"Real Computers" (was Re: Trivia Question)

From: Tony Duell <ard_at_p850ug1.demon.co.uk>
Date: Sat Feb 22 16:15:00 2003

> > > >> 3) Is it documented?
> The PC (that means 5150!) was significantly better documented
> than any of the other microcomputers being sold retail to the

The TechRef was certainly a wonderfully useful manual (why do you think I
guard my set with my life :-)) but at the time many other machines had
similarly useful documentation...

> general public at the time. (conveniently excluding guvmint,
> industrial, and institutional sales :-)
> The "PC Technical Reference Manual" was cheap, and contained
> complete schematics and source code for the BIOS. Third party
> "disassemblies" being sold by third parties are NOT comparable!
> Apple, Atari, Commodore, Radio Shack, etc. had documentation,

Hmm.. Radio Shack would sell you a service manaul or technical manual for
every one of their computer products (I ordered things like the Model 1
video display service manual). Without exception these manuals contained
full schematics and parts lists.

Radio Shack did not publish the source to their BIOS though :-( There
were 3rd party disassemblies, but they were not that good...

A few years ago I spotted a hard-backed book in a normal bookshop (I
think the publisher was Addison Wesley) entitled 'The Apple //e Techincal
Reference Manual'. It contains full schematics of the //e mainboard and
the BIOS source listings. Of course I bought it, even though I am not an
'apple' person. I assume this book was on gneral sale to anyone who
wanted it

> but not comparable. How many CP/M machines provided both
> schematics and source code?

THey seemed to be available for most CP/M machines that I came across.
Certainly the QX10 had a full hardware manual (I have it), which makes
reference to a software manual that I don't have. The RML machines had
schematics and ROM source available.

Received on Sat Feb 22 2003 - 16:15:00 GMT

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