Countdown to CoCoFEST: T-4 Days

As a relative “noob” in the CoCo community, I was initially surprised when CoCo discussions started comparing the the TRS80 Color Computer to an Apple Macintosh. Community support notwithstanding, it’s patently unfair to compare an early 1980’s 8-bit platform with a early 2000’s 32 bit one. That aside, both sides had their proponents. The discussions touted the graphical UI and multi-tasking capabilities in the latter, though I assumed everyone already knew the Mac sported those in spades.

After a bit, though, I realized the discussion was not about the short lived Macintosh operating system OS 9, but the Microware real time operating system OS-9 for the CoCo, and sometimes specifically about the open source variant called NitrOS9. Researching, I determined OS-9 wasn’t just a multi-tasking OS, it was a true real time operating system (RTOS), the same type of OS designers choose when stability and guaranteed operation is a must! Now, everything from toasters to watches have a real time multitasking OS, so OS-9 may not seem as impressive, but it’s important to remember OS-9 on the CoCo was a thing before Windows 1.0 even arrived and just as the Macintosh first came on the scene.

Glenside welcomes all OS-9 (and NitrOS9) enthusiasts, and we typically have at least 1 presentation each year on some aspect of the OS. This year, L. Curtis Boyle and Ken Waters will present on the platform at 10:45 on Saturday, May 4. Below is their 2022 BASIC09 presentation:


Countdown to CoCoFEST: T-5 Days

As in previous years, the 32nd Annual “Last” Chicago CoCoFEST allows community members an opportunity to showcase advances in the “state-of-the-art”. Often times, these advances are specific to a Tandy or compatible platform, but other times the advance is more general in nature.

To be sure, few things are more general that the central processing unit in the Color Computer, the MC6809E microprocessor. And, just like anything used in the CoCo, there’s always room for improvement. Here’s Kevin Phillipson discussing his Turbo9 research effort, a modern implementation of the venerable 6809: