]

DRI was out trying to convince microcomputer vendors to license CCP/M-86 for their machines, and DRI would write a custom XIOS for money to support their hardware. In those days the XIOS was a one piece assembly that took twenty minutes to assemble and if there was an error, you had to fix the code and start the assembly again.

I had been developing multitasking systems for several years for the 8086 using Intel MDS [before joining DRI,] and was very aware of the benefits of parsing up the code and linking the results. I convinced Chuck Carroll (my boss in OEM Systems) that I must take the one piece PC XIOS and convert it to [DRI's] RASM86 and LINK86. XIOS development was taking three months per port and that was too slow for my way of thinking.

Chuck told me that the Olympia PEOPLE XIOS was way late and was already due. [Olympia, an international company, announced the PEOPLE 8086 computer in 1983-84. - Herb] He challenged me to prove my rasm xios could accelerate XIOS development and three weeks (not months) later I had a working XIOS for the Olympia machine.

Then Chuck told me that the ACT Apricot XIOS was due in three weeks and would I take that on too. I agreed to travel to UK and complete the Apricot Concurrent. Three weeks later I had the Apricot Concurrent running, and not only that, the XIOS was being generated and SYSGEN'd right on the Apricot, edited with wordstar, assembled by rasm86, linked by link0.cmd, and generated into a ccpm.sys file, all on the target machine (on flopppies).

This really irritated the ACT MS-DOS group that were using a tektronix unix system to cross compile the DOS system, and when their unix box broke, they could not work on their DOS version for two months until they fixed their unix system.

Meanwhile Doug is coding away on his Apricot, happy as a clam.

I headed to Germany and dealt with DR Meisner at Siemens and some other companies.

Eventually I started hearing about a need in Japan for Concurrent versions, and I went home to California to request the Japan post for the next six months. The powers that be were happy with me and sent me to DRJ where I was writing XIOSs about one every two weeks.

My rasm toolkit was becoming very capable because I had module for most of the common chips by then.

Shortly after I finshed with the Apricot, and did some sales support work in Germany, I departed and went on to Japan as previously stated.

[Doug provided some sources and commented "[the] contain the Concurrent CP/M-86 v2.0 XIOS I wrote for the Olympia PEOPLE machine. My name is in the code modules. Also my initials, DWG. You can tell my code because the only 2.0 XIOSs that are split up into modules were mine. The rest were one piece." - Herb]

[Doug later added:] My company, Concurrent Controls, Inc. was actually given exclusive rights to market Concurrent in the US for several years way back when. [The company was started in 1985 by Goodall.] They called it CCI Concurrent DOS or CCI Multiuser DOS. - Doug Goodall

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Herb Johnson
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Copyright © 2010 Herb Johnson except for quotes of Douglas Goodall which are his.