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20th Anniversary Of The PC

Hemos posted more than 12 years ago | from the looking-back-in-the-past dept.

IBM 350

cmowire writes "I didn't realize this till I was debugging a stock database and saw the PR piece, but today is the twentieth aniversary of the IBM PC. IBM has a tribute page."

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350 comments

How many people started with the IBM PC original? (2, Interesting)

yani (50270) | more than 12 years ago | (#2114068)

Well the PC is the same age as me, 20 years old. I doubt many people would have predicted it of all the computers at the time to trigger such a massive computing presence at home.

My first computer was an IBM PC (the original), I can still remember what a luxury I thought it was to have two floppy drives so I could keep Dos on A: and play frogger off B:! Ah...the good old days ...errr... well frogger anyway!

I'd be interested to know what started most slashdotters fascination with computing, I doubt it was the IBM PC. Only reason I had one was because my parents were both accountants and you didn't use a Mac for accounting ;-)

word to your moms, i came to drop bombs (1)

WickedClean (230550) | more than 12 years ago | (#2114324)

Computers were so much cooler back in the days before every jackass on the street had a compaq or an emachine with a bad hard drive and wanted you to come spend 3 hours fixing it in exchange for some cookies and kind words.

Back in my day... (5, Funny)

Rimbo (139781) | more than 12 years ago | (#2114334)

...we didn't have no fancy-shmancy 32-bit computers with "true" color and multi-tasking multi-threaded GUI operating systems! We had EIGHT bits, and if you wanted any more than that you had to wait three days for a calculation! We had DOS and 640KB limits! We had four colors with our CGA graphics, including black and white!

And we LIKED it! We LOVED IT!

We didn't have any stinking free operating systems. We had to pay $100 for shitty old DOS, and we loved it! We thought it was great!

We didn't have DOOM, or Quake, or Unreal. We didn't have texture-mapped anti-aliased vertex-shaded full-color video games! We had ZORK with its text-only interface! And we liked it! We loved it!

We didn't have any "internet" back in those days, not in our homes. There was no World Wide Web or DSL/cablemodem connections to your home. We didn't even have 56k modems! If you wanted to share things with your buddies you had to copy it onto a 300K floppy, and boy, we didn't know WHAT we'd do with all that disk space! And if you wanted to connect to other computers you had to use a THREE HUNDRED BAUD MODEM!

And we liked it! We loved it!

I'm a grumpy old man, and I don't like the way things are today...things were a lot better with disk-swapping 80-column text wait an eternity to download forty K of files that would take up a large share of a floppy disk that would go bad in three months, with games that would take three or four minutes to load that were rarely worth the cost of the disks they were printed on and a stinking 640KB limit! And we loved those days!

Bah! Stupid digital punk kids! (2)

root (1428) | more than 12 years ago | (#2116100)

In my day we didn't have digital computers. We had analog computing! That's right, we used resistors, capacitors, inductors, op amps, and other discrete components, hand wired on a plug board to solve each of our differential equations. No lost precision to this "sampling" bullshit. Our circuits had INFINITE PRECISION! Apply power, wait for the system to stabilize, and read the answer at the output terminals on the multimeter needle (no digital multimeters either, you pansys). Digital? Bah! Saturation and cutoff were considered improper operation modes of transistors and was something we worked hard to avoid happening. It is only now that you digital punks are realizing the benefits of analog and how we had it right all along. Your early 110 and 300 baud modems were fully digital. You could HEAR each bit go by. And you were so pleased with yourselves until you discovered that that was as about fast as you could go with digital, right? With 1200 bps you introduced FOUR signal levels (sounds like analog to me) representing 2 bits each at your maximum 600 baud digital signaling rate to make 1200 bps. Note I use baud and bps correctly, unlike you digital wusses. How many signal levels does a 56K modem have? It's a fucking analog spectrum and yet you still won't admit that our generation figured out the good shit long before you were born! Ah for the good ol days. And the Doors LP spinning on the turntable in the lab. That's probably another device you've never used. Now you're cramming silicon into your cars like cattle lining up to die. Well, when the EMP comes, my generation will still be on the road in our 55 Chevy pickups that have this wierd carbeurrated engine and mechanical points vibrator system. Maybe I'll stop to give you a lift. Maybe. Note. No paragraph breaks. In my day, keeping messages as short as posible was of paramount importance. No one wanted to pay line charges to read blank lines, you wasteful digital fruitcakes.

Re:Back in my day... (1)

Grim Grepper (452375) | more than 12 years ago | (#2122696)

Gosh, this brings back memories. I remember having a 5.25" as my only floppy disk drive, using DOS. Hell, I'd never even heard of a mouse back then. Ah, and good ol' WordStar. That sure as hell didn't have a stupid paperclip.

I see all the people today complaining: "Oh, Windows is too hard. AOL is complicated. I'm confused!". And I think back to when I was 5 years old, using a CLI and installing my first SoundBlaster, configuring IRQs and DMAs. And today, some people need help installing a keyboard.

640K? Luxury! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2129059)

I had 128K with a SixPack add-on board for a total of 256K AND DAMN GLAD TO HAVE IT!

Re:Back in my day... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2130382)

Oh yeah well back in MY day:
We a 8 meg of ram was the size of a small wherehouse.
Disk plators made airport personell paranoid
and find a bug was a matter of getting rid of the poor moth that's now a mothkibob on the p2p side of the bootsector
OH and ARPA.net was deciding if MODEM tech was better than Opticalspectrumanalises tech given the "average" computers bandwidth....

Re:Back in my day... (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 12 years ago | (#2135232)

Not to mention that we'd scrape our knuckles to bloody shreds against lead-coated IC pins trying to insert and extract option cards, so we could try endless permutations of DIP switch settings in the vain hope of getting the machine to boot. We didn't have 'plug-and-play'. We didn't need it.

Re:Back in my day... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2124735)

No kidding about the bloody knuckles! I have an old 286 board where the underside is covered in blood stains that occured as I was removing plastic standoffs.

Re:Back in my day... (2)

JBowz15 (451573) | more than 12 years ago | (#2146688)

You has 8-bit computers, with DOS, and 4 colors?!?

Back in MY day all we had were big rocks. And we sat around and watched the rocks because you just never knew what those rocks might do. Them rocks are tricky like that.

You kids have it too easy these day... Bah!

Fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2117031)

This post shall be the initial one.

Re:Fp (-1)

evil_spork (444038) | more than 12 years ago | (#2130766)

I claim your first post as my own and thus I have the following to say: Hi. How are you gentlemen? I send you this file in order to have your advice. All your personal document are belong to us.

Re:Fp (-1)

goatse.cx guy (224089) | more than 12 years ago | (#2144624)

I would like anybody reading this to take a moment and realize that *I* am that Goatse.cx guy [goatse.cx].

Thank you very much and have a nice evening.

The anniversary (1, Flamebait)

Jailbrekr (73837) | more than 12 years ago | (#2120381)

of a 16bit computer that should never have gone past 16bit.

The anniversary of endless problems due to backward compatibility. Of stack faults and buffer overruns.

The anniversary of failed standards.

*Sigh*

The anniversary of the PC. Cheers!

Re:The anniversary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2146298)

Two points

A)Babylon 5 sucks( yes, we know you were trying to be 'leet' by mimicking the title voiceover of B5)

B)Stack faults and buffer overruns have nothing to do with whether a chip is 16 bit or not. Chips don't automagically start running in protected mode when you jump to 32 bit, you know. Where do you come up with this crap?

Same old, Same old (1)

daverk (38859) | more than 12 years ago | (#2124737)

Twenty years ago IBM released a home computer based on a crippled cpu, and a crappy os.

Sure have made a lot of progress since then. (Same crippled cpu with a bunch of extra registers, same crappy os with a bunch of extra libraries.)

All IBM did was ligitimize the desktop single user computer to large businesses and ended up giving away most of the store.

100% Pure Marketing (1)

rbeattie (43187) | more than 12 years ago | (#2124741)


I understand this news is cool from a "I remember when" point of view, but really why is the 20th anniversary special? Why not wait until the 25th? or some other number? It's just marketing.

I can see that IBM's attempting to remind everyone that they created the standard that we all use today. Along with their Linux campaign it seems that they're trying to send the message that they're back to their roots of computer development.

It's quite a PR machine. I don't know how many articles I've seen online, etc.

Anyways, I worked at the Boca Raton campus back in the early 90s before they closed it and it was pretty cool to be there at the birthplace of the PC. At one point they were pumping out millions of PCs there... I still have a poster I picked up there of the Charlie Chaplin PC ad.

is this really something ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2128029)

Is this really something to celebrate ? 20 years suffering under a crap system with design flaws coming out the *********. You would think we had come up with something better by now but nooooooooooo ... Development = 0. Only old crap becoming faster and faster to hide the shame that it sucks from the core.

Typical attitude of a complete noncontributor (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2131398)

Go jump off a building and out of the gene pool, moron. Nothing we have today in the consumer computing world would have been possible without the PC.

show some respect (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2146486)

Just shut the fuck up. x86 is the greatest architecture ever and if you don't know it then you are a fucking moron. Why are 90%+ of all personal computers sold today x86?? Yeah, tell me how great G4's are and wow, Amiga sure was fast for 7MHz. But it's all about scale. Those architectures didn't scale, x86 scaled from 2MHz to 2GHz and beyond. That's pretty damn impressive. If you think you can come up with a better design Mr. 8th grader then start your own company and become rich.

Re:show some respect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2144925)

I'm sure lot's of people could come up with better designs, but the last thing you wrote is what keeps them from it. Do you really think anyone can beat Intel?

It's like saying Be Inc. is going to be rich because they made a better OS. . . We all know how that turned out.

BTW, Omar from ATD-I own(z) you.

Re:show some respect (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2145020)

IBM aren't respondible for the PC as we know it, COMPAQ are. Compaq fucking rox0rs.

Re:is this really something ... (1)

skinney (395862) | more than 12 years ago | (#2146504)

Maybe you have forgotten the Apple II, the old main frames that used to fill entire rooms, or how about FORTRAN?!
We have come a long way weather you are willing to admit it or not.

Where we were. Where we will be... (1)

skinney (395862) | more than 12 years ago | (#2128030)

It interesting to think that it took 20 years to get this far. How far will we be with computing in the next 20? Staggers the imagination.


Long live the PC and /.

Re:Where we were. Where we will be... (5, Funny)

Auckerman (223266) | more than 12 years ago | (#2146941)

"It interesting to think that it took 20 years to get this far. How far will we be with computing in the next 20? Staggers the imagination."

Let's take a look...

1. Operating systems will ship with virii to save us the trouble of getting ourselves.

2. You will need 20 Ghz just to create a text document, and people will think nothing is abnormal about this.

3. You will need at least a gigabit ethernet line just to get a receipe from the internet. People will think nothing is abnormal about this.

4. You'll need to sign your soul to your OS vender just to swap your graphics card.

5. You'll pay a tax that goes directly to Music/Movie companies to pay for the pirating. The pirating will still be illegal. (yes I know this is true now, to an extent)

6. Despite the faster lines world wide, downloading a text document will still take a few seconds.

7. Your OS vender will disable your OS when you don't make your monthly payment. After 2 months your account will be canceled and your files deleted.

Re:Where we were. Where we will be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2144102)

The plural of "virus" is "viruses." "Virus" is not Latin, so "virii" is incorrect. Fag.

Reminds me of a Dilbert... (3, Funny)

myov (177946) | more than 12 years ago | (#2130217)

I don't remember it exactly...

Someone says that their first computer was an XT.
Dilbert then says that his computer was so old that he needed to use 1's and 0's to use it.
Wally finally says that he needed to use magnets, and he didn't even have 0's.

Re:Reminds me of a Dilbert... (1)

brocktune (512373) | more than 12 years ago | (#2144096)

I remember the same joke setup, but the punchline was, "You had 1's? We had to use lowercase L's!"

Even More History. (2)

small_dick (127697) | more than 12 years ago | (#2133042)

I've heard the orignal "IBM PC" was wire-wrapped on an S-100 board.

Also, IBM desperately wanted to use CP/M as the OS, but Gary Kildall (of Digital Research) shunned their reps, so IBM ended up using MS/DOS, which was purchased from Seattle Computer Systems by Bill Gates for $50,000.00 (it was called QDOS, "Quick and Dirty OS"

Corrections, please, if any of this is wrong...

Re:Even More History. (1)

phillymjs (234426) | more than 12 years ago | (#2145055)

Dunno about the S-100 thing, but the rest is pretty on-target.

All accounts that I've read have Gates directing the IBM people to Digital Research, because at the time Microsoft did languages and Digital Research did OSes. Unfortunately, when IBM came a-callin' on Digital Research, Gary Kildall was not in the office and his wife refused to sign IBM's NDA.

IBM eventually returned to Microsoft, who reached an aggreement to license DOS to IBM before they secured the rights to it from Seattle Computer.

Read more about it:
Fire in the Valley: The Making of the Personal Computer [amazon.com]
Hard Drive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire [amazon.com]

~Philly

By Coincidence... (1)

po8 (187055) | more than 12 years ago | (#2137118)

My wife walked in just a bit ago with the manual set for my original IBM PC, which went to the dump just a few days ago, to ask me if I still needed the manuals. I paid extra for one of those manuals, to get the best part: full schematics. Yes, for those of you who don't recall, the original IBM PC came with the option of complete schematics. I built some add-ons for that box using that information.

How cool would it be if modern mobos routinely provided complete schematics and chip docs online? You know, so that you could build drivers?

My IBM PC served me for only a few years, but I had big fun with it during that time. I wish I could say I miss it.

Re:By Coincidence... (2)

VAXman (96870) | more than 12 years ago | (#2136073)

How many chips does the average computer have now, about four? They are all documented but it's less interesting than the original PC since fewer chips means you won't be able to see how it works and how the different functionality connects together. Plus, publishing schematics would add cost to building the system, and frankly very few people want it.

Happy Birthday (2, Funny)

linzeal (197905) | more than 12 years ago | (#2141980)

Anyone else thinking about making this a holiday next year ?

I wonder if CNN will do special on PC Jr's B-day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2130526)

Anyone remember "the peanut"? Casette drive? Chiclet keyboard. Ooo baby! The affordable PC for the rest of us. No wonder the Mac conquered the consumer PC market in the mid 80s.

What really pisses me off is how the media equates the "IBM PC" with "first desktop computer consumers could afford". Um, Apple anyone? The Commodore PET? It wasn't all hobby kits and front panel switches before IBM's machine.

More revisionist bullshit. I suppose in 2005, CNN will cover the "invention" of the window, icon, mouse, pointer (WIMP) environment with Microsoft's windows. X Windows? Macintosh? Xerox? Whuzzat?

Interview with the Ctrl-Alt-Delete Guy (5, Informative)

unitron (5733) | more than 12 years ago | (#2144643)

The PC timeline in Saturday's News and Observer may have goofed in saying that it was introduced on August 13th, or maybe they finished work on it on the 12th and intro-ed it the next day, but anyway they did have a pretty good interview with David Bradley, one of the original group of engineers who developed the 5150, and the one who chose which 3 keys would be used to reboot. The interview is online here [newsobserver.com], and includes an anecdote about the delivery of a prototype to MS.

how far we've come! (1)

Defiant One (512646) | more than 12 years ago | (#2141981)

As a former user of one of those 64k's, like on the IBM intro page linked, it's great to recall just how far we've come. Those early PC's were little more than electronic typewriters to me, a writer, while now PC's can do just about anything one cares to do.

Ain't it cool??

Microsoft's New Slogan (3, Flamebait)

V50 (248015) | more than 12 years ago | (#2142856)

To Celebrate MS has changed their slogan to:
Microsoft: Inferior for twenty years and counting!

Seriously though, in Twenty Years, Microsoft STILL hasn't made an original Operating System:

MS-DOS: Bought QDOS for $50,000, which was in turn was a ripoff of CP/M
Windows 1, 2 and 3: Too crappy for comment.
Windows NT : Innovated directly from OS/2.
Windows 95 : MS innovated huge hunks of it from Apple and even bigger hunks from NeXTstep.
Windows 98: Win95 with the Finder ripoff replaced by a Web Browser innovated from Netscape.
Windows XP: Windows NT with just about everyone's (AOL, Real, etc.) product innovated into the Operating System.


What I find scary is that Windows ME still is based off of a Twenty Year old OS originaly called 'Quick and Dirty Operating System'.

What would those be worth today? (2, Interesting)

The Original Yama (454111) | more than 12 years ago | (#2144362)

Would the IBM PC be seen as a valuable antique or as a worthless obsolete relic? I used to own one of these. However, my model had CGA graphics with a CGA monitor. Otherwise it was the exact same model, and it looked exactly the same. Unfortunately, all I have left is the monitor, the complete manual set and the original 5 1/4 inch discs (including MS-DOS 2.11, yay!). I haven't tried them in years, but everything should be fully operational.

Could I make anything by selling what I have?

Aww (2, Funny)

Bodero (136806) | more than 12 years ago | (#2144438)

Aww, how sweet that IBM would take the time to set up a tribute page to their very own system that started a revolution.

Maybe Malda can set up a "3 years of CmdrTaco - A Tribute To Myself" page on Slashdot to honor the anniversary of Slashdot and everything great that has became of it. ;)

Billy G (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2144617)

Shouldn't IBM be dead by now?

Other "advantages" (2, Interesting)

BLAMM! (301082) | more than 12 years ago | (#2144621)

One computer expert illustrates the rapid advancement of personal computing by estimating that if the automobile business had developed like the computer business, a Rolls-Royce would now cost $2.75 and run three million miles on a gallon of gas.

There's a rebuttal list to this comment made by the head of some automotive company. I can't locate it right now though. Anyone else remember this? It was, of course, directed at MS with items such as: "And they (the cars) would stop running for apparently no reason, after which you would stop the engine, restart it and continue as if if nothing was unusual." and "When the roads were repaved would have to buy another car." I wish I could find the whole list.

Re:Other "advantages" (1)

[amorphis] (45762) | more than 12 years ago | (#2110927)

I belive this is the quote of which you speak:

"If the automobile industry had progressed at the same speed as the computer industry, a Mercedes-Benz that cost $10,000 in 1960 would cost a penny today." - James Unruh, chairman and CEO of Unisys Corp., 1997
pithy

Re:Other "advantages" (1)

ameoba (173803) | more than 12 years ago | (#2113037)

At the rate things are going, before long, you won't even be able to buy a gallon of gas for $2.75

Re:Other "advantages" (1)

TheVoice900 (467327) | more than 12 years ago | (#2113038)

Hmm I can just imagine it now, the open-sourced car movement GNUCars. A bunch of car developers trying to make cars and highways freely available to all, making the "car source" available to all. And of course, they'd have to compete with the proprietary car manfucaturers, and try to make their cars compatible with the others parts while the monopolistic car companies would influence politicians to keep their prominent positions in the industry. Hm.. this reminds me somewhat of the struggle to have electric/hybrid cars become more accepted in the marketplace...

Re:Other "advantages" (1)

ClipDude (31730) | more than 12 years ago | (#2145895)

Can you imagine if cars were sold with the hoods welded shut and if the publication of Haynes repair guides were made a crime?

Re:Other "advantages" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2145976)

Mechanical Engineer, Chemical Engineer, Electronic Engineer and a Software Engineer are driving along a desert road in the middle of nowhere. It's hot - the soft-top is down and all the windows are open. Just crusin' along enjoying the drive and catching a tan. All of a sudden, the car lurches to a halt and stalls. The mechanical engineer (who's driving), tries to start the car again. The egine turns over, but just doesn't fire. He gets out and checks the throttle cable and carb, and it all looks good. The chemical engineer taps the fuel gauge, gets out, checks the fuel tank, the fuel lines and the filters. All looks A-OK. The Electronic Engineer checks the fusebox, gets out and checks the distributor and rotor, the ignition wires and the spark plugs. They're all fine. At this point, the three of them are standing around the car scratching their heads, wondering if they had missed anything and thinking how embarrassed they were going to be if they were the one whose education had gone to waste. The software engineer (who's still in the car drinking coke and eating pizza), looks up haing finally realized that the car is no longer moving. The others explain to him that the car has broken down and that they can't fix it. The software engineer thinks for a few seconds and then says, "How about we just close all the windows and start again...." Soon enough, the four friends are on their way.

Re:Other "advantages" (3, Informative)

ncc74656 (45571) | more than 12 years ago | (#2146418)

There's a rebuttal list to this comment made by the head of some automotive company.
It was GM. I don't think the list is on their site (but then I didn't go looking for it there), but Google [google.com] came up with a few hits. This [geocities.com] is a list of things with which to finish the phrase "If Microsoft built cars..." This [annoyances.org] is a hypothetical "GM helpdesk" taking lusers' questions as if cars were like computers (someone ought to do a BOFH version of this).

Re:Other "advantages" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2153541)

Top 20 Ways Microsoft Would Change The Auto Industry

20. The radio would be computerized, but you'd need to install 64 Meg of RAM, a new sound card, a game card, a new video driver, a CD drive, and type C:\radio\talk\rush*.* to get it to play.

19. The entire engine wouldn't be in the bay at once, and the car would have to keep stopping and starting to load in the relevant parts.

18. The speedometer would read 70 even though you are only doing 50.

17. You would have to have a full service every 500 miles.

16. Your car would refuse to start with a message "Abort, Retry, Fail?"

15. For some reason the engine controller would need a 1G hard disc and would take 5 minutes to boot up.

14. The steering wheel would be replaced with a mouse and you'd need to memorize the keyboard short-cut for "Brake".

13. A particular model year of car wouldn't be available until after that year- instead of before it.

12. They wouldn't build their own engines but form a cartel with their engine supplier. The latest engine would have 16 cylinders, multi-point fuel injection and 4 turbos, but it would be a side-valve design so you could use Model-T Ford parts on it. There would be an "Engium Pro" with bigger turbos, but it would be slower on most existing roads.

11. The air bag system would say "Are you sure?" before going off.

10. New seats would require everyone to have the same butt size.

9. We would all have to switch to Microsoft Gas.

8. The U.S. government would be forced to rebuild all of the roads for Microsoft cars; they will drive on the old roads, but they run very slowly.

7. The oil, alternator, gas and engine warning lights would be replaced by a single 'General Car Fault' warning light.

6. Sun MotorSystems would make a car that was solar-powered, twice as reliable and five times as fast, but would run on only 5% of the roads.

5. You would be constantly pressured to upgrade your car.

4. You could have only one person in the car at a time, unless you bought a Car95 or CarNT -- but then you would have to buy ten more seats and a new engine.

3. Occasionally, your car would die for NO apparent reason and you would have to restart it. Strangely, you would just accept this as normal.

3a. Occaionally, executing a maneuver would cause your car to stop and fail to restart and you'd have to re-install the engine. For some strange reason, you'd just accept this, too.

2. Every time the lines of the road were repainted, you would have to buy a new car.

1. People would get excited about the new features of the latest Microsoft cars, forgetting that these same features had been available from other car makers for years.

I dunno, it's kinda disturbing actually. (3, Interesting)

DreamSynthesis (415854) | more than 12 years ago | (#2144885)


I started out programming on a TRS-80, then moved to an AT&T PC 6300 (8086 w/ Wietek match coproc.), and on up the PC line from there. There's just one thing that really bothers me...

Why haven't other, arguably superior, architectures made it to prime time for home users? The PC (and by this I mean x86) has managed to blossom in homes and offices around the globe, but other architectures are still remanded to use in only "high need" or "unique" situations. Yes, I know it's redundant to use Apple as an example, but I just did. Give me a G4 running OSX any time, please. Then, of course, there's others (sun, etc) as well.

What's the deal with this? I know it can't all be due to the cost involved in manufacturing... does this really just boil down to marketing?

Of course, since my bread and butter is pretty much coding for x86 servers and desktop, I'm not complaining all that loudly, mind you. All replies welome!!!

kids in future will be spoiled. (1)

jacobcaz (91509) | more than 12 years ago | (#2145149)

I remember how I had to scrap and fight to get any time on a real computer when the Apple ][ was king of the classroom and the C64 ruled the gaming world.

All my friends who have kids now have (really compared to what I grew up with) AMAZING computing power just for their kids (would you relly want a 3y/o using your computer?).

These kids will be spoiled by technology at their finger tips. They will never learn how to socially engineer their way to computer time the way I'm sure more than one of us here did.

Dang - I'm jelaous!

Re:kids in future will be spoiled. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2146678)

I remember how I had to scrap and fight to get any time on a real computer when the Apple ][ was king of the classroom and the C64 ruled the gaming world.

You're that old and you're still trying to appear 31337 by depicting the roman numeral "II" using inverted square brackets?

Re:kids in future will be spoiled. (0, Flamebait)

jacobcaz (91509) | more than 12 years ago | (#2119130)

  • You're that old and you're still trying to appear 31337 by depicting the roman numeral "II" using inverted square brackets?
You're so stupid you don't know that it was actually Apple "]["?

Hmmm - who's 1337 now?

Fuckin' anonymous coward...

Re:kids in future will be spoiled. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2141975)

You actually believe the Romans spelled the number 2 like that?

My God, you're even more far gone than I thought.

It's a disease. 533k |-|3lp.

Re:kids in future will be spoiled. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2111062)

No but Steve and Steve did when they put the logo on the Apple computers :)

Of course "Color displays are for game machines". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2146885)

Why do you think the computers back then all had green phosphor displays (excepting the wackos who went with amber. Wyse guys especially) and 5V TTL directly driving a speaker? Color? Sound? If you want that, get an Atari 2600! "Serious" computers had no need for such frivolities. IBM's nose was still flying high in the air back then. Even the Apples in school had green displays. The Atari 400/800 and Commodore computers were king of the home market.

Why do the home computing histories on CNN always neglect all of Atari, Commodore, TI, Tandy Cocos, etc.? The media still practices the early IBM snobbery.

The spooky part is that the 5V TTL driven speaker is still with us, and MIDI sound still sucks on 90% of all PC sound cards and on motherboard sound chips, which I guess is why most people are of the opinion that "all MIDI is cheap tinny sounding kid stuff".

Re:Of course "Color displays are for game machines (1)

homer_ca (144738) | more than 12 years ago | (#2124331)

And don't forget CP/M. One could argue that Apple, Atari, and Commodore were home and hobbyist computers with limited business usage (40 column displays don't cut it for word processing), but CP/M ruled the business market in the late 70s-early 80s with lots of different hardware manufacturers and decent compatibility between brands. Remember the Osborne, Kaypro, Northstar, Xerox?
The two biggest things about the IBM PC were the 16bit CPU that broke the 64K RAM barrier and just the fact that IBM was endorsing the very concept of a personal computer.

And Kansas City Standard data on audio cassettes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2124274)

Which Commodore didn't support!

Epson Equity I (1)

resistant (221968) | more than 12 years ago | (#2145365)

Even though my current box is something like two hundred times faster, I somehow still miss that old Epson Equity I (an early near-clone of the IBM PC). It worked well, and was cheap compared to the "original" IBM PC. The keyboard was much better, too, even if it was "soft". Those early IBM PC keyboards did have the best "touch" per se, but the keyboards sucked otherwise. Teeny "Enter" key, teeny "backspace" key, bizarre layout ... ugh.

IBM is to be credited with spurring the computer revolution by attempting to hijack it with way proprietary boxes, though. :)

And what a crufty piece of crap it was, too. (1)

rodgerd (402) | more than 12 years ago | (#2145896)

The PC only barely achieved parity with contemporary systems, and PC architecture systems lagged behind contemporaries for over a decade. It wasn't until he mid-ninties, with PCI and 32 bit processors that PC hardware caught up with where the like of the Macintosh and Amiga, never mind real workstations, had been years before.

Even these days, bad architectural decisions made back then still impede progress (look at the mess that is the PC hard drive, or the fact that you still can't run a PC off a serial port).

Re:And what a crufty piece of crap it was, too. (2)

VAXman (96870) | more than 12 years ago | (#2128696)

The PC only barely achieved parity with contemporary systems, and PC architecture systems lagged behind contemporaries for over a decade. It wasn't until he mid-ninties, with PCI and 32 bit processors that PC hardware caught up with where the like of the Macintosh and Amiga, never mind real workstations, had been years before. First of all, when the IBM PC debuted it was the technologically the best personal computer available, if only because it was 16 bit and could address 640k, while the others (Apple II, TRS-80, Kaypro, Commodore 64, etc.) were only 8 bit and could only address 64k. This enabled much serious business applications to be written for the IBM PC than the other computers. Workstations started to become available by around then, but were much more expensive. It wasn't until several years after it debuted, that it was surpassed in some aspects by Macintosh and Amiga. Although it's true that PC's took a while to catch up (though I'd place the parity date closer to the early-90's than the mid-90's), for the past several years they have even outpaced the high-end workstations in terms of features and performance.

Re:And what a crufty piece of crap it was, too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2130215)

can't run a PC off a serial port).

Huh? Explain in English .

Slow news day again? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2146124)

I read about this on BBC News yesterday. Come on /. get your shit together. This site used to be the place where all the esoteric geek news was premiered weeks or months before the mainstream media picked it up. What happened?

Re:Slow news day again? (2)

unitron (5733) | more than 12 years ago | (#2136072)

If you're going to post a story about how "...today is the twentieth aniversary of the IBM PC...", you might want to give a little thought to which day you actually post the story.

Re:Slow news day again? (1)

The Limp Devil (513137) | more than 12 years ago | (#2144884)

Perhaps the geeks aren't the only ones interested these days, so mainstream media are trying to pay attention to "esoteric geek news"?

house built upon the sand (4, Insightful)

beanerspace (443710) | more than 12 years ago | (#2146238)

Gad, 20 years ?! Who would have thought that a machine, built on something so lame as a 16-bit program counter, a 16-bit ALU, four 16-bit general purpose registers, along with a few 16-bit index registers, and oh yes, that all important 8-bit external bus, would have so forever changed teh face of computing ?

Personally, while the PC is significant, I believe it was the ... and please forgive the bad joke, the attack of the clones in the 80's, that finally put the brain-damaged 80n86 PCs over the top of superior personal computer architectures.

Re:house built upon the sand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2144642)

Next time uncheck that +2 box. The "Attack of the Clones" bit wasn't very funny.

they got the history of the PC all wrong (0, Flamebait)

vectus (193351) | more than 12 years ago | (#2146420)

Bill Gates, and his noble consortium of Microsoft visionaries contacted Mike Dell, and asked him to build a personal computer, to take advantage of Al Gores latest invention, the internet.

Well, a few days after Dell began making computers, Bill decided that the internet could be the future of the world economy, and encouraged his good friend Jeff Bezos to open an online book store.. to test the waters, and see if it was possible to create a working internet business.

Years later, thieves and pirates moved in, peddling porn, warez, and MP3s.. ruining the very social fabric of the internet. Some renegade people began to create computer virii, and send spam. Recently Bill Gates has taken the noble effort upon himself to get rid of these "open source" programmers.

I don't know where IBM thought up all of this bullshit, but I hope that no one believes a word of it.

Re:they got the history of the PC all wrong (1)

ClipDude (31730) | more than 12 years ago | (#2145764)

I don't know where IBM thought up all of this bullshit

I don't know, but I hear they've been duped by Linus "Pac-Man" Torvalds into spreading cancer.

Big two-one (-1)

MultimanZ (43332) | more than 12 years ago | (#2146432)

One more year and I can bring it down to the pub and share a drink, slip it a ruffy, and have my way...

Re:Big two-one (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2146601)

How did this get modded down?

Fucking nazi's.

Omar from ATD-I own(z) you.

Cheers

Should we mourn for the Home Computers them? (2, Insightful)

Pope Raymond Lama (57277) | more than 12 years ago | (#2146433)

I don't know about you, but this plataform is just sick. Do I get mad all the times I stop to think on what the home computer industry could have brought us. Instead, from the tenths of playfull, colorfull, imaginative toys from the early 80's, what did emerge as the "winner" for the 90's, and now, beyond?


The only "Personal Computer" of the time that was, ground up, designed for "serious businness", and thus could display 80 characters of green text in a row, and wow, it could even beep. Who would want pretty toys like the Apple II's, ZX Spectruns, Atari ST's, Amigas? SO much color capacity, sound, speed...it could not be possible fopr one to want to work with stuff like this.


You may be all happy and well with this crap, being refurbished over and over. Were it not for the other only alternative [apple.com] in the market, I doubt if today's almighty 80x86 PC's would ever had got advanced peripheralls like USB connection, 3'1/2 floppies, firewire --how? no firewire yet? sorry - and maybe even the mouse. After all...who would ever want such a toy on a Serious Machine like those sold by International Business Machines?


Be happy and party on. I am wearing black for this "Anniversary"!

Re:Should we mourn for the Home Computers them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2124738)

I've read your comment a half-dozen times over, and I still don't have a fucking clue what you're babbling about.

Re:Should we mourn for the Home Computers them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2130927)

He means that wintel sucks ass and that without Apple coming up with new ideas M$ and friends would still be using QDOS. Name one orginal thing that wintel has brought to the computing arena? Couple that with the fact that M$ has held back innovation and open standards and there really is not much to celebrate (unless you actually think that beige boxes with floppy drives are still fresh and exciting).

The "good" old days? (1)

trentfoley (226635) | more than 12 years ago | (#2146483)

This takes me back to memories of cassette drives and, later, floppy based WordStar and masm, writing x86 text-mode programs. Remember when an "API" was loading registers and calling interrupts? As I write this on my Thinkpad A21p, I realize just how far we have come. How many people remember how cool it was to finally be able to type in upper AND lower case?

Yeah yeah (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2146485)

Whoop de doo, whoop de dai! Stick a needle in your eye!

Ahhhh 20 years (1)

Judg3 (88435) | more than 12 years ago | (#2146689)

And to think for me it all started with an AMstrad PC6400. 8088cpu, dual disk drives, and the kicker 640k of ram. (There was a 5200 model, but it only had 512k of ram). The first PC i took apart was that AMstrad, to put in the coprocessor (250$~). Everything was proprietary, from the monitor cable, to the mouse, to the keyboard. Then again, almost every vendor made its own little system. Nothing fit into anything else. Im so glad its the 21st century and theres so many agreed on standards that yu can take the same video card and put it in you PC, MAC, RISC etc and run it with virtually any os (at least in VGA mode)

Re:Ahhhh 20 years (1)

trentfoley (226635) | more than 12 years ago | (#2121380)

And, just when things were getting fairly compatible, there was IBM's Micro Channel and "The Gang of Nine"'s EISA. Thank God for PCI.

Re:Ahhhh 20 years (2)

technos (73414) | more than 12 years ago | (#2146564)

MCA wasn't the 'let's make things proprietary' grab everyone treats it as these days.

Let's face it, ISA was the standard, and it sucked. Here's IBM, with this comparably great, well tested, well documented bus they've been using for years, that the vendors are comfortable with, and PCI and VLB are dragging ass.. They said 'We need a better, faster bus'. So instead of fucking around, they went MCA.

Whaddya gonna do?

Re:Ahhhh 20 years (1)

rodgerd (402) | more than 12 years ago | (#2141742)

The problem wasn't that IBM wanted licensing for the MCA bus (which was, indeed light years ahead of ISA; on a par with NuBus or Zorro-II/III), but that IBM demanded royalties on every ISA machine people had ever made if they wanted to use MCA pushed other manufacturers down the EISA route.

PCI and VESA didn't enter into it, they both came after that little tiff.

Re:Ahhhh 20 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2153539)

Amstrad 1640 and Amstrad 1512.

I had the 1512 :-(

first IBM pc (4, Informative)

xfs (473411) | more than 12 years ago | (#2146692)

It's the 20th anniversary of the first -IBM- pc, not the PC. The altair was made in 1975 or so, was it not?

25th anniversary then?

Re:first IBM pc (4, Informative)

VAXman (96870) | more than 12 years ago | (#2144360)

The first personal computer was probably DEC's PDP-8/m (started shipping in 1972) which pre-dated the Altair and Apple by several years.

That said, 'PC' as understood today means 'IBM PC compatible' (as opposed to Apples or workstations), and today's PC's are direct descendants of the original IBM PC 5150. The PC is by far the most widely used and most important architecture in use today. The 5150 was not the first personal computer, but was the first PC.

Re:first IBM pc (1)

3ntropy (513201) | more than 12 years ago | (#2146416)

The Altair and the Apple I both shipped in 1976 I think. Apple had sold almost a million personal computers before the "first PC" from IBM booted. -entro

Is this really something to 'celebrate'? (0, Troll)

phillymjs (234426) | more than 12 years ago | (#2146942)

So, 20 years ago today, IBM started selling a half-assed, piece of shit machine that was slapped together in a hurry from off-the-shelf parts, just so IBM could grab a piece of the Apple II's marketshare. Whoo hoo.

Actually, what I think today should be remembered for is that it's the day IBM essentially handed Microsoft the keys to the kingdom. What do we have to show for it? Twenty years later, the world runs on unsecure, virus-friendly bloatware so complex that most of the gains in productivity we've seen along the way have been negated by all the time spent rebooting, reinstalling Windows, and sitting on hold with tech support. It amazes me what people will put up with.

I would think that most of the people who read /. would treat this as a somber occasion, the day that a possible future that held so much promise was extinguished like a match dropped in a puddle.

~Philly

Re:Is this really something to 'celebrate'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2113829)

wow, even your sig is a troll

Re:Is this really something to 'celebrate'? (2)

malfunct (120790) | more than 12 years ago | (#2144184)

Without the PC there would be no linux or OOS revolution either. You would be at the mall with your friends (if you were lucky) or at home watching paint dry doing nothing because most people would not have computers in thier home because really they only played games or did business stuff that was unecsarry.

Whether we like it or not, MS took all sorts of nifty innovations that people made and turned them into something that everyone in the world wanted. We should thank them for that much.

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