Business Operating System

Business Operating System

Infobox OS
name = Business Operating System

caption =
developer = CAP Ltd
source_model =
kernel_type = p-code virtual machine
supported_platforms = Intel 8080, Motorola 6800, Zilog Z80, PDP-11, VAX
ui = Command line interface
family = p-code operating systems
released = 1981
latest_release_version =
latest_release_date =
latest_test_version =
latest_test_date =
marketing_target =
programmed_in = BOS/MicroCobol (based on COBOL with some similarities to Pascal)
prog_language =
language = English
updatemodel =
package_manager =
working_state =
license =
website = [ Global 2000]
The Business Operating System, or BOS, is an early cross-platform operating system originally produced for Intel 8080 and Motorola 6800 computers, subsequently for Zilog Z80-based computers, and then later for most microcomputers of the 1980s. CAP Ltd, a British company and at the time one of the world's largest Information Technology consulting firms, developed BOS. CAP designed BOS and BOS applications for platform-independence.

Via a management buyout MBO in 1981, BOS was spun off to three interlinked companies, MPSL (MicroProducts Software Ltd) which looked after the sales and marketing of BOS, MPPL (MicroProducts Programming Ltd) which looked after both the development of BOS and various horizontal software package and MicroProducts Training Ltd. BOS was distributed on a global basis, mainly to the US and British Commonwealth by a variety of independent and MPSL owned companies.

A small dealer/ distributor network along with its command line interface nature was its demise when graphical user interface operating systems became prevalent.

MPSL developed numerous products for BOS, generally targeting the horizontal markets, leaving the vertical markets (i.e. niche) to independent software vendors ISV. Examples of MPSL developed software include BOS/Finder (database), BOS/Planner (spreadsheet), BOS/Writer (word processor) and BOS/AutoClerk (report generation). Companies sold various BOS accounting software suites in the UK and U.S.. In the UK, BOS accounting packages were considered to be the industry standard by some accountants.

BOS applications were compiled to a "p-code" and interpreted as they ran. BOS had a p-code interpreter so efficient that programs, even the BOS/Writer word processor, ran sufficiently fast to satisfy users. Apart from a 2-kilobyte (Kb) server (computing)/host kernel, BOS is written in BOS/MicroCobol, a language based on COBOL but with system level programming constructs added and elements of structured programming, which bore a vague similarity to Pascal. In recent computing, programming languages such as Java have re-introduced the concept of p-code "virtual machines".

BOS required 48 Kb of RAM and two 250 Kb floppies, though it was more commonly deployed on machines equipped with 64 kilobytes of RAM and a hard drive. A computer with 128 KB RAM and a 10-megabyte (Mb) hard drive could run as many as five concurrent users. When the IBM PC XT came out in 1983, BOS served over eight concurrent dumb terminals on it. At the time, this made BOS very attractive.

With user-management tools and application programming interfaces, BOS was considered an alternative even to the platform-specific operating systems on machines such as the PDP-11 and the VAX.

Despite, or because of its command line interface, BOS remains popular with medium to large organizations in the UK.Fact|date=September 2008


* [ History of BOS Software Ltd]
* [ STart Magazine: Business Operating System on Atari ST]

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