Versions of DEC BASIC that I've seen (BASIC 11, Vax BASIC, et al) had a different underlying philosophy than most microcomputer BASICs from the late 1970's and early 1980's. DEC BASIC was a nice, safe, environment that protected the user from the computer, the computer from the user, and users from each other.
On those microcomputer systems that lacked disk storage (and by default, a disk operating system), ROM BASIC was the "operating system" as well as the programming language that most user applications were written in. Mbutt storage was in the form of audio cbuttette tapes. Storing a "long" program or using cbuttettes for data storage was frustrating, slow, and ultimately unreliable.
BASIC also had its share of PEEKS, POKES, and CALLS that allowed direct access to the BIOS as well as the underlying hardware. You could crash the system very nicely from BASIC! There were even "person pokes" on somee systems that would physically damage the hardware (the original Commodore PET comes to mind.)
it is possible as the heads flew closer it was easier to polish a flat disk to tolerance than it was...
snip Indeed. One of my favorite old-time war stories is one I call "how I learned the difference between MS-DOS and a real...
On the Apple II, you could even issue a CALL -151 and find yourself in a very nice machine language monitor (with microbuttembler, disbuttmbler, and a 16-bit pseudocomputer emulator called SWEET-16) that allowed unfettered access to the entire system.
When IBM built their first 5150 PC, it was the Apple II that served as both the system model and the principle compebreastion. My personal gut reaction was that the PC was an Apple II knock-off that was built by folks that were "unclear on the concept."
-- Micheal H. McCabe