The Freedom Option
Field Engineering Consultants advertisement from the July 1980 issue of 80 Microcomputing
Originally, FEC sold two Freedom boards, both for a 48K Model I with disk drives:
- The Freedom Option allowed CP/M (or the included T8/OS) to run by disabling the Model I ROM. It cost $245.00.
- The Memory Expansion Option had the same features as the Freedom Option, but also added an extra 16K of RAM. This provided a full 64K of RAM for the Model I, meaning that 57K was available for programs when running T8/OS. It cost $295.00.
Both the Freedom Option and the Memory Expansion Options were fairly small boards that installed inside the Model I case. As one advertisement stated they were “easy to install plug-in boards; no wires or traces to cut; no soldering.”
The Freedom Option included T8/OS, a CP/M compatible operating system written by FEC. Much like Cromemco’s CDOS, T8/OS could run most CP/M programs. A few other manufacturers, most notably LNW Computers with their LNW80 Model 2, also supported T8/OS for their systems.
Unlike CP/M, which was written for the Intel 8080, T8/OS was written specifically for the Zilog Z80 used in the Model I and Model III. It used the extra Z80 instructions not present in the 8080.
The Freedom 3
FEC introduced the Freedom 3 in late 1981. It was very similar to the Freedom Option, but was designed for the Model III. FEC sold three versions of the Freedom 3:
- The Freedom 3A was the base version which could disable the TRS-80 ROM and allow T8/OS or CP/M to run. It cost $199.00.
- The Freedom 3B was the same as the Freedom 3A, but it had sockets to allow the Model III to be upgraded to a full 64K of RAM. It cost $340.00.
- The Freedom 3C came with 64K of RAM installed and a battery-backed clock/calendar. It cost $490.00.
Freedom Technology advertisement from the July 1982 issue of 80-U.S. Journal
- The new Freedom Option was equivalent to the Freedom 3A. It allowed users to “run CP/M application programs in addition to TRSDOS.” It cost $275.00.
- The Freedom Plus (sometimes referred to as the Freedom Option Plus) was equivalent to the Freedom 3C. It cost $490.00.
Interested users could buy a manual only for $25.00.
Freedom Technology International
In early 1982, Freedom Technology International of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania obtained “worldwide distribution rights” to the Field Engineering Consultants CP/M products, including the Freedom Option and T8/OS.
Later Freedom Technology advertisements mentioned a new product: the “Big Screen.” It appears to have been much like the Holmes VID-80, a way to expand the TRS-80 display to 80 by 24.
The Freedom Technology advertisements disappeared from TRS-80 magazines by 1983.