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R > REGNECENTRALEN > RC 700 Piccolo


REGNECENTRALEN  Regnecentralen
RC 700 Piccolo

Lasse Hillerøe Petersen reported in 1998 (in the comp.lang.misc newsgroup):

COMAL is an important part of Danish computer history.

COMAL was developed as a structured derivative of BASIC in the late 70'ties by Børge Christensen. Originally it was developed I believe on the Danish RC 7000 computer from Regnecentralen. My 8th grade computer science teacher told me back in 1983 or 1984 or so, that when he learned using COMAL on the RC7000, they used paper tape to load the interpreter!

COMAL was very popular in schools for teaching programming in the early 80'es. At that time, before the PC, schools would typically have Z-80 based RC Piccolo or ICL Comet computers with CP/M, and later RC Piccoline and Partner (running ConcurrentCP/M-86 on 80188 and 80186, I believe.)

The original CP/M-80/86 COMAL-80 (80 being the year of the COMAL version, not a CPU type) was made by a company that I don't recall the name of.

UniComal made a version for the Commodore-64, which gained nearly the same popularity as the computer itself. This COMAL version was enhanced quite a lot, in that it had some modularity (packs) and didn't require EXEC to call a procedure (you could just type the name as in Pascal).The UniComal variant gained some worldwide popularity and was certainly ported to DOS. Others did versions for various Z-80 based computers, most now forgotten. I don't know if a version for OS/2 ever existed.

Meanwhile, BASIC had catched up, and structured BASIC variants were getting common. Also, COMPAS Pascal (which was repackaged by Borland as Turbo Pascal, COMPAS Pascal 3.0 being almost identical with Turbo Pascal 1.0) captured a lot of the audience that would have been using COMAL, for both CP/M and DOS. Then the PC became popular, and the rest is history.


Peter Ehnbom from Sweden adds:
The piccolo could use a card for RJE(remote job entry) called IBM 2780? that's means batch processing, to send payments lists as confirmation or to punch bookkeeping and send a batch which was good because you had an unlimited number of transactions, sometimes the online application was limiting. So it was easier to move your bookkeeping... 





 
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