CFOG's PIP, December 1988, Volume 7 No. 6, Whole No. 68, page 91

WordStar Left Margin Bug Fix

by Benjamin H. Cohen

Copyright 1988

Robert Schine reports [FOGHORN, September 1988, Page 17] that MicroPro admits that the .lm command in CP/M WS4 doesn't work during print-time formatting and that the cure for the problem is to make the following patches in WS.OVR:

Address Old Value Change to
BEA0 3A 7E
BEA1 73 23
BEA2 22 00

I tested this and it does work.

But the larger problem is that there are bugs in WS4 and we're not getting the information about patches. The 90 days of free support are long over for most of us, and we are having all kinds of problems with WS4, and for all we know there are cures for some of them.

Just to see what was there, I checked the MicroPro Forum on CompuServe. Here, I thought, I'll be able to find ALL the bug fixes that MicroPro has discovered. Wrong! There is a some stuff up there, but not a lot. And not much from MicroPro. A summary of the list of files follows. I have omitted from this list reviews, programs to 'soften' ASCII flies so that they can be reformatted with WS, and ARC/ARK programs (needed to get at some of the files listed). Don't be fooled by the number of listings: there are only two from MicroPro:

Source for SIMPLE printer driver. From MicroPro.

Replacement WSPRINT.OVR. Fixes the following problems and perhaps others: printer ignores .pl dot command; no form feed at end of file. From Micropro.

The files from MicroPro, moreover, are totally unsupported.

The rest of the files listed below have been provided by users. With few exceptions they are help for installing WS4 with a specific computer or terminal or for ZCPR3.

Video attribute patches: patch Commodore 128 to get two colors, each in bright and dim modes, on your screen. Adaptable to other systems that support color monitors.

How to use "S" option at main menu to run any small program.

Video attribute patches for Kaypros with video attributes to get WS4 to look like WS 3.3 did on the screen.

TRS-80 with Pickles and Trout CP/M 2.2 specific: patch descriptions.

Osborne 1 Specific: Patches for WS4, including autopatcher files.

Televideo 955 Specific: Patches for installation.

NorthStar Specific: Patches for installation.

Diablo Compatible Printer Specific: fix phantom character problem in the string initialization.

How to set up function keys. Based on Morrow, but principle applies to all.

Epson QX Specific: Patches to configure for HASCII keyboard Televideo 920.

For terminals that do not have INSERTLINE command string.

Xerox 820-II Specific: installation for terminal with high profile keyboard. Function key installation supported.

Visual 1050 Specific: Installs function keys and number pad to work like earlier versions.

Osborne 1 Specific: source and patch code, includes arrow key, VIDATT, CRTPAT, and others. Includes old source for blinking cursor and printer busy tests from WS 3.3, not tested.

Bondwell 2 Specific: Patch to get reverse graphics on Bondwell 2 laptop.

Morrow Specific: Installation for Morrow MT 60 and 70 terminals, sets up normal text as dim, bold as bright, underlined as underlined, blocks in reverse.

ZCPR3 specific: WS4 sometimes aborts when its support files are on the path but the current directory is not. Includes a patch to fix.

ZCPR3 specific: WS4 gets lost when configured for Z3 and there is no Named Directory Buffer present. Patch included.

ZCPR3 Specific: utility to correct WS4 use of ZCPR3 shell stack.

ZCPR3 Specific: enables you to select any printer driver as desired.

ZCPR3 Specific: undescribed patches for Z3.

And note, that except for the ZCPR3 files, the line insert command problem, and some patches for terminal installations that could be described as bugs, there are no bug fixes at all except the release of the updated printer driver library from MicroPro.

More Files Found on Lillipute Z-Node

I found more files relating to WS4 on the Lillipute Z-Node (312-644-1730). But even Rich Jacobson doesn't have a lot more than the CompuServe MicroPro Forum. Because CompuServe limits filenames to 6 characters and an extension, some of the files that Rich has have different names, but they seem to be the same files. (I haven't checked all these files, but the titles are the same or similar and the functions are the same.)

Here are descriptions of the ones that are on Lillipute Z-Node that aren't on CompuServe:

Kaypro Specific: Put the Kaypro keypad function key definitions on the 25th line of your Kaypro display.

ZCPR3 Specific: How to use NUKEY.IOP to define function keys under WS 4.

A note about WSCHANGE: Near Letter Quality and Bidirectional Printing tags are switched in WSCHANGE!

Patch display to change normal display to high intensity, etc. May be same as K4 patch list noted in CompuServe listing.

And so, dear reader, at the conclusion of writing this article, I took pen in hand (so to speak) and wrote the following letter:

Mr. Leon Williams
MicroPro International
33 San Pablo Avenue
San Rafael, CA 94903

Dear Mr. Williams:

A few days ago I came across an article which contained information about a bug fix for WordStar 4, CP/M Edition. The author noted that he had, after persistent inquiry, obtained MicroPro's confession that the failure of the .lm command to work when merge printing with print time formatting on was a bug, and that a patch was known to correct it. The author was either fortunate enough to have discovered this bug during the 90 day period or needed help enough to have been willing to pay for it. My own experience has been that when I have approached MicroPro's staff with WS4 CP/M Edition problems I have been left high and dry. Since my free support has run out I haven't bothered, because when I did get to talk to someone I never got the help I needed.

I conducted a small survey to see if I could find any published information about other bug fixes for WordStar 4, CP/M Edition. I called the MicroPro Forum on CompuServe. I checked a local Remote Access System (RAS) that has a lot of WordStar related materials. I didn't find much. Certainly, almost nothing has been published by MicroPro on the subject, and it appears that those who have been lucky enough to prize a bit of cherished information out of MicroPro have not been so kind as to share it with the user community on a wide scale. (As editor of a user group newsletter I see a lot of user group newsletters on exchange basis. I don't see a lot of articles about WS4 CP/M Edition bug fixes.)

But it seems obvious that there must be other bug fixes than the .lm one. And it seems obvious that some of us are doomed to simply think that we have done something wrong. It would be nice, however, if MicroPro would simply publish a listing of known bugs and bug fixes. Uploading it to the CompuServe MicroPro Forum would probably be sufficient to get it out among the interested user community. Please consider this. Those of us who are still using CP/M are numerous. I regret that more didn't buy WS4: I've had a few hot words for some CP/M users who didn't but complain that there's no new software. But you've got to have a 'bible' somewhere, and it might just eliminate some of the problems we've been having.

Thank you for your consideration of this suggestion.