Re: [ reactions ] Re: [NYT] Microsoft Is Set to Be Top Foe of Free Code

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From: Stephen D. Williams (
Date: Mon May 07 2001 - 16:54:05 PDT

Andy Armstrong wrote:
> "Stephen D. Williams" wrote:
> Like many kids in the UK the various Acorn machines (Atom, BBC Micro,
> Archimedes) were my introduction go 'real' programming (6502 assembler).
> Actually, my 6502 experience started with Waterloo TLA (The Last
> Assembler) under the UCSD P-System (tell me I'm not the only FoRKer with
> P-System time under my belt) on Apple ][s then I wrote myself a little
> 6502 assembler on a 40 column Commodore Pet, but the real learning all
> took place on Acorn machines which actually still rule to this day.

I have to say that the Atari OS, floating point rom, and basic were all
really great and very good to learn from. They published all the source
with comments and none of it was from MS! Later when I worked with MS
basic, I was horrified for a number of reasons.
> > I also programmed a bit on a IBM PC running DOS 1 (no subdirectories,
> > 64K memory, just BASIC). The local insurance company, in our little
> > town of 11,000, had an IBM 370 and some mini computers and they
> > obviously had a very early PC to try it out. I was in a business
> > 'explorers' group as a teenager run by a deaf guy who was a programmer
> > there. He let me play with it so I could try to write a simple
> > accounting program.
> Anyone remember the ACT Sirius (which was called something else in the
> US) and the DEC Rainbow. These were early IBM PC contemporaries. The
> Sirius was a particularly distinguished bit of kit because it

DEC Rainbow, definitely, I had one at GE Lighting. Of course we had all
kinds of goodies there. Core memory, bubble memory, etc.

How about the Epson desktop computers? (The name escapes me at the
moment.) The OS and all apps, including a full-featured word processor,
were written in Forth. It had a very nice green mono display and cool
features, but could be slow at times.

The first IBM clone that was 'close' that I worked with was the Columbia
PC. We also had the first Kaypros and Compaq's (the real, original
Compaq's, unless I have my companies confused). The system in a fat,
heavy suitcase with the built-in 4" mono display.

> * had a really neat hi res mono display
> * had an approximately CLV (constant linear velocity) floppy drive
> which
> according to popular legend could be made to play tunes
> * looked a hell of a lot better than those boxy first generation IBM
> PCs
> If I remember correctly the DEC Rainbow was a dual processor (Z80 /
> 8088) machine.

Probably. I have an early NCR computer like that.

I did most of my embedded development at GE with a Compupro-Godbout MP/M
8/16. We did most 'networking' with serial cables switched with a
Develcon system. I could sit at either the MP/M or an early PC and
connect to the switch with a terminal program and then connect to the
VAX 11/780, 11/750, the Perkin-Elmer running Unix Ver. 7 and later
SystemV.2, or even dialout from the modem pool. This was in 1984.

> --
> Andy Armstrong, Tagish


Stephen D. Williams
43392 Wayside Cir,Ashburn,VA 20147-4622 703-724-0118W 703-995-0407Fax 

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