Jan 82 article abt the IBM PC

From: James B. DiGriz <jbdigriz_at_dragonsweb.org>
Date: Sun Apr 28 09:13:43 2002

Raymond Moyers wrote:
> For those interested
> http://www.nop.org/misc/pics/ibmpc
> Im one of those that still has many of his old mags
> going back to the altair days.
> In the collection is the Jan 82 issue of Byte
> this article is about the IBM PC, and perhaps
> some may get a kick out of reading from
> scans of these yellowed pages
> Raymond

Why? I didn't get a kick out of it then.

The IBM PC is a reminder that history is not always a pleasant thing. It
is a slap in the face to all those who pioneered the low cost, personal
computer years before it came along. Not just garage-tinkering techs and
entrepreneurs, but big corps., mass-producing. It succeeded not because
it was better, but because it was acceptable to the kind of person who
nowadays looks down their nose if you don't have a fax number, but still
refuses to correspond by email, and because everyone grasped that
immediately in 1981. Including many who should have known better.
Including some who already had better machines in the same class on the
market that cost about the same to build, but were priced as much as 3-4
times higher.

To be more specific, it succeeded by the cachet of 3 letters that IBM
was either willing or unable to prevent others from coattail riding
upon, especially by copying the hardware. Perhaps the open spec helped,
but that would have been reverse-engineered as was the BIOS. If IBM had
contracted with Commodore to put a VIC 20 with expansion slots in a grey
steel box it would have done as well, and we would all be awaiting the
imminent release of the 64-bit 6502 now, instead of IA-64.

I won't knock the machine itself. It was okay, though some of the cost
compromises were highly questionable, even for the time. It was however
a poor choice for "the" industry standard. Particularly the system bus.
Especially when more than one already existed, with hard won formal
specs and all, that didn't lock everyone into a single CPU family.

Received on Sun Apr 28 2002 - 09:13:43 BST

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