The author received a comment from “Fungus” on his blog recently which read thus:
As an American, and an accomplished programmer on many platforms that never involved basic in any way because no serious programmer would ever use BEGINNERS ALL-PURPOSE SYMBOLIC INSTRUCTION CODE. What the fuck is a CPC (seriously)
The author, unsurprisingly, “responded” by pretty much ignoring the point being made and instead going off on one of his regular, irrational anti-Commodore rants. Much of what is written really doesn’t warrant scrutiny due to being the usual rot we’ve come to expect dear reader, but we might as well look at a few points. The author starts by saying that…
This blog is talking about my horrendous experiences with the Commodore 64 during the time period 1984-1985 and what led to this situation.
…but the blog itself claims to be about “explaining why the Commodore 64’s BASIC V2 was crap and how some people managed to program the C64” which isn’t the same thing at all so the author is lying somewhere. And as noted previously, trying to pass off biased personal opinion as anything else as the author does is both misleading and arrogant.
Almost all “home computers” of that time period came with the language BASIC built in and this was the language that people were encouraged to learn, because it was for beginners and in most cases started up immediately when anyone turned on their “home micro”. This was because most users didn’t have disk drives and were stuck using tape cassette drives or “datasettes” as Commodore called them.
Note dear reader how the author replies to someone who has very clearly stated that he is American by talking about the situation in the United Kingdom as though his personal experience somehow magically overrides that of anyone else. Again, this is just arrogance.
The authors of Commodore BASIC V2 on the C64 even required users to type LOAD”filename”,8 instead of LOAD”filename” to load programs from disk, because they were convinced that most C64 users wouldn’t have a disk drive
No dear reader, if a device number isn’t specified the C64 defaults to device 1 which is the cassette unit –the author has absolutely no evidence whatsoever to back up this claim that the people behind BASIC V2 were “convinced that most C64 users wouldn’t have a disk drive” so it should be treated with nothing but the contempt it deserves. And we should note here that every other system had a means to differentiate between devices as well such as drive letters, so once more he’s childishly trying to single the C64 out for something that is actually commonplace and, in some cases, more convoluted on other platforms.
but then most C64 users in the USA bought a disk drive, often because of special deals not available in other countries.
Disk-based C64s were more common in Europe than the author would like his readers to believe (as is evidenced by the significant amount of user-generated and indeed a large proportion of commercial software being available on disk) and, from your correspondent’s personal experience at least, there was quite a bit of disk drive ownership at least in parts of the United Kingdom as well.
More importantly, anybody actually serious about programming (a group which your correspondent would say doesn’t include the author) wouldn’t last long without a disk drive on most systems of that era, trying to develop software on any system with a cassette unit is unwieldy at best and thoroughly disheartening at worst so, although your correspondent did exactly that himself whilst learning assembly language on the C64, he really wouldn’t recommend it.