Rogier Wolff (
Sun, 6 Dec 1998 11:28:10 +0100 (MET)

H. Peter Anvin wrote:
> Followup to: <>
> By author: Daniel Zinsli <>
> In newsgroup:
> >
> >
> > It seems that in the good ol' days, you could include simple basic-code
> > in the rom :-)
> >
> > Has anyone got an url for more info / specs?
> >
> On true-blue IBM boxen, it seems there was a BASIC interpreter
> ("cassette BASIC") in the ROM; apparently some old agreement between
> IBM and Micro$oft still require them to include it, even though noone
> ever uses it... or ever did, for that matter (virtually no IBM PCs
> were sold to be used in a cassette configuration.)


Classical BIOSes have a boot-order. First they try the floppy. If that
fails they jump to the ROM basic. When the floppy boot fails, and the
ROM BASIC is absent, they print the "NO ROM BASIC".

Newer BIOS features include trying to boot from harddisk (between
floppy and ROM BASIC), configurable boot-sequence, and more such

The first clones were including IBMs ROM BASIC. They got in a fight
that IBM won: IBM owned the copyright on that ROM. So most of the
clones shipped without the ROM BASIC.

My guess is that this thread started when someone configured no
bootable device at all on a machine that still has the "jump to ROM
BASIC" as the fallback when everything else fails.

Actually, that is still a useful feature: you can plug in your own ROM
and have the machine boot that ROM, having no disk, ethernet etc etc.


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