Monthly Archives: December 2013

BMP Program Update

Bob Spelten jr. has supplied an enhanced version of the Dilwyn Jones BMP program which runs on QL systems and converts between QL and Windows BMP graphics.

In addition to a few bug fixes and use of the latest DJToolkit to fix problems when run on SMSQmulator, Bob has improved the colour conversion routines to improve the colour tone scale and generally provide better results all round. While technically a beta-release (the older version will remain available for a while just in case), Bob and his beta-tester Francois van Emelen have been using it for a while now, so it may quickly become the official release. Download it from

RET_STK Extension

RET_STK  is a small sbasic extension by Wolfgang Lenerz to get the value on the SMSQ/E SBasic return stack. This was written in response to a help request from a user on the ql-users mailing list, who wanted help to find a method in SBASIC to find which line number called a procedure in his program, to aid debugging. The extension may be downloaded from Wolfgang’s Qlstuff website at

Quanta On QL Forum

Most recently, the QL Forum has added a Quanta section, where if you are thinking of joining Quanta, you can post questions to get answers. If you are already a member of Quanta, a second section can be accessed, called “Private Quanta Forum. For Quanta members only!

QL Forum Is 3 Years Old!

Mid-November saw the third birthday of QL Forum. Happy birthday to what is probably the most popular meeting place for QL enthusiasts, thanks to the efforts of Peter Scott and Rob Heaton. At the time of writing the Forum has 193 members worldwide and subjects discussed are as diverse as ever and sometimes controversial too! Even better news is that Peter Scott, responsible for so much of the success of QL Forum, has volunteered to assist Quanta with our own website, given that our own website has sometimes not been our best selling point at times in the past!

uQLx Update

On 17th November, Peter Graf wrote:

“Re: QL Emulation • UQLX with BDI / QL-SD support

I should have eliminated the last remaining bugs today, so UQLX is now the second QL emulator, after Qemulator, which can handle QL-SD filesystem images.

I have no idea when Richard [Zidlicky]  will release it. If someone already needs the feature, please feel free to contact me by personal email.

The trick is that the emulator just implements simple “Block Device Image” (BDI) support. Which are a few registers, allowing the QL side to access the image file on the PC. The real driver is then running native.

It is essentially the same driver as the one on the real QL, minus the FAT32, SDHC and hardware specific portions.”


The latest on this long overdue software dock can be seen on my QL blog at . The software will include Q-Dock itself, plus Q-Bar (an autohide taskbar and start menu for SMSQ systems) and SPRV, a sprite viewer program which can either view single sprites, or has a tiled view mode allowing you to view all sprites in a given directory.

Some 200 dock graphics have been created or converted, while some 5000 sprite graphics have been created or converted for use as icons. Most of these are freeware or PD graphics and will be available to download free of charge from my website, while the Q-Dock program itself will be available to buy from Bruce Nicholls’ Quo Vadis Design site.

Q-Dock makes extensive use of transparent windows and alpha-mask sprites, becoming one of the first QL programs to use ‘see-through’ window effects, making best use of the graphics features built into the GD2 ‘colour drivers’.

Once again I have to apologise for the delays in releasing this program, my personal circumstances have been less than kind over the last year or so due to my partner’s ill health (hi Ann!), although I’ve been slowly grafting away getting the software to the highest standard I can and making sure it has more than enough graphics at launch!

Dilwyn Jones QL Blog

As if inflicting his writings on you in Quanta magazine and everywhere else was not enough, Dilwyn Jones has now started a QL blog. A blog is a kind of online diary, a day to day description of a person’s activities in relation to a hobby or business, for example. In this case, it’s all QL-related.

You can subscribe to the blog to follow it so that you receive notifications of new posts by email, simply by supplying your email address and clicking on the Follow button on th eleft of its main page. This is not a commercial thing at all, your email address is only used for the WordPress system to send you the blog emails (well, government spying systems apart, I suppose).

At the time of writing, posted subjects included topics as diverse as transparent windows, latest on the Q-Dock program, SD cards and Compact Flash cards with Qubide. Visit the blog at and see what you think, if you like it, subscribe and receive notifications of the posts by email.

PROGS QL Software

Rich Mellor has managed to get confirmation from Joachim van der Auwera of PROGS in Belgium that the PROGS range of QL software (all of it!) is now open source and freely available.

Most of it is available to download from  the PROGS website at – to get to the QL software, just scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the link where it says “PROGS used to be known for Sinclair QL work. This information is now (very) outdated, it is still available here.”

The programs are mostly also available from the Prowess section of the Dilwyn Jones QL website at

We are still missing the following ProWeSs bits:


Although there are more programs to download on the PROGS website – these seem to be the sources, so need re-compiling.

ProWesS is the PROGS Windowing System, which in its time was a new window manager, which used a system called PROforma for all its drawing, resulting in a resolution and colour independent windowing system. One of the major applications for PROforma at the time was Line Design, a vector drawing and DTP system for the QL.

Domesdos, not Domestos

This is a contribution from Urs König to the ql-users mailing list, back in late October this year, as the 30th anniversary of QDOS approached.

Domesdos was the working title of the operation system for the Sinclair ZX83, which eventually became QDOS for the Sinclair QL.

In a CONFIDENTIONAL (at that time) document dated 26 October 1983 (hey, that’s today 30 years ago), Tony Tebby wrote: “The changes from Version 0.05 are mostly in the internal organisation. These reflect the change in emphasis from a small machine to a 128Kbyte minimum configuration, a high probability that a 512Kbyte expansion will be available at launch, a hard disk will be available soon after, and the machine is a flagship of a new line.”

Decades later, back in 2009, TT wrote in a series of articles called “25 years” in the QL Today magazine: “ln a fit of hubris over this “design for reliability” approach, the new operating system was called Domesdos (a home {domestic}) DOS, even though it was designed for business use and it was a ROM operating system and not a disk operating system) after the slogan for a brand of bleach “Domestos” which “kills 99% of all known germs (bugs).”

Even 30 years later no single operating system has proved to be bug free.

Time to dig out Domes*os… 😉

Access the PDF of the 1983 Domesdos documentation:

Note: this is a scanned document of about 5MB in size, and of slightly poor quality in places although still quite readable. It is a scanned version of one of the very first documents issued to QL software and hardware developers. Much has changed since then, but it’s still interesting to see where the operating system was at in those early days! [News Editor]

Rights To QDOS in USA

In a message to QL Forum members on October 26th 2013, Rich Mellor wrote:

“Paul Holmgren and Frank Davis who own the US rights to QDOS have now confirmed that they are willing for QDOS to be distributed freely with emulators in the USA and Canada.

There is a minor proviso on that, in that Paul / Frank would like to be kept advised of any projects which are developed using QDOS and sent a copy.”

Although this was already widely taken to be the case, this has now confirmed and settled any doubts on this issue.