Comparing old BASICs

Ruby 6502 has been running well on it’s PCB for some time now and interestingly enough (and curiously!) during the past few months other 8-bit projects have sprung up…

This started probably about a year back when Dave, the 8-bit guy made a video talking about what his ideal 8-bit micro might look like – which in summary is essentially a slightly better Commodore C64 with possibly a 16-bit processor (The 65C816 rather than the 65C02)

Since then, there are three project that I know of in the public eye making just such a thing. The Foenix C256, The Commander X16 and the Neon816. I’ve been following these projects and in particular te Foenix one was really interesting to me early on as I had been looking for a 65816 platform to do something for myself, but in the time it’s come to alpha board testing, I’ve gone down my own route, however…

Anyway, in the Commander X16 group (on Facebook), I had a brief discussion about BASICs and offered to do a brief video on BBC Basic vs. a typical Microsoft Basic. C64 BASIC is Microsoft BASIC 2… MS wrote 2 BASICs for the 6502, both were used at the same time with the level 2 BASIC having a higher precision floating point and a few other things. From a published version of the source code:

; These are the first eight (known) versions of Microsoft BASIC for 6502:
; Name                 Release   MS Version    ROM   9digit  INPUTBUFFER   extensions   .define
; Commodore BASIC 1     1977                    Y      Y          ZP          CBM
; OSI BASIC             1977     1.0 REV 3.2    Y      N          ZP            -        CONFIG_10A
; AppleSoft I           1977     1.1            N      Y        $0200         Apple      CONFIG_11
; KIM BASIC             1977     1.1            N      Y          ZP            -        CONFIG_11A
; AppleSoft II          1978                    Y      Y        $0200         Apple      CONFIG_2
; Commodore BASIC 2     1979                    Y      Y        $0200          CBM       CONFIG_2A
; KBD BASIC             1982                    Y      N        $0700          KBD       CONFIG_2B
; MicroTAN              1980                    Y      Y          ZP            -        CONFIG_2C

BBC Basic was first sold in 1981 on the early BBC Micros with the latest version (v4) being in-use in 1984. The main differences are that it’s much faster (almost twice as fast), integer variables are 4 bytes long and was designed to run on a more sophisticated operating system than the typical simple monitors of early systems. (There are many more differences than that though)

So back to the Commander X16 group – I made the video and it’s about 16 minutes long and here it is:

Just an update: After 4 weeks, my post was removed from the Commander X16 group because


Keep it relevant
Posts not specifically related to the Commander X16 project will be removed, even if they’re CBM etc. Please keep all posts relevant to the X16. This group is not intended for general retro tech.

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