[vcf-midatlantic] Format of SAVE'd programs on disk

Adam Michlin amichlin at swerlin.com
Tue Jan 21 09:11:22 EST 2020

Hjmmm.. it appears there's debate even in 2020 about where the GW comes 


"There are several theories on what the initials "GW" stand for. Greg 
Whitten, an early Microsoft employee who developed the standards in the 
company's BASIC compiler line, says Bill Gates picked the name GW-BASIC. 
Whitten refers to it as Gee-Whiz BASIC and is unsure if Gates named the 
program after him.[6] The Microsoft User Manual from Microsoft Press 
also refers to it by this name.[citation needed] It may have also been 
nicknamed Gee-Whiz because of its numerous graphics commands.[6] Other 
common theories as to the initials' origins include "Graphics and 
Windows", "Gates, William" (Microsoft's president at the time), or 
"Gates-Whitten" (the two main designers of the program)."

On 1/21/2020 8:48 AM, Glenn Roberts via vcf-midatlantic wrote:
> Just verified that my copy of BASIC-80 (Rev. 4.82, (C) 1980) saves files in tokenized format.  It has the option to SAVE "filename",A which saves in ASCII but the default is tokenized.  This makes it much faster to save and to load.  My belief (educated guess) is that was the default for most or all versions of MS BASIC, including (as Dean says) the IBM PC version later named (for some unknown [to me] reason) "Gee Whiz" Basic.
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: vcf-midatlantic <vcf-midatlantic-bounces at lists.vcfed.org> On Behalf
>> Of Dean Notarnicola via vcf-midatlantic
>> Sent: Monday, January 20, 2020 9:45 PM
>> To: vcf-midatlantic <vcf-midatlantic at lists.vcfed.org>
>> Cc: Dean Notarnicola <dnotarnicola at gmail.com>
>> Subject: Re: [vcf-midatlantic] Format of SAVE'd programs on disk
>> MS GW-BASIC had a “,a” switch to save in ASCII, but I don’t remember if
>> other MS variants had this. I’m thinking Atari basic may have but I’d have to
>> research.
>> On Mon, Jan 20, 2020 at 8:47 PM Bob Applegate via vcf-midatlantic < vcf-
>> midatlantic at lists.vcfed.org> wrote:
>>> I’ve been doing a lot with the Microsoft 6502 source code and one of
>>> the capabilities I’ve added is being able to SAVE/LOAD from an SD
>>> card.  All of the variants of that BASIC save and load tokenized
>>> programs.  That is, the SAVE function saves the current BASIC program
>>> exactly as it appears in memory, with tokens and some ASCII data.  All
>>> of the early versions of MS BASIC did not support disk operations
>>> directly and any disk code was added later by the computer
>>> manufacturer who incorporated the MS interpreter into their systems.
>>> Jump forward a couple years when Microsoft directly supported CP/M so
>>> that the underlying disk code could be standardized.  When a SAVE
>> “ABC.BAS”
>>> command was executed, was the program saved tokenized still, or was it
>>> saved as all ASCII like the LIST command would produce?  Someone could
>>> then edit BASIC programs using a text editor and be able to read them
>>> back in, as opposed to having binary files that could only be edited
>>> from within BASIC itself.
>>> I’m just wondering if it’s worth my effort to add the capability to
>>> save/load ASCII or just be happy with my tokenized version.  I’m
>>> interested to know what Microsoft did in later versions of their interpreter.
>>> Bob

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