Thomson MO6 Emulation in MESS

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Thomson MO6 (French, Sep 1986?)

Driver name: mo6

Long-awaited successor to the MO5.




Startup Menu

From the startup menu, press 1 for the BASIC 128, 2 for the legacy BASIC 1.0, and 3 to set preferences (color palette, switch between lightpen and mouse, and change cassette speed).


An optional cartridge can be inserted with the -cart option. It can be started from the startup menu by pressing 0.

The MO6 can run MO5 cartridges, not TO7, TO7/70 ones.


Most MO6 software are provided on cassettes.

Two cassette formats are available: 1200 bauds and 2400 bauds (double-speed). 1200 bauds cassettes are compatible with the MO5.

MESS recognizes two kinds of cassette images: raw sound (.wav) and preprocessed byte-level cassettes (.k5,.k7).

We recall that cassettes are loaded with one of the two following commands: RUN"" (for BASIC files) or LOADM"",,R (for binary files), when using the legacy BASIC 1.0. (See the mo5 driver for more information.) If you use the newer BASIC 128, you must type RUN"CASS:" and LOADM"CASS:",,R instead.

The MO6 should load and run most MO5 software, provided you use the legacy BASIC 1.0. New, MO6 software generally also work with the BASIC 1.0. To improve the compatibility, use preferably .wav image formats and disable the external floppy controller in MESS's in-game menu.

The MO6 cannot load cassettes in the "TO" format (TO7, TO7/70, etc.).


As the MO5, TO7, TO7/70, and unlike the TO8, TO9, the MO6 does not have an internal floppy controller. You must first ensure that the relevant external floppy controller is activated in MESS's in-game configuration menu. Prefer the CD 90-351 controller which is the most versatile: it accepts 5"1/4, 3"1/2 floppies (.sap or .fd suffix, 80 KB to 320 KB), as well as 2"8 floppies (.qd suffix, 50 KB). (See the mo5 driver for more information.)

Four drives are emulated: -flop0 to -flop3. They are available directly from the BASIC 128 using the commands DIR, LOAD, RUN, SAVE, DSKINI0 (or DIR"1:" ... DSKINI1 for drive number 1, and so on).

The floppy format and floppy images are fully compatible with all other Thomson computers (TO and MO families).

However, only MO5, MO6 and pure BASIC software will run correctly.


The keyboard is a mix between the MO5 and TO9 ones. There are function keys, a CAPS-LOCK (with LED) and modern AZERTY-like layout, but also a BASIC key and no keypad.

  F1/F6   F2/F7   F3/F8   F4/F9   F5/F10

  #@   1*  2é  3"  4'  5(  6_  7è  8!  9ç  0à  )°  -\  =+  ACC       UP

 STOP    A   Z   E   R   T   Y   U   I   O   P  ^"  $&    ENTER  LEFT  RIGHT

 CTRL  [{ Q   S   D   F   G   H   J   K   L   M   ù%  ]}            DOWN

CAPS SHIFT W   X   C   V   B   N   ,?  ;.  :/  ><  BASIC   HOME   INS  DEL


Also, as in the MO5 but unlike the TO9, digits are obtained with the SHIFT key is unpressed.


The mouse behaves as the TO8 one, i.e., you must choose whether a mouse or a game-pad is connected to the port using MESS's in-game menu (both cannot exist at the same time, but you can switch between them dynamically, without a reset). The startup menu will then automatically detect the presence of the mouse and disable the lightpen. Use the startup preference menu (2) to revert back to the lightpen.


As for the TO9, the MESS driver will automatically switch a slower high resolution emulation mode when the 640x200 resolution is used, but this can be overridden manually in MESS's in-game menu.


In the startup menu, try holding M, O and 6 at the same time.

Known Issues

History and Trivia

The MO6 is the long-awaited successor of the MO5. That is, a MO5-compatible computer and a cheap alternative to the TO8/TO9. It uses the same technology as the TO8. In particular, the very same gate-array is used for the video and memory management. It is versatile enough to adapt to a MO5-like address map and emulate the legacy 320x200 MO5 video mode instead of the legacy TO7/70 one. It also provides many enhancements from the TO8 (4096 color palette, various video modes, hardware video page flip, flexible memory management, etc.).

The MO6 was made cheaper than the TO8 by limiting its memory to 128 KB (not expandable, in theory) and making it cassette-based (there is no floppy drive, an not even an internal floppy controller: it must be added as in the TO7 and MO5). Even the keyboard shrank and reverted to an archaic management based on CPU pooling (no dedicated keyboard CPU anymore).


This MESS driver was written by Antoine Miné.

Return to the 8-bit Thomson MESS driver page.