If you had an office word processor in the late 1970s, the chances are it ran Digital Research’s CP/M operating system. IBM went for Microsoft in the 1980s and the once-dominant player fell on hard times, but it survives today as a popular choice on retrocomputer platforms. Even the more compact Z80 systems are a little large for 2022, so when [Kian Ryan] needed the ultimate in CP/M portability it fell on a more modern piece of silicon. Hence he’s put it on a tiny RP2040-based board from Pimoroni alongside an Adafruit micro SD card breakout.
The tiny hardware is neat of course, but the real star of the show is the software. Non-CP/M aficionados will be interested to learn about RunCPM, and for this project, RunCPM 2040. This provides an emulated environment on a host microcontroller to run CP/M, allowing the operating system to be hosted on easier hardware than some of the original machines.
All this makes for a tiny development machine, but perhaps of more interest would be a machine that’s all-in-one with a display and perhaps a keyboard. The RP2040 is interesting in this case because of those programmable state machines. Could it be made to run a video display alongside RunCPM? We hope someone has a go at writing it.