New Definiton REQUIRED

From: Frank McConnell <>
Date: Sun Nov 16 12:46:03 1997

HOTZE <> wrote:
> [...] if you remember, in the "welcome" message, it
> said that it was hard to state the definiton of a classic... but 10
> years or older would do. I do not wish to offend the owner, but they
> are one person, and they can make mistakes... and together, as a group,
> the chances of making an accurate definiton are smaller with us.

Right. Not too many people are going to agree on this. There's
probably a few people out there who think the Atari Portfolio is a
classic and I think it's under 10 years old. The IBM PC/AT is 13
years old now but I have difficulty thinking of it as a classic and I
really couldn't care less.

But the 10 year rule is simple and not without precedent (it's roughly
the way other things are judged "antique" -- if I remember correctly
the "magic number" is 100 years for furniture and housewares and 20
years for automobiles). That's why we have it, we know it's not
perfect but it does provide a clear cutoff.

(Aside to You Know Who You Are: knock it off, OK?)

> Possibly (out for MUCH revision...) is the definition "Any computer
> which has aged sufficently to be considered "outdated" by the computer
> market and has historic signifiance, OR is 10 years old or older." The
> one evedeint place that requires revsion is the "historical signifiacne"

Does it? The problem is that inside 10 years it's very difficult to
judge historical significance.

And just because it's older than 10 years doesn't make finding the
historical significance any easier. I'm hard pressed to think of what
was significant about the PC/AT, as near as I could tell at the time
it was put to work as a bigger faster IBM PC, still running all the
same old MS-DOS applications, still one at a time. And from
conversations I've had with folks who were doing Unix stuff on the
80286 then, they didn't think 80286 protected mode was progress w/r/t
the PDP-11.

Well, what did the PC/AT have that the PC/XT didn't? 1.2MB
minifloppies (although I saw those retrofit onto XT-class PCs), 16-bit
slots, a cascaded interrupt controller to handle the additional
interrupt request lines...and the A20 gate that let you get at another
little chunk of RAM up above the 1MB boundary while still in real
mode. Hmm. How many of these things do we consider historically
significant now, and how many will we still consider significant in 5,
10, 25, 50, 100 years?

-Frank McConnell
Received on Sun Nov 16 1997 - 12:46:03 GMT

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