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Introduction
Due to some shady slices of Commodore history he read around the internet, David W. Johnson, author of the Plus/4 integrated software, decided to clear up some of the words we all spent about the Plus/4 launch on the market.

On July 2009, Mike Dailly received this email, which is really worth to mention and remains a sort of milestone you can't find even in the most complete Commodore history's literature.


David W. Johnson's Point Of View
to whom it might concern:

I read the "tripe" about the "PLUS/4" at www.commodore.ca. If you are at all interested in the facts here are a few, you may have missed. 600,000 were sold in three languages, English, French and German.

The "PLUS/4" was derived from a commercial product I had had out for over a year "Trilogy" from PTM under license to CBM. For 10 months I worked alone, in assembly language fitting my programs into the Commodore Machine 64k of ROM, one month before the finally deadline, I was told it had to fit into 32k. One half the size! One month to rewrite and parse 30,0000 lines of code.

At Commodore corp. which is where I was when this was being finalized, there were 11 testers, whose job it was to test all the features in the machine. They missed one. the db would wrap around at record 255. OK one bug, and I published a simple fix in several magazines, and otherwise made it available, within two weeks. (Lotus after all had 32 known bugs that were not fixed until later versions.)

That aside, the people that used the PLUS/4 loved it. You must say that, if you want to be fair. It was what is was. You could actually run a small business with it. Many people did just that.

The PLUS/4 was DOA because "Smith" chairman of the board was furious at "Jack Tramiel" for leaving and buying "Atari" And I got a lot of bad mouthing from Commodore senior programmers, that were themselves jealous that Commodore had gone outside the company and brought me in to do the job. No, they were barely civil to me the many months I worked there and they more than once voiced there resentment about the project. I am sure where the “back-stabbing” came from. The majority of the people I worked with at CBM were pretty nice , but I can point out at least two individuals that had real nasty streaks in their personalities, apparently I became their target.

The "PLUS/4" did not become a success, not for technical reasons, but for political reasons. As far as the programming goes, I doubt if there are more than a few programmers alive that could pack that much performance in 32k. And if you never used the "PLUS/4" your opinion does not mean a whole does it! As I stated, we had lots of "PLUS/4" user for several years that wrote us wonderful letters extolling the "PLUS/4" virtues. And the original "trilogy" program went on to sell completive in the software market for the next many years. Later on known as "The Home Office".

And once more I state that there was only one minor db bug found, ever, in the "PLUS/4" software. Is that stable? How many bugs are in the Microsoft operating system that you are most likely reading this on and over how many years. I take real exception to demeaning opinions of my work, that are baseless and inaccurate.

The "PLUS/4" was a great machine in an impossible circumstance!


David W. Johnson, July 24th, 2009

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