[SIGCIS-Members] Apple II DOS question

LO*OP CENTER, INC. lizaloop at loopcenter.org
Wed Feb 24 13:11:25 PST 2021

Hi Laine,

When I was at Personal Software (subsequently VisiCorp), we had Apple boot
disks. That was in the early '80s. Maybe some of the staff from that period
can help you - - try Visi- people Dan Fylstra, Brad Templeton, Bob
Frankston, Dan Bricklin and others. Most of them are easy to find but let
me know if you have difficulty. Of course, Woz probably knows and Daniel
Kottke as well.

Good luck,


On Wed, Feb 24, 2021 at 12:14 PM Laine Nooney <laine.nooney at gmail.com>

> Hi all,
> Some of you may know, I've been spending my pandemic days chipping away at
> a software history of the Apple II (under contract with U of Chicago,
> hopefully forthcoming… 2023?). Anyway, I finally had a question that
> neither I nor my extended network of retro computing enthusiasts seems to
> be able to answer--and was wondering if anyone at SIGCIS might have some
> insight here.
> I'm looking for any information available on when Apple began permitting
> publishers/developers to put DOS on the floppy disks of their own products,
> thus allowing programs to boot without need for a System Master. My
> understanding is that this development happened either with DOS 3.2 or DOS
> 3.3, but I can't actually verify when this occurred at all.
> The reason this is coming up is because I'm currently working on a chapter
> focused on the disk copy program *Locksmith* and copy
> protection. Allowing developers to put DOS on their commercial disks would
> seem to be an extremely important development for creating increasingly
> sophisticated copy protection schemes. Since DOS controlled how data on a
> disk was read, all devs/publishers had to do to create an uncopyable disk
> was store the data to the disk in an unconventional format, and then ensure
> they modified the DOS on their disk to be able to read it. While the disk
> would run just fine, it couldn't be copied by the System Master
> COPY/COPYA subroutines, which assumed a standard organization for data on
> the disk. So while not intended to allow developers to enhance their copy
> protection schemes, that was certainly one of the knock on effects of
> allowing DOS on disk.
> Cheers to anyone who followed any of that. If anyone has a sense of how
> this industry level transition came about, or is even just certain of which
> DOS version it can be attributed to, I'd be incredibly grateful.
> -Laine
> Laine Nooney <http://www.lainenooney.com/>
> Assistant Professor |  MCC <http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/mcc/> @ NYU
> <http://www.nyu.edu/>  | she/they
> -Need to make an appt? Click, don't email: https://bit.ly/2GIHuK0
> -Probably typed by voice recognition, so please cherish typos
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Liza Loop
Executive Director, LO*OP Center, Inc.
Guerneville, CA 95446
650 619 1099 (between 8 am and 10 pm Pacific time only please)
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