Initially only available for 8088, there was soon a version for the MOS chip 6502. Bill Gates believed that the microprocessor is not good, he wanted to recoup the cost of the development of BASIC for the 6502 quickly. As Commodore developed the PET, they needed an easy-to-understand language and opted for BASIC from Microsoft.
And Commodore made a very good deal because they don't had to pay licenses but all rights to the use of BASIC for only 10,000 U.S. $. But the negotiations were tough. Jack Tramiel, founder of Commodore, didn't wanted to pay Bill Gates a tax per device sold. When Bill Gates suggested this, Jack Tramiel said: "No thanks, I'm already married". After three weeks, Bill Gates announced that they still accept the offer of Jack Tramiel. That is the reason why every Commodore also contains a piece of Microsoft. But as with many products of this company, it was faulty. Commodore had to modify it and there was also a bug of Bill Gates very personally, who disappeared with BASIC 2.0.
Because Commodore wanted BASIC for the Amiga too, there was a new deal: Only when "© Microsoft" will appear in Commodore BASIC 7.0 on the start screen, Microsoft will support a BASIC for the Amiga.
BASIC 1.0BASIC 1.0 occurred in the first PET/CBM computers. There are no graphics commands, since the PET had only a green screen. However, there were already graphic signs that that were often called as PETSCII (based on ASCII). The options were limited: not only by the simple hardware itself but also by errors in the BASIC
Thus, in the first PET 2001 models an error in BASIC made the later sold disk drives unuseable. This has been fixed in later models and for the faulty computer the problem could be fixed by the replacement of the ROM chips.
A special feature at that time was that the BASIC built into a chip and was available immediately after turning on the computer. So it was quite simple, but difficult for bug fixes and updates.
BASIC 2.0BASIC 2.0 is based on the old BASIC 1.0. However, the bugs have been fixed and there are new commands. Unfortunately, there were no commandos to set sound or graphics directly. For this you have to use the commandos PEEK and POKE.
The first Commodore home computer (VC20) had 22 characters per line, and was the first home computers from Commodore BASIC 2.0. Since an instruction can be several lines long it ended by pressing RETURN. However, this was limited to 22 characters and was very confusing. Commodore took over for the C64 the BASIC 2.0 from the VC20. The C64, however, managed to display 40 characters per line, and the colors have been changed.
The BASIC 2.0 was also used in the C128 (C64 mode). Also in PET/CBM models, the Max Machine (on module) and several other C64 variants, such as the SX64.
The C65 prototype uses a slightly modified version called BASIC 2.2. The border was somewhat narrower, and instead it was white instead of light-blue. There were also built in other commands, and therefore is not 100% compatible.
BASIC 3.5BASIC 3.5 is an expanded and improved Commodore BASIC. It has been used in computers C16, C116 and Plus/4. In the C16 and C116 are approximately 12 KB (from 16 KB) in BASIC available. The Plus4 has 60 KB free for use (from 64 KB) and a reference to the built-in "3-plus-1" software, which is missing in the C16 and C116.
There are many new commands, so you can use, for example, "HEADER" for formatting floppy disks. Sound and graphics capabilities of the computers could be addressed through direct commandos. Also there is a better support for moving objects, but the sprites from C64 were replaced with shapes. There were also commands for joysticks, a string search function, Additional loop commands, function allocation, and a built-in monitor. It should be noted that there is now also error detection: By pressing the HELP button the faulty BASIC line is displayed highlighted.
BASIC 3.5 is - despite the minor version number - the followers to BASIC 4.0, which was used only in the CBM computers. It has been specially adapted and extended to the properties of the series and C264er.
Old BASIC programs without PEEK and POKE commands will run on BASIC 3.5 but no sound and graphics-specific features of the other Commodore computers are compatible.
BASIC 4.0Came only in the CBM computers and, despite the higher number still appeared before the BASIC 3.5. Probably the reason lies in marketing: The professional computer should have a higher number than the cheaper home computers.
In this version, mainly disk drives commands were added.
BASIC 7.0BASIC 7.0 is a successor of BASIC 3.5. It was expanded by some commands and is the last and best Commodore BASIC (BASIC 10.0 was never completed, nor a computer was officially sold). As with Basic 3.5, the machine language monitor is available.
The graphics commands have been greatly expanded, so there is now DRAW, BOX and CIRCLE for example. The C128 video chip called VCD can be easily programmed. The commands for the treatment of floppy disks have been further improved and expanded. Special commands help with handling of sprites and the SID chip can be easily addressed in the C128 mode.
In the error handling the C128 is flexible: The command TRAP allows to catch an error in a running program.
Furthermore, there are the two commands SLOW and FAST. These commands will switch the C128 between 1 Mhz and 2 Mhz. In the 40-character mode where the C64 video chip VIC-II is working, the chip is too slow and there is no graphics output in FAST mode. But you can shorten the loading times and then switch back to SLOW. In the 80-character mode, where the new VCD is working, the FAST mode more usable.
Below is the green the start screen of the 40-character mode. The 80-character mode requires a special cable and RGB is generated by the VCD chip. The writing is light blue on a dark background.
BASIC 10.010.0 BASIC came in the C65 prototypes. It was never fully developed and therefore has some missing commands. Nevertheless, it has been extended to version 7.0 again. So now also find/replace in the source code is available. There were also commands for the mouse and a memory expansion. Also included is BASIC 2.2 (see also BASIC 2.0).
The following commands were planned, but are not completed: PAINT, PASTE, CUT, LOCATE, SCALE, WIDTH, QUIT, OFF, SET, VIEWPORT. They give back a "?COMMAND NOT IMPLEMENTED ERROR".
The start screen is more modern and friendly than older versions. Because the C65 is a prototype, there are different versions and start screens. Some times the computers was called C64DX and later C65. The first did not have the verification of the keyboard and the drive, etc. First, the drive was called the F011, later 1565.