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At the heart of every microcomputer, is a central microprocessor. It's a very special microchip which is the "brain" of the computer. The Commodore 64 is no exception. Every microprocessor understands its own language of instructions. These instructions are called machine language instructions. To put it more precisely, machine language is the ONLY programming language that your Commodore 64 understands. It is the NATIVE language of the machine.

If machine language is the only language that the Commodore 64 understands, then how does it understand the CBM BASIC programming language? CBM BASIC is NOT the machine language of the Commodore 64. What, then, makes the Commodore 64 understand CBM BASIC instructions like PRINT and GOTO?

To answer this question, you must first see what happens inside your Commodore 64. Apart from the microprocessor which is the brain of the Commodore 64, there is a machine language program which is stored in a special type of memory so that it can't be changed. And, more impor- tantly, it does not disappear when the Commodore 64 is turned off, unlike a program that you may have written. This machine language program is called the OPERATING SYSTEM of the Commodore 64. Your Commodore 64 knows what to do when it's turned on because its OPERATING SYSTEM (program) is automatically "RUN."

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This page has been created by Sami Rautiainen.
Read the small print. Last updated December 02, 2002.