Cromemco (was Re: S-100 bus specs)

From: Richard Erlacher <>
Date: Thu Mar 18 16:58:20 1999

I alttended the Syscon/Buscon convention at LAX in 1986 and found that IEEE
696 board manufacturers were fairly well represented. Nevertheless, most of
them conceded that (1) their new boards wouldn't work with their old ones,
thereby quashing any hope one might have held of "upgrading" to reduce cost,
and (2) their new boards generally varied in one respect or another from the
standard, hence defeating features which had to be sacrificed in order to
make others work, but ultimately defeating interoperability between vendors.
I didn't attend the '696 standards committee meetings, but did attend SCSI
and Optical Disk standards committee meetings, so I have a pretty good idea
of the games which are typically played at these affairs.

What happened with S-100 was that unlike the SCSI standards committee, which
was ultimately beaten into submission by one major vendor of controllers and
interface IC's, was that a standard was patterned around hardware already in
the field. They could do this because of their position which was quite
unyielding due to their already installed base. This same sort of thing
caused '696 meeting attendees to conclude that, while there was a standard,
there was no need to adhere to it because the goal of inter-vender
interoperability was not likely to be attained, and the market window for 8
and 16 bit computers was closing due to the advent of the IBM PC and PC/AT.
The Macintosh was not yet a force they felt had to be reckoned with, though
it certainly developed into one. Their market was seriously eroded by the
single-board boxes offered by many manufacturers late in the market cycle,
because, like it or not, large-volume hardware is sold by the pound, and
S-100 stuff always weighed a lot.


-----Original Message-----
From: Sellam Ismail <>
To: Discussion re-collecting of classic computers
Date: Thursday, March 18, 1999 2:40 PM
Subject: Re: Cromemco (was Re: S-100 bus specs)

>On Thu, 18 Mar 1999, James Willing wrote:
>> > ...Cromemco actively manufactured S-100 systems
>> > until they went out of business in around 1986 or so.
>> as much as I absolutely hate to contradict... <BIG B^} >
>> You may want to take a look at before you cast the
>> previous thot in stone...
>You're kidding!
>Wow, you're not. But this is a far different company than us old tech
>nerds know and love. Most of the business base seems to be European
>these days. But hey, this is significant. A micro/mini-computer company
>that's been around longer than Apple and is still alive and kicking.
>That's more than you can say for any other computer comapnies that sprang
>up around the same time, save for the obvious.
>I stand corrected (yet again :)
>Sellam Alternate e-mail:
>Don't rub the lamp if you don't want the genie to come out.
>                  Coming in 1999: Vintage Computer Festival 3.0
>                   See for details!
>                        [Last web site update: 02/15/99]
Received on Thu Mar 18 1999 - 16:58:20 GMT

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