19th July 2015
When the Z88 came out in 1987, some people dismissed this portable computer. They could not see the potential of such a small machine. After all it was only around 10 years earlier that main-frames were doing all the work and now there things called "microprocessors." Personal computers, with names like Acorn, Apple, Apricots, Amiga now here was a computer "Z88" that chose the other end of the alphabet to exist.
The one thing it did have was enough in-built software for an office and a communication port that was able to connect with these other computers. Mac users started to use them, PC users used them, writers, reporters, mathematicians, financiers, engineers, students and before you could make out what was happening, there was a diverse community. Amongst that lot were a team of people who had a vision. Using the larger size Flash card, could most of the bugs be removed and the communications speed be increased?
OZ 4.5 represents an important milestone, features and improvements added, what will happen next? Well after we have poured some oil over all the working parts to cool us down, lets just enjoy the progress made.
The highlights of this release are:
- Multiple Language & Keyboard selection - The popular foreign ROM's can now be selected; choose from a range of countries, use different keyboard layouts and see the change of languages in the localized date names in the Clock, Calendar and Diary
- Supported languages are:- UK (default) USA, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish
- New API calls provided for localized dates names available for applications
- Fast Serial Port - all speeds and protocols supported with reliable file transfer up to 38400 baud. Serial port driver has been fully rewritten again (first attempt was done in OZ v4.4). Now, it works with practically every cable out there, whether a classic RS-232 or a USB-adapter. Transmit is direct to hardware and all receive speeds are buffered with a large 256 bytes buffer. XON/XOFF and parity are fully supported.
- New API calls provided for serial port fast block transfer (and used by Eazylink)
- Eazylink2 connects to 21st century Desktop computers with support for the original file transfer Imp/Export popdown, using the fast serial driver of OZ v4.5
- XMODEM and YMODEM protocol added to Imp/Export popdown
- BBC BASIC V3.10. Now includes the "patch" integration from the V2.2 / V3 UK ROM
- Fast Backup using Flash cards support in Filer and Flashstore. Flash cards are FORMATTED by the Z88 itself. - No need to use EPROM Cards or the EPROM Eraser to FORMAT them
- Terminal supports all VT52 commands
Main HELP pages repopulated and expanded
System Info page in Index that displays OZ build release information, battery status and free system resources
Alarms can be saved to file (for backup and restore across soft reset)
- EPROM is checked that it is empty before cataloguing the first time
- Original HELP pages restored and expanded from ROM V3.0 UK (in OZ 4.0, all HELP pages were removed due to space constraints)
- Major speed optimization by moving interrupt manager in low RAM
- Reorganization and cleaning of system variables in low RAM allowing space for 96 handles
- Lots of bug fixes and optimizations resulting in a fast and rock stable release
We have completed the Z88 User Guide v4.5 edition which covers all new features in OZ v4.5, extended from the 4th edition originally released by Cambridge Computer in 1989. We have completely revised this guide and included up-to-date screenshots of all running applications using OZvm.
Equally, for the software developer out there, we are continuously updating the notes about Z88 application programming, keeping it up-to-date with new API's of OZ v4.5 and forthcoming releases. You can read this comprehensive guide HERE.
Finally, it is important to mention that ALL our work is GPL v2 licenced. Source code of the OZ ROM is available in our Bitbucket repository HERE (v4.5 tag).
This release is a culmination of several previous more or less public milestone releases, incorporating all this greatness - read those as well if you want more details:
OZ V4.4.1 Release Notes
OZ V4.4 Release Notes
OZ V4.3.1 Release Notes
OZ V4.3 Release Notes
Here's all the beautiful binaries for your precious:
Work done in this release
Below you will see the list of work and features with all the technical details, that we have done for OZ v4.5. Click on the links to read issue contents: