Computers for hackers/enthusiasts (was Re: [OT] USB KVM switches)

From: Tom Jennings <>
Date: Thu Feb 3 16:09:09 2005

> Tom wrote:
>> No one ever built commercial computer gear for the likes of us.
> Ethan wrote:
>> Not as an intended audience... no.

On Thu, 3 Feb 2005, Eric Smith wrote:

> Wasn't the Apple II "commercial computer gear"?

First, this is potentially the start of one of those infinite
slippery-slope definition-based threads.

Second, I was merely making the point [in the original thread]
that complaining that some random interface isn't utterly
orthogonal, made from 100% common, long-lived parts, thoroughly
documented, standardized and in a format suitable for genetic
inheritance, doesn't mean said interface is bad. I was pointing
out that this stuff (excluding more-recent Apple ][, IBM feces,
whatever) wasn't designed for:

         pro and semi-pro
                 hackers of hardware
                         long past their product lives
                                 to connect to other equally dead
                                                 for pleasure.

(I suppose that should all be upper case.)

Lastly (sic) I decidedly insist the Apple ][ was a personal
computer. I suppose any old magazine ad would suffice for
evidence. I would like to further assert that the mere existence
of a commercial app for the ][ does not trump the overwhelming
marketing thrust of Apple as a hobbiest/personal computer >INHALE<.

> original IBM PC? Both were sold commercially, but both were designed
> and documented for people to hack on.

"hack on"? Likely they would have said "interface to". A fine
point indeed, but since we're talking about culture, and not
interface specification, I believe a valid distinction. I can't
recall a single IBM ad [advertisement as indicator of the
manufacturer's intended usage] showing the cover open and junk
sticking out.

> Copying the Apple II with regard to having published documentation
> readily available on the expansion slots and BIOS may have been one of
> the best moves IBM ever made.

Can you imagine that happening today? Not a chance! I agree, it
was a tremendous thing for all of us.
Received on Thu Feb 03 2005 - 16:09:09 GMT

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