Having got one of my Osbornes working correctly, the next challenge is to get software installed on it. I now have the originally-supplied set of disks containing business software, but as it is a CPM machine, there are countless other programs available (and archived online).
So let’s see what my options are for copying the software to my Osborne…
Today’s job was to service the PSU and disk drives of my second Osborne, prior to turning it on and attempting to boot it.
First off, let’s open her up, and see what condition she’s in…
So far I’ve been unable to boot up the first Osborne 1, so I bought a second one on eBay. This one comes with boot disks and lots of other extras.
I picked it up last week and have just got it home.
In the previous post I failed to get my Osborne 1 to boot from a USB floppy emulator.
Now to do some debugging!
I have no boot disks for this Osborne 1. The plan was to connect my USB floppy drive emulator to the motherboard, and boot from that.
My floppy emulator uses the HxC firmware on Gotek hardware.
The author of the HxC firmware managed to get dedicated HxC hardware to work with an Osborne 1.
As a follow-up to that thread, another user got the HxC/Gotek combination to work with his Osborne 1 (with additional pictures here).
So I looked to be on to a winner!
If only things were that easy…
My spare capacitors from eBay had arrived, so I was ready to service the Osborne 1.
First off, I decided to have a look inside my newly acquired Osborne to see what I had in store.
The front cover comes off easily after removing the monitor brightness/contrast knobs and a few screws.
Good news: that daughter board at the back (with the grey floppy cable coming out of it) means it’s had the Double Density controller fitted:
Back in February 2018, I finally had a chance to buy an Osborne 1, the world’s first portable computer, from 1983.
I’d been after one for years, but they are quite rare in the UK, and most eBay sellers are unwilling to ship such a heavy and delicate computer.
This one was somewhere that I could pick it up while visiting relatives, and just within my budget.
The Retro Challenge is a one-month long excuse to do cool stuff with old computers and blog about it (vaguely wrapped up as a competition).
Last year I created the RetroMatic 2000 as my entry.
This year I have more modest aims. I have acquired a number of additional vintage computers over the last year, and have been nursing them back into life. The one that has eluded me so far though, is the Osborne 1.
A few months have passed, and my project has been discovered by users of the HxC firmware on the Gotek hardware.
That was the nudge I needed to get round to publishing my code on GitHub, in the hope it may be useful to other people.