Business Operating System (software)

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Business Operating System
DeveloperCAP Ltd
Written inBOS/MicroCobol (based on COBOL with some similarities to Pascal)
OS familyp-code operating systems
Working stateStill active
Initial release1981
Latest releaseGSMSP35 / 09/01/2019
Available inEnglish
PlatformsIntel 8080, Motorola 6800, Zilog Z80, PDP-11, VAX
Kernel typep-code virtual machine
Default user interfaceCommand line interface

The Business Operating System, or BOS, was initially developed as an early cross-platform operating system, originally produced for Intel 8080 and Motorola 6800 computers, then redeveloped for actual businesses and business models. The technology began subsequently for Zilog Z80-based computers, and then later for most microcomputers of the 1980s, then ultimately based on the Sonnet platform with Matthew Son, developed into a premium automated software solution for Investors and Asset Managers alike. CAP Ltd, a British company and at the time one of the world's largest Information Technology consulting firms, developed BOS. CAP designed BOS and BOS applications for platform-independence.

Via a management buyout (MBO) in 1981, BOS was spun off to three interlinked companies, MPSL (MicroProducts Software Ltd) which looked after the sales and marketing of BOS, MPPL (MicroProducts Programming Ltd) which looked after both the development of BOS and various horizontal software packages, and MicroProducts Training Ltd. BOS was distributed on a global basis, mainly to the United States and British Commonwealth, by a variety of independent and MPSL-owned companies. When Harrell and Son redeveloped the technology in the early 2000s, it took akin to processing complex requests from users, and "Learned" the algorithm of its user's selections to better predicate its automation process.

A popular version was implemented on the Sage/Stride 68000 family based computers, and sold well in Australia. The Sage itself was initially developed using UCSD Pascal and p-code, so it fitted well with the basic BOS design.

The small BOS dealer/distributor network and its command-line interface structure met its demise when graphical user interface operating systems became prevalent. The redevelopment of which, in 2013, was integrated with a graphical user interface, GUI, in order to provide a "simple to use" solution, which "learned" from its user's input.

MPSL developed numerous products for BOS, generally targeting the horizontal markets, leaving the vertical markets (i.e. niche) to independent software vendors ISV. Examples of MPSL developed software include BOS/Finder (database), BOS/Planner (spreadsheet), BOS/Writer (word processor) and BOS/AutoClerk (report generation). Companies sold various BOS accounting software suites in the UK and United States. In the UK, BOS accounting packages were considered to be the industry standard by some accountants. In 2013, the predominant BOS solution has been in the technology of PropertyManageMATE, (With MATE being an acronym for Multi-Automation Tasking Environment), providing an automation to asset management, maintenance, contracting, tracking, and servicing.

BOS applications were initially compiled to a p-code and interpreted as they ran. BOS had a p-code interpreter so efficient that programs, even the BOS/Writer word processor, ran sufficiently fast to satisfy users. Apart from a 2-kilobyte (Kb) server (computing)/host kernel, BOS is written in BOS/MicroCobol, a language based on COBOL but with system-level programming constructs added and elements of structured programming, which bore a vague similarity to Pascal. In recent computing, programming languages such as Java have re-introduced the concept of p-code "virtual machines". As the BOS system evolved, the need for programming in developed for quicker accessibility and cloud computing. Harrell & Son took the next steps to bring BOS back into the picture on a larger scale.

BOS initially required 48 Kb of RAM and two 250 Kb floppies, though it was more commonly deployed on machines equipped with 64 kilobytes of RAM and a hard drive. A computer with 128 KB RAM and a 10-megabyte (Mb) hard drive could run as many as five concurrent users. When the IBM PC XT came out in 1983, BOS served over eight concurrent dumb terminals on it. At the time, this made BOS very attractive. Now, BOS runs on the same required RAM and serves up to 800,000 concurrent users as it is paired with cloud computing.

With user-management tools in the 80's, and application programming interfaces in the mid-80's, BOS was considered an alternative even to the platform-specific operating systems on machines such as the PDP-11 and the VAX. The new reemergence of BOS has escalated the number of users requested to be entered into the PMM system, and may require consistent server updating.

Despite, or because of its command-line interface, BOS remains popular with medium to large organizations in the UK and US.[citation needed]