Operating Systems

The original Sinclair QL Disk Operating System produced by Tony Tebby and his team at Sinclair. The QL was originally to have included an operating system called 68K/OS by GST Computer Systems (which eventually became available separately). QDOS comes on ROM with a BASIC interpreter written by Jan Jones.

QDOS is a single user multitasking system, although it does not have built in windowing software. This can be added by means of something called the Pointer Environment by Tony Tebby's team at software house QJump.

The original QDOS was shipped on an outside EPROM board which came to be known as a "Kludge". This was quickly replaced with internal ROMs or EPROMs. QDOS version numbers are used, usually version 1.xy for the various ROM versions. More commonly, ROM versions were identified by the 2 or 3 letter SuperBASIC version identifier, such as FB, AH, JM, JS and MG in that order of age. Various international versions were also released with a third letter denoting the intended national variant, such as JSU for the United States of America.

QL ROM images may be freely copied nowadays, apart from in North America where the rights are still held by Paul Holmgren and Frank Davies. ROM images may be downloaded from The Sinclair QL Homepage, although North American users should seek permission for use from one of the copyright holders listed above.

68K/OS was an operating system designed by GST Computer Systems Ltd for the QL, but which was replaced by QDOS before the QL was launched. GST did have aspirations to make this a 'de facto' operating system for the 68000 processor series and OEM markets, though it is not known how far they got.

68K/OS was advertised by GST in late 1984 as an add-on for the QL. It consisted of a plug-in card containing a switch to let you select QDOS or 68K/OS. It came with sizeable manuals (including an applications programmer's manual) and software on two microdrives, including an editor and file maintenance programs. The 68K/ASM assembler and systems programmer's manual were extra, at £39.95 and £4.95 respectively.

The board included two spare EPROM slots for applications software. The operating system allowed for real-time multitasked software with multiple screen windows and somehow made microdrive access times much faster.

68K/OS did not include a BASIC interpreter, although it had a simple command line interpreter called ADAM.

Upon launch, 68K/OS cost a whopping £99.95.

This was an update to QDOS, produced by the team of Stuart McKnight, Jonathan Oakley and Laurence Reeves at QView. More recently, Minerva has been marketed by Tony Firshman at TF Services. Minerva is a complete rewrite of QDOS, removing a lot of bugs which came to light in QDOS over the years. Indeed, it is so different to QDOS in coding terms that some consider it a different operating system.

Minerva is available in two versions, the original is a straightforward 48K EPROM upgrade for the QL, while the Minerva Mk II is a more complex beast which supports additional facilities like an I²C bus system for connection of external hardware.

A rewrite of QDOS by CST for use with the Thor range of QL compatible computers. Includes a windowing system which is largely incompatible with QL pointer environment.

A plug-in cartridge for Atari ST computers written by Tony Tebby and distributed by Furst Ltd. No BASIC interpreter was included in this operating system.

A form of SMSQ/E without pointer environment, produced by Tony Tebby for Miracle Systems for the QXL card. No inbuilt pointer environment and largely superceded by a version of SMSQ/E for QXL.

Standing for Single-user Multitasking System QL/Extended environment, this is Tony Tebby's updated operating system for the various QL and QL compatible platforms. It is available in versions for QL with Gold/Super Gold Cards, Atari ST, QXL, Q40, Q60, Q68 and Aurora systems. It has been included in the QPC emulator by Marcel Kilgus, and recent versions of the QemuLator QL emulator for Windows systems by Daniele Terdina can run the Gold Card version of SMSQ/E. SMSQ/E has built in equivalent of the QL pointer environment and the operating system builds on QDOS and adds a great deal of features to the original QL operating system, while managing to maintain a high degree of compatibility with existing QL software. More recently, SMSQ/E has acquired built in support for high resolution displays and for 8-bit and 16-bit colour support on Aurora, Q40, Q60, Q68, QPC2 and QXL.

  • qlwiki/operating_systems.txt
  • Last modified: 2018/03/30 10:16
  • by vezhlys